Air Force PT Requirements

By Chris Kolmar - Dec. 28, 2020

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Being a member of the Air Force requires physical capabilities that other positions do not. Even before arriving at basic training, you’ll be expected to meet physical fitness requirements that go above and beyond other roles.

Moving through the air force training program towards graduation demands diligence and hard work to reach these physical fitness standards.

What Is the Air Force BMT Fitness Test?

The Air Force Basic Military Training, or BMT, Fitness Test is designed to measure physical skills, endurance, and strength. It is required to pass the BMT test before graduating from boot camp because it focuses on fitness qualities that will become crucial as advanced training continues.

The BMT test is divided into three sections, which include running, push-ups, and sit-ups. The training provided at boot camp is done to prepare cadets for passing this final test.

Even though the phrase ‘basic-training’ lends itself to the definition that you’ll be gaining the skills while you’re there, the Air Force still expects a certain level of physical fitness before arrival. Candidates who come to basic training without any physical fitness abilities are usually eliminated early on. This ensures that you’ll be starting at a similar fitness ability to the other enlisted cadets. The requirements are different for men and women in Air Force Basic Training.

The recommended fitness level for men before Air Force basic training is:

  • Completing a mile and a half run in under 13:45 minutes

  • Over 35 sit-ups in a minute

  • Over 25 push-ups in a minute

The recommended fitness level for women before Air Force basic training is:

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  • Completing a mile and a half run in under 16:00 minutes

  • Over 30 sit-ups in a minute

  • Over 15 push-ups in a minute

These are general recommendations for the average fitness level of successful enlistees in Air Force Basic Military Training. However, these are not entering requirements.

Tips for Improving Physical Fitness Before Basic Training

  1. Drink More Water. The physical demands of preparing tirelessly for boot camp puts your body in a state of higher demand. One way to ease the physical stress of building up a work out routine to improve your fitness is by drinking more water. It’s a healthy habit that makes your body and mind feel up to snuff during physical fitness training.

  2. Keep A Record Of Your Activities. Keeping a record of your efforts towards improving your physical fitness shows you what areas you’re doing well and where you’re slacking off. Reading entries from even a week earlier shows you how much you’re progressing over time. You can use a traditional pen-and-paper notebook to keep track of your training or download a phone application.

  3. Set Fitness Goals. Setting realistic goals is the first step towards meeting any accomplishment, including the start of a physical fitness journey in preparation for Air Force BMT. Goals encourage motivation, even when working towards them gets difficult. Figure out where your physical fitness level is starting at and decide where you’d like to be in a given amount of time.

  4. Focus On Aerobics. The most crucial part of the basic military training test is running. It’s also the area that most people have trouble with. When you’re creating a plan for fitness training before going to boot camp, make sure that you’re focusing ample attention on an aerobic routine.

    The great thing about these kinds of activities is, the more you do them, the easier they get. Getting past the first few painful running sessions allows you to break the threshold and gain endurance skills.

  5. Do Fun Physical Activities. Just because you’re training for the very serious and organized occupation at the Air Force doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with the process. Use exciting activities like dancing to build up your endurance, strength, and balance. Not every part of your pre-training activity for boot camp has to be running miles and doing crunches.

Opening Assessment Of Physical Fitness In Air Force Basic Training

After arriving at Air Force basic training, individuals will be assessed for how physically fit they are. This assessment will include the same activities that cadets will need to do for their final test before graduating, in addition to an evaluation of their body composition.

By testing incoming enlistees when they get to basic training, it maps out a starting point for each person in terms of their health and fitness. Those whose initial fitness test scores are subpar will be monitored for improvement in the following weeks of boot camp.

Individuals who do not meet the opening BMT physical fitness criteria are considered unable to continue.

The Required Results On The Opening Physical Fitness Test For Men Include:

  • Completing a mile and a half run in 18:30 minutes

  • Having an abdominal circumference of 39 inches

The Required Results On The Opening Physical Fitness Test For Women Include:

  • Completing a mile and a half run in 21:35 minutes

  • Having an abdominal circumference of 35.5 inches

A candidate’s score on this opening assessment places them in a particular physical fitness category depending on their skill level.

Physical Fitness Activities At Air Force Basic Training

While attending Air Force basic training, most days are spent getting cadets up to an adequate physical fitness level through diligence and preparation. The weeks at BMT are long and intense. Cadets will spend six days a week on physical training regimes.

Much of the focus during the physical conditioning programs at Air Force basic training is aerobic exercise and improving muscular function since these are the areas that the final test will evaluate.

Examples Of Training Activities At Air Force BMT Include:

  • Weekly timed 1.5-mile runs

  • Long group runs to build aerobic endurance

  • Sprint running tasks

  • Crunches

  • Push-up and sit-up sets

  • Pull-ups

Repercussions of Not Meeting Fitness Standard

It’s recommended to work on your physical fitness in the months leading up to leaving for Air Force basic training. Cadets who don’t perform well on their initial fitness test are either be eliminated from participating in basic training due to medical limitations or placed under surveillance throughout basic training.

Basic training only lasts six weeks. Unless the struggling individual can make a full turn-around in that brief time, they’ll fail their final BMT fitness test. Candidates who fail their ending fitness test sometimes spend a few more weeks in basic training to improve their abilities and then retake it. However, each cadet is only handed an extra chance or two before they’re let go from basic training.

There are a lot of people who need to get through the boot camp stage. The United States Air Force isn’t going to waste time training someone who isn’t showing any signs of progress.

Graduation Requirements and the Air Force Physical Fitness Test

The last haul before graduating from basic training is completing the Air Force Physical Fitness Test. It’s what all the work was leading towards. Successfully finishing the Air Force Physical Fitness Test within the given standards is the last thing standing between an enlistee and Advance Individual Training.

The graduation requirements for the fitness test differ between male and female cadets.

The Air Force BMT Graduation Requirements For Males Include:

  • Completing a 1.5 mile run in 11:57 minutes

  • 42 sit-ups in one minute (age 29 and under), 39 sit-ups in one minute (age 30-39)

  • 27 push-ups in one minute (all ages)

  • Having an abdominal circumference of 35 inches maximum

The Air Force BMT Graduation Requirements For Females Include:

  • Completing a 1.5 mile run in 14:26 minutes

  • 38 sit-ups in one minute (age 29 and under), 29 sit-ups in one minute (age 30-39)

  • 18 push-ups in one minute (age 29 and under), 14 push-ups in one minute (30-39)

  • Having an abdominal circumference of 31.5 inches

What Is the Air Force Physical Fitness Award?

Fitness awards are tokens of recognition for individuals who performed exceedingly well on their Air Force BMT test. The requirements to become eligible for a physical fitness award are more intense than the basic requirements for passing the test and are challenging for even the most athletic participants.

There are multiple distinguished awards that cadets can receive for performing well on their fitness test. Some of them are simply a statement of satisfactorily passing, such as The Liberator award for meeting the minimum fitness test requirements. These awards are given out on a scale that works it’s way up towards the highest honor, The Warhawk Physical Fitness Award.

The Air Force Physical Fitness Awards Include:

  • The Liberator

  • Top PT Male And Female

  • Thunderbolt

  • The Warhawk

Requirements for the Warhawk Physical Fitness Award

Scoring high enough to receive The Warhawk Physical Fitness award takes incredible athleticism and a dedication to physical fitness. Passing the basic military training fitness test for graduation is difficult enough, but the Warhawk standards are a different ballgame.

The Requirements For The Warhawk Physical Fitness Award For Men Includes:

  • The ability to do ten pull-ups minimum

  • Completing a mile and a half run in 8:55 minutes

  • 70 sit-ups in one minute

  • 65 push-ups in one minute

The Requirements For The Warhawk Physical Fitness Award For Women Includes:

  • The ability to do five pull-ups minimum

  • Completing a mile and a half run in 10:55 minutes

  • 60 sit-ups in one minute

  • 40 push-ups in one minute

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Chris Kolmar

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Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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