The Air Force Fitness Program

The Air Force PT Test/Fitness Assessment is one aspect of the overall Air Force fitness program. The Air Force’s stated Fitness Program goals are:

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  • To motivate Airmen to participate in a year-round physical conditioning program.How do they motivate you? With a comprehensive fitness assessment twice a year. You know it as the Air Force PT Test/Fitness Assessment.
  • To emphasize total fitness, including proper aerobic conditioning, strength training, flexibility training, and healthy eating. Part of this emphasis lies in the Air Force PT Test requirements, which include both aerobic- and strength-measuring components.
  • To achieve Force-Wide health benefits including increased productivity, optimized health, and decreased absenteeism. As the Air Force gets healthier, this goal will be realized. It is for this reason that the Air Force is willing to put in the time and energy to implement a robust fitness program.
  • To maintain a higher level of readiness. This is one of the driving reasons the Air Force is willing to spend the time and energy on the fitness program.

What shaped the current Air Force PT Test/Fitness Assessment? The Air Force discovered that previous PT testing/fitness programs promoted airmen to “Train for the Test” rather than embrace a Culture of Fitness. The current Air Force PT Test/Fitness Assessment and the overall fitness program aims to encourage more airmen to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

What does the Air Force Fitness Program expect of Airmen? The program has been designed to increase individual assumption of responsibility for personal fitness. This is monitored and enforced through a PT test with strict scoring criteria that is administered twice yearly for most Airmen.  Those Airmen who score highly on the test may go a full year between fitness assessments.

The Air Force uses an overall composite fitness score and minimum scores per component based on aerobic fitness, body composition and muscular fitness components to determine overall fitness. The assessment components are comprised of:

  • Body composition evaluated by abdominal circumference measurements
  • Aerobic component evaluated by the 1.5-mile timed run
  • Muscular fitness component evaluated by the number of pushups and sit-ups completed within one minute

Are you medically exempt from the 1.5-mile run? If so, you will be assessed through an “alternative aerobic test” consisting of a 2-kilometer walk.

How is the test conducted? The fitness assessment must be completed within a three-hour window. In other words, once you start the first part of the test, you must finish all portions of the test within three hours or risk having your test declared invalid.

What is the body composition assessment? The body composition assessment, including height, weight and abdominal circumference measurements, is performed by fitness assessment cell staff. It must be the first component assessed during a fitness assessment. The abdominal circumference is used to obtain the body composition component score.

Are height and weight factored into the composite score? No. Height and weight are not factored into the composite score.

How is muscular fitness assessed? Muscular fitness is assessed using pushups and sit-ups.

Who administers fitness assessments? Fitness assessments will be completed by fitness assessment cell staff. Where no fitness assessment cell exists, assessments will be conducted by a certified unit fitness program manager or physical training leader.

Find complete details in AFI 36-2905