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Within the fitness industry there is an increased focus on technological advancements, with fitness testing and performance assessment proving to be key areas of continued evolvement.

At the forefront of these developments is the British Army, who in collaboration with Wattbike, have designed a bespoke performance test, the Alternative Aerobic Assessment (A3), to support and motivate soldiers in maintaining fitness levels and help them in their rehabilitation while recovering from injury.

The A3, available to troops who are medically downgraded, involves a 10-minute assessment on the Wattbike that will allow physical training instructors (PTIs) and the chain of command to accurately gauge and monitor the aerobic fitness of each individual. This test provides a more efficient replacement to the 1.5-mile running element of the current Personal Fitness Assessment, with individuals still undertaking the timed press-up and sit-up elements.

Brigadier John Donnelly, director of personal services (Army) and Commandant of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps (RAPTC), said, “The Alternative Aerobic Assessment on the Wattbike is an exciting new development and our first official partnership with a supplier to develop physical training assessments.”

He added, “These bikes give people the tools they need to set specific goals, giving a real sense of purpose to their training. The research undertaken by the RAPTC with Wattbike has allowed us to design an assessment that will inspire soldiers to stay fit, benefitting both the Army and individuals.”

As well as being used for fitness assessments, the bikes will play a large part in the recovery programme of soldiers returning from injury. All PTIs have received specialist training, allowing them to design bespoke training programmes to get individuals back to required fitness levels.

Wattbike is a British company and will be making the bikes available in gyms across the Army divisions, including the Reserve. Wattbike has worked with a number of leading sports organisations, which has strengthened its ability to successfully gain an in-depth knowledge of the demands and limits of human physical performance.

Rich Baker, commercial director of Wattbike, commented on the partnership by saying, “We are now privileged to use this knowledge to work with the RAPTC in the development of the A3, which will further enhance the training options available to physical training staff. The A3 brings a validated, accurate and standardised assessment to injured personnel, and allows the RAPTC to prepare soldiers for the physical rigours of training and deployment.”