Armed Forces Day: Can You Train Like a Soldier?

Each year, the third Saturday in May is observed as Armed Forces Day. It’s a day when many Americans pay tribute to the men and women who serve in the U.S. military.

When military recruits decide to join the armed forces, they are encouraged to train for six to 12 months before entering boot camp to aid in their sector’s physical fitness test. A physical fitness test (PFT)—also referred to as a basic training test—assesses a recruit’s physical performance and endurance by measuring physical strengths, abilities, and cardiorespiratory fitness. Passing the PFT during basic training is the only way to continue to advanced training.

Do you think you have what it takes to train like a soldier? We’ve outlined PFT requirements and training regimens for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines.

Even if you’re not planning to join the military, incorporating military physical fitness training into your fitness routine will keep you in shape.

How to Prep for the Army PFT

The Army PFT consists of three physical challenges: two minutes of pushups, two minutes of situps, and a timed 2-mile run.

Below are the minimum requirements for passing the Army Basic Training PFT.

Age Group Gender Pushups Situps 2-Mile Run
17-21 Male 35 47 16:36
Female 13 47 19:42
22-26 Male 31 43 17:30
Female 11 43 20:36

How to Prep for the Navy PRT

To enter the Navy, recruits must complete a physical readiness test that is similar to the Army PFT, except that the run is 1.5 miles. Military.com recommends practicing the Navy training test several times to help with preparation.

How to Prep for the Marine Corps PFT

If you’re preparing to enter the Marine Corps, you must past the initial strength test (IST) that will consist of physical challenges that differ from the Army or Navy tests. Challenges for the Marine Corps’ IST include pushups (for men), flexed-arm hang (for women), situps, and a one- to one-and-a-half-mile run.

In addition to the initial strength test, Marines take a semiannual physical fitness test and a semiannual combat fitness test.

How to Prep for the Air Force PFT

Training for the Air Force PFT will be similar to training for the Army or Navy because the physical challenges are similar. Air Force PFT training helps gauge potential recruits’ endurance. Upon completing the training, recruits receive a ranking based on how well they perform the challenges.

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