U.S. Army Physical Fitness
by: Bob Ibanez • 1
On 5 July 1950, U.S. troops, who were unprepared
for the physical demands of war, were sent to battle. The
early days of the Korean war were nothing short of
disastrous, as U.S. soldiers were routed by a poorly
equipped, but well-trained, North Korean People’s Army.
As American soldiers withdrew, they left behind
wounded comrades and valuable equipment their
training had not adequately prepared them to carry
The costly lessons learned by Task Force Smith in
Korea are as important today as ever. If we fail to
prepare our soldiers for their physically demanding
wartime tasks, we are guilty of paying lip service to the
principle of “Train as you fight.” Our physical training
programs must do more for our soldiers than just get
them ready for the semiannual Army Physical Fitness
FM 21 -20 is directed at leaders who plan and
conduct physical fitness training. It provides guidelines
for developing programs which will improve and maintain physical fitness levels for all Army personnel.
These programs will help leaders prepare their soldiers to meet the physical demands of war. This manual can
also be used as a source book by all soldiers. FM 21-20 was written to conform to the principles outlined in
FM 25-100, Training the Force.
The benefits to be derived from a good physical fitness program are many. It can reduce the number of
soldiers on profile and sick call, invigorate training, and enhance productivity and mental alertness. A good
physical fitness program also promotes team cohesion and combat survivability. It will improve soldiers’
The proponent of this publication is HQ TRADOC. Send comments and recommendations on DA Form
2028 (Recommended Changes to Publications and Blank Forms) directly to Headquarters, US Army Infantry
Center, US Army Physical Fitness School (ATZB-PF), Fort Benning, GA31905-5000.
Unless this publication states otherwise, masculine nouns and pronouns do not refer exclusively to men.
This manual is over 240 pages in length.
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