I was recently asked by an Army veteran if there were other fitness tests out there to challenge/ test people who want to be “Tactically Fit”. This particular veteran likes to stay as fit as he was while serving more than 10 years ago and still manages an above average Army PFT for age groups 20 years younger. These are great health and fitness goals to ace a basic PFT, but is it really a Tactical Fitness Test? No — See the multiple dimensions required in creating a foundation to be “tactically fit” in order to have the ability to perform some of the most dangerous jobs in the world — defending / protecting our country and communities.
Tactical Fitness is the new fitness genre and I personally define it as: The ability to perform military, police, and fire fighter job related skills such as running, rucking, swimming, buddy rescue, equipment carry, requiring upper body and lower body strength and muscle endurance. I have been wanting to make an all inclusive tactical fitness test for a while now. The test below has no scientific study behind it, these are simply my opinions what tactical athletes should be able to do. However, all these events are commonly used testing events used by many military, special ops teams, SWAT Teams, police and fire fighters.
These are the twelve events I call the Tactical Fitness Dirty Dozen that I pulled from various military, police, and fire fighting fitness tests to create an all inclusive fitness challenge for those of you who want to be ready for anything. There is a grading system that is quite generous in basic pass / fail standards as well as a max point system of 100 points.
The events justification:
25# Pullup — Weighted pullups are required as most gear a tactical operator wears will weigh anywhere from 15-25lbs minus the back pack. Minimum is 2 reps / maxing is 10 reps. 1 point for each rep for a total of 10 points and minimum of 2 reps.
Body Weight bench press — Upper body strength with combination of moving your body weight for multiple repetitions to test pushing power of the tactical athlete. Minimum points for 5 reps (2 pts) and maximum (10) points for 15 reps.
Dead Lift (1.5x BW) — Can you lift more than your own body weight. Practicing this event alone will help a tactical athlete learn proper lifting techniques and build a stronger foundation to move heavy weight when required. 1 rep P/F but 2 points per rep until 5 reps for more points. Minimum points for 2 reps (1 pt) and maximum (10) points for 5 reps.
Fireman carry — Can you rescue your buddy and carry for 100yds? Pass / Fail criteria (5 pts pass)
400m sprint - Can you run fast (no gear)? 60 seconds max points / 80 seconds minimum standard. Sometimes speed is essential. Minimum points for 80 seconds (1 pt) and maximum (10) points for 60 seconds.
300yd shuttle run - Can you run back and forth quickly (6 x 50m shuttle)? 60 seconds max / 80 seconds minimum standard. Minimum points for 80 seconds (1 pt) and maximum (10) points for 60 seconds.
Illinois Agility Test — You will have to zig and zag while running at full speed, changing direction often. Max points of (5) if completed under 15 seconds. Deduct a point for every second slower than 15 seconds until 19 seconds(1 pt). Slower than 19 seconds = fail.
Plank pose - Can you hold the plank pose for 1 minute minimum. Get extra points for every minute after that and max out at 5 minutes. 1 point 1 minute. Add a points for each minute up to 5 minutes. Max points 5 points.
3 mile timed run — The three mile timed run. Can you run 3 miles without stopping? Then you pass. If you get 18 minutes you max the test and can pick up a few more points if you can keep it under 23 minutes. 10 points for 18 min / 1 point less for each 30 seconds until max point time of 23 minutes.
50 lbs ruck in under 1 hour (4 miles) - This is the minimum standard for Army rucking times. Can you pace yourself at a perfect 15 min mile with 50lb back pack or weight vest. No need to go too fast on this event. It is about finishing on a steady pace. No extra points for getting under 1 hour. 10 points pass or fail.
Swim - Can you swim? - If you cannot swim you are ineffective on 75 % of this planet. Be an asset not a liability to your team, yourself, and your family. This is a basic survival skill we all should know how to do. 5 Points for just knowing how to swim.
500m swim — Any stroke. Swim 500m non-stop and you pass. Get 500m in 6 min or less and max out the swim test. You can get extra points until the 11th minute. 5 points for maxing the swim / 1 point less for every minutes until the 10th minute.
25m Life saving buddy tow - Can you dive to the bottom of a pool (8-9ft) grab a unconscious buddy and tow him 25m to the other end of the pool? Pass or fail — 5 points.
Here is a chart to make it easier to understand:
|Exercise||Pass / Fail Criteria|
|4 mile ruck (50lbs)||1 hour maximum time|
|25# Pullups max reps||2 – 10 reps|
|Bench press (bodyweight)||Pass or fail 1 rep: 5 reps — 15 reps for extra points|
|Dead Lift (1.5x bodyweight)||Pass or fail — 1 rep (2–5 reps for extra pts)|
|Fireman Carry (P/F)||100yds of equal bodyweight|
|400m sprint||60–80 seconds|
|Shuttle run 300yds||60–80 seconds|
|Plank pose (P/F)||1 minute minimum / 5 min max|
|3 mile run (P/F)||18 minutes to 23 minutes for extra points|
|IL Agility Test||<15 secs to >19 sec|
|Swim – can you swim? (P/F)||Yes / no|
|Swim 500m timed||6 minutes – 11 minutes|
|Swim – Buddy Tow||Pass/fail – 25m rescue swim|
Max points is 100 points if you ace everything. You can still pass with as little as 40 points. You must pass all events to pass the test. Give it a try and see where you stand. Practice and your weaknesses and think your way through this test as you can arrange to best fit your optimal scoring potential. The interesting thing about this test is you can arrange the events in any order you wish. Get creative and develop your own strategy for better performance. The test can be broken up into two sessions or challenge yourself and go for all events in one long testing session.