What is the APFT? It is the Army Physical Fitness Test that is designed to test the strength, endurance, and cardiovascular respiratory fitness of soldiers who are in the United States Army. This physical fitness test consists of three events: push-ups, sit-ups, and a two-mile run. These events are scored and there is a minimum requirement to meet to pass these tests. They are given at various times depending on the soldier’s branch. Let’s break down the APFT Standards and look at the ways to ensure you can pass or improve your overall scores.
What Are the APFT Standards?
Standards are different for male and female soldiers. For the male push-up event, there is a chart that shows how many push-ups meet the requirement to pass, as well as the requirements to get 100 on this test (a minimum score of 60 is required to pass the test in each event). The male sit-up standards chart can be found here, which shows the age, and the number of sit-ups required to get a certain score. The male 2-mile run standards chart is found here.
The standards for the female events can be found here: female push-up event standards chart, female sit-up event standards chart, and the female 2-mile run standards chart. In order to complete basic training, military soldiers must score at least 50 points in every event. In the event that the soldier doesn’t pass the PT events, they can continue on with basic training. By the end of the training, soldiers should be able to pass the test. Once the soldier moves out of training and into other training, as well as the Army as a career beyond training, soldiers are required to achieve and maintain at least 60 points in each of the APFT events.
How To Do the Proper Push-Up for the APFT Push-Up Event
There is a very strict way that these events are carried out. It is the Army, after all. The purpose of the push-up event is to measure the endurance of the shoulders, chest, and tricep muscles. Soldiers assume a front-leaning rest position by putting their hands where they are comfortable for the individual on the command of “get set.” Feet can be up to 12 inches apart or all the way together. From the side, the soldier’s body should be in a mostly straight line from shoulders to ankles. When the command “go” is given, soldiers begin the push-up by bending at the elbows and lowering the body as if it were one single unit as opposed to parts of the body bending at different points.
The descent continues until the upper arms are mostly parallel, which would be like chaturanga for those yogi soldiers. Once there, they then push back up to the starting position by lifting the body as one unit until the arms are fully extended. The body should remain in this engaged plank shape for the duration of the push-ups, staying rigid and generally straight. At the end of each push-up repetition, the person keeping score will voice aloud the number of repetitions that have been completed properly. If you do a push-up incorrectly (not moving as one unit, not completely extending arms, not lowering until upper arms are at least parallel to the ground), the scorer will say the number of the last correct push-up.
If you do the first 10 push-ups incorrectly, you will be advised to lower to your knees while the scorer explains what you are doing wrong. Then you will go to the end of the line to be retested. After you finish the first 10 push-ups though, you can’t restart the test.
Reasons your performance might be terminated:
- If you rest in any position where you are supporting your body weight with your legs while in a rest position.
- If you rest on the ground.
- If you raise either hand or foot from the ground.
You can reposition your hands and feet during the event, but only as long as they stay in contact with the ground at all times.
The push-up event lasts 2 minutes in which time you do as many correct push-ups as possible.
How To Do the Proper Sit-Up for the APFT Event
The purpose of the sit-up event is to measure the endurance of the hip-flexor muscles and abdominal muscles. The command of “get set” is given, where soldiers assume the beginning position of lying on their back with their knees bent at a 45-degree angle. Feet may be together and up to 12 inches apart, just like the push-up. Another person will be there to hold the soldier’s ankles with their hands only. This is the only method of bracing that is allowed.
The heel is the only part of the foot that is required to stay in contact with the ground. Fingers must be interlocked behind the head, while the backs of the hands must be in contact with the ground during this starting position. Arms and elbows don’t have to touch the ground.
Once the command of “go” is given, the soldier raises the upper body forward to, or beyond the vertical position. When they say vertical position, they mean that the base of the soldier’s neck is above the base of their spine. After reaching or moving beyond this vertical position, they lower back until the bottoms of the shoulder blades touch the grand. On this first descent, and any thereafter, the hands, arms, and elbows don’t have to touch the ground.
Just like with the push-up event, the scorer will count aloud the number of proper sit-ups completed. Adjusting as needed if it is done incorrectly. Some reasons the sit-up may not count, or the event terminated are:
- Failure to reach the vertical position.
- Failure to keep the fingers interlocked behind the head.
- The back arches or bows and raises the buttocks off the ground in an effort to raise the upper body.
- Knees exceed a 90-degree angle.
- Stopping and resting in a down position results in a termination (resting in the up position is the only authorized resting position).
- Using the hands or any other means of pulling or pushing one’s self up or down will also result in termination of the event.
This sit-up event is also 2 minutes, completing as many correct sit-ups as possible within the allotted time.
How To Do the 2-Mile Run for the APFT
The purpose of the 2-mile run is to assess the aerobic fitness and leg muscles of the soldier. The run must be completed without any physical help. All soldiers begin at a starting line, and begin running on the command of “go.” The goal of the test is to complete the two-mile run within the shortest time possible. Walking is allowed, but strongly discouraged. Soldiers will be disqualified from the event if they are physically assisted in any way, such as being pushed, pulled, carried, or if they leave the designated running course for any reason.
Thankfully, cheering and calling out the elapsed time is permitted, as well as someone else running alongside, in front of, or behind the tested soldier, as long as it doesn’t interfere with anyone taking the test, and can serve as a pacer. When finished running, the soldier turns in their number, which should be visible at all times, and then goes to the designated area to stretch and cool down.
The APFT Standards are very possible, especially with the amount of physical training that happens while in the Army. The easiest way to prepare for completing these standards is to stay active consistently and put in the work required to pass the test.