Army FM 7-22: An Overview

The United States Army has published an array of Field Manuals. These manuals are the bibles used to follow Army standards, and to guarantee your soldiers and your unit are operating to in the way the Army dictates. We have decided to provide some overviews of Field Manuals that the Army has published. These will be brief explanations of each chapter that is within the Field Manual.

While I am trying to help you understand what is in that Field Manual, you should have a copy of the publication, and you should read it. So, at the end of this post, I will put a link to download a copy of the Field Manual. You can save it on your computer, and even better, I suggest printing it so you have the Field Manual in your fingertips.

In today’s post, we are going to provide an overview of Army FM 7-22. This Field Manual is titled Army Physical Readiness Training, and it was published in October of 2012. I will go through each chapter and explain what it is about. Physical training is of utmost importance in the Army. The Army has reviewed their physical training procedures and developed this system to make sure Army personnel are physically fit, but cutting down on the chances of injuries that occurred during Army physical training. The FM 7-22 is meant to:

  • Give both soldiers and officers the Army physical readiness doctrine

  • Give a list of physical readiness training activities that can prepare personnel for combat and duty performance

  • Reflection on past battles and wars and how physical readiness training successes and failures interacted with those conflicts

  • A leader guide on soldier progressive conditioning programs

  • Ensuring Army strength in the defense of our nation

  • The adaptation physical readiness training to individual and unit missions

  • Much more…

Chapter 1: Approach

To put it in a blunt manner, Army physical readiness training is a mandatory training requirement. The Army provides a simple approach in their 7 Principles of Training:

  1. Commanders and leaders are responsible for training

  2. NCOs train small teams and individuals

  3. Train as you will fight

  4. Train to standard

  5. Train to sustain

  6. Conduct multi-echelon and concurrent training

  7. Train to develop agile leaders and competent organizations

Chapter 2: System

This chapter goes into the Army’s system of training. There are phases that are used which includes:

  • Initial conditioning

  • Toughening

  • Sustaining

  • and Reconditioning

The Army maintains 3 principles in the system which are precision, progression and integration to attain strength, endurance and mobility. To gain all of these, there are 3 types of training:

  1. Combatives

  2. Off-ground

  3. On-ground

This chapter explains the system that should be used.

Chapter 3: Leadership

This chapter delves into the traits of a leader and the responsibilities he/she has in the training of those who are under them. I especially like the quote by General of the Army Omar Bradley at the start of this chapter:

“The American Soldier…demands professional competence in his leaders in battle; he wants to know that the job is going to be done right, with no unnecessary casualties. The noncommissioned officer wearing the chevron is supposed to be the best Soldier in the platoon, and he is supposed to know how to perform all duties expected of him. The American Soldier expects his sergeant to be able to teach him how to do his job, and expects even more from his officers.”

Chapter 4: Strategy

The key to Army success is strategies. It is no different with Army Physical Readiness Training. There must be a plan and the Army provides the basic design in this chapter. It covers:

  • Basic combat training
  • Advanced individual training
  • Unit training
  • Officer candidate school
  • Leader courses
  • Training for active or reserve components
  • Pregnancy training
  • Reconditioning
  • Weight control
  • Leadership by example
  • and more…

Chapter 5: Planning Considerations

This chapter provides leaders with a basic template for the implementation of Army Physical Readiness Training in their unit training plans. It covers being precise and progression standards. This chapter will also explain symptoms and results of the 3 overs:

  1. Over training
  2. Over reaching
  3. and Over use

The chapter provides some great examples of training schedules in each of the phases. It also covers training for reserve components and training for active duty components.

You will also find a good example of a Commander’s Physical Readiness Training policy letter. Commanders should always prepare their subordinates as to what they expect with their unit’s Physical Readiness Training. The policy letter will do exactly that if written properly.

Chapter 6: Special Conditioning Programs

As a Commander, you are bound to have soldiers who will be in need of special conditioning programs. There can be several factors that could be included here. The soldier may have failed their APFT; possibly the soldier has a medical condition that keeps them from regular training such as being pregnant, or maybe they simply need reconditioning.

This chapter covers the majority of considerations you must make as a Commander or leader in implementing special conditioning programs. Part of these programs will be developing a system that will not re injure the soldier, but will still provide the physical readiness requirements.

As a Commander, you will want this chapter bookmarked because odds are, you will have at least one soldier who will need a special conditioning program. This chapter describes many special conditioning exercises with pictures. You will see exercises like:

  • Bent leg raise
  • Back bridge
  • Lateral leg raises
  • Leg tucks
  • “T” raise

It also shows exercises for machines such as leg presses, chest presses, rowing, and many more with pictures.

Chapter 7: Execution of Training

This chapter explains how leaders can provide quality training execution. It goes into presence, voice and instruction by Commanders and leaders to achieve quality physical training regiments. It will explain the assembly of the unit with the extended rectangular formation the primary format used. Included will be formation exercises with pictures such as:

  • Squats
  • 6 point stance
  • and more

There is also some paragraphs about cadences and using them as an Army physical fitness morale builder. This is an excellent chapter for ideas for your units physical fitness regimental activities.

Chapter 8: Preparation and Recovery

Just as the title describes, this chapter goes into preparation techniques. If properly prepared, there will be fewer injuries. Many people neglect stretching and warming up, and the next thing they know, they pull muscles or sprain ankles. This chapter shows pictures and explains preparation drills. It also goes into drills for recovery.

Chapter 9: Strength and Mobility Activities

This chapter deals completely with strength and mobility. You will find examples of conditioning and strength drills. It explains what parts of the body are being worked. There is also an example of a strength circuit you can use for your unit.

Chapter 10: Endurance and Mobility Activities

While the last chapter was about strength, a soldier must be able to also have endurance. This chapter gives pictures and example of exercises that will build endurance. Of course, running can build endurance, but so can some other activities.


These are all the chapters in FM 7-22, but there are also a number of appendixes. They include:

  1. APFT
  2. Climbing bars
  3. Posture and body mechanics
  4. Environmental considerations
  5. Obstacle negotiations

Final Thoughts

Army FM 7-22 should be read and adhered to. This Army physical fitness bible is an important part of any Army leader’s library. I even say that it is a great workout manual for people not in the Army.

As an Army leader, you should have a copy, but for anyone who doesn’t, you can download it below.

If you have any comments or questions, feel free to post them below. Thank you.

You can upload the FM 7-22 HERE.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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