Military personnel physical training theory: origin and progress stages

Dr.Hab., Professor V.A. Shchegolev1
Dr.Hab., Professor V.P. Sushchenko2
Dr.Hab., Professor V.A. Sobina3
Dr.Hab. A.N. Sivak4
1Military Institute of Physical Training, St. Petersburg
2St. Petersburg Polytechnic University of Peter the Great, St. Petersburg
3Moscow Institute of Hotel Management and Tourism, Moscow
4St. Petersburg National Guard Forces Command Military Institute, St. Petersburg

Keywords: Physical Training Systems Research Center, Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, progress stages, military personnel physical training theory.

Background. The military personnel physical training theory progress history shows that its theoretical pillars were formed by analyses of the experimental research data generated by multiple practical combat drills – to encourage further multiple studies for the military personnel physical progress in context of the professional combat excellence trainings. Subject to the studies, among other things, were the physical training models for pre-conscripts, university students, cadets, national and foreign service personnel, Ground Forces, Missile Forces, flight crews, naval personnel, special service units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Border Troops, etc. [ 1-8].

Objective of the study was to analyze progress of the national military personnel physical training theory with its origins, achievements and progress stages.

Methods and structure of the study. The methods applied for the study purposes were geared to analyze and summarize findings of multiple experimental studies that substantiated the basics for the military personnel physical training theory, regulations for the Combat Sports Complex (CSC), Combat Sports Qualifications (CSQ) etc. We applied the key physical development and fitness statistics of the military service (army and naval) conscripts as a basis for the military personnel physical training theory progress history analysis. For the purposes of the study we undertook a large-scale Conscription Research Project that gave a special priority to the conscripts’ physical fitness/ health  (with 80,000 conscripts sampled for the study) to work out recommendation on the physical fitness/ health standards for every category of military personnel. It may be pertinent to mention that prior to the Combat Sports Complex implementation in the Armed Forces, the mass sports and physical trainings in the army and navy were designed based on the GTO Complex standards and requirements.

Results and discussion. The periodically updated Physical Training Instructions has provided a theoretical and practical basis for the modern military personnel physical training theory. The Physical Training Instructions are governed by the theoretical idea that gives a special priority to the Special Focused Physical Training (SFPT) to provide a platform for the categorized professional Physical Training systems applicable also to different population groups in our country.  

The 1978 Physical Training Instructions (PTI-78) design and implementation project generated, among other things, timeframes for the categorized physical training courses customizable to the military personnel missions, specialties and service-specific physical fitness requirements. Thus the research projects to test the Officers/ Officers-2 Physical Training Instructions models resulted in recommendations for the Commanding Staff Physical Training Instructions. Moreover, the above project experience provided a basis for the new individualized and specific physical training models for the army.

The above and other project findings laid a foundation for the PTI-87 that spelled out the physical training models customizable for a variety of climatic and geographic conditions of the actual military service and missions. Thus the Ecology Research Project goals (and dissertations thereof) were designed to analyze specifics of the military personnel physical training in mountain areas, hot climate and Far Northern environments to provide practical recommendations for the customized Physical Training Instructions. The resultant draft Physical Training models were tested under the Center-84 Research Project that included practical trainings and drills in different military service areas. In the same period the project team ran multiple experiments to test a variety of the Physical Training models for specific classes of the naval personnel.

At the next stages in the modern military personnel physical training theory formation process, research initiatives were undertaken to analyze benefits of different Physical Training models customizable to the military personnel service missions, daily service and rest regimen in every class and branch of the national Armed Forces. Attempts were made to produce the service-specific Physical Training Instructions models based on the relevant provisions of the military personnel physical training theory for military service categories and specific units. However, a few (mostly institutional) bottlenecks hampered the efforts to integrate such specific Physical Training Instructions components in the PTI-2001. It should be mentioned, however, that the studies to implement the military branch- and type-specifics in the Physical Training Instructions in the context of the ongoing modernization of the Armed Forces have never been stopped.

As things now stand, the military Physical Training theoreticians give a special priority to the efforts to step up efficiency of the modern military personnel physical training theory to facilitate the military personnel physical fitness for missions in the local conflict zones, with a special attention to the practical experience accumulated by foreign warfare missions [4, 6]. These and other issues, including the institutional, legal and regulatory ones, are subject to the ongoing research projects to provide theoretical and practical grounds for the military personnel PTI-2020. Moreover, the researchers still give much attention to the Military Sports Classifier improvement and GTO Complex based Physical Training systems upgrade projects for the military academies and civil universities [1-5, 7, 8]. Thus one of the Research Center teams was nominated to head the research projects to produce new Physical Training Instructions for the Suvorov and Nakhimov schools, cadet corps and other pre-academic military training establishments. In contrast to the PTI-1981, the new PTI-2020 will offer new physical training models for the 5-11-grade cadets.

Conclusion. Analysis of the military personnel physical training theory progress history showed prospects and challenges for advancement of the military personnel physical training theory in the new epoch and the need for further research to improve the physical training and fitness of the national military service personnel for the service-specific missions.


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The study gives an analysis of military personnel physical training theory with its origins, achievements and progress stages. At the initial stage, theoretical basics were laid via experimental data analyses, with the database accumulated in multiple military drills and exercise; plus analyses of the relevant reporting data, research publications and other sources. The military personnel physical training theory progress stages were identified by the key research projects and study issues specific for classes of the national Armed Forces and special service units and branches. Sampled for the multiannual studies under the military personnel physical training theory were many servicemen having a wide range of service specialties with their service-specific physical fitness requirements and standards.