When it comes to your physical fitness, you take things seriously. You’ve been working hard at the gym or your CrossFit box. You’ve been using workout supplements and eating right. But, have you ever wondered if you’re fit enough to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT)?
If you’re working out, using the APFT as a barometer of your progress is an interesting idea. Not only will it give you a standard to strive for, but it will also give you a way to compare your level of fitness with others in your gender and age bracket. Your composite score on the APFT will give you a good overall picture of both your aerobic and anaerobic strength.
Believe it or not, understanding the Army Physical Fitness Test is simple. However, that doesn’t mean that passing the test will be easy! Whether you’re wanting to join the Army, preparing to take the test again (active duty soldiers take the test twice a year), or you simply want to see where you rank, here’s some advice to help you understand what it will take to pass. Follow these tips from Nick Bare, Army veteran and creator of Bare Performance Nutrition performance supplements -- you’ll be sure to improve your overall score!
1. Understanding the Test
The Army Physical Fitness test is over 150 years old and has been testing the physical strength and endurance of men and women for generations. The test itself, as well as the grading system, has gone through many modifications over the years. However, the current test has remained largely unchanged for almost 40 years.
The APFT is a test that is comprised of three categories: sit-ups, push-ups, and a two-mile run. In each category, you can score anywhere from 0 to 100 points. The points that you are able to earn in each category depend on your age and gender (to find the scoring system for you, visit the Army website).
To pass the test, you must fulfill two requirements. First, you must score at least 180 points on the overall test. Second, you must score at least 60 points in each category. An overall score under 180, or any category with a score under 60, counts as a failed test. If an active duty soldier fails the test twice in a row, there can be consequences. They may be placed in a remedial physical fitness program, they could be restricted from promotion, and in rare cases, they could even be discharged from the Army.
2. Preparing for Push-Ups
The push-up component of the APFT requires that you complete a certain number of textbook pushups in a two-minute span. Again, don’t forget that the number of pushups you’ll need to complete will depend on your age and gender. Having strong chest, shoulder, and arm muscles are all key to making sure you can finish with a passing score.
Proper pushup form requires that you keep your hands about shoulder width apart and that your feet are either together or a foot in length apart. You move your body down in one movement, taking care that you aren’t arching your back high into the air. One pushup rep has been completed when your upper arms are level with the ground and you are able to successfully raise your body back to the start position. During the APFT, your spotter will call out the number of pushups you’ve completed after each rep. If you ever use improper form on a rep, the spotter will continue to call out the same number for each rep until you resume using proper form.
To prepare for the push-section of the APFT, make sure you concentrate on upper body exercises at least three days a week. Pull-ups, chin-ups, and bench presses with dumbbells or barbells are simple exercises you can utilize to help maximize your push-up performance. Using a performance supplement like our Embrace the Suck pre-workout formula supplement will help make your workouts more effective too. Additionally, work push-ups into your daily routine. Try to complete at least 200 push-ups throughout your day, breaking them up into smaller, more manageable sets.
3. Preparing for Sit-Ups
When it comes to the sit-up test, there are some similarities to the push-up test. Once again, you’ll have two minutes to complete the exercise, and you will be scored by your age and gender. However, that’s where the similarities end.
You’re probably reasonably sure that you know how to do a sit-up, but you need to make sure that you’re doing them the Army way. Utilizing the correct technique when doing sit-ups is vital to getting a good score. As you lie on your back, your knees should be bent at a 45-degree angle. With your hands behind your head, move your upper body forward and upward until you’ve sat up at a 90-degree angle. Once you’ve brought your upper body back down to the ground, you’ve completed one rep.
When you do the APFT, you’ll have another person paired with you during the two-minute test. This person will use their hands to hold your ankles, keeping your feet firmly anchored as you do your sit-ups. Once again, a spotter will call out each rep and let you know if your rep was done improperly and did not count.
Those who have prepared for the sit-up test on the APFT often warn that pacing yourself is key to doing well on the test. Those who are ill-prepared often crank out a decent amount of sit-ups in the first 30 seconds, and then lose stamina and end up failing the test. You can avoid this by building your overall core strength. Abdominal curls, planks, and reverse crunches are all simple exercises that you can utilize to help improve your sit-up output. Don’t forget to take your performance supplements, like a traditional whey protein powder, while training to increase your overall output.
4. Preparing for the Two-Mile Run
When it comes to the APFT, the final component is the simplest to understand. The two-mile run is exactly what you’d think it is...a two-mile run! Your final time on the run is compared to your peer group’s scale to calculate your final score.
The rules of the two-mile run are very straightforward. You must cross the finish line on your own power, meaning nobody can push, pull, or carry you during the run. You are allowed to use another runner as a pacesetter as long as you do not touch them, and verbal cues can be given to encourage runners and let them know their time as they run. Other than that, you’ll just need to run!
When it comes to running, there’s usually only two opinions: either people love it or they hate it. No matter your persuasion, you’ll need to be prepared. A two-mile run is just long enough that you won’t be able to complete it at a sprint. You’ll need to have some level of preparation to build the necessary stamina for the run. This means you’ll need to lace up your running shoes and hit the road or the treadmill in the weeks before the APFT. There are several different training programs available to help you prepare for the test. Also, using a performance supplement for your workout will ensure that you make every mile count during your training.
5. Prepare with Good Nutrition
As you take time to prepare your body for each test, you’ll also need to take time for your overall health. You may be wary of taking performance supplements because you believe you can get all of the nutrition you need from the food you eat. Of course, in a perfect world, that would be great. However, with the hectic nature of life, we rarely have the opportunity to eat as completely and cleanly as we should. This is where having quality performance supplements come into play. Fueling yourself before, during, or after your training with workout supplements that are pure and safe is a necessity.
Bare Performance Nutrition was founded by Army veteran Nick Bare. He was dismayed at the amount of low-quality performance supplements on the market and knew that he could do better. He founded Bare Performance Nutrition to offer clean, transparent workout supplements to the public. No mysterious proprietary formulas. No junk or fillers -- just a commitment to quality performance supplements that taste great and help you reach success.
Have questions about BPN’s products? Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information. Also, for those that serve our nation in the armed forces, check out our military discount. Choose Bare Performance Nutrition for your performance supplement needs, and you’ll be sure to crush the Army Physical Fitness Test!