In February 2016, it was announced that there would be new Occupational Physical Assessment Test (OPAT) required for incoming soldiers into the army. If you are going into the military or are planning on it, here’s what you need to know:
The OPAT is used to determine a soldier’s career path based on their individual fitness level. For example, if they want to serve in a specific branch, they will have to be able to meet the standard. If they cannot, then they are recommended to a branch that better fits their capabilities.
It is designed to be gender-neutral, allowing for women to occupy positions that were closed to them in the past. The OPAT is different from other tests in that it establishes a baseline fitness profile for recruits that doesn’t discriminate based on age or gender.
Finally, OPAT is used to predict a recruit’s physical capability to perform the tasks assigned to them like heavy lifting or hiking far distances. The physical capability of recruits and soldier to perform the tasks set to them affects the military at large. If they aren’t physically fit, then they cannot do their jobs or serve effectively, it can be lethal if they go overseas. The priority is to make sure that recruits and soldiers can do the job and be safe.
The new OPAT test will consist of four exercises designed to test upper and lower body strength in addition to a soldier’s aerobic fitness:
According to TRADOC, “think of the OPAT as the ASVAB for physical aptitude, predicting whether or not a recruit will be physically able to succeed in a combat arms occupation by the end of their training.”
You can prepare for the OPAT by working with a fitness trainer who can help you determine what areas you need to improve in and give you advice like:
With that in mind, it’s advised that you practice the above exercises so you will know how to perform them safely and to the best of your ability. It is also important to remember not to overtrain. Overtraining can be harmful and by doing the same exercises over and over again you will not be challenging your body.
Instead, train by doing a variety of exercises that will challenge your body and keep your workouts from getting boring. Keep a healthy balance of strength and cardio for a strong, balanced workout.