Abdominal Circumference Rules
Air Force members have been very vocal about the perceived unfairness of the PT Test abdominal circumference rules. The common argument is that some people are simply predisposed to larger waistlines even though they may be very fit. Service members argued that they should not be penalized for failures that are driven solely by a failure in the abdominal circumference portion of the fitness assessment when they perform satisfactorily on the performance-based portions of the assessment.
Air Force leaders listened and modified AFI 36-2905. The altered guidance allows some individuals who pass the performance portions of the PT Test, but fail the abdominal circumference portion, the opportunity to pass the test based upon a favorable score on the Body Mass Index (BMI) screening or the Body Fat Assessment (BFA) as outlined in AFI 36-2905. However, the AFI specifies highly restrictive caveats on eligibility:
- The individual must perform the run, not the walk, for the aerobic portion of the PT Test.
- The individual must not be exempt from any portion of the test.
- The individual must earn at least 75 points (out of a possible 80 points) on the pushups, situps, and run portions of the PT Test.
An individual who meets all the criteria above, but who has failed the abdominal circumference portion of the test, will be afforded the opportunity to pass their PT Test by obtaining a favorable score on either the BMI or the BFA:
- The BMI screen will be administered first. To pass, Airmen must not exceed 25 kg/m^2. This requirement applies to both genders, regardless of age. Passing the BMI ends the PT test with a passing score. Abdominal circumference will be marked as “exempt” for the fitness assessment. A failure on the BMI requires the administration of the BFA.
- Passing scores on the BFA are gender specific. Females must not exceed 26% body fat. Males must not exceed 18% body fat. Passing the BFA ends the PT test with a passing score. Abdominal circumference will be marked as “exempt” for the fitness assessment. A failure on the BFA drives a PT Test failure for exceeding standards on the abdominal circumference portion of the test.
The Air Force Health PT Test Calculator has full support for BMI and BFA, including eligibility criteria. If you are eligible, the app will notify you and guide you through the scoring of your BMI and BFA, calculating your score accurately for all outcomes.