Athletics aren't the only component of being a great soldier, but you'll never become one at all if you don't meet the Army physical fitness standards. The United States Army takes physical fitness extremely seriously, and soldiers have to be in tip-top shape to make it through training. High physical fitness scores are also essential for soldiers who want to gain promotions and move up the ranks. Here are the three main components of the Army physical fitness standards.
Pushups comprise the upper body component of the Army's physical fitness standards. To perform a proper Army pushup, begin at the top position with a flat back and fully extended arms. Lower your torso until your chest touches the floor. Your hands should be placed so that they are in line with your chest at this bottom position. Once your reach bottom, push yourself back up and repeat.
To get a perfect 100 score on pushups, you must perform 77 repetitions without stopping. 19 pushups will earn you the minimum 60 points, though such a low score will not bode well for your chances of advancement with the Army ranks.
Soldiers do a great deal of running at various distances and speeds throughout their careers. However, the Army's physical fitness test always involves a two-mile run for time. To get a perfect 100 points on the run test, you must finish the course in 13:18 or less. The longest you can take and still pass is 17:00.
The running portion of the test is also the hardest for most recruits. Army Physical Fitness Standards demand that soldiers have a great deal of endurance so they can walk, run, hike, and carry equipment long distances for hours or even days at a time. If you are going to be taking the APFT, you need to practice running as often as possible.
The Army also tests abdominal strength and endurance with sit-ups. To perform a correct sit-up, have a training partner or fellow recruit hold your ankles in place. Begin with your back flat on the ground and your hands held clasped behind your head. Keeping your heels on the ground, sit up until your neck is further forward than the base of your spine. Lower your torso, and repeat. 82 sit-ups will get you a perfect score, and you need 29 sit-ups to earn the minimum 60 points.
The sit-ups tend to be the easiest portion of the physical fitness test for most people, but don't get lazy in your training. You can quickly build up your abdominal endurance, but you can also quickly lose it.
A Word on Age and Scoring
The Army Physical Fitness Standards actually include eight different age-specific scoring guidelines for men. The standards discussed in this article are the highest - ages 27-31. However, younger recruits still need to perform nearly as well, and minimum scores are rarely sufficient for advancement. Those who choose to make the Army a long-term career will eventually be judged by the 27-31 standards, as well.