The U.S. military requires its service members to be physically fit. That’s why it tests each service member, regardless of age, grade or duty assignment, to make sure the force is mission ready.
Learn what the test requires and get prepared.
The Navy makes sure its force is combat ready by requiring active-duty members to take a physical fitness assessment, or PFA, twice a year. The PFA has three parts:
- A standard medical screening
- A body composition assessment
- The Physical Readiness Test
Physical fitness test requirements
The physical fitness test assesses the strength and endurance of the upper, middle and lower sections of the body, as well as the cardiovascular system. It includes:
- Curl-ups, two minutes, timed
- Pushups, two minutes, timed
- A timed 1.5-mile run or a 500-meter swim; alternatives are 12 minutes on an elliptical machine or a stationary bicycle
Preparing for the physical fitness test
Here are some ways to prepare for the test:
- Take advantage of Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs, fitness centers and swimming pools to improve physical endurance.
- Set up and start a physical fitness and training plan at least six to eight weeks before the test. Track your progress in writing, noting where you need to improve.
- Develop a backup plan for temporary duty or other interruptions of your program.
- Train with a buddy for support and encouragement.
- Pre-test yourself once a week. Time yourself on each of the tests you'll undergo. Use these results to work on improving your score.
- Cut down on fast food, stay hydrated and get enough sleep.
These tips can help you prepare for test day:
- Relax up to two days before the test, or up to five days if you're older than 40. Tired, sore muscles will do nothing to improve your score.
- Drink water, eat fruits, vegetables and lean proteins the night before the test.
- Eat one light meal on the day of your test. If you need immediate energy, try an apple, banana or carrots.
- Wear the official blue and gold Navy physical training uniform.
- Drink two to three cups of water two to three hours before the test, then another cup just before. Drink small amounts of water slowly during breaks. Drink another two to three cups of water during the first two hours following the test.
- Warm up by doing a lighter version of your exercise activity, such as jogging, before running. Afterward, do cool-down exercises so your heart rate and breathing return to their resting rates.
Your raw score for each event will be assigned a point value according to your age and gender. A passing score can range from satisfactory to outstanding. If you have to retake the test, reassess your fitness routine and work your way back into top condition.