From the article:
Though the Army screens out the seriously obese and completely unfit, it is still finding that many of the recruits who reach basic training have less strength and endurance than privates past. It is the legacy of junk food and video games, compounded by a reduction in gym classes in many high schools, Army officials assert.
As a result, it is harder for recruits to reach Army fitness standards, and more are getting injured along the way. General Hertling said that the percentage of male recruits who failed the most basic fitness test at one training center rose to more than one in five in 2006, up from just 4 percent in 2000. The percentages were higher for women.
The Army, it seems had to go back to basics, just to get recruits in basic shape:
The new fitness regime tries to deal with all these problems by incorporating more stretching, more exercises for the abdomen and lower back, instead of the traditional situps, and more agility and balance training. It increases in difficulty more gradually. And it sets up a multiweek course of linked exercises, rather than offering discrete drills.
There are fewer situps, different kinds of push-ups and fewer long runs, which Army officials say are good for building strength and endurance but often lead to injuries. They also do not necessarily prepare soldiers for carrying heavy packs or sprinting short distances.
“We haven’t eliminated running,” General Hertling said. “But it’s trying to get away from that being the only thing we do.” (The new system does include plenty of sprinting.)
Some of the new routines would look familiar to a devotee of pilates, yoga or even the latest home workout regimens on DVD, with a variety of side twists, back bridges and rowinglike exercises. “It’s more whole body,” said First Lt. Tameeka Hayes, a platoon leader for a class of new privates at Fort Jackson. “No one who has done this routine says we’ve made it easier.”
It's kind of a sad statement about our society. Too much junk food, too little exercise, and we become unable to adequately defend ourselves.