Observing the development of physical training classes of the Army throughout history, from the Army of the Principality of Serbia to the Serbian Armed Forces of today, it can be said that, in addition to other program segments, gymnastics was the fundamental factor of physical exercise in the overall process of practical and military training. This development was accompanied by frequent changes in the realization of physical training (program contents, number of hours, methodical procedure, etc.), which again depended on the needs of the army, in other words, on the objective of the training - which was aimed at achieving optimal physical abilities for the performance of military duties in all circumstances. The first written facts about the use of gymnastics in the Army of the Principality of Serbia originate from the period of the founding of the Artillery School (in 1850, a predecessor of the Military Academy), where the basis of physical training consisted of the following contents: fighting, gymnastics, swimming, fencing and riding. A little later, in 1867, within the physical training, gymnastic exercises were performed and were the forerunners of today's morning workout, which is even today an integral part of the training of members of the Army of Serbia. The problem of this research work relates to the implementation of the development of gymnastics in the process of training from the Army of the Principality of Serbia to the Serbian Army.
The aim of this paper is to indicate the permanent implementation of the contents of gymnastics in the educational process of military structures as well as temporary changes according to the specific requirements of the upgrading of military and professional-specialized skills of military personnel in view of research of relevant materials and data collected. A historical method was used in this study. Research results show the importance and role of gymnastics as a basis of physical exercise for the improvement of the physical abilities of soldiers as the basic element of combat readiness.