How to Pass a Navy PFA

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All branches of the military, including the U.S. Navy, administer a physical fitness assessment as a condition of passing boot camp or officer training. The Navy assessment consists of a medical screening, an analysis of your body composition based on your height and weight, and a physical readiness test, or PRT. The same three-pronged assessment will be administered twice yearly throughout your Navy career. If you train consistently for the physical readiness test, your efforts will be reflected in your body composition and the medical screening as well.

The Physical Readiness Test

  • The initial Navy physical readiness test consists of a two-minute pushup test, a two-minute sit-up or curl-up test, and a timed 1.5-mile run. Once out of boot camp, you have the option of substituting a timed 500-yard swim, a 12-minute stationary bike ride or 12 minutes on an elliptical trainer in place of the timed run. The Navy physical readiness test is scored according to both age and sex.

The Running Test

  • To pass the physical readiness test, young men between the ages of 17 and 19 must complete the 1.5-mile run in 13:40 or less. Women of the same age must complete the run in 16:20 or less. You can complete any mix of running or walking during the test; the Navy recommends starting your training with a mixture of running and walking, gradually increasing the run intervals and decreasing your walk intervals until you're simply running. Runs of 2 or 3 miles are more than adequate training for your 1.5-mile run.

The Pushup Test

  • Men aged 17 to 19 must be able to do at least 42 pushups within two minutes; women of the same age must do at least 19 pushups. You must lower your body to at least a 90-degree bend in the elbows with each pushup. The Navy recommends training by doing three or four sets of as many pushups as you can, with a two-minute rest between each set. Supplement your training by doing bench presses or chest flyes as well; remember to leave yourself at least one full rest day between strength training workouts.

The Sit-Up Test

  • This is the only test in which male and female recruits are both judged by the same standard: At least 50 sit-ups -- sometimes called curl-ups -- in two minutes. You must keep your arms crossed over your chest and touch your elbows to your thighs on each repetition. As with pushups, the Navy recommends training with multiple sets of sit-ups, allowing a two-minute rest between sets. If you can already do the minimum number of sit-ups required, train to boost your score by holding a weight plate against your chest as extra resistance.

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