Army Physical Fitness Standards – Back to Basics

Posted by Paul Helmick

I’m a Technology CEO and Experienced Entrepreneur. I love helping people use technology to grow their business. 

Sharing my thoughts about using my experience with the Army Physical Fitness Test (AFPT) to measure my 2017 fundamental fitness goals.

You must have a minimum fitness level to join the Army and improve it by the end of basic training

In the Army, we took an initial physical fitness test, running, pushups, situps, pullups – to assess at what level a trainee entered the program. A score of 60% was required to join the service, and by the end of basic training, you were expected to reach the 80%+ range.

These three exercises are measured and scored

The first two events, push-ups and sit-ups are performed in a 2-minute set, where you try to do as many consecutive push-ups or sit-ups as possible in that time without resting. The times for a 2-mile run are self-explanatory.

My personal best, long long ago

At my very best, in 1998, at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, I had the 3rd highest score out of 400 soldiers, with the following score:

  • 99 push-ups in 2 minutes
  • 114 sit-ups in 2 minutes
  • Ran 2 miles in 11 minutes 20 seconds

What do the fitness test scores suggest how someone over 40 should perform?

Below are the score charts for ages 17–41. Now I’m just a little bit over 40 🙂 but I’m going to use as a goal that performance level. You can see what it would take to score 100% in each activity as well as what it would take to meet the minimum 60% qualification.

What is my starting point for 2017 (60%)

Now, fast forwarding to today, as the charts show, for an age bracket of over 40, to just meet the Army’s minimum qualifications, I would have to do:

  • 34 push-ups in 2 minutes
  • 38 sit-ups in 2 minutes
  • Run 2 miles in 18:18

I’ll do my initial assessment this week

So that’s how I’m going to do my initial assessment this week – and it’s the run I’m most concerned about. It has been a long, long time since I’ve run at all. 30 minutes walking fast on the treadmill just don’t compare to a run like that. I’ll publish my initial results after my assessment. I also plan to do this test each month of the year moving forward to see how I am doing.

My goal is to get back to 80%

To get to a level of 80% might be a worthwhile goal to have given some serious training or a longer period of time – like this year. An 80% level for me (over 40) would look like this:

  • 54 push-ups in 2 minutes
  • 57 sit-ups in 2 minutes
  • Run 2 miles in 15:54

Scoring chart links for reference

Here are links to all of the charts by age, gender and event.

Some Ranger inspiration

Also, just for inspiration – and sharing some props to my Ranger friends – are the higher standards that the higher-temp teams maintain.

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