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Preparing for the Most Common Physical Fitness Training

Preparing for the Most Common Physical Fitness Training

(Lawrence Jackson / AP)

Stew Smith, CSCS

After doing research and writing about physical fitness tests for military and public service agencies for the past ten years, I recognized a common appearance of the 1.5 mile run, pushups, and sit-ups test as a near universal basis for testing fitness levels. The groups who use the Common PFT are the Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and more than 50% of federal, state, and local police agencies as a minimum standard for physical testing.

In the military units, they also have alternate testing exercises such as bike or swim for the run if injury prevents a member from running and both military and law enforcement units alter the amount of time for pushups and sit-ups. Some have one minute tests and others have two minute tests for the strength testing portion. The Coast Guard and some police departments get creative and substitute pushups with a bench press endurance test, but more than half of the United States Military and Law Enforcement Agencies use what I call the Common PFT.

Preparing for this PFT is not that difficult. In fact, many times most service members can train for a few weeks and score passing grades on the test as the minimum standards are not that difficult. Achieving the minimal standards on anything should not be the peak of our endeavors no matter what we do personally. But, there are many jobs in the military and law enforcement that do not require rigorous physical activity, however, if your job puts you in harm’s way, you should reconsider your fitness level. Whether you are saving yourself, another victim, or your partner, having the strength, endurance, and flexibility can make a difference between life and death. Yes, fitness is THAT important.

As the regular military and public service agencies use the Common PFT as a standard for fitness, the specialized groups in these units like SWAT teams, Fire Fighters, Navy SEAL, Air Force PJs, and Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers all have more rigorous standards and testing exercises. The above units and other Special Ops groups require differing levels of fitness due to the extreme conditions and missions they must be prepared for. There are many workout programs that can be found on the advanced special operations groups above at the PoliceLink Fitness Store.

The good news about the Common PFT is that there are plenty of articles written over the past few years to assist with performing better on the test. Scoring better on physical fitness tests can affect promotion rate, pay-grade, energy levels due to better overall health, as well as your ability to protect and defend yourself and others in an emergency (natural or man-made).

Now, there is an ebook that addresses the PFT standard, but also helps with functional strength of the abs, lower back, hips, upper body and running. More than half the military and law enforcement personnel have to do this PFT – That is why I call this training plan the PFT Bible!

Go to your training in the shape of your life with this program to help ace the standard Physical Fitness Test (PFT). Pushups, situps, and running are featured in this program accompanied with weights as optional training tools as well.

Good luck with your training

Email Stew Smith CSCS should you have any questions. His writings help prepare the Heroes of Tomorrow for today’s military, law enforcement and fire fighting professions.


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