Navy Delays Start of Fitness Testing Until July

An Navy instructor explains the proper technique for a plank.
An instructor explains the proper technique for a plank as part of a Navy Physical Readiness Test Evaluation Phase onboard Naval Station Norfolk, March 10, 2020. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Erika L. Kugler)

WASHINGTON -- The Navy announced Wednesday that it is pushing back the start of its physical fitness test window from March to July because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Shifting the Physical Fitness Assessment cycle to July "allows Navy to execute the official [Physical Fitness Assessment] after the primary influenza season while allowing time for vaccines to be more widely distributed," according to the Navy's administrative message posted Wednesday.

The required testing is typically done twice a year, however with the pandemic, the Navy reduced it to just one. The window to take the test for 2021 will now be from July 1 to Dec. 31.

The delay also means that sailors have more time to practice the test's new events, the forearm plank and the 2,000-meter row. The new events were announced in November as ways to improve the physical readiness of sailors. The change eliminated the curl-up, which the Navy says can aggravate lower back problems.

With just one fitness cycle this year, sailors who fail their test will be allowed to take another official or mock test before Dec. 31 to get a passing score, according to the Navy. It will be up to commanders to decide how many chances a sailor gets to retake the test. 

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