Are You As Fit As a World War II GI?

by Brett & Kate McKay on September 12, 2011 · 86 comments

in Fitness, Health & Sports

Have men these days “gone soft?” Is our generation less manly than past generations? Are we less tough than our grandfathers?

I see guys debate these kinds of questions all the time. Of course it’s hard to quantify “toughness.” But there is one area where we can definitively say we’ve slipped–the Army fitness test isn’t as hard as it used to be.

The Army first introduced a formal fitness test to the troops in 1942. Millions of men were being called up to fight in World War II, and not all of them were prepared for the rigors of combat. To get the men in fighting shape, the Army implemented a systematic physical development program as part of the Combat Basic Training course. And the Army Ground Forces Test was designed to assess whether the program was having its desired effect. The test included squat jumps, sit-ups, pull-ups, push-ups, and a 300 yard run. The emphasis was on functional fitness and giving American GI’s the strength, mobility, and endurance they would need to tackle real tasks on the battlefield.

In 1946, a Physical Training School was created at Fort Bragg with the mission of exploring how to take the goal of functional fitness farther. The training program developed at the school and the fitness test were codified in the 1946 edition of FM 21-20, the Army’s physical training manual.

Basically, Grandpa was doing Cross-Fit before it was cool.

In 1953, the Physical Training School closed, and its focus on combat readiness was lost; in the ensuing decades, the military began to concentrate more on general fitness, focusing on aerobic over anaerobic exercises. The fitness test was revised several times during the 60s and 70s, and standards began to be assessed on a sliding scale based on age and gender.

In 1984, the Army Physical Readiness Test was introduced, and it continues to be used today. It has only three elements: sit-ups, push-ups, and a two mile run. In 1987, General Schwarzkopf became concerned that only 5% of soldiers were able to achieve the highest score on the test, and so the standards were eased and more provisions were made for age and gender.

Also, whereas soldiers who failed the test used to be discharged, this rule has been greatly relaxed.

For the past couple of decades, many critics have said that the physical fitness standards for the troops are too easy, and more importantly, don’t assess the kind of skills soldiers actually need in our current conflicts. In a time of new equipment like body armor, men are humping large loads for long periods, and are much more likely to be sprinting and crouching than running for miles at a time.

When Dr. Edward Thomas, an instructor at the Army Physical Fitness School, re-discovered the WWII fitness test and administered it to soldiers in the 1990s, he was surprised at the result: soberingly low scores. While the numbers of required repetitions for things like push-ups are higher in the modern test than the WWII version, the standard for the precision with which the repetitions must be completed has been relaxed. Consequently, when Thomas tested the modern soldiers, they could only do a fraction of the repetitions required of WWII GIs.

In the last several years, the Army has been changing its physical training program to concentrate more on functional fitness and is currently developing a new fitness test which will be rolled out in the future and incorporate things like a shuttle run and long jump.


Well all that interesting history aside, I thought AoM readers, civilians and soldiers alike, would enjoy seeing how they stacked up against their grandfathers by taking the WWII fitness test. Why take the test? Well as the introduction to the original test itself says, “Tests motivate the men to improve their physical condition. Frequently men do not realize what poor condition they are in. When the tests reveal their deficiencies, they are much more receptive to an intensive physical training program in order to remedy their shortcomings.”

So maybe taking the test will inspire you to get in shape (or inspire you to feel awesome about how in shape you already are).

If you’re a coach, it might be fun to have your guys take the test–seems like it would be a great team-building exercise for your own little band of brothers.

Before we get to the test, let’s go over a couple of guidelines:

  • As mentioned above, the WWII test requires that the exercises be done with strict precision. To get an accurate assessment of how you did, don’t sacrifice quality for quantity!
  • In the chart below, you will see two batteries of tests–one for doing outdoors, one for doing indoors. Pick one of the other–not both. The fifth test in the indoor battery includes two variations–choose one or the other.

The WWII Fitness Test

1.  Pullups 1.  Pullups
2.  Squat Jumps 2.  Squat Jumps
3.  Pushups 3.  Pushups
4.  Situps 4.  Situps
5.  300-yard Run 5A.  Indoor Shuttle Run
5A(1).  60-Second Squat Thrusts


This event requires a horizontal bar.  This may be made of a pipe or gymnasium horizontal bar, or other rigid horizontal support which is not over 1½ inches in diameter. The bar should be high enough to permit the performer to hang at full length without touching the ground.  A height of 7 feet, 9 inches to 8 feet is recommended.

Starting Position.  Hanging at full length from the bar with arms straight. The forward grasp is used with the palms turned away from the face.

Movement.  Pull up until the chin is above the level of the bar.  Then lower the body until elbows are completely straight.  Continue for as many repetitions as possible.

Instructions.  The men should be told that it is permissible to raise the legs and flex the hips when pulling up but not to kick or execute a jerking motion with trunk or legs.  The body must be kept from swinging.  The chin must be raised above the bar.  The arms must be completely straight at the bottom of the movement.

Administration and Scoring.  Each time the performer pulls his chin above the bar in correct form, he is given credit for one pullup.  He is not credited with a pullup if he fails to raise his chin above the level of the bar or if he stops to rest.  If the performer does not straighten his arms at the bottom of a movement, if he kicks or jerks, only half a pullup will be counted.  If there are four half-pullups, the performer should be stopped and retested later.  If the performer starts to swing, the judge should stop the swinging with his hands.  Some such aid as a resin-bag or a cake of magnesium carbonate should be available to prevent the hands from slipping.


Starting Position.  Squatting on right heel with fingers laced on top of head, palms down.  The feet are 4 to 6 inches apart with the heel of the left foot on a line with the toes of the right foot.

Movement.  Spring upward until both knees are straight and both feet clear the ground.  Jump just enough to permit straightening the knees without touching the ground.  Do not jump any higher than necessary to accomplish this purpose.  Keep the upper body erect.  While off the ground, reverse the position of the feet bringing the right foot in front.  Then drop to a squat on the left heel.   Keep the knees pointing forward.  Spring up again and continue for as many repetitions as possible.

Instructions.  The men should be told that the most common errors are: getting the feet too far apart, forward and backward, and failing to squat down on the rear heel.   The correct position should be demonstrated clearly, and the men should be given sufficient practice to master it.  The action must be continuous throughout.   Before beginning the event, the men should be told that it requires courage almost to the same extent as it requires strength and endurance and that they should not give up until they cannot make another movement.

Administration and Scoring.  The performer is credited with one squat jump each time he springs up from the squat to the erect position and returns.  The movement is not scored if he fails to descend to a complete squat, if he does not straighten his legs completely and reverse his feet while he is in the air, if he removes his hand from his head, or if he discontinues the movement and comes to a stop.  If he loses his balance and removes a hand from his head momentarily, or falls but immediately recovers and continues, he shall not be penalized.  If the performer gets his feet too far apart but comes to a squat on the rear foot, there is no penalty.  Some men cannot squat all the way down on the heel.  If they go down as far as possible they should not be penalized.


Starting Position.  The performer assumes the front leaning rest position with the body straight from head to heels.  His palms are directly underneath the shoulders and elbows are straight.  Fingers pointed forward.  The judge sits on the ground beside the performer, with one palm down on the ground underneath the lowest part of the performer’s chest.

Movement.  Lower body until chest touches the ground (in informal practice), or touches the hand of the judge (in formal testing).  Elbows must point directly to the rear.  Return to the original position by straightening elbows.  Keep the entire body in a straight line throughout.   Repeat as many times as possible.

Instructions.  The performer is told: that the arms must be straight at the start and completion of the movement; that the chest must touch the judge’s hand; and that the stomach, thighs, or legs must not touch the floor.  Hands and feet must not move from their positions.  He is also told that the whole body must be kept straight as he pushes the shoulders upward; that is, the shoulders should not be raised first, and then the hips or vice versa.  The judge uses his free hand to guide the man in case he is raising his hips too much or raising his shoulders first.  In the first instance, he taps the man on the top of the hips to straighten them out; in the second case he taps underneath the abdomen to make him raise his abdomen with the same speed as his shoulders.

Administration and Scoring. The performer is credited with one pushup each time his arms are completely straightened and the exercise is performed in acceptable form.   There is no penalty for the hips being slightly out of line if the whole body is moving upward at about the same speed. The men may proceed but may not stop to rest.   If a man violates any of the instructions given above, he is credited with a half-pushup.  If and when the performer is no longer able to hold a correct front leaning rest, the test is terminated.


Starting Position.  Performer lies on his back with knees straight, feet approximately 18 inches apart and fingers laced behind head and elbows on the ground. The scorer kneels on the ground at the performer’s feet and presses the performer’s ankles firmly down against the ground.

Movement. Raise upper body rotating it somewhat to the left, and then forward far enough to touch the right elbow to the left knee.  The knees may bend slightly when sitting up.  Lower the body until the back and elbows again touches the ground.  Again sit up, but this time rotate the trunk to the right and touch left elbow to the right knee.  Again lower the body until the back touches the ground.  Perform as many situps as possible in two minutes.  Rest pauses are permitted during the test but count toward the 2-minute period.

Instructions.  The performer should be warned that he must keep his knees straight until he starts to sit up; that he must touch his knee with the opposite elbow; and that he may not push up from the ground with his elbow.

Administration and Scoring.  Performer is given credit for each situp completed within the 2-minute period.  No score is given if he unclasps his hand from his head, if he pushes up from his elbow, or if he keeps his knees bent while lying back on the ground.  He is not penalized if the elbow misses the knee slightly.  He must, however, sit up far enough so that the elbow almost touches the knee.  Time should be announced every 20 seconds.  At the end of 2 minutes, the timer calls: STOP and the judge counts the full number of situps completed before the stop command.


A course 60 yards long is laid out on flat level ground with lanes 4 feet wide for for each runner.  Both ends of the course have cross-marks at right angles to the lanes.  The cross-mark at one end serves as a starting line; the one at the other end, as a finish line.  In the middle of the cross mark at either end of each lane is a stake which is at least 1½ feet high.  If possible the lanes should be marked out in lime.  If there are no lanes, it is recommended that the stakes be numbered or painted different colors.  Each performer must run around his stake without grasping it.

Starting Position.  Standing behind the starting mark in the lane with rear foot braced by another man’s foot placed crossways behind it.

Movement.  At the starting signal, run to the stake at the farther end of the lane.  Run around the stake at the finish line.  Then return and run around the stake at the starting line.  Continue until five lengths of the course, or 300 yards have been run.  Make each turn from right to left.  The run will finish at the opposite end of the course from which it started.

Instructions.  The men should be told to run about 9/10ths full speed, to run straight down the lane, to turn around the far stake from right to left without touching it, and to return running around the stakes one after another until they have traveled five full lengths.  The men should also be instructed to walk around slowly for 3 or 4 minutes after completing the run.  Recovery will be much more rapid if they walk than if they lie down.

Administration and Scoring.  Each runner has one inspector, or judge, who stands at the finish line.  The judge watches his runner to see that he makes the turns properly and observes all the rules.  This inspector also holds the man’s card and records his performance.  A timekeeper stands on one of the lines in the middle of the course, 20 feet away from the finish line.  The men are started by the starter with ordinary signals of: “Get on your mark; get set; go.”  Since the timer starts his watch by the “go”, the starter should also use a hand signal.

When the first runner is about 30 yards away from the finish line, the timer begins to count the seconds aloud using “hup” for the half-seconds.  For example, he counts “44, hup, 45, hup, 46, hup, 47, hup, 48, hup …… etc.”  The judge for each man listens to the count and at the same time watches his runner.  He then records the last full second or half-second, which was counted before the man reached the finish line.  After the inspector records the time on the man’s scorecard he returns the card to him.


A course 25 yards long is laid out on the gymnasium floor with a lane 4 feet wide for each runner.  The lanes should be marked on the floor with water-solvent coloring, chalk, paint or adhesive tape.  Turning boards are placed at both ends of the course.   Each turning board is placed at a 45º angle, facing inside the lane and toward the runner.  The turning boards must be firmly braced and made of heavy material.   They should be from 12 to 16 inches in width.  The lower edges of the turning boards are flush with the end of the lines of the running area.  The number of each lane will be painted on the face of its board.

Starting Position.  Ready for a sprint start, with one foot braced against a turning board and the other foot and the hands extended into the lane.

Movement.  On the starting signal, run to the turning board at the other end of the lane.  Touch board with foot or feet.  Turn and continue running until completing ten shuttle trips or laps (for a total of 250 yards).  Touch the turning board at the end of each lap, except the final one. At the end of the final lap, the runner will continue across the turning board.  Any footwork may be used in making the turn provided the foot or feet touch the turning board each time.

Instructions.  Each runner must stay in his own lane.  Any method may be used in making the turn, although it is recommended that the forward foot touch the block on the turn.  In the event a runner falls or is hindered by another participant entering his lane during the progress of the run, he may be permitted to repeat the run later in the same period.

Administration and Scoring.  This event is administered and scored as the 300-yard run.  The time of the run is taken as the runner’s body passes beyond the turning board on the final lap.


When it is not possible to employ the indoor shuttle run as a substitute for the 300-yard run the 60-second squat thrust should be used.

Starting Position.  Attention.

Movement.  Bend at knees and hips and, squatting down, place hands on ground shoulder width apart.  Keep the elbows inside the knees.  Thrust feet and legs backward to a front leaning rest position.  Keep body straight from head to heels.   Support weight on hands and toes.  Recover to the squatting position.   Then recover to starting position.

Instructions.  The men should be told that in executing this movement for speed the shoulders should be well ahead of the hands when the legs are thrust backwards.   Extending the legs too far backward, so that the shoulders are behind the hands, makes it difficult to return to the original position with speed.  On the preliminary practice, the performer is told he will score better if he does not make a full knee-bend, but bends his knees only to about a right angle; and that he should keep his arms straight. It is not a failure if he bends his arms but the performer will not be able to score as well.

Administration and Scoring.  A score is given for the successful performance of each complete squat thrust.  No score is given if: the feet start backward before the hands are placed on the ground; the hips are raised above the shoulder-heel line when the feet are back; or the performer does not fully recover to the erect position on the fourth count.  The judge should not count aloud as this is apt to confuse other nearby judges.  If the man is performing the event incorrectly, the judge should coach him, or stop him and have him repeat the test after more coaching.

How Did You Do? Check the Score Sheet.



Future of the APFT
TSAC Report
FM 21-20

{ 86 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Bill M September 12, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Back in the day, the USMC PFT was max pullups (as described above, generally), max situps in 2 minutes, and a 3 mile run. Max score for 20 pullups, 80 situps in 2 minutes, and 3 miles in less than 18 minutes. Never maxed it, but did OK. I used to average 12 or 13 pullups, 80 situps and about a 22 minute 3 mile run. Could not do it now; but then again, I’m 50 years old.

2 Daren Redekopp September 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm

It’s all about the body-weight exercises. I have this amazing workout that my brother the personal trainer gave me, in which I spend exactly 25 minutes each day trying to beat what I did the day before. Most of it is body-weight stuff like chinups, pushups, and dips. It’s gotten me to the point where I can do 100 pushups and over 30 chinups. If anyone’s interested in the details, just let me know. There’s nothing like it.

3 ben September 12, 2011 at 2:28 pm

FYI, none of the images are loading for me.

To really compare our fitness level to theirs, there should be some indication of what the average score was on these tests.

4 OkieRover September 12, 2011 at 2:37 pm

I echo Bill’s comment. I never maxed my USMC PFT but I did respectable. I’m 47 today and there is no way I could do anything close to passing.

I can tell you these WW2 soldiers were double tough. The average height of a US Marine was 5’7″ and around 140-150 pounds. I am 5’10″ and 190#. I’ve watched the films of Marines on the island hopping campaign. They handle a Browning Automatic Rifle like it was a .22 caliber squirrel rifle. It weighs a respectable 20 pounds plus ammo. I’ve held a BAR from the shoulder and fired it. It kicked my butt. Our greatest generation indeed!

5 mattoomba September 12, 2011 at 2:56 pm

I think my back went out just reading about those situps!

6 Gareth September 12, 2011 at 3:06 pm

@ Darren Redekopp

Id love to see the workout that your brother gave you! cheers

7 Tyler September 12, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Crud, I have some work to do! What I do like about these sorts of tests is that they emphasize real-world strength, not what I like to call “vanity strength.” You know, the kind where the guy strains like he is constipated in front of a mirror at the gym to check out his veins.

8 Claude September 12, 2011 at 3:23 pm

I notice part of the push up description says “Elbows must point directly to the rear”.

In my late teens I could do 100 push-ups at a time until my dad (a military man) showed me the RIGHT way, with the elbows pointing backward, instead of pointing to each side. Makes a huge difference.

9 digital_dreamer September 12, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Growing up on the farm, I used to be able to do 40 one-arm pushups while a senior in school. I doubt I can do 5 now, more than 25 years later. I’m 180-lbs and 5’11”, but not trim like the good ol’ days.

BTW, the pictures aren’t loading for me either.


10 OkieRover September 12, 2011 at 4:09 pm

In boot camp we would do push ups on our knuckles on tile floors. My boy and his friends wanted to have a push up competition. I said okay but only if they did them my way. I only had to do three on my knuckles, on carpet, to beat them. They think I’m still tough. I don’t know how much longer I can maintain that illusion.

11 Daren Redekopp September 12, 2011 at 4:30 pm

@ Gareth: The system is called EDT or Escalating Density Training. My brother owned the book, and I read it cover to cover, but there really isn’t any need to do that. The bottom line is this: in conventional weight-training you show up with a certain number of exercises and sets that you have to do, and just go until they’re done. In EDT, however, you show up with a time, say 25 minutes, and do as much as you can within that time. You record how much you did, and the next day, you try to beat that amount.

I do my 25 minute workout 4 days on, 1 day off. On the odd days (1 & 3), I focus on chest and back. On the even days (2 & 4), I focus on shoulders and biceps. What about legs, abs, and triceps? I do legs and abs on all of those days. Triceps are left out because they get hit when I do chest or shoulders anyway.

When I actually do my workout, I record it on a piece of paper, so that by the end, that paper looks something like this:

Pushups- 45 x iiiii iiiii i
Legs/Abs- x iiiii iiiii i
Chinups- 13 x iiiii iiiii i

So first I do 45 pushups, then I do a set of lunge jumps, then I do a set of chinups, and I draw a tick on the page in front of each exercise. Then I cycle through those three again, only I do an abdominal exercise instead of a leg exercise this time. So on each 3-exercise cycle, I alternate the second exercise between legs and abs.

Then, the next time I do that workout, I try to beat the number of sets/cycles from the last time. Once I get to the point where I can do more than 12 cycles, I’ll increase either the weight or (in the case of bodyweight exercises) the repetitions per exercise. The above is my current amount for those exercises. Here’s what it would have looked like a couple of years ago:

Pushups- 15 x iiiii
Legs/Abs- x iiiii
Chinups- 3 x iiiii

Now, here are the different exercises that I like to use for the bodyparts listed:

Day 1
Chest- pushups/dips/deep pushups (with pushup bars)
Legs/Abs- 1 leg squats or lunge jumps, ab exercises
Back- Chinups/bent over rows/deadlifts

Day 2
Shoulders- Handstand pushups/bent over dumbell laterals/Upright rows/Deep handstand pushups (with pushup bars)
Legs/Abs- 1 leg squats or lunge jumps, ab exercises
Biceps- Dumbell hammer curls/ez bar curls

As you can see, I only have two days as far as body parts go. However, since I do only 1 of the exercises for each given body part, it takes 2 weeks before I repeat an identical workout.

12 Ian September 12, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Right now I’m following a goal set by Ross Enamit in one of his books. Eventually I’ll be able to do the following sets without stopping:
500 Bodyweight Squats
100 Pushups
20 Pullups
15 One-legged squats per leg
15 Handstand pushups
5-Minute Plank

I have other more martial-arts related goals but this feels lofty but not impossible. I’m with Darren on bodyweight exercises. Feels like you can make a little bit of progress each time because the increments are smaller. Jumping up 5-10 lbs with weights can be a really big jump.

13 Percy Blakeney September 12, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Aside from the pics not loading, awesome article. You should do one on Marines back in the days, though. Army strong is one thing, Marines are hella stronger.

Anyone else find P90X effective for keeping in shape?

14 dannyb278 September 12, 2011 at 5:10 pm

P90x is awesome as long as you commit to doing it. it is really tough and reminds me a lot of much of the exercizes we did in Basic.

At 6 foot 4 and 180 pounds i could max the run and the situps but never the pushups in the Army Physical fitness test. pushups are definately biased agains long limbed folks, although we can usually make up for it in the run

15 Samer September 12, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Great post. We’ve been doing a series of similar posts on military fitness tests. Here’s another one from the Navy Seals, it’s interesting to compare to the WWII test – incorporates swimming, but in general hasn’t changed much in principal:

Push-ups in 2min: min: 42 recommended: 100
Sit-ups in 2min min: 52 recommended:100
Pull-ups min: 8 recommended:15-20
1.5 mile run min: 11 min 30s recommended: 9-10min
500 yard swim min: 12min 30s recommended: 8-9min

16 dannyb278 September 12, 2011 at 5:15 pm

The problem today is that men seem to worry about “form” over “function” we want to look good to women which doesnt always equate to strength. i gave up all the trendy medicine ball and fitness machine crap at home and at the gym and only focused on
1. Bench Press
2.Squat Press
3.Shoulder Press
4. Deadlift
5. situps

All the old school stuff i always hated. Guess what, it works really really well. i can honestly say that after doing a winter of old fashioned strenght conditioning i was the strongest i had bee since i was 19, and i am 31 now. My workout was based on a Mens journal fitness article and i would definately reccomend it to anyone looking to add functional strength.

I will never go back to fitness machines again, only free weights.

17 Josh September 12, 2011 at 6:50 pm

yeah, the fitness test and standards were lowered because the army is more desperate for recruits, not because people are weaker… lets be realistic here, if there were still millions of ppl signing up for the military like there were in WW2, the fitness standards would still be high= supply vs demand!

18 Richard September 12, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Physical Fitness Test(PT Test) is stupid when it comes to telling you how you would do in combat. I was a M-249 automatic rifleman. I would carry if on the ground(was usually a gunner in hmmwe) 1000 rounds of ammo. Plus having the body armor that we have now and all the other stuff. I would be walking around all day in 110+ heat. over 130 with heat index with close to if not more than 150lbs….this was also in the mountains….was in the base of the hindu cush….Kunar province afghanistan….id say that thats pretty tough…..but this article is correct….for the most part….our military is pretty pussified….

19 Miguel G. September 12, 2011 at 11:16 pm

@Darren Redekopp- That’s sounds like a serious workout. I wouldn’t mind getting a little more info on that if you don’t mind.

20 Bill Buchanan September 12, 2011 at 11:21 pm


Fitness is a lifelong endeavor. Since my left knee went bone-on-bone, I gave up competitive running in favor of fitness activities I can pursue until a couple of weeks before they wheel me into assisted livining: backcountry skiing, ocean kayaking, pheasant hunting, dog training, mountain biking, hiking, I think SSGT. Curt, my USMC DI would approve. Weights and aerobics twice a week at the gym and mountain biking, situps, and one set of pushups equaling my age: I’m 69. Ooorah!
Bill Buchanan former Captain of Marines.

21 er-John September 13, 2011 at 5:24 am

A gentleman also does not praise war, explicitly or implicitly.

There are other ways and examples of getting and staying fit.

So, I am protesting against your post.

All the best.

22 DRSIL September 13, 2011 at 6:35 am

Straight leg sit ups are really bad for you. By not bending the hips as is the case while doing curls the psoas muscle is doing as much work as the abs. This results in severe strain on the lumbar spine. For this reason the sit up has been abandoned in favor of the curl. I would therefore consider that part of the article for historic interest only.

23 Jason September 13, 2011 at 6:39 am

The older test seems a much better indicator of functional fitness than the current, but I think a 2-3 mile run is still a good idea to include. Carrying a heavy pack and gear for long stretches requires a lot of endurance. Many areas of Afghanistan are at altitude and a higher aerobic capacity can’t hurt in those situations! Of course I’m biased as a runner, but a fast 2-3 miles seems like a good compromise between sprints and distance work.

24 Danny September 13, 2011 at 7:05 am

Man I need to be more well rounded. Some of those things I’m pretty sure I could get excellent on while others I’m pretty sure I would fail miserably. Guess I better get back to the gym. Next they need to write an article on how to find time in your life for the gym. Damn all these adult responsibilities!

25 Nathan September 13, 2011 at 7:24 am

I’d need a little work on the squat jumps, but that’s it. I’d get at least a “Fair” in all events, and I’d get an “Excellent” on at least two events (pull-ups, 300m run).

This is a way better workout than the current APFT, though. There’s no reason to run two miles for time. You’ll never do it down range. Ruck and sprint times would be more relevant. Pull-ups should’ve never been taken out. It seems like an arbitrary decision. The “half-rep” push-up crap was/is just that – crap. I don’t see the point of jump squats as opposed to regular squats for time, but it’s a relevant muscle group to test nonetheless.

Hopefully they adopt the new APFT. It’s not perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Cool article.

(active duty Army ’01-’06)

26 Nathan September 13, 2011 at 7:30 am

One more thing:

Jason (post 23) – Good cardio doesn’t hurt regardless of the elevation, but the run wouldn’t be a good indicator of how a trooper performs in higher altitudes. Nobody distance runs in mountains with equipment. Ruck times would be sufficient.

27 Sweden September 13, 2011 at 8:04 am

I’m 20. About 170cm tall and about 58-59 kg, I’m hitting the gym 3 days a week and aim to weight more of course.

I think I would go between Fair and Good. I didn’t have the most demanding position in the army but I still managed to do good on the physics.

28 Nate September 13, 2011 at 8:23 am

Great article. I do general exercise, but I’m going to work on these particular movements. Also, thank you for using “farther” correctly. It seems like everyone writes and says “further” now, regardless of what they are trying to convey. Mark my words, “farther” is an endangered species.

29 BRIAN September 13, 2011 at 9:20 am

My brother is in the Airforce and he has been held back not because of his strength or speed but because of his ratio of waist to neck. He was throwing people over the obstical course wall and running the run in excellent time but they give him low marks for his waistline. The Airforce is not interested in fitness but in appearances.

30 Joe Roy September 13, 2011 at 10:09 am

A gentleman should not praise war, nor should soldiers, sailors, or Marines. A gentleman can, however, praise the selfless attributes of the warrior and respect the methodical preparation necessary for such a harsh and unforgiving job. Both of my grandfathers, Marines, loathed war, especially the one that landed on 5 beaches in the Pacific, and my father, a Cold War Tomcat guy, prays for peace, especially now that three of his sons are serving.

“Any soldier worth his salt should be anti-war. And yet there are still things worth fighting for.” Schwarzkopf

31 Rob September 13, 2011 at 11:31 am

After 5 months doing the Hero Workouts here on AoM, I took this test last night.

Pullups: 15
Squat Jumps: 70
Pushups: 54 (the limit on the score sheet, sweet!)
2-Min Situps: 52
300 yd run: 47
Shuttle run: 44
60 sec squat thrust: 38

Overall, that put me in the Good territory of that sheet. And I sit at a desk most of the day! Awesome!
I will say, those Hero workouts you posted earlier really did the trick on this. I could not have done it 5 months ago at all. Thank Chad for me for the really good and, dare I say, fun workouts. If anyone else is looking to improve, I say go for the Hero workouts, they really are manly.

32 Rob September 13, 2011 at 11:35 am

Wait, was I the only one that actually DID the test? Wow, come on guys, don’t talk, DO IT and post your results!

33 NICK September 13, 2011 at 11:42 am

BRIAN- your cousin was just overweight by the standards of the air force, it is an imperfect system and all but it is a standard that one can get to and stick to. Skinny neck and big waste guys do get the short end of the stick, and there has been plenty who think the system of body fat % needs to change, but thats the standard and his coc can choose to hold him to it, or ignore it. Unfortunately a lot of units choose to ignore them which is why you have such out of shape Soldiers, but as the armed forces draw down you will see these standards rise to weed out the heard.

34 MTH September 13, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Brian, I’d be willing to bet your brother is a very fit poor performer. It has been my experience in the military that those that excel in their duties are cut quite a bit of slack on the the less important aspects of military life. If he did his job well, then he’d probably not have a problem with BF%.

When I was active duty, I heard numerous times that if you can’t trust a person to look good, then you can’t trust them in combat.

It’s the simple things that are predictors of success – showing up on time, wearing clean clothes, and looking reasonably fit will put you in the top 10% whether it’s the military, a regular job, or marriage.

35 Joe September 13, 2011 at 3:18 pm

I’ve taken the Army PFT, Marine PFT (and CFT), Navy PRT, and achieved maximum scores on all. I have also performed very well in the SEAL/EOD PST (this test has no maximum scores). That being said, there is a distinct problem with all of these, to include the WWII era test. They’re all done slick (no gear) even the supposed “Combat Fitness Test.”

To measure the fitness of a ground soldier/Marine/SEAL,etc the test must be of how well one can perform in the situation they will be called upon to act. Running is fine, pull ups are fine, but no one goes outside the wire in Asics and running shorts.

36 Darragh Creamer September 13, 2011 at 3:43 pm

“In 1987, General Schwarzkopf became concerned that only 5% of soldiers were able to achieve the highest score on the test, and so the standards were eased and more provisions were made for age and gender.”

That makes me laugh, it’s horrific to imagine the conversation.

Officer 1 : So, the big man’s a bit worried that only 5% of recruits score highly on the PF test.

Officer 2 : Well, let’s get these lazy recruits out running some more and doing some more pushups. In fact, we might even get them doing more than just running and pushups

Officer 3: Yeah, that’s one way to deal with it. Another would be to just lower the standards…

All 3 ; Good idea !

37 Bruce Egert September 13, 2011 at 3:58 pm

My anecdotal research shows that a large majority of Americans do not come close to the exercise and physical activity that they need. The substantial amount of obesity, diabetes and other diseases will envelop this country in a miasa of lethargy and dependence upon medication. The key to success in everything we do–school, work and family life– is regular and vigorous exercise regardless of the time and inconvenience. There is no easy way to get in shape but the rewards are great. Thanks for pointing out still another wonderful example by the “greatest generation.”

38 Andrew Woo September 13, 2011 at 4:10 pm

I know I smoke like a WWII G.I. Haha!
But seriously, a hiking trip I went with my friends last August, I’ve truly realized how out of shape I have become. It’s hard to find a balance between academics and exercise, especially when you’re A.D.D. After my trip I immediatly whipped out my Charles Atlas binder and started following the exercises everyday. However I’m pretty sure I still cant run, at least not untill I quit smoking.

39 Rich B September 13, 2011 at 5:17 pm

I’m used to the Marine Corps PFT and now CFT so this was interesting. When my dad was in the Corps in the 50s he stated their PFT had four events: pushups, pullups, situps and 3 mile pack run in boots. Does anyone know where I can verify what the events were?

pullups 18
squat jumps 70
pushups 83
2 min situps 90
indoor shuttle run 43
1 min squat thrusts 50

40 k2000k September 13, 2011 at 6:54 pm

I remember we did something like this on my college swim team. We were tested on before the start of preseason by our coaches and a month after preseason started we were tested again. I remember it being pretty tough. And on another note, is it just me or are we founding out that a lot of the knowlege from 50+ years ago seems to be pretty on the mark? I’ve been interested in natural bodybuilding for a few years, and it wasn’t until I tried the old time eating and lifting methods from the famous lifters from the 40s and 50s that I began to see some real major progress in terms of additional strength and improved body composition. It makes me wonder what else I just dismiss as antiquated that I should take a second look at.

41 Mike September 13, 2011 at 8:37 pm

A lot of great info in article and comments regarding functional fitness, which absolutely has its place in military training. One glaring thing that we have all neglected to cover is the fact that military physical fitness tests are done in pt gear (t-shirt, running shoes, shorts) across the services. One addition the Marine Corps has added to its battery of physical evaluations is the Combat Fitness Test. This, far more than than the Physical Fitness Test (pullups, situps, 3-mile run), requires functional fitness and is done in the combat utility uniform. While this does not completely simulate combat load, it is better than running shoes, shorts, and a t-shirt. The old saying, “train like you fight” does not seem to apply to our metric for military fitness.

42 Mike September 13, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Joe (comment 35), my apologies. It looks like you covered down on the gear issue.

43 jeff September 13, 2011 at 8:47 pm

I think it would be a good idea to compare the WWII requirements with the mission, then judge the modern with their mission. Worlds apart, but the old stuff looks interesting except fot the sit ups which does more damage than good.

44 Nick September 13, 2011 at 9:53 pm

From the looks of things the military in general seems to be moving towards a more functional fitness mindset, the new pt training circular highlights these changes which focus on more “cross fit” functional type of work outs as well as encouraging workouts with equipment. There are a few units who will live and die by the 4 mile run and pushup/sit up (I’m looking at you 82nd) but for the most part the army at least is modernizing their approach to fitness. I will say in my experience though that if you can ace the pt test then you are in pretty good shape, if you can’t, then you are not, it may not be a perfect test of fitness but i never met someone who scored a 300 pt test and somehow wasn’t in shape.

45 Justin September 13, 2011 at 9:57 pm

The article mentions that modern Soldiers did poorly on the WWII test. There is a good reason for this. Modern Soldiers only train push-ups, sit-ups, and 2 mile run because those are the only tasks they get tested on. The WWII generation was better at pullups, squat jumps, and shuttle sprints, because that’s what they trained for. Although the Army’s goal for the new PT test is to have more rounded fitness, the exact same thing will happen. Soldiers will only train for the five tasks they will be tested on, to the detriment of the others.

46 Thomas September 14, 2011 at 4:11 am

The current APFT actually has higher standards for push-ups and sit-ups than the WWII era test.

47 Edman68 September 14, 2011 at 4:25 am

Before starting The Sheriff’s Academy, I was in great shape. The academy was not physically challenging at all. In fact, I gained weight. After it was over, I amped up my weight routines and got, what I thought, stronger. I herniated a disc in my lower back. I’m not in such great shape anymore. I recently purchased a book, “Convict Conditioning”. It’s all body weight exercises that have been done throughout history and is still being done in our penitenturies. Body weight exercises are tough, but the strength is hardcore. I’m going to start this routine, from square one, as soon as possible. A big thumbs up to the past.

48 Stephen September 14, 2011 at 11:29 am


49 Joshua September 14, 2011 at 11:31 am

Im very glad someone else mentioned convict conditioning. It is a very thorough program and can be adapted to any fitness level. Endurance is a very important part of fitness, but so is generating all out effort. If you can score well on the regular tests (pushup and pullup, etc) it is time to increase your resistance level. Train to do one arm pushups and pullups. Endurance, max strength, and explosive power are all needed to be truly fit.

50 Miller Industries September 14, 2011 at 8:48 pm

been out of basic for 2 years. as soon as i left i knew the pt they administered wasnt good enough. pt tests dont equal combat readiness. if a man can do 100 situps but cant carry his buddy to safety, what good is he? and if you are running 2-3 miles nonstop in combat you have f’d up big time. the marines combat readiness test is the best measure in my book, and im a soldier. good thing we’re copying (or immitating) them and adopting a CRT of our own!

Hooah and Hoorah.

51 Miller Industries September 14, 2011 at 8:59 pm

last pt test i did 83 PU, 86 SU, and a 14:45 2M. i can do about 20 pull-ups wide arm nonstop w/o kipping. can someone please validate me? lol

52 Rick September 15, 2011 at 5:14 am

Great article! I wonder what ever happened to the ‘squat thrust;’ you don’t see it much anymore. When I was at Officer Training School back in the mid-80s, the test included, sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, standing long jump, and the 600 yard dash. Still can’t figure out the standing long jump, I’d think the standing wall jump would be a better relative indicator of lower body strength.

53 Maurício Gomes September 15, 2011 at 7:52 am

Heh, I saw in another site a argument about the new standards, and many people accused the standards to have been lowered so women would stop failing on the test all the time.

I am not a US citizen, so I do not know much about the realities there, but I do not doubt that the physical difference between women and men might make a effect there…

And for those that claim that physical condition is not important in a modern war, since you mostly shoot around, go play paintball in close quarters for 2 hours, and THEN tell me if physical condition is important or not.

54 John Sifferman September 15, 2011 at 11:20 am

Men have definitely gone soft, and the lowered standards for our military PT requirements is just one sign of many. Today’s average status of health and fitness is dismally poor, and people who are actually fit and healthy are a rarity. At the rates things are going, healthy bodies may only be a notion in decades to come.

My last PT test was in 2003 in the US Naval Sea Cadet Corps. I scored 110 pushups in 2 minutes, 120 situps in 2 minutes, and 31 pullups. We also did a 1 mile run, and my time came in a little under 5 minutes. I couldn’t hit those numbers today, but give me three months and I’d be pretty close.

55 JT September 15, 2011 at 6:55 pm

I had to chuckle at that because we do shuttle runs, push ups, sit ups,standing long jump and squats in gym. Mind you it’s grade 10 gym in Canada so the runs aren’t as long nor the number of reps for each activity.

56 David September 15, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Mauricio, there’s one flaw in that theory: there is a separate set of APFT standards for women. Thus, that can’t be the reason that the requirements for men have been lowered.

I’m not entirely convinced that this old-fashioned test is really that much harder than the current one. Mostly, it’s just different. True, it might be a little more challenging to not be allowed to pause during the push ups. But a 300-yard run? That’s nothing. I’m nearly positive that 2 miles is much harder.

This test may be a bit more difficult to max, but passing seems just as easy as with the current one.

57 Harry September 16, 2011 at 2:22 pm

I’ve been told for a long time that doctors no longer recommend putting hands behind the neck for any abdominal exercises because the tendency is to pull on the neck, which can cause injury. What is shown is an old way of doing situps. Instead, modern situps are done with hands crossed over the chest, grasping the shoulders.

58 Conor September 18, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Interesting article, however you fail to include the Army’s new physical fitness test and combat readiness test.

59 Thomas Chon September 19, 2011 at 10:36 am

So…how much time were they allocated when they did the push ups, pull ups, sit ups and squat thrusters?

I want to try to take this test.

60 Marco De Leon September 19, 2011 at 2:52 pm

I thought this was awesome.

61 WW5 September 21, 2011 at 11:38 pm

all high school athletes (male and female), no matter what sport they take, could easily do that. any adult who frequent a gym could too even senior citizens. i thought it was going to be much tougher.

62 Georgiaboy61 September 22, 2011 at 1:05 am

The army recently revised its physical training to more-closely model what elite athletes do in terms of core training, explosive strength, and battlefield movement.
Relying solely upon push-ups, sit-ups and a timed distance run is a poor approximation of what soldiers do in battle or the performance of their duties. These tests are decent-enough predictors of overall health, but that’s about it. There are plenty of soldiers, especially female ones, who can max their PFT but would perform poorly under battlefield conditions. Raw strength matters – especially in combat. Your platoon sergeant isn’t going to care that you did 100 sit-ups or 50 pushups in garrison; he’s going to care whether or not you keep up on a road march while humping a mortar baseplate, or whether you possess the strength to haul mortar shells or set up and fire a heavy machine gun.

The WWII generation was much more clear-eyed about the need for physical toughness in the military than we are today. The Marines and elite units in the army, such as the 82nd and 101st A/B, trained to an extremely high standard of fitness, and they did their runs in combat boots, not running shoes.

As a physiologist, I am torn about the timed-run – distance running is a excellent predictor of aerobic conditioning and overall health, but it discriminates in favor of those who run well for time (i.e., those of lighter or medium build), and not everyone does. Some superb athletes and soldiers are lousy distance runners. Arguably it is more important to be able to run very hard and fast for shorter distances, than for a longer distance at a slower pace. The exception might be spec ops people, who have to be superb endurance athletes for their roles. If it was up to me, PFTs would be modeled as closely after actual combat and/or duty tasks as possible. After all, when is the last time you saw someone cranking out pushups on a battlefield? Save these for the training field; testing should mimic the real world as much as possible. This is especially true since soldiers are graded, promoted and assigned partially on the basis of their PFT scores.

63 DK Olosn September 22, 2011 at 11:58 am

I was in the Army (Infantry) in the early/mid 70′s and the PT then consisted of 5 events, kind of similar to the WWII PT:

overhead bars (monkey bars)
50 yard inverted crawl (duck walk)
2 mile run in comabt boots
All events were in one day
I forget the scoring, except the 2 mile run in less than 15 min was 100 points, but it was hard to get the 500 points max. Come to think about it, these were the most fun i had during my 3 years.

64 Samuel September 23, 2011 at 1:26 am

I’m still surprised how slender and non-muscular some of the most elite soldiers were during World War 2 when look at photos. Although there were no pectoral muscles, biceps and triceps on these men, they still kicked Hitler and Tojo’s ass because they were men. They all realized what needed to be done, and knew being scared was okay as long as it did not negatively affect the outcome of the mission.

Don’t focus on muscles, but being fit. Eat healthy and exercise to live a long healthy, manly life.

65 Georgiaboy61 September 23, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Samuel, re: “I’m still surprised how slender and non-muscular some of the most elite soldiers were during World War 2 when look at photos. Although there were no pectoral muscles, biceps and triceps on these men, they still kicked Hitler and Tojo’s ass…” Don’t be misled by appearances. There are some tremendously fit and strong people who are not spectacular looking in terms of muscularity. Your observation has merit, though, because alot of recruits were slender because they had just lived through the depression. Many guys were rejected for military service because of malnourishment, being underweight, and so on. Eventual Medal of Honor recipient Audie Murphy was one of these; he was rejected by the USMC before the army let him in. In today’s over-fed USA, it is hard to imagine people being rejected for not eating enough, but it happened in those times. Another point is that most guys start off comparatively slender as teenagers and young adults; only later do they put on more muscle and weight. Most recruits were guys in the 18-25 year-old age bracket. At that age, your metabolism is off-the-charts and add in the physical demands placed on these young men, it is no wonder they were slim. Not many guys in those days did weights or resistance training, either. Finally, the disease and privation of war took their toll, especially in the Pacific – where soldiers and marines got malaria, dysentery, yellow fever, and other diseases on places like Guadalcanal. Early in the war, malnutrition was common also.

66 Georgiaboy61 September 23, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Mauricio, re: “Heh, I saw in another site a argument about the new standards, and many people accused the standards to have been lowered so women would stop failing on the test all the time.” That’s correct; since the widespread inclusion of women in the armed forces in the 1980s, the services have used a “gender-normed” PFT, gender-norming being Pentagon-speak for a handicapping system. This can be proven by looking up the physical fitness standards on-line; these are readily available. Female soldiers are not required to meet the same standards as male soldiers, in order to get the same score. In fact, in order to max out the PFT for a given age, a man must consistently perform at a higher level. This system amounts to affirmative action, though the military bends over backwards not to call it that for reasons of political correctness.

Back when women were first permitted into areas formerly closed to them, and gals started doing weapons training and other formerly-male tasks, it was found that women – almost without exception – could not throw a grenade far-enough to escape its blast cone. Instead of admitting this politically-incorrect truth, the army dumbed down the grenade toss to make it easier for women. The same dilution of the testing was applied elsewhere women were having trouble, and the scoring system changed to weight “gender-neutral” tasks such as map-reading and first aid, more heavily. ‘

Interested readers are directed to the following resources…


“Women in the Military” Brian Mitchell
“The Kinder, Gentler Military” Stephanie Guttman
“Co-ed Combat” Kingsley Browne

67 Stan September 24, 2011 at 5:18 am

Doing your situps with legs straight and flat to the ground looks like a sure invitation to back injury. It’s been quite a few years since the Army and Marine Corps both switched to bent knee situps for conditioning and testing purposes, in accordance with sports medicine research. I’m all for training to Old Corps standards, but the straight knee situp is one exercise I recommend we leave in the past.

68 SFC Earnan September 25, 2011 at 10:44 am

Physical fitness standards, for men at least, are much higher today than they were during WW II. Not least because today we have a professional all-volunteer military versus a drafted military that many were eager to get out of and completely uninterested in doing their best.

Straight-leg sit-ups and squat-thrusts have been dumped because they cause injuries that lead to soldiers being medically retired with often life-long back problems. The 300 yard run was replaced by a 2 mile run because a 300 yard run doesn’t do a useful job of measuring aerobic fitness and endurance.

Physical fitness is certainly imporant, but it’s clear that most of the commentators here have no military experience nor any idea of what soldiers need to be able to do to carry out their duties and accomplish their missions.

69 Vince September 25, 2011 at 7:13 pm

How much rest between stations? I took 2 minutes rest.
50 years old
14 pullups
40 squat jumps
45 pushups
45 situps
22 squat thrusts
I want to max the test by the end of the year.

70 John September 26, 2011 at 1:16 am

I know you’re making a joke about Cross-fit, but it’s funny because, as you stated, this fitness test calls for “exercises to be done with strict precision.” Reading the guidelines for the exercises reveals that Cross-fit wouldn’t fly for this test.

e.g., Pullups: “not to kick or execute a jerking motion with trunk or legs”

okay that’s all

71 Kevin Burke September 28, 2011 at 9:23 pm

I think I am more physically fit than a WWII standard soldier was. I exercise more like the elite special forces. I run about 6 miles 5-7 days a week. Some weeks 7 days and other days at least 5 at less than an 8:30 pace. I do 5 (sets) x (12) repetitions of pullups. But nowadays I’m adding 10 or 15 (depending on how I feel) pounds on my back so I’m doing more like 5 x 10 pullups with the added weight. Without weight in my back I was doing 20 (sets) x 15 (repetitions) of dips. Now that I’m adding 10 pounds on my back I’m only doing 10×12 now but I’ll work my way up to 20×15, If I can, with the weight on my back. I do 20 x 20 pushups and at least 8 x 25 situps. I should be doing 20 x 25 situps but I really don’t like situps that much. Anyway, I exercise more like the NAVY SEALs, ELITE, rather than a standard military grunt. Maybe the standard army grunt man is no longer as tough but the special forces are as tough as ever.

I’ll admit to doing this special forces exercise for some reasons which are not very manly. I do it for health and strength but also to look like a Calvin Klein underwear model or Brad Pitt in fight club to attract women. So it is not one of the most manly reasons but at least I’m man enough to admit to it and at least I’m physically fit enough to fight in a war. Here is to elite Commando exercising ! Who wants to be an average chump anyway ?

72 Kevin Burke September 28, 2011 at 9:29 pm

“I should be doing 20 x 25 situps ” — Kevin Burke

Actually, the real reason why I don’t like situps, that much, is because I feel non-compound exercises waste my time and situps really aren’t compound compared to pull ups, dips and pushups. I forgot to mention last year I attempted to run 20 miles with 20 pounds on my back in combat boots. I made it to mile 16 and the boots gave me blisters and I think it is stupid to endure pain when you don’t have to so I stopped. I could have made it to mile 20 if I wanted to. So why did I do this ? I did this because I heard the NAVY SEALs sometimes do this and I also heard they sometimes do 1,000 situps in a day so I need to man up on the situps. Anyway, I’m 32 years old — too old to even join the NAVY SEALs so that I could probably keep up with them physically or very close to them, probably, is good even though I am ‘too old’ now.

73 Kevin Burke September 28, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Actually, I just decided that I’m going to do 20 (sets) x 15 (repetitions) of dips with 10 pounds on my back tonight. I already did chinups, ‘commando pullups’, and regular pullups with weight on my back and I also did pushups already. Reason why I was only doing 10×12 dips, with weight on my back, was because I was lowering my body ridiculously low to the ground bending my elbows way past 90 degrees when in fact it should be doing them only slightly below 90 degrees with my elbows. Anyway, I was pushing myself to extremes. But now I should be able to do the 20×15. I also can do more than 20 pushups at once etc.. but I find 20×20 with very short rests between sets is better than doing a bunch of sets with the most you can do to muscle failure. Hoohah ! Any out of shape bastards reading this : get off your ass and put down the potato chips !

74 Trent September 28, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Nice reference to CrossFit!! Best fitness program going. Killer in it’s execution and exact in it’s science. “Forging Elite Fitness through Constantly Varied, Functional Movement executed at a High Intensity” indeed. Extremely difficult. Extremely effective. Extremely valuable. Extremely doable. I’ve lost 60lbs I didn’t even know I had extra and more so: gained mental strength I didn’t know. Check it out: you won’t be disappointed.

75 kevin burke September 28, 2011 at 10:33 pm

“Nice reference to CrossFit!! Best fitness program going. Killer in it’s execution and exact in it’s science.” — Trent

Yeah, I told someone else what I do and they said I should check out cross fit. Honestly, though, I’m getting the results I want from a modified NAVY SEALs BUD/s exercise regimen so I see no reason to do crossfit right now. What I do is probably really close to crossfit or about the same. I base my exercises off of what the SEALs do in order to prepare to pass the final BUD/s (basic underwater demolition) test. I lost 30 pounds but I probably lost more than 30 pounds of fat since I put on lean muscle and muscle ways more than fat. I seriously look really close to Brad Pitt in Fight club. Anyway to give you an idea of my exercise regimen it is close to this (which the NAVY SEALs do during the final weeks of BUD/s training to prepare for the test :

- 20 X 20 Push-ups
- 25 X 25 Push-ups
- 5 X 12 Pull-ups
- 20 X 15 DIPS
-20 x 25 situps

Run (5/6/6/6/4) miles 27 miles/week

They also swim Swim continuously for 75 min. with fins 4-5 days a week.

I don’t swim but I also do ‘commando pullups’, chinups and I run more than they do. I average 6 miles 5-7 days a week. So that is how I try to compensate I also add 10-15 pounds on my back for the pullups, chinups and dips so people might consider my workout to be more hardcore than even the NAVY SEALs. I admit that most people would consider my workouts to be insane but I’m an intense guy who is a perfectionist. If you guys want to get in the best shape of your life then do something like I do or do crossfit.

76 Larry October 1, 2011 at 9:07 pm

The Army APFT is changing and has change in some locations. Also the is a combat fitness test in full battle gear.

77 Ole Wall October 2, 2011 at 7:03 am

When I took the US Army Basic Physical Fitness Test in 1974 for ROTC the first time, it included running 2 miles in under 15 minutes in issued combat boots, 50 pushups, 50 bent-leg sit-ups, 50-foot(?) duck walk, and overhead bars-20 feet, 4 sets without drop. The standards had dropped for women to 1 mile run, 30 each situps and pushups, and half the men’s duck walk and overhead bars. It all had to be done in 1 afternoon, one test after the other, with 10 min breather between tests. We did the run on the college’s oval track, and all else was done on college football field. On final test, was same, 1977.

78 Josiah October 7, 2011 at 3:43 pm

LOL @ kevin burke. dude, im sure you are in way better shape than me. but i must admit i had to chuckle at your listing and stats for your workouts. kudos on the goals though. keep it up. and i will try a start building to a respectable routine for myself.

as to the article, oorah, and right on. some of the positioning is outdated, as has already been mentioned, but in many ways, we slack and take the easy route out. man up America….. i’ll stop now because i feel a rant coming on that would not stay on topic…

79 arnab September 29, 2012 at 9:02 am

the question is why the fitness of man reduces so much? who’s responsible for it? pollution, fast food, junk food, genetically modified food,TV culture were not in the time of WWII as they are now.

these factors perhaps are responsible for decay of physical fitness. well america is the largest producer of greenhouse gas. mind that.

80 janus October 23, 2012 at 8:23 pm

There’s a special gas just for greenhouses now? And it’s made in America? Wow!

But seriously, it isn’t that people are oversupplied with energetic nutrients, but simply that most people just don’t do manual labor anymore. There are just too many “labor saving” devices out there, and most are unnecessary unless you are getting on in years.

Also, a job i had once required me to shift boxes around, which weighed up to 50lbs, and I was told off by a supervisor for just doing it by myself rather than getting another person to help. 50lbs just isn’t that much when you just have to pick it up and move it 2ft, as long as you use proper lifting technique.

Just a symptom of the real disease, and that is, we are eliminating the drive and ‘gumption’ that people had.

81 Taylor December 18, 2012 at 11:44 pm

It just occured to me that we do all of this at Jesuit football as a WARM UP exercise…

82 CyrusLane March 16, 2013 at 4:30 pm

I’m sure I just didn’t read carefully enough -
but I don’t see where it says how many reps of each exercise are required. Anyone?

83 Culper September 10, 2013 at 11:50 am

“The body must be kept from swinging” in order for a pull up to count. That right there tells me that crossfit is definitely not in the same category as WWII fitness…

84 Glen September 10, 2013 at 12:47 pm

I was A Marine for 4 years Maxed the Pt test when I was 19 twice. Then after that scored 295 or above. I am 40 now in the Army and pull a 300 every time in the 17-21 bracket. The Army Pt test is too easy they need to change it.

85 jerry September 10, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Rich 1966 here goes…everything in pack helmet rifle , canteen…cartridge belt…boots…3 mile…step ups…ditch jump…rope climb…pull up, sit ups…fireman’s carry….maybe more I forget…every 3 months.

86 Georgia September 10, 2013 at 9:15 pm

I think that too many men today satisfy their personal desire to be manly vicariously through video games and other forms of social media. Pity really.

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