University graduate's psychophysical vocational fitness: methods of achievement


R.G. Shaykhetdinov
Associate Professor, PhD V.A. Gromov
South Ural State University, Chelyabinsk

Keywords: applied professional physical education, Military Education Department, physical training, interaction algorithm.


The study explores the matters of university students’ psychophysical fitness for professional career achieved by an integrated applied professional training course that was designed as a two-stage modular individualized curriculum duly tailored for the students’ specific interests and motivations including individualized scheduling of the training course, and due micro-cycle control system with the relevant interaction algorithm for convenience of the process subjects.


Any analysis of the present physical development standards of university students reveals a variety of serious problems related to their low motor activity and poor physical development standards. The proportion of the full-time university students diagnosed with health conditions and rated therefore with the relevant special health group remains too high [4]. Studies performed for the last few years report up to 8.6% of the total student population being exempted from the university physical education course and qualified with the special health group; 16.9% exempted of the mandatory physical fitness tests due to different health conditions; and 25.5% of the young people rated as physically weak and unfit for the university physical education course in regular groups. 

It was in 2008 that the service term of military conscripts was cut down twice, and the conscription health requirements were increased. Special physical training courses are common both in the army and navy where they are viewed as a key element of the applied professional physical education system. Despite the fact that military service for most of the army personnel (with the only exception for the staff officers) may not be considered exactly a professional activity, professional physical training is still rated high as an integral part of the applied professional physical education.

Furthermore, as things now stand in the university students’ training process at the Military Education Departments, there are still quite a few problems that may be outlined as follows:

  • Poor fitness levels of the Military Education Department students in the relevant applied combat sports and physical practices;
  • Inadequate development levels of the applied combat sport disciplines;
  • Urgent need for clear physical, mental and intellectual fitness standards to qualify students for military service; and
  • Need for succession in the physical training curricula and traditions applied by the national educational establishments of different forms and types.

An applied professional/ industrial physical education system will be designed to establish and improve the professionally significant qualities and skills to duly train students for specific challenges of their vocation. It is the specific requirements of the vocational activity that will dictate a design of such a system. The special military training of university students at the Military Education Departments and their vocational education will be viewed as system and sub-systems operating on an integrated basis. Special training tools may be recommended to shape up and excel their performance standards and professional skills when they are efficient and beneficial for their professional fitness standards [3].  The academic Physical Education discipline will be designed as a combined course where different educational tools must interact so as to secure good progress. It is only through a system of harmonic development of every quality and skill important for the education/ combat missions as required by the relevant military specialty that the highly knowledgeable and skilful officers may be trained at the Military Education Departments. Furthermore, success of professional career largely depends on the body performance abilities and qualities that may be shaped up and improved by focused training tools and systems [1]. On the whole, the role of general military disciplines and physical education in good professional fitness standards being attained is on the rise at present.

Objective of the study was to outline the content of the applied professional physical training course, education curriculum, physical education methods and the relevant institutional and practical conditions for every stage of the combined professional/ military education of university students.

Methods and structure of the study.

The revised “Applied professional training” university curriculum with applied education content including special and general military education elements was designed on a modular basis, with the modules being mastered one by one for 8 semesters. The physical education course was intended to give key competences to the trainees; and the curriculum of Semesters 4-6 included applied professional physical training methods such as applied combat swimming practices; applied melee; obstacle crossing, mobility improvement practices and grenade throw practices.

To ensure the education going on an uninterrupted basis with due succession of the training methods and traditions, we developed a special interaction algorithm for the period from entering the university to graduation followed by military probation course with independent three-month post-graduation practice. The interaction algorithm was designed based on a modular physical training system applied at the Military Education Department. The training modules were the following: Preliminary Training (PT) module taking Semester 1; Base Training (BT) module taking Semesters 2 and 3; Special Training (ST) module scheduled for Semesters 4 and 5; Combat Teamwork (CA) module scheduled for Semesters 6 through 7.5; and the Adaptation Period (AP) module that covered Semester 7.5 to 8 plus the 3-month military specialty probation time [2].

Furthermore, the training course was designed to train the Military Education Department (MED) students in their specific combat specialties (e.g. tank crew officers) within the new institutional and practical system. The phased design of the training course made it possible to comfortably control the process and make corrections on the way. The process tests showed that the students demonstrated no serious differences in performance rates by the end of Semester 5, albeit after Semester 8 they showed notable performance differences. This effect may be due to some controllability sag in Semester 7 through 8 when the student/ physical education trainer/ MED commandment relationship control system was changed to the student/ military unit commandment control system.

There might be no need to dwell in detail on every stage of the education/ interaction algorithm for it is the graduate as a final product of the process that is important. The scaled process design and modular structure of the algorithm made it possible to establish and maintain the students’ functional and physical fitness in Semester 1 through 8 and later on at reasonably high level; and generally the progress was verified by the ratio of the system efficiency to the applied resource growth factor. Resource means herein the new technologies; methods; practical tools; practical cooperation with the educational units within the Military Education Department (MED); all forms of physical education (morning physical conditioning practices; physical training under the education/ combat curriculum; individual physical practices; specific sports/ mass sports; and scheduled breaks in trainings). It should be noted that the applied professional training practices were introduced in the standard university physical education curriculum for a variety of serious and objective reasons.

Study results and discussion

Upon completion of the experimental training course, every Study Group (SG) and Reference Group (RG) trainee was tested by a full set of special military fitness criteria to rate the individual professional/ physical fitness, general physical development and mental levels and qualities on an integrated basis.

The test data upon completion of the educational experiment proved the scaled education method being efficient. The general physical fitness rates and psycho-physiological ability rates in the SG were tested 20-30% higher than in the RG; and the applied combat practice performance rates in the SG were found 10-20% higher than in the RG.

A set of professional combat skill performance rates applied by the Military Education Department was used to rate the tank crew member fitness in the medical, technical, shooting tests and mass-destruction weapon counteraction performance tests, including the following: NT1 (boarding the tank) test; NT2 (leaving the tank) test; NM7 (evacuating the wounded) test; NM8 (dragging the wounded) test; NTx3 (battery installation) test; NOP-1.2 (loading 3 artillery shots to the rotary container and boxes to the twin machinegun) test; and NRHB3-4 (putting on the universal military protection OZK suit with gas mask) tests. Analysis of the students’ combat skill performance rates made it possible to find correlations of the physical fitness vs. special combat fitness rates in some test practices, as given in Table 1 hereunder. The general finding of the analysis is that the higher are the special combat fitness rates verified by the relevant standard tests the higher is the general fitness level of the MED graduate.

Table 1. Correlations of physical fitness rates with special combat performance test rates

Physical practices

Combat skill performance rates (r)








Applied combat skills

Crew performance








Grenade throw

















It is the new modular professional education algorithm; application of every physical education form and method on an integrated basis; applied combat skills mastering in a phased manner under regular university curriculum; and good cooperation of every participant to the education process – that helped create facilitating conditions for the key education missions being fulfilled by the Military Education Department; training quality in every military specialty in the MED curriculum being improved; and the students’ and graduates’ physical, ethical and mental fitness rates for the military service and civil professional career being stepped up.


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