Navy suspends fall 2020 fitness cycle

An instructor explains the proper technique for a plank as part of a Navy Physical Readiness Test (PRT) Evaluation Phase onboard Naval Station Norfolk, March 10. The Fall 2020 PRT has been suspended due to COVID-19. Fitness testing is expected to resume in January 2021.

WASHINGTON - The Navy has suspended the fall 2020 Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) to minimize risk of Sailor exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

The suspension was announced in NAVADMIN 193/20 on July 7 and is the second consecutive fitness cycle suspended because of COVID-19 mitigation concerns.

When fitness testing does resume in January 2021, the plank will replace the curl-up for the first time and the rowing machine will become an alternate cardio option as well, the message said.

“The COVID-19 situation requires that we continue to minimize risk to personnel, therefore all personnel will be “EXCUSED” from participation in Navy PFA Cycle 2, 2020,” wrote Vice Adm. John B. Nowell, Jr., the Navy’s top uniformed personnel officer, in the message.

“Suspension includes both the official Body Composition Assessment and Physical Readiness Test components of the PFA.”

Sailors will automatically be marked as “EXCUSED” in the Physical Readiness Information Management System (PRIMS) for the cycle. As a result, Command Fitness Leaders must not make any official PFA entries in PRIMS for the official Navy PFA Cycle 2, 2020 because the Physical Readiness Program (PRP) office will handle those updates.

The suspension also applies to organized or group physical training at the command level, including the Fitness Enhancement Programs, until further notice.

The only exceptions allowed will be for recruit training or if unit mission training requires such physical training sessions. In those cases, the exception must come from the appropriate Echelon II commander, who can also delegate the authority down to the first flag officer in the chain of command.

Unlike last cycle, mock PFA’s will be allowed for Sailors needing to regain advancement and retention eligibility as long as any local area and installation guidance as well as COVID-19 guidelines in effect are followed.

Also, all mock PFA’s must be conducted as outlined in OPNAV Instruction 6110.1J, the governing guidance of the Navy Physical Readiness Program with modifications as detailed in the NAVADMIN. The curl-up will not be performed to minimize risk to Sailors.

Though the fall cycle is now excused, Sailors still must make good choices in maintaining a healthy diet and exercise program to keep within Navy physical fitness standards, Nowell wrote in the message.

The message recommended Sailors use the Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling 5-week conditioning plan. This is available online at https://www.navyfitness.org/fitness/5-week-training-plan. The plan was developed by Navy Installations Command’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation Fitness Program to help Sailors maintain Navy physical fitness standards while reducing the chances for injuries.

When fitness assessments do resume in 2021, the Navy will begin phasing in previously announced testing changes. This means, for the first time, curl-ups will replace by the plank exercise along and the rowing machine will become an alternative cardio option. To give Sailors time to adjust to the new exercise, no plank failures will be counted during the first cycle the plank is implemented. Separate guidance on the implementation of the new events will be issued separately in September.

The latest DoD policies are at https://www.defense.gov/explore/spotlight/coronavirus.

Connecticut Media Group