TABLE 2-6 Military Service Physical Fitness Test Components




Air Force

Marine Corps

Aerobic capacity

2-mile run

1.5-mile run

1.5-mile run

3-mile run

Upper body muscular fitness


(2 minutes)


(2 minutes)


(1 minute)

Pull-ups (men)

Flexed arm hang (women)

Abdominal muscular fitness


(2 minutes)


(2 minutes)


Crunches (1 minute)


(2 minutes)


SOURCE: Adapted from Singer, Palmer, Rogers, and Smith (2002).

members will be able to perform numerous tasks that lie outside their “job” tasks. As noted in DoD Instruction 1308.3: “It is DoD policy that physical fitness is essential to combat readiness and is an important part of the general health and well-being for Armed Forces personnel.” Thus, the committee accepted the policy that military service itself requires a minimum level of physical fitness of all uniformed Service members. Accepting that assumption nonetheless requires some specification of what level of fitness is required. A reasonable starting point is an examination of the Services’ policies with regard to physical fitness, its maintenance, and its measurement.

Physical Fitness Testing

All Services have some form of routine physical fitness testing for all members. Consequences of failure to pass this test vary but may include involuntary discharge from the Service. The components included in these tests vary considerably by Service. Table 2-6 presents the components of the tests by Service. In addition, the standards for passing these tests also vary by Service (Table 2-7). Although the Services use different measures in their physical fitness tests, they all include components measuring aerobic capacity, upper body muscle strength, and abdominal muscle strength.


It is useful to compare the civilian workplace with the military work setting in terms of the role and treatment of physical ability. The two differ in at least two dramatic ways. The first is that while physical performance is relevant for 100 percent of military jobs (since basic military

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