People may guess that the military has challenging physical tests for enlistment, but to many who want to enlist, the requirements are a mystery. Each branch of the military has its own physical fitness tests, which soldiers must pass on a regular basis to enlist and to continue their service. These requirements differ according to age and sex, but learning the general requirements can guide future servicemen and -women as they get in shape for enlistment.
Physical Fitness Test: Running
To enlist, future soldiers must pass a rigorous physical fitness test that includes long-distance running. The Army Physical Fitness Test (PFT) includes a 2-mile run that Army Rangers must complete in less than 15 minutes and 12 seconds (15:12)—though the Army prefers a time under 13 minutes. Those enlisting in the Navy or Air Force must pass an annual fitness test that includes a 1.5-mile run; the Navy requires a time under 12:51 for males under age 30 and under 15:26 for women under 30. The Marine Corps' PFT, which Marines must pass every six months, has a 3-mile run.
Physical Fitness Test: Push-Ups and Sit-Ups
The PFT also has push-up and sit-up challenges. Army Rangers must complete at least 49 push-ups in two minutes, though at least 80 push-ups is preferred. They must also complete at least 59 sit-ups in two minutes, while over 80 is again preferred. The Navy PFT requires men under age 30 to complete 29 push-ups and 38 sit-ups, while women the same age must complete 23 push-ups and 32 sit-ups.
Additional PFT Requirements
Those enlisting in the Navy or Coast Guard must complete a swimming challenge. The Navy PFT requires men under age 30 to swim 500 yards in 12 minutes, while women under age 30 must swim 400 yards in 12 minutes. The Navy PFT also includes a sit-and-reach flexibility test. Men under age 30 must reach 16.5 inches forward, while women the same age must reach 19.25 inches.
The military wants to check applicants' health to avoid the spreading of disease and to ensure that all enlisted men and women can undergo the rigorous physical training required of their jobs. The Army's list of enlistment standards states that applicants must be in shape to complete training and perform physical duties. Contagious diseases or medical conditions that would distract from duty are disqualifying.
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