Although their specific duties and daily activities differ, military members across all five branches of the United States military undergo rigorous physical fitness tests to ensure endurance and athletic competency. To pass each test, military members must meet minimum standards set forth by their specific military branch. The military physical fitness test standards vary based on branch, age and gender.
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Members of the Army must take the Army physical fitness test at least twice per year. To be eligible for promotion, transfer or admittance to an Army school, you must meet the fitness test standards. The physical fitness test involves two minutes of pushups, two minutes of sit-ups and a two-mile run. Taking your age and gender into consideration, each test is scored individually. The better you perform on the test, the higher your score. To pass the test, you must receive a score of 60 or higher for each individual event, with a cumulative score of at least 180. The special operations Army Rangers are subjected to stricter standards and must also undertake a pull-up test, five-mile run, 16-mile hike and 15-meter swim.
Similar to the Army physical fitness test, the Marine Corps physical fitness test also involves three events. For the abdominal crunches test, Marines are scored based on the number of crunches they can complete in a two-minute time frame. For the untimed pull-ups test, Marines are scored based on how many pull-ups they can complete before dropping from the bar. Female Marines take the flexed arm-hang test in place of the pull-ups test. For this test, the score is based on how long the Marine hangs on the bar with proper elbow flexion. The three-mile run is scored based on the time it takes to complete the run. The total score from all three events must meet the Marine Corps PFT third-class standards. The minimum score is 135 for the 17 to 26 age group, 110 for the 27 to 39 age group, 88 for the 40 to 45 age group and 65 for Marines age 46 and older.
The Navy’s physical readiness test involves a two-minute pushups test, two-minute sit-ups test and 1.5-mile run. All three tests are given individual scores based on age, gender and performance. These three scores are then added together and divided by three to obtain the sailor’s average score. To graduate from Navy boot camp, students need an average score of at least 60. After boot camp, sailors need an average score of at least 50. Training to be a Navy SEAL involves a much more strenuous physical fitness test. The SEALS’ basic underwater demolition test involves a 500-yard swim, two-minute pushups test, two-minute sit-ups test, untimed pull-ups test and 1.5-mile run. Navy SEALS must meet minimum standards in all five tests to pass successfully.
The Air Force physical fitness test requires airmen to complete a one-minute pushups test, one-minute sit-ups test and 1.5-mile run. Similar to the Army, the three individual scores from the Air Force physical fitness test are added together to obtain a cumulative score. Airmen with a cumulative score of 90 or higher are considered “excellent,” while a total score of 75 to 89.9 is considered “good.” A total score of 70 to 74.9 falls into the “marginal” category, while a score of less than 70 falls into the “poor” category. Airmen scoring in the “excellent” or “good” categories must take the physical fitness test only once per year. Airmen scoring in the “marginal” or “poor” categories must take the test every three months, along with attending a health and fitness program.
Unlike the other four branches of the military, the Coast Guard’s physical fitness requirements vary based on specific jobs and duties. For example, Coast Guard members working as rescue swimmers must pass different physical fitness standards than Coast Guard members working as boat crew members. However, all members of the Coast Guard must pass a two-minute pushups test, two-minute sit-ups test, sit and reach test, 1.5-mile run and 12-minute swim. Each test is scored individually and minimum standards must be met for each test.