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Army fitness standards are a set of physical fitness standards determined by the United States Army that all soldiers must meet and maintain while on active duty. In order to determine a soldier’s level of endurance and cardiovascular fitness, the U.S. Army administers the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) at least twice a year and all soldiers are required to participate. Members of the National Guard take the APFT annually instead of bi-annually.
If an examinee fails all or a portion of the APFT, he or she is given three months to meet current army fitness standards by passing the exam and is denied the possibility of promotion, enlistment extension and reenlistment. The administration of the APFT is outlined in an Army field manual in addition to personal and unit physical training exercises and an alternative exam is given to those with physical conditions that prevent them from participating in the standard APFT.
Army fitness standards are determined by the soldier’s age and gender as detailed in the APFT score tables. The APFT consists of three fitness challenges: a 2-mile run, and two minutes each of sit-ups and push-ups. Prior to beginning, the army fitness standards for each event are read out loud and the correct form of each exercise is then demonstrated by a soldier who is not taking the test or who is a grader. Examinees have two minutes to complete as many sit-ups as possible followed by an additional two minutes for push-ups. Walking is discouraged during the timed 2-mile run and a soldier is disqualified if he or she receives any physical help or leaves the designated course.
The minimum number of sit-ups and push-ups a soldier is expected to complete in each two minute event is determined by the examinee’s gender and age. For example, a male between the ages of 17 and 21 should perform at least 42 push-ups and a minimum of 53 sit-ups in two minutes. A female over the age of 62 must complete at least seven push-ups and 26 sit-ups. Acceptable time ranges for the 2-mile run also vary according to the age and gender. A female soldier who is 32 to 36 years old has to run 2 miles in just under 22 minutes while a male soldier of the same age must finish in less than 18 minutes.
Each APFT event is scored out of 100 points and a passing total is 180 points or more or at least 60 points in each category. The minimum score is slightly lower for new recruits during Initial Entry Training. Soldiers that score at least 90 points in each of the three APFT events are awarded a Physical Fitness Badge worn on the training uniform. By taking the APFT examinees also earn promotion points that contribute towards their eligibility for promotion. Army fitness standards help ensure that soldiers are physically capable of combat and other duties.
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