By Thomas Brading
Army News Service
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 is a free smartphone training tool that 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 many ACFT 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 amidst the two-year ACFT pilot test.
Despite the fact that 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.
Approved by the Department of Defense, the revamped PRT app shows users doctrinal products validated by Army officials, designed to improve their physical performance and control any potential negative outcomes of physical training — such as injuries, Feltwell said.
“It delivers on all fronts of physical training,” Feltwell said. “It gives Soldiers information to implement a physical readiness training program regarding all ACFT events by scoring, executing and helping administer the six events.”
The PRT exercises include walk-through videos — performed by Army drill sergeants — that will 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 a hundred points on the event,” Feltwell said.
Each exercise was handpicked and scientifically verified by CIMT professionals. The science behind the ACFT helps Soldiers avert musculoskeletal injuries, and stay combat ready.
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 users’ data, Feltwell said. This potential security breach is especially dangerous when Soldiers upload personal information, such as their military occupational specialty, location and overall physical fitness level.
These potential cyber threats are continuously faced by professionals at the Army University Mobile Division, the official office of Army mobile application development.
“The mobile division is the source of all electronic platforms in the Army. 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. “Any mobile application using, accessing or creating Army data must be tested and approved before it will be permitted to operate on (the Department of Defense Information Network).”
The Army PRT app is currently available on Google Play, the Apple App Store, and other app stores. Individuals are encouraged to search “Army PRT” and look for the official Army logo at the bottom right of the icon.
“The Army recognizes the importance of creating a physical readiness training app that gives Soldiers another reference point to access anytime, anywhere. Soldiers are our greatest asset, and we at CIMT kept their safety and operational security as our highest priority in developing this application,” said Maj. Gen. Lonnie Hibbard, US Army Center for Initial Military Training commander.