APFT Standards for Soldiers in the U.S Army
APFT Standards are formulated and maintained to help keep soldiers healthy, strong and safe while serving in the military. Physical fitness and sound health is critical for the soldier’s lifestyle and also plays a key role in achieving the mission of any military task assigned. Regularly updated APFT Standards include fitness, body fat standards, and management of weight and height.
APFT Standards for physical fitness
The Physical fitness test is a combination of pushups, sit-ups, and the 2-mile run.
The 2-mile run is the ultimate test for the leg muscle endurance and the soldier’s aerobic fitness. To maintain the APFT Standards during the run, soldiers are not allowed to stop, although the pacing is allowed. Physical aggression such as pulling and pushing is equally not allowed. Soldiers are directed to the cooling area to let the body cool down after the 2-mile run.
APFT Standards for physical fitness also involve the performance of Pushups in which the starting position requires raising of the entire body until the soldier’s arms are fully extended. Excessive bending, resting while lying on the ground or removing the hands and the feet from the ground is not allowed during the exercise.
The entire body is lowered as a single body while the arms are generally parallel to the ground. The pushup exercises should measure the endurance of the soldier’s chest, triceps and the shoulders.
APFT Standards for body fat
The soldier’s body fat composition is under intense scrutiny under the APFT Standards and guidelines. Being overweight is not permissible. Soldiers are put under the weight control program to help monitor their weight.
While, on the program, soldiers found to be overweight are considered non-promotable as per the law, not authorized to attend a course in any of the Army professional schools, and are considered non-assignable to the position of command, command sergeant major or first sergeant.
The APFT Standards for the sit-ups requires that the soldier lies on the back on a flat surface or on the ground with the knees bent at right angles. The feet and ankles are held in position by a second person. The fingers should be placed behind the head throughout the exercise. By means of the abdominal muscles, the torso is raised to a vertical position until the neck is above the base of the spine. As a general rule of the APFT Standards, raising the buttocks off the ground, removing the fingers from the laced position behind the head, failing to lift the body to an upper position or stretching the knees beyond right angles leads to disqualification.
Female body fat standards by age
17-20 years – 30%
21-27 years – 32%
28-39 years – 34%
Above 40 years – 36%
Male body fat standards by age
17-20 years – 20%
21-27 years – 22%
28-39 years – 24%
Above 40 years – 26%
APFT Standards for weight and height
The maximum and minimum weight and height limits are set for both female and male soldiers according to the APFT Standards. On average, the Department of Defense goal for body fat composition is set at 18% for males and 26% for female soldiers.
The APFT Standards keep the soldiers in check and helps in the maintenance of a perfect body structure as well as ensuring a healthy lifestyle during their time of service in the Army.