This post is going to be all about the Army Physical Fitness Test, the APFT.
The APFT is a standard fitness test that everyone in the Army has to do. In ROTC, we do a diagnostic test in the beginning of the semester, and then a record test at the end of the semester. The record test counts as a grade in our ARMY class, and can also have an effect on scholarships, leadership positions, and being selected for summer programs.
The current test consists of three events that measure different strengths. It is 2 minutes of as many push-ups you can do, 2 minutes of as many sit-ups you can do, then a 2-mile run for time (in that order). Each category of the test ranges from a score of 0 to 100. In order to pass the test, you must score at least a 60 in each category. For Penn State specifically, if you score anything less than a 70 in each category, you have to attend an extra day of PT on Tuesday mornings.
Here are the standards for the 18-21 age range:
When we do the APFT at Penn State, we meet at 0515 at the Armory, which is at the back of the Wagner Building. We form up into various lines, each with a mat and a grader. Push-ups are first; the cadet will do as many as they can within 2 minutes. Your arms must break the 90 degree plane, and you cannot remove your hands or feet from the ground. There is also only one authorized rest position which is similar to the downward dog. If you don’t follow these rules, some of your push-ups won’t count or your grader can stop you before the time is up. This is the same with the sit-ups; you must keep your hands interlocked behind your head and the only rest position is sitting up. It is important to follow these rules because you really don’t to put all your effort in to the test and have it not count.
After this, we move outside to the big ‘WE ARE’ sign on Curtin Road. The 2 mile test goes from that sign down to the Lion Shrine and back. There aren’t really any standards to this, you just have to run as fast as possible.
The APFT is challenging but it’s not that bad. If you are in shape and practice the components of the test often, it is easy to do well. Many people even max the PT test by getting a score higher than 300. Those people are what we call high speed.
There is a new PT test being worked on that is planning to come out in 2020 called the Army Combat Readiness Test. This test is completely different with six events including a deadlift, standing power throw, hand release pushups, a sprint/drag/carry, leg tuck pull-ups, and a 2-mile run. This test will probably be a lot harder but seems more practical for demonstrating skills that would be useful in a combat situation. Here’s more info if you want to read up on it: https://www.army.mil/article/193953/with_six_events_new_army_combat_readiness_test_aims_to_replace_apft_cut_injuries
Overall, the APFT is an important component of being in the Army and requires soldiers to stay physically fit in order to be more prepared for the jobs and challenges that they will face.