Ask Stew: Get Specific to Your PT Test

Army PT Test

Lack of specific training is often the cause of people performing poorly on fitness tests. Failing to arrange workouts to mimic the fitness test order can also cause you to be off your normal passing scores. Here is an email from a student seeking better performance in the Army PFT:

Hello, I am a current medical student in the national guard. I have been trying to pass my PT test for about 8 months now with no success. I have been in for 2 years and have NEVER passed one. I feel like a complete failure because I cannot find a reason as to why I cannot pass. I am not overweight and I am only 25 years old. I also enjoy Crossfit 3 times a week (beginning 4 months ago) and will usually run 2-3x a week. I can run 1.25 miles at a 9:19 pace, but when combined with the other events on test day, my mile times plummet to 11:00 per mile. I am getting extremely frustrated with this test and could really use some advice on how I can pass. I have 6 weeks until the next test and am willing to do anything to pass. I will make time in my day for anything you recommend. Thank you, Rachel

YOU HAVE TO GET SPECIFIC: If you want to pass a fitness test, you need to do the fitness test. Any exercise other than your test and you are just working to work out, NOT to pass a fitness test.

If you are not doing at least one of these events each day, you are not preparing for the Army PFT:

Push-ups, Sit-ups, 2 mile runs

If you really want to pass this test - GET SPECIFIC - to the test. Do the test as a workout regularly. Create a strategy to perform better each time.

See ideas: Drop Mile Pace – You need to work on your goal pace. Start out with quarter and half mile sets and then build up to mile sets. Soon you will have 2 miles at that goal pace. More running workout ideas. Better Pushups – Pushups every other day works well for building up, but you can try a system that pushes you daily for a few weeks. The Pushup Push. Proper Situps – It is all about pace. Practice your goal pace when you do situps. In two weeks, you will see a big difference.

There is a rule in fitness called the FITT Principle, which stands for:

Frequency - How many times a week do you train for the PFT? You can do three upper body PT days and 4-5 running days, making 2 of those running days a leg PT focus in order to build some muscle stamina (not 1 rep max strength) in this PFT cycle. Intensity - As hard as you train normally, you can put that energy into max rep calisthenics sets, pt pyramids, and calisthenics super sets. Focus on your pace however on the situps and running. It is all about the PACE of those two events. Time - How long are your workouts? You need to workout 45-60 minutes to build the kind of muscle stamina / cardio endurance to not just pass a fitness test, but have some pride in your score and come close to maxing it. Type (Specificity) - What type of training are you doing? Are you lifting a lot of weights? Stop. Instead, get into PT (calisthenics / running) mode and master the events of the PFT for a 6-8 week cycle.

That is how you do it. Let me know how you do over the next month. Also consider the Army PFT Training plan if you need specific daily routines.


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