The Army recently updated its physical readiness training, or PRT, mobile app to give Soldiers a leg up on the new Army Combat Fitness Test, as it continues to safeguard users’ personal information on the go.
The Army PRT app, a free smartphone training tool, includes a streamlined collection of exercises; helps users calculate test scores; and lays out unique physical training templates tailored for each Soldier’s fitness demands, said Lt. Col. David Feltwell, Center for Initial Military Training physical therapist and one of ACFT’s developers.
The mobile app is the latest version of an earlier PRT app, in place since 2014.
The focus of the update is to match the current physical training doctrine, Feltwell said. The modernized, officially branded Army app comes amid the two-year ACFT pilot test, in its second implementation phase.
Despite the fact the six-event ACFT will supersede the current, three-event Army Physical Fitness Test, the new app still lets users digitally calculate their APFT test scores while it’s the official test of record, Feltwell said.
New Army PRT app
Approved by the Defense Department, the revamped PRT app shows users validated doctrinal products designed to improve their physical performance and control any potential negative outcomes of physical training, like injuries, Feltwell said, adding the app delivers on all physical training fronts.
The PRT exercises include walk-through videos, performed by Army drill sergeants, that educate users on how to perform each movement correctly, he said.
“For example, if someone needs to work on their leg tucks, or, if they’ve never even done one, the app has specific programs available to help them score 100 points on the event,” Feltwell said.
“There are potentially millions of different fitness solutions to accommodate the majority of Soldiers,” he added. “Whether they are doing well, in terms of physical performance, or they’re beginners.”
Each exercise was handpicked and scientifically verified by CIMT professionals. The science behind the ACFT helps Soldiers avert musculoskeletal injuries, and stay combat ready.
The app also gives users a chance to customize their exercises with minimal equipment, but, Feltwell said, it’s not meant to replace face-to-face coaching.
“Being in the presence of someone who’s an expert, and learning from them directly has a much greater impact on improving a Soldier’s fitness,” Feltwell said.
Combined with physical training, cyber security is another important argument for Soldiers to use the official Army PRT app.
Unofficial, third-party apps could provide avenues for nefarious actors to steal user’s data, Feltwell said. This potential security breach is especially dangerous when Soldiers upload personal information, like their military occupational specialty, location and overall physical fitness level.
“We make sure the applications are secure; the code cannot be hacked; and Soldiers’ data, whereabouts and personal information are safe,” said Matt MacLaughlin, Directorate of Distributed Learning-Army University Mobile Division chief.
Although cyber security has been a top priority, the updated PRT app comes after the Army banned TikTok, a popular video-sharing app owned by the Chinese, from government devices. This signaled increased concern about possible security risks related to mobile apps.
According to MacLaughlin, they have created more than 750 mobile apps and 23 mobile publications across the Defense Department.