Regulatory framework of Soviet physical education inherited by modern GTO complex


Dr. Hab., Professor L.A. Zelenin1
PhD A.A. Opletin1
Dr. Sc. Soc., Professor V.D. Panachev1
1Perm National Research Polytechnic University, Perm

Keywords: comparative characteristics, tasks, prospects.

Background. The reinstated GTO Complex is considered an effective tool to improve public health; contribute to the future progress of the country; improve the national genetic fund; give a boost to the research and economic resource of the country; activate personality development with an emphasis on many individual qualities including reliability, self-reliance, determination, mental stability, predictability, commitment to health values and physical progress. The obligatory GTO Complex tests are designed to rate a variety of important individual physical qualities including endurance, strength, flexibility, willpower, speed capacities etc.

Objective of the study was to analyze the situation with the succession of the regulatory framework of the Soviet physiclal education by the modern GTO Complex.

Study findings and discussion. The GTO Complex was established in 1931 with its formally approved system of physical education standards and relevant knowledge, application skills and abilities. The GTO Complex was recently reinstated with the following missions and goals [1]:

  • Improve efficiency of the national physical education and sports sector in the health improvement, harmonic personality development and patriotism encouragement domains; and secure due succession in the public physical education service;
  • Increase the share of the Russian population doing sports on a habitual basis;
  • Step up the physical fitness standards and active longevity in the Russian population;
  • Cultivate commitment for habitual physical education, sports, physical development and healthy lifestyles in the nation;
  • Improve the public awareness of the self-reliant training models, methods and tools with the relevant competences and competency-building systems taking full advantage of the modern information technologies; and
  • Modernize = mass/ children and youth/ school/ academic physical education and sports systems with contributions from the relevant educational establishments via a variety of initiatives with a special emphasis on the sport club ones.

Comparative analysis of the 1930, 1972 and 2014 GTO systems shows that the new GTO Complex includes 11 age levels versus 5 in the Soviet-times GTO; the 1972 GTO did not offer any programs for children under 10 years of age versus the 2014 GTO that includes the 6-8 and 9-10 year-old classes; plus the 2014 GTO Complex provides tests for the 70+ year-old group that was neglected by the Soviet GTO. Furthermore, the Soviet GTO Complex awarded only gold and silver badges versus the modern GTO Complex that offers bronze badges as well. Qualifications for the silver GTO badge were eased in the 2014 GTO Complex, with only 7 successful tests required to qualify for a silver badge versus 9 tests in the Soviet-times GTO; and the 2014 GTO Complex tests require 8 successful tests for a golden badge versus 7 in the Soviet GTO. 

Comparative analysis of the 1972 and 2014 GTO systems shows that the numbers of tests are virtually the same: 10 in the Soviet versus 11 in the modern GTO, including 5 unchanged tests. It should be noted that some test standards were eased including the modern 50m swimming test versus the 100m swimming test in the Soviet system; and the 10m rifle shooting test versus the 25m/ 50m tests in the Soviet times. Some other tests, however, were made more difficult including the modern 2km/ 3km cross-country race test for women/ men, respectively, versus the 500m/ 1000m race tests in the Soviet system. And the modern GTO Complex test system gives a higher priority to the gymnastic test elements including crunches to test the abdomen muscles; standing bends forward with straight legs to test flexibility etc.

Students’ success rates in the 1985 versus 2016 GTO Complex tests found by a questionnaire survey of the entrants (n=280) to the Mining and Petroleum Department of Perm National Research Polytechnic University in 2016 and archive data for the graduates (n=280) from the Secondary General Education School #5 in Perm for the period of 1985-1990 – showed the success rate of 71.07% versus 62% in the Soviet versus modern GTO Complex tests. This means that the school graduates’ physical fitness indices were higher in the Soviet times – that may be due to the fact that the GTO Complex tests were obligatory in the Soviet schools, vocational education, secondary special and higher educational establishments.

Development prospects of the modern GTO Complex are dependent on how fast and persistent the changes are with the growing influence of the national policies on the progress of the national physical education and sports sector, with the decision-makers striving to establish and support an efficient modern physical education system driven by the competency-building ideas to facilitate the human resource development and health improvement initiatives on the national scale [2].

Conclusion. The Russian Physical Education and Sports GTO Complex have been reinstated and seriously reformed lately. Numbers of the GTO Complex test have remained virtually the same albeit some of the tests were simplified in the 2014 GTO Complex and some were made more difficult, particularly the endurance and flexibility tests.


  1. Parshikova N.V., Babkin V.V., Vinogradov P.A., Uvarov V.A., V.L. Mutko [ed.] Vserossiyskiy fizkulturno-sportivny kompleks «Gotov k trudu i oborone» (GTO): dokumenty i metodicheskie materialy [Russian physical culture and sports complex 'Ready for labour and defence' (GTO): documents and methodological materials]. Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation. 2nd ed., rev., sup.. Moscow: Sport publ., 2016, 208 p.
  2. Lubysheva L.I. Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury: novye vektory razvitiya [Theory and practice of physical culture: new vectors of development]. Teoriya i praktika fiz. kultury, 2010, pp. 3-6.

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Health viewed as a national resource is ranked among the top priorities by the modern Russian Physical Education and Sports GTO Complex designed to cultivate and promote due competences and strong motivations for efficient health building and healthy lifestyles. The preparatory trainings for the GTO Complex tests are intended to effectively develop every muscle group, improve endurance, movement coordination and physical performance control skills and mobilize the individual physical resource. National population tends to increasingly appreciate physical education and sport practices, including the self-reliant trainings for health and for GTO Complex tests viewed as the life missions facilitating tools with an emphasis on the physical, health and developmental practices.