US Army Physical Fitness Test – A Great Fitness Barometer!

US Army Physical Fitness Test

In looking for ways to assess where I am at as far as my physical fitness is concerned, I stumbled across the US Army Physical Fitness Test. I thought that people in the army were in ridiculously good shape, so it might be a good tool to use. Therefore, I started to do some research.

I found a great video on YouTube from former Olympic runner, Nick Symmonds, where he puts himself through the test. Check out his video below:

I must admit that after watching the video, I was excited to try it out and knew that I would want to include it as a post on the site. However, I was also a little concerned. It looked tough! As you can see in the video, Nick is extremely tired at the end of it all.

My concern stemmed from, if he is an Olympian and feeling that way, what is someone like me (who is an athlete, but not Olympic level) going to feel? Regardless of that, I decided at the beginning of August that I was going to continue my normal training and try it out by the end of the month.

The results were surprising!

The Test – What Does It Involve?

US Army Physical Fitness Test

Photo by Mehul Patel on Unsplash

If you watched the video above, you know that the Army Physical Fitness Test involves three events:

  • Push-up Test: You have to perform as many push-ups as you can in 2-minutes.
  • Sit-up Test: You have to perform as many sit-ups as you can in 2-minutes. These aren’t crunches, but full-blown sit-ups.
  • 2-Mile Run Test: This is a timed, 2-mile run where you attempt to complete it as quickly as possible.

According to Military.com, participants are assessed and scored based on a few factors including gender, age, how many repetitions are completed, and how fast you run. The test is done without any special equipment, so anyone can give it a go.

There are also certain levels that someone looking to enter the military should be aware of. The first level is Basic Training Boot Camp. In order to graduate from boot camp, your total score has to total at least 150 points, while tallying at least 50 points in each test. That means you can’t score 20 points in push-ups and make up the difference in the other two events.

The next level of the test is AIT or Advanced Infantry Training. In order to graduate from AIT, a participant must score at least 180 total points while tallying at least 60 points in each test.

Lastly, for those participants who perform exceedingly well on the three tests and score 270 or above, they can earn a special Army Physical Fitness Badge.

I found a really helpful tool on the army website called the APFT Calculator. If you click the link, you will be taken to goarmy.com and you can enter your stats to find out what your score would be. Additionally, the calculator also has a section that gives you your target for each event.

When I read the article from Military.com and saw the requirements for each test, that’s where the trepidation I mentioned earlier came in. I had a pretty good idea about what I could do with the run because I’ve done two mile races before and have a running routine of three a week.

However, when it came to push-ups and sit-ups, I didn’t know where I stood because I hadn’t maxed out in a long time. That brings me to an essential topic.

The Importance Of Assessment

US Army Physical Fitness Test

Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

While I was studying to become a personal trainer through ACE Fitness (a program I highly recommend if you are interested in that field), I learned about what assessments were and why you do them.

You have probably heard of people attempting to “max out” at the gym, but what is the purpose behind it? Is it just to show off? Actually, maxing out gives the lifter a barometer or their overall strength. It is a kind of assessment. Periodically, it is good to perform assessments because they help you track your progress.

According to ACE Fitness, not only is it good to track progress to see if you are advancing in your physical fitness, but it can also provide motivation to continue on, especially if you see yourself making gains.

Assessments are information that can also help you make necessary changes to your routine. If you see you aren’t making progress or have reached a plateau, they clue you in that switching things up may be in order.

Not only can they help you track progress, but assessments can also help you set goals in between the times you test yourself. Using the Army test as an example, if you run a 2-mile in 18-minutes one month, you can set a goal of shaving 10-seconds off that time by the end of the next month and train accordingly.

Speaking of training accordingly…

How I Trained For My Test

US Army Physical Fitness Test

Photo by James Barr on Unsplash

You can’t take a physical fitness test, wait another month, take it again, and expect to get better results. That comes with training in between assessments. For me, I had already begun testing out my own training routine months before I decided to take on the Army’s test. That’s why I continued to train the same way for the test.

My training routine broke down into repeating two week blocks. One week, I focused on building strength and power. The next week, I targeted cardio and muscle endurance. Normally, people do a mix, but I wanted to see what would happen if I devoted one week to each in a rotation.

I normally work out 6 days a week for about 30-60 minutes a day. Here is what my ideal schedule looks like:

Week 1: Strength and Power:

  • Monday: Full body weight-lifting workout / heavier weight / 3 sets of 6 reps / 30-minute walk.
  • Tuesday: Interval run at my local track / 1:45 seconds jogging and 15 second sprints for 10 rounds / 30-minute walk.
  • Wednesday: Full body weight-lifting workout / heavier weight / 3 sets of 6 reps / 30-minute walk.
  • Thursday: Interval run at my local park / jog on flat and downhill terrain but sprint up a medium incline for 15 seconds / 30 minute walk.
  • Friday: Full body weight-lifting workout / heavier weight / 3 sets of 6 reps / 30-minute walk.
  • Saturday: Steep hill workout / various exercises performed while going up a steep incline / 30-minute walk.
  • Sunday: Rest day.

Week 2: Cardio and Muscle Endurance:

  • Monday: Full body weight lifting workout / lighter weight / 3 sets of 20 repetitions / 30-minute walk.
  • Tuesday: 30-minute, steady, distance run at my local track / 30-minute walk.
  • Wednesday: Full body weight lifting workout / lighter weight / 3 sets of 20 repetitions / 30-minute walk.
  • Thursday: 30 minute, steady, distance run around town / 30-minute walk.
  • Friday: Full body weight lifting workout / lighter weight / 3 sets of 20 repetitions / 30-minute walk.
  • Saturday: 30-minute cross-country style run at my local park / 30-minute walk.
  • Sunday: Rest day.

There are a couple of important things to note about this schedule. It works for me. 6-days for about an hour may or may not work for you. Find something that works for you and you can adhere to consistently. I also pay attention to my body. If I need an extra rest day, I take it.

Lastly, though I try to pair them together, it doesn’t always work out to do the 30-minute walk right with the other workout. I just try to get it in at some point during the day.

Now that I’ve gone over the what, why, and how I trained, it’s time to get to the test and my results.

My Army Physical Fitness Test And Results

Test day came and I still wasn’t sure how things would go. I had been training consistently, wasn’t all that confident I could meet the requirements. In fact, I was really just hoping to reach the 150 points.

I decided to do the opposite of Nick Symmonds and took on the 2-mile run first. My reasoning was simple. I wanted to my arms (which help to propel you forward while running) and core (which is the basis for all movement and support) to be as fresh as possible. They wouldn’t be too overworked from the running motion to perform the push-ups and sit-ups later on.

When I go for a normal run, it’s enjoyable and relaxing. There is no competition and I let my body just go. It’s a completely different animal when doing a race against others or, in this case, against the clock. Because of my background as a cross-country runner, I immediately got into a competition mode mentality.

I have found that my pace is much faster in that state and I would certainly need that to get my best time. I felt pretty good going around the track while listening to music (which I find incredibly helpful in getting my mind off fatigue). Tired and sweating, I completed the 2-miles in 15 minutes and 50 seconds.

After a brief rest, it was time for push-ups. Like Nick, I started out at a good pace, but wow, did my arms get tired. It got to the point where I broke it down into sets of 3 and then 2. By the end of two minutes, I had completed 38 push-ups. To be honest, that was pretty disappointing, but it definitely gives me a benchmark to improve upon.

Lastly came the sit-ups. I actually had to do this one over again because the first time, I didn’t have anyone or anything to hold my legs, which makes things very difficult. The second time I did it, I ended up with 53 sit-ups! Woohoo! That’s not much less than the Olympian, though I am two years younger at 34.

The only thing left to do was plug in my stats and find out my score. Check out the results below!

US Army Physical Fitness Test

Screenshot of my results taken from goarmy.com

I’ve got to tell you that I’m pretty pleased with that. Not only does that show I’d pass Basic Training Boot Camp, but I’d also pass the Advanced Infantry Training threshold! Not too bad!

Final Thoughts

The US Army Physical Fitness Test was a really cool experience for me. I really think it gave me an accurate picture of where I am currently and what I can improve upon. It was also encouraging to see that I was able to score pretty high.

Finally, I like that it showed me how far away from the ultimate goal of 270 I am, and next time I take the test, I can aim to improve my score. I’d recommend, that if you don’t already have a way of assessing yourself, you take a shot at this test.

Now, it’s your turn! Have any of you ever taken this test before? Would you care to share about your experience and your score? Are any of you either ex or current military and have taken this test? I’d love to hear your thoughts, as well as any questions you might have for me!

If you are looking for some ideas, information, or pieces of equipment that can help you prepare for taking an assessment like this, check out the following links:

Power Towers:

Free Weights:

Resistance Bands:

Home Gyms:

Fitness Tracking:

Accessories:

Additionally, for those of you who are not just looking to prepare your bodies, but also your bank accounts for bigger and better things. I have some great suggestions for you.

If you are looking to make a little extra cash in your down time, check out Survey Junkie.

No matter where you shop or what you shop for, if you are looking to both save money and earn points towards free gift cards, then the Honey Browser Extension is a sweet deal!

In case you might need a little help with assessments and helping you reach certain fitness goals, you can start by checking out Find Your Trainer.

Saving money while taking care of your health is a huge deal. Interestingly, there is a service that can not only help you save on event registration, but also help you perform better on the Army Fitness Test. It’s called The Active Advantage.

When trying to shop for organic and all-natural food and products, Thrive Market should also be on your radar! Speaking of food, have you heard of the Longevity Diet? It’s a pretty cool concept and Nutrition for Longevity makes it super simple to follow!

If you want to turn your hobbies or interests into a blossoming online business from your own home (like I have done here), then you simply MUST take a look at the training offered by Wealthy Affiliate! Click the link for all the details!

Lastly, I have two other passions besides fitness. They are writing and singing worship music and drawing cartoons that I then place on all kinds of products to sell on Zazzle. If you are intrigued and want to know what my singing voice sounds like or how well I draw, click on those two links!

That’s all for now! I hope this post and others you may have clicked on have been helpful and motivating to you! If so, consider subscribing to the site by entering your email in the box at the top right of the page. If you want to spread the word about the fitness test, simply click the share icons to the right.

As always, God Bless and Happy Fitness Testing!

Steve