Air Force Physical Fitness Test: Hard Core Testing for Airmen

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Serving in the military, law enforcement or other public safety entities requires maintenance of a healthy physical fitness level. We’ve seen that many who serve in public safety roles were at exceptionally good physical fitness levels when they began serving. As time passed, their fitness levels gradually declined to levels below that needed to effectively and safely perform.

The Air Force recognizes this and developed the Air Force Physical Fitness Test to test the physical endurance of Air Force men on a regular basis. It originated in 2004 and replaces the annual test that had been previously used for several years. As of June 2009, airmen are required to test twice each year.

The fitness program awards points in four areas, including aerobic (for endurance), body composition, push-ups, and crunches. As you can see, the test really focuses on cardiovascular activity and the core.

Test Ratings are based on scale of three categories or performance levels, depending on your age, with excellent performance represented by a score of 90% or above, good by a score of 75% to 89.9%, and a failing score being below 75%. Usually, such a rating scale considers at least 70% to be passing. This is a strong indication that the test is challenging and just performing at a typical average level is not good enough, which is understandable considering that most of the work of airmen requires physical strength and stamina.

Airmen who fail have 90 days to repeat the test. Within the past couple of years pass/fail fitness test results became included on performance reports. This means that failing the fitness test can have a significant negative impact on an Air Force member’s career growth and retention. Medical exemption is the only acceptable justification for not completing all the entire test.

These are the minimum performance requirements for the test:

  • Males: 33 push-ups, 40 crunches, and 1.5-mile run in 12 minutes and 30 or less
  • Females: 18 push-ups, 35 crunches, 1.5-mile run in 14 minutes and 30 seconds or less

The key to passing the test is in your training. Because the test is so challenging, you must go for the gusto. As a goal, train beyond what you know is required to pass the test. Train hard and wisely, but don’t overdo it. You’ll have to work hard during the Air Force workouts, so training hard in preparation for the fitness test is in your best interest. Affirmations and visualization are two proven methods for realizing goals, so affirmations and visualization to help you see yourself accomplishing your goals of passing the test.

Believe in yourself and your abilities. Put in the effort you know is required to not just pass the test, but excel in your performance. Keep in mind that new standards which will likely result in a higher failure rate are lurking, so you must always be prepared. Make maintaining a stellar physical fitness level a top priority and you won’t be caught off guard by having to pass a test.