Are men today as tough, and as fit as previous generations?
While we're seeing the explosion of the CrossFit scene, unfortunately, we're also seeing the emergence of the neck-beard.
It's a tough call - but if you focus your sight specifically on military fitness standards, you will see (without question), we have become a bit pussified.
It's ok, I can say that, I'm a veteran.
Anyway - ask any vet and they will tell you, their experience was way harder than it is today (whenever today may be) - and almost all will also acknowledge that the old "salts" that came before them were tougher and had it harder.
But you don't need to be a vet to appreciate some of the insane conditions our previous generations had to suffer through - particularly in times of war... say, for instance, WWII.
Soldiers back then were not only EXTREMELY tough, they were also expected to be in much better physical condition.
We came across some awesome information of World War II G.I’s Fitness Requirements. And just like the good folks at Art of Manliness, we are also as intrigued about WWII, particularly the level of fitness of our soldiers back then.
Back in World War II, the United States Government wanted a higher chance of survivability for the troops they’d be deploying to Europe and the Pacific so they developed a rigorous physical program for their recruits.
The recruit, in order to be qualified as fit for combat, needed to pass a fitness test that would rival most CrossFit WOD's today. If you watched the TV series Band of Brothers, you saw how rigorous the training of the Toccoa Paratroopers were. They had to conquer the Currahee Mountain (which is 3 miles up and 3 miles down) almost everyday, among other fitness requirements.
If you would like to see for yourself how you would fare if you joined the United States Military back in World War 2 and test your mettle, here’s your chance. We included the test in this article for you.
Here are the rules.
- You’ll need to do the five exercises and a partner will judge your movements and tally your score based on your performance.
- Your score will be based on the number of reps on the first four movements and your time for activities that involve running.
- Your execution of the movements needs to be flawless, following strict form and sloppy movements do not count as repetitions.
Here are more specific instructions.
- Pull-ups - As many repetitions as possible. Strict. Chin above the bar. No kipping or jerking movement. Unbroken.
- Squat Jumps - As many rounds as possible. Strict. Ass to grass. End with an erect position. Unbroken.
- Push-ups - As many rounds as possible. Chest to the ground and arms straight at the end of each rep. Unbroken.
- Sit-ups - As many repetitions as possible for two minutes.
300 Meter Run. Run 300 meters for time.If an outdoor running track is not available or weather conditions.
5a. Indoor Shuttle Run. 300 meter total distance for time.
5b. Squat Thrusts. As many repetition as possible in a sixty minute time frame if there is no space to do the running activities.
Pull Ups - Squat Jumps - Push-ups - Sit-ups - 300 Yard Run Indoor Shuttle Run - 30-Second Squat Thrusts
So...Did you qualify to join the Army? How did you do? How comfortable were you doing the strict non-kipping pull ups?
Also something to remember, these tests were done in the standard military uniform of the time... much tougher than some of the high-tech training apparel we have these days!