The British Army’s fitness tests are designed to be difficult. They need to get soldiers mentally and physically ready to enter battlefields around the world, but even though they’re designed to mould elite soldiers, the army is the only large organisation in charge of athletes that hasn’t really considered sports science. Until now.
In 2019, the British Army will introduce new Physical Employment Standards (PES) for all soldiers involved in close combat roles. So, gone are the British army’s old sit-ups, press-ups and 1.5-mile run test, and in come running with weapons, dragging casualties and vehicle casualty extractions.
These changes are designed to make sure soldiers are battle ready and conditioned to perform. After all, has anyone ever needed to do a push-up in the middle of a warzone? It’s unlikely.
The new tests are a result of the combined thinking of real-life soldiers and sports scientists from the University of Chichester, but some have questioned whether the changes to PES, which will now make no allowance for the age or gender of soldiers, have lowered the bar rather than raised it.
British Army officials insist this isn’t the case and instead say, the enemy does not care what sex or how old a soldier is so neither should the army’s training programme. But how difficult are these tests? We deployed our junior digital writer, Daniel Davies, to find out. Fall in!