National Guard soldiers are required to take a physical fitness test at least biannually that measures their muscular endurance and cardiovascular health. The test is strongly linked to the soldier's fitness level and ability to perform fitness-related tasks. It also provides a baseline assessment of physical fitness regardless of a soldier's job or assigned duty.
Sequence of Test
The test measures how many sit-ups and push-ups a soldier can do in two minutes and how long it takes him to run two miles. It is always administered in the same order: sit-ups, push-ups and two-mile run.
Soldiers are allowed to rest no less than 10 minutes, but ideally no more than 20 minutes between each portion of the test.
The test is considered invalid if the soldier cannot start and finish in two hours or less.
Scoring of Test
A passing score is 180 or higher, according to the Army Field Manual. Scores can range from 0 to 100 in each portion of the event.
Test scoring is based on the gender and age of the soldier, how many sit-ups and push-ups are completed within the two minutes and and run time.
Soldiers are required to meet 60 percent or better on their age group standard in order to pass the test. Those who score 270 or above with a minimum score of 90 in each event earn the Physical Fitness Badge, which they can wear on their physical fitness training uniform.
Why the Test is Important
The physical fitness test demonstrates each soldier's and unit's level of fitness, and can also be used to point out deficiencies in fitness. The test also helps point out soldiers who might need additional help in maintaining physical fitness.
Diagnosed Medical Conditions
If a soldier has a diagnosed medical condition that leaves her temporarily unable to complete one of the events in the test, they can be granted an extension that allows time for recovery and a return to physical fitness. If a soldier has a diagnosed medical condition that leaves her permanently unable to complete the two-mile run, she can complete another aerobic event such as a 2.5 mile walk, an 800 yard swim or a 6.2 mile bike ride.
There are no alternate exercises for the push-ups or sit-ups.
Maximizing Test Score
In order to maximize test scores, soldiers should commit to a regular workout routine that builds both muscular strength and endurance and promotes flexibility, according to the Army's website (see Resources). Good nutrition is also essential to obtaining high test score.