Is the Army PT test too simple? The military says it prides itself on physical fitness. If this is the case, why are the newer generations coming in overweight and physically unfit as soldiers? My honest opinion is simple: the PT test is too easy, especially for older soldiers. Th Army boasts of equal opportunity, yet the standards are based on age and gender. The enemy doesn’t care about your age or gender when they fire a weapon at you or set off an IED, so why does the Army care about your age and gender when it comes to physical fitness? If the Army wanted to make a difference and lay claim to having physically fit soldiers, it would have one standard requirement for every solider, no matter age or gender. That would make it a real PT test and not a twenty-minute joke that anybody who trained for 30 days could successfully pass. Soldiers should also have to stay fit, not just pass the PT test once a year.
The Army Physical Fitness Test Today
The Army’s PT test today consists of two minutes of pushups, two minutes of sit-ups, and a two-mile run. As a certified physical trainer with a degree in exercise science, I can tell you that passing the Army’s PT test does not make you physically fit, especially based on the test minimum for each exercise. I would say the only hard part is the two-mile run. If you look at any units’ PT test results, most failures are in the two-mile run.
Males 17 to 21 years old have to do 35 push-ups, 47 sit-ups, and the two-mile run in 16:36 to pass the PT test. The females in that age group have to do 13 push-ups, 47 sit-ups, and a two-mile run in 19:42. The average age of a military male is age 22-26. The PT test minimums for that age group are 31 push-ups, 43 sit-ups, and a two-mile run in 17:30. You have to laugh looking at these minimums because what they say is if you train for less than 25 minutes a day, you are physically fit! This is beyond ridiculous and why there is and will continue to be an overweight problem in the Army.
With new evolution’s in training and equipment, there is no reason why the Army should not make some serious changes to its so-called PT test.
Is It Time to Change the Army PT Test?
The first change is to really be equal opportunity and get rid of the requirements for each age group and gender. They also need to hold the PT test more than once a year. It all starts with military motivation.
My dream Army PT test would begin with two minutes of as many times you can bench press your own body weight, then one minute of graded push-ups, a 100-yard sprint, two minutes of graded sit-ups, two minutes of graded lunges, two minutes of graded pull-ups and finish with a one-mile run. This is a PT test that a soldier could not pass just by training 25 minutes a day, two weeks prior to the PT test. The minimums should be based only on your MOS! If you’re in the infantry, the minimums should exceed those of more support MOS because the infantry is more physical. The standards should be the same for everybody within a MOS, male or female. If you can’t pass the requirement, choose a less physical MOS. The PT test should be given at least once every quarter and unannounced, same as the drug test. A soldier needs to always be prepared. Only then can you claim you’re physically fit.