One the principles of an ALM is that “every moment of the day, every task, offers an opportunity to teach adaptability, how to think, in places you never imagined.” (How to Teach Adaptability, page 10). One of the most glaring downfalls of most existing leader-centric programs is that they waste their physical fitness time as an opportunity to develop adaptability.
I conducted an analysis of 39 ROTC programs throughout the United States from September 2004 to May 2005 as part of the “Raising the Bar: Creating Adaptive Leaders to Deal with the Changing Face of War” study. During this time, I also asked and received PT schedules from most leader-centric leader courses. I found that the tasks conducted in physical training are effectively addressing most of the physical readiness components. 
However, in regards to promoting Adaptability in an ALM, as well as motor efficiency and mobility, were almost non-existent in these programs. Analysis of a Warrior-Leader combat tasks revealed that in Asymmetric Warfare, they would execute complex tasks in more than one plane of motion that require a high degree of mobility and coordination.
Unquestionably, developing motor efficiency and mobility, alongside mental adaptability, is essential. It assists in the development of Adaptability. Poorly defined fitness objectives and means of assessment exasperate this discrepancy. My study revealed that leader development programs do not include anything imagined with developing adaptability during their PT time.
My other findings resulting from analysis of the surveys include:
- Units run too much, but they are not focusing too much on aerobic endurance. Running and foot marching are the only events being used to build aerobic endurance.
- Physical fitness events conducted in sequential order, stand along as task centric, such as foot marching.
- Lack of weight training does not mean that unit programs are not developing muscular strength
- Courses are very focused on those events leaders use to define their fitness objectives and assess physical fitness readiness
- Programs, both ROTC and Army leader centric programs revealed surprising similarities in that,
- Cadres at these courses believe that preparation for the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) replicates doing more of the three events. This means in preparing for the test cadets or students run four miles to do well at two miles, do multiple sets of push-ups and sit ups in order to do well at the two-minute pushup and sit up events during the test.
- If there was any leader development at all, it consisted of “your turn to lead PT.” and if it involved the student tasked to develop a PT plan, then it consisted of “replicating and perfecting what has been done.” (at this point, it becomes task proficiency with cadets or students using a checklist as they go through the PT regime) 
- If innovation is involved with a PT event, it is seen as exceptional, or as a “fun day” that occurs once monthly or quarterly
Specifics to Findings:
The APFT is a three-event test that only assesses muscular endurance and cardio respiratory fitness. The Army culture also narrows leader development in physical fitness to the APFT score. It has become so obsessive, that at some courses, such as the ROTC Leader Development Assessment Course (LDAC), that the results of the APFT on day 3 of the 32-day course, usually determine in the minds of the cadre how well the cadet will finish.
Running: There are a number of injuries associated with running. These include a prevalence of foot pain, knee pain, and shin splints. The three primary reasons for running related injuries are
1) Poor progression
2) Too little recovery between runs
3) Running too hard or too long on a given run
The “Raising the Bar” study revealed that most leader-centric programs ran three days a week and foot marched once a month (for ROTC programs this became more frequent the spring semester or quarter before MS III attendance of LDAC). The distance covered on an average run was 3.5 miles. This means the average run, conducted at an 8 minute per mile pace, required 29 minutes to complete. Though not examined in “Raising the Bar,” research suggests that providing recovery between PT events that stress the same body parts in the same way goes a long way towards reducing injury. 
The study reveals that the lower extremities of Warrior Leaders are taking a beating in programs that adhere to the warm-up, push up, sit up and run approach to PT. Too much running, especially in younger potential leaders not conditioned to the distances or frequency with which runs are executed, can lead to higher injury rates.
- Leader and Adaptability Development: Feedback from cadre, cadets and students found frustration with current approaches. While most agree that they get in better shape from their respective programs, most also countered this with that their programs also become rote and boring.
- What is meant by developing physical mobility and agility: There are three planes in which the human body moves. In the sagittal plane of motion, the body is divided into right and left. Walking, nodding, and reaching overhead all constitute motion primarily in the sagittal plane. In the transverse plane of motion, the body is divided into upper and lower. Swinging a baseball bat, twisting open a jar, and turning the head to the right and left all replicate movement in the transverse plane. Lastly, movement occurs in the frontal plane of motion. In this plane, movement is divided into front and back. Common movements in the frontal plane include the side straddle hop and putting the hands on the hips. 
Though movement can be defined in three planes of motion, most human movement and most battlefield tasks are multiplanar (more than one plane). As a result, physical fitness programs must be more muliplanar and mobility oriented. The emphasis on Army physical fitness, which test events (pull-ups, sit-ups, and two mile run) that occur in predominantly the sagittal plane, detracts from more mobility-oriented physical training.
Along with FM 21-20, I assert that among other exercises designed to increase mobility, guerrilla and grass drills are considered some of the most challenging and functional means to train for combat-related skills. Mobility is a component of fitness that is essential in combat and cannot afford to be overlooked in the development of physical training programs. 
These recommendations pertain to both the Army and leader-centric programs, as well as to units as providing adaptability as a theme to all training:
- Develop a Combat PT Adaptability assessment that will allow commanders the opportunity to accurately assess the physical readiness of their cadets, students and Soldiers.
- Educate leaders on the importance of adaptability in unit physical training programs. This would include formal education at all NCOES schools, the infantry officer basic course, infantry officers advanced course, CGSC and the Army War College. A change in programs will not be realized until leaders, especially senior leaders, are educated on the topic and understand the overall benefits.
- Significantly, increase the amount of leader development and collective tasks conducted in leader-centric programs. Combat PT SEAs integration increases in the frequency into course physical training.
- Reduce the frequency and distances that cadets and students are running. An analysis reveals that aerobic endurance has a minimal impact on the successful execution of combat tasks. Additionally, by reducing the frequency and distances being run, more time will be available to develop other physical readiness in conjunction with Adaptability.
ALM Combat PT:
The hour or more used for PT in an ALM is just one more opportunity to develop Adaptability as well as develop the physical fitness of Warrior Leaders. Leaders must make better use of those events that build and enhance a soldier’s mobility, agility, and coordination.
With ALM, emphasis in how to think through adaptability education adjustments to existing physical fitness programs is minimal in regards to time and resources. The mental aspect may be taxing. Take for instance a unit that decides to do a circuit as a part of physical training. The students of a program meet at a track, football field, or in a parking lot, does the standard formation warm ups, and along a 3 mile run route stops along a road or running trail at designated areas to conduct push-ups, pull-ups, crunches, flutter kicks, sprints, etc.
A workout of this nature improves muscular strength, aerobic and anaerobic endurance, and muscular endurance. However, the development of adaptability is lost. These tasks are physically demanding, but executed in a single plane aligning with task-proficiency.
A small adjustment to Combat PT of ALM integrates the development of adaptability with physical training focused on combat. In an ALM, a student leader identifies a cross country route and at designated stations instead chosen to conduct a vertical rope climb, low crawl, zig-zag rush, saddle back carry, monkey bars, broad jumps, 3-5 second rushes and a fireman’s carry, all as fire teams. Cadre position at the start and finish with stop watches to time each team, so they can award the winning team and work with the slower teams.
A significant difference of these PT programs in terms of developing adaptability, physical agility and mobility. Like the first circuit, this circuit also improves muscular endurance, aerobic and anaerobic endurance, and muscular strength. The advantage to the second circuit, however, is that it also develops adaptability, agility and mobility-both physical and mental. Additionally, it very closely replicates many individual and small team Warrior tasks without significantly changing the PT session.
Combat PT SEAs:
Cadre and cadets executed all SEAs mentioned below. Do not limit your programs or units to these SEAs. Develop the ones listed here further, or make up new SEAs. 
a. “You’re It!” SEA uses a squad level casualty evacuation
- Conducted as a squad level exercise, in this case with nine cadets per team. (In this scenario there were 8 teams).
- You will need a lane of terrain at a mile in distance from start to finish, hills and forests are preferred. Cadre determine width of training lane based on variables of avenues that can be chosen to get to the objective.
- Cadet squads are lined up in groups along a start line (in this case a wood line), and in front of each squad was placed the following materials:
- Poncho liner
- Nine rubber M16s
- Each cadet has arrived in PT outfit, but were told to bring LBE and rucksack with their SOP packing list, which includes a map of that area and a protractor.
4. Cadre gathers all squad leaders and read them a FRAGO:
“Prepare to copy. Enemy contact is not likely. Though fighting continues two miles behind you. Mission: You and your squad are to move (when you reach your squad after I read you this FRAGO, at my command “GO”) a casualty (designated by another cadre from your squad-in this case the biggest person), with a gunshot wound to the thigh, to this grid in order to be evacuated by helicopter (a van) NLT time.
Game rules and goals:
a. Fastest team that loads casualty in van wins. We will determine what you win once all teams have arrived.
b. If you don’t have your map, improvise. (cadre outlines perimeters of exercise area)
c. You can use the materials in front of you and anything else in the area, but not from your cars [parked behind them to get to PT some cadets had to drive]. You cannot use any motorized vehicle. You do not have to use any materials if you so choose.
d. You cannot issue your plan from this FRAGO until after I say “GO”
e. Time begins when I say “GO!” You have only one hour after I say “GO!” to complete this exercise. If you are short of the finish and reach one hour, a cadre or cadet officer will tell you to stop and all members continue hastily to finish point.
f. After I say, “GO” you can issue your order, but you must also treat the casualty’s wound with the materials you have now. A casualty card will be given to you after I say, “GO!” Once you assess that the casualty is treated and wound bandaged correctly, tell the TAC “casualty ready.” The TAC will tell you to continue if your properly treated the casualty. If you treated the casualty wrong, then the TAC will have you stand in place for five minutes, after which he will tell to continue with mission as if the casualty was treated correctly.
g. If you drop your casualty at any time after I say “GO!” your accompanying TAC will make you stay in position for two minutes, then allow you to begin again.
h. Time stops when you successfully lay the casualty in the van, and you can account
i. No questions allowed, now head to your squad and as soon as you get in front of them, face me.”
5. Squad leader returns to his squad and faces the cadre running the event. They await the word,
6. Once all the squad leaders faced the cadre, the cadre said “GO!”