Tag Archives: APFT

I’m Still As Fit As a U.S. Army Soldier

"Good job, maggot!"

“Good job, maggot!”

I took the Army Physical Fitness Test last week, and passed.  I’m only working out for 35 minutes twice a week, with a combination of weight training and high intensity interval training on a stationary bicycle.  (The weight training is much like this program.)

U.S. soldiers, at least those in the Army, have to pass a physical fitness test twice a year.  I wondered how I, at 58-years-old, stacked up so I self-administered the three fitness components.  I didn’t run in army boots, nor carry a rifle or backpack!  Soldiers need to score a minimum of 60 points on each exercise.

The Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) performance requirements are adjusted for age and sex.

My Results

  • two-mile run: 19 minutes, 20 seconds (65 points)
  • consecutive military sit-ups: 41 (75 points)
  • consecutive push-ups: 32 (76 points)

Compared to my performance in August 2012, my run took 102 seconds longer, I increased my sit-ups by 9, and my push-ups held steady.

I purposefully “held back” on running because I remembered how bad I felt after the run last August.  Even this time I had a little hamstring strain.  Nevertheless, I suspect my aerobic endurance is truly less now since I’m riding the stationary bike instead of running the treadmill.  The bike exercise is more enjoyable.  My knees will thank me over the long-run.

I’m satisfied with this level of fitness.  It’s a good base for some strenuous hiking I’ll be doing over the next few months.  With a little luck, I’ll be hiking the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim with my son’s Boy Scout troop in May.

—Steve

I’m as Fit as a U.S. Army Soldier!

“Drop and gimme 50, maggot!”

U.S. soldiers, at least those in the Army, have to take a physical fitness test twice a year.  I wondered how I, at 57-years-old, stacked up so I self-administered the three fitness components.  I did not run in army boots, nor carry a rifle or backpack!  Soldiers need to score a minimum of 60 points on each exercise.

The Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) performance requirements are adjusted for age and sex.

  1. Push-ups: 32 (76 points)
  2. Army sit-ups: 32 (65 points)
  3. Timed two-mile run: 17 minutes, 38 seconds (80 points)

I gotta say I feel pretty good about this, especially since I’ve only been working out for 60-70 minutes a week over the last three months.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Notes:

My first mile of the run was done in 8 minutes and 30 seconds.

U.S. Army Fitness Benchmarks

I’ve written previously how it’s helpful to have some baseline physical fitness measurements on yourself.  That post mentioned up to 14 different items you could monitor.  In the comment section, I recognized that’s too much for some folks.  For them, I suggested just doing the five-item functional testing: 1-mile run/walk (timed), maximum number of push-ups and pull-ups, toe touch, and vertical jump.

A week ago, I was at a training session for adult Boy Scout leaders.  One of the items covered was environmental heat illness: how to avoid, recognize, and treat.  One of the risk factors for heat illness is “poor fitness,” defined as taking over 16 minutes to run two miles.  Inquiring minds want to know where that number came from.  No reference was given.

About.com has an article on fitness requirements for U.S. army soldiers, who are tested at least twice yearly.  There are only three components tested:

  • Number of push-ups
  • Number of sit-ups
  • Time to complete a two-mile run

Fortunately, the Army doesn’t expect a 57-year-old man to perform as well as a 17-year-old.  For instance, a 17-year-old has to run two miles in 19 minutes and 24 seconds or less; the 57-year-old is allowed up to 23 minutes and 24 seconds.  Females and males have different performance standards: a 17-year-old woman has 22 minutes and 24 seconds to run two miles.

The simplicity of the Army’s approach appeals to me.  Check out the APFT tables in the About.com article if you want to see how you compare to Army soldiers.

Steve Parker, M.D.