With the increasing focus on technology and advancements within the industry, fitness testing and performance assessment is rapidly evolving. At the forefront of these developments are the British Army, who in collaboration with Wattbike, have designed a bespoke performance test, the Alternative Aerobic Assessment (A3), to support and motivate soldiers in maintaining fitness levels and help them in their recovery whilst recovering from injury.
The A3, available to troops who are medically downgraded, involves a ten minute assessment on the Wattbike that will allow Physical Training Instructors (PTIs) and the Chain of Command to accurately gauge and monitor the aerobic fitness of each individual. This test provides a more efficient replacement to the 1.5 mile running element of the current Personal Fitness Assessment, with individuals still undertaking the timed press up and sit up element.
Brigadier John Donnelly, Director of Personal Services (Army) and Commandant of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps (RAPTC) said: “The Alternative Aerobic Assessment on the Wattbike is an exciting new development and our first official partnership with a supplier to develop physical training assessments. These bikes give people the tools they need to set specific goals, giving a real sense of purpose to their training. The research undertaken by the RAPTC with Wattbike has allowed us to design an assessment that will inspire soldiers to stay fit, benefitting both the Army and individuals.”
As well as being used for fitness assessments, the bikes will play a large part in the recovery programme of soldiers returning from injury. All PTIs have received specialist training allowing them to design bespoke training programmes to get individuals back to required fitness levels.
Wattbike is a British company and will be making the bikes available in gyms across the Army including the Reserve. Rich Baker, Commercial Director of Wattbike said: “Throughout the history of Wattbike we have worked with some of the world’s leading sports organisations, teams and athletes. This has given us an in depth understanding of the demands and limits of human physical performance which our Armed Forces experience on a regular basis.
“We are now privileged to use this knowledge to work with the RAPTC in the development of the A3 which will further enhance the training options available to Physical Training staff. The A3 brings a validated, accurate and standardised assessment to injured personnel and allows the RAPTC to prepare soldiers for the physical rigours of training and deployment.”
As well as helping injured and medically limited deployable personnel, the bikes can be used by any soldier for impact-free training. Brigadier Donnelly added: “Although introduced with injured personnel in mind, these bikes provide challenging and targeted fitness training for everyone. We are encouraging a greater focus on strengthening and low impact training to increase resilience and reduce incidence of injuries across the Army.”