Physical fitness is a priority in the Air Force. While some Airmen dread taking physical fitness tests, there are ways to prepare for it.
“One mistake I see from time to time are Airmen who do not prepare ahead of time for their physical fitness test, which can lead to either an undesirable score or a fail,” said Dion Perry, 56th Force Support Squadron fitness technician.
Another misconception is if one makes the minimum for the run, sit-up and pushup portions of the test they pass. This isn’t true, Perry said.
“For each portion of the test, an individual is given a certain amount of points. Making the minimums will not give a person the amount they need in order to pass,” he said. “To pass, one should strive to put in at least three to five more repetitions to their sit-ups and pushups in addition to running at least 2:33 faster than their minimum run time.”
As well as earning points for each portion of the test, an individual must also pass their waist measurement. The maximum waist measurement for men is 39.5 inches and for women it’s 35.5 inches, Perry said.
To have the best chances of scoring over 90 percent or just improving one’s physical fitness test score, Perry recommends starting at least 90 days prior to the test date.
“Give yourself 90 days and make sure to mock test every 30 days; this will give you a clearer picture of where you are,” Perry said. “The first step is to set up a fitness regimen.”
For the run portion of the test, it is advised to run at least three times a week, said Marlyn Shults, 56th Aerospace Medicine Squadron exercise physiologist.
“Members should gradually work up to running three miles three times a week,” Shults said. “I also suggest participating in another form of aerobic activity that is not weight bearing like rowing, cycling or swimming two times a week.”
In addition to running, one should also practice pushups and sit-ups 90 days prior to the test date.
“Whenever you have the chance, practice your sit-ups,” Perry said. “You can also try different variations of sit-ups such as rocky sit-ups where you touch your elbows to your knees alternating with each repetition or try some crunches. As for pushups, make sure you focus on form and break 90 degrees. You can do them at work or before going to bed. It’s all about practice.”
If the waist measurement is a concern, Perry advices making an appointment with the on-base registered dietician who can help with answering questions about weight loss and nutrition.
“If you really want to excel and score 90 or better you can,” Perry said. “Only you can decide to put in the effort to achieve your fitness goals.”
To make an appointment with the on-base dietician, Aaron Anderson, call him at (623) 856-3778.
There is also a six-week running program available for those who are scoring 45 points or less on their run. Participants who complete the program gain more than just faster run times; the last program demonstrated a 2:33 run time improvement, 15 pushups and 11 sit-ups more on average for the 15 participants. To sign up, the member’s commander or unit fitness program manager should submit names to Shults at firstname.lastname@example.org.