Usually after writing about military physical fitness tests (PFT), I receive several emails about the specific standards of each age group in a particular branch of service for a male or female. I have located several reference links for more information on what exercises, standards for sex and age, and recommended scores to receive the highest scores.
The physical fitness tests of all branches of the military and other special units have differing exercises, standards, and distances in runs and swims. This article is a one-stop location for answers to the many different PFTs in our Defense Department.
- Air Force
- Marine Corps
- Coast Guard
Army physical fitness test
The basic Army physical fitness test consists of a two-mile run, sit-ups and push-ups. See the "Army Fitness Workout Plan" article on how to ace the APFT and for guidance on getting in shape to achieve an outstanding score of 300.
The Army Rangers require their candidates to score the following before attending Ranger School.
|Ranger PFT||Minimum Scores||Recommended Scores|
|Push-ups in 2:00||49||80|
|Sit-ups in 2:00||59||80|
|Two-mile run||15:12||Sub 13:00|
|5 Mile run||40:00||35:00|
|16-mile hike w/65lb pack||5 hours 20 minutes||4-5 hours|
|15-meter swim with gear||P/F||P/F|
For better ideas on how to prepare for such difficult training, see the link below of the Military.com Fitness eBook store.
For Army Special Forces assessment and Selection Course (SFAS), it is recommended to score a minimum of 260 on the Army PFT for 17- to 21-year-old males. This three-week course requires you to fast-march many miles a day by utilizing land navigation skills and climb obstacle courses. If you can do the recommended scores for Army Ranger, you should be well-prepared for SFAS. Also see the Army's Special Forces Guidelines PDF for more information on Special Forces training.
Navy physical fitness test
Navy physical readiness tests, with associated height/weight/body-fat measurements, are conducted twice each fiscal year. The test is designed to measure flexibility, muscular endurance and aerobic capacity. The Navy physical fitness test consists of a 1.5-mile run, sit-ups and push-ups. (The plank pose replaced sit-ups in 2021.) Also swimming 500 meters for time is an option for the 1.5-mile run. This is a standard PT test used by other branches and many law enforcement agencies across the United States.
The Navy SEALs, Navy SWCC, divers and SAR swimmers naturally have more water-based fitness tests and training. See the following links on the standards and information about the schools:
Air Force physical fitness test
During initial entry processing, everyone is required to pass a physical fitness test that measures cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, and mobility. The test consists of the two-mile run, push-ups and sit-ups. In addition to initial entry physical fitness requirements, the Air Force has an annual fitness test requiring a passing score in a 1.5-mile run, push-ups and sit-ups.
See the Navy PFT link for ideas on scoring well on the AF PFT since it is the same test. This link will give you an idea of minimum scores for the different sex/age groups.
The Air Force Special Forces units - PJs or para-rescue forces have a Navy SEAL-type fitness test and standards. See the "Air Force Para Rescue" article to learn more about USAF Special Operations.
Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test
The Physical Fitness Test is administered every six months. All Marines are provided time to train and are expected to maintain an adequate degree of physical fitness. The standard physical fitness test consists of three events that measure cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, endurance, and mobility.
Male Marines will perform "dead-hang" pull-ups, abdominal crunches, and a three-mile run. Female Marines will complete the "flexed-arm" hang, abdominal crunches, and a three-mile run with a pull-up option.
USMC RECON has a challenging course of instruction and more information can be found by reading the "USMC RECON Fitness Training" article.
Coast Guard Physical Fitness Test
Physical fitness requirements in the Coast Guard are directly linked to On the Job requirements. Coast Guard men and women who are rescue swimmers, small boat crew members, etc., must comply with the specific physical standards set forth by their position, but here are the standards for the "Navy PFT" plus 12 minute swim.
|SPECIFIC PFT REQUIREMENTS ARE:|
|SPECIFIC PFT REQUIREMENTS ARE:|
|MALE||SIT&REACH||1.5 MILE RUN||12 MIN SWIM|
View the Coast Guard Fitness Standards.
This article should help you find the standards you should reach prior to joining the military. It is always recommended to never strive for the minimum physical standards when seeking a profession that requires a fit body to perhaps save your life or the lives of your comrades. If you are seeking to get back into shape and want to be as fit as one of the above military members, check with your doctor before starting any fitness program.
Want to Learn More About Military Fitness?
Whether you're thinking of joining the military, looking for fitness and basic training tips, and keeping up with military life and benefits, Military.com has you covered. Sign up for a free Military.com membership to have military news, updates, and resources delivered directly to your inbox.
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Military.com Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at Military.com. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.