Navy Physical Readiness Test (PRT) Overview

By Chris Kolmar - Jan. 8, 2021

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Earning a position in the United States Naval Force involves a high level of physical aptitude. Hopeful candidates who cannot pass the baseline entrance fitness test and the Navy Physical Readiness Test (PRT) are discharged after two tries 48 hours apart.

Preparing oneself for the physical requirements of the navy is a task that ideally starts before boot-camp. Otherwise, the recruit runs the risk of not meeting the minimum navy fitness standards.

What Are the Navy Fitness Requirements?

The navy fitness requirements are the minimum standard for the abilities they’ll accept in their personnel. Evaluating these traits involves recruits passing a series of physical stamina activities that measure their endurance and fitness skills. This is called the Navy Physical Readiness Test (PRT).

Navy enlistees are also required to pass a swimming test, as much of their work is done on the water. This assessment is called the Third Class Swim Test.

In addition to evaluating their fitness abilities, the navy performs a body composition assessment. This addresses conditions like the height to weight ratio and abdominal circumference.

The Third Class Swim Test

During the early phases of boot camp, participants are given the third class swim test to analyze their abilities in this area of fitness. The navy requires a swim test while other military branches do not because naval recruits spend the majority of their time on the water. Enlistees need to have heightened water stamina to deal with this reality.

The navy requires that its participants be “third-class swimmers,” which means that they can float to survive in water without a floater device if they need to wait for rescue – a vital skill for naval personnel to have.

The third class swim test includes:

  • Jump into the water from a distance of 5 feet and swim to the surface by themselves

  • Swimming 50 yards without stopping

  • Floating without a device for 5 minutes straight

Continuing through the naval ranks requires more swim tests in the future, but these are the first to be completed in boot camp.

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The Body Composition Assessment

Twice every year, members of the naval force complete a body composition assessment. This is meant to gauge the participant’s health and make sure they’re physically capable of following through with the demands of their role.

The body composition assessment includes:

  • Being within BMI standards

  • Being under a specific weight limit associated with height

  • Body parts measurement

  • A body fat limit of 26% for men and 36% for women

This portion of the navy’s fitness requirements also includes an overall health assessment and physical.

The Naval Physical Readiness Test (PRT)

The Naval PRT test is the main focus of new enlistees during boot camp. It is a physical fitness evaluation given to naval recruits as a condition for their graduation from boot camp and earning them the title of a sailor. Active sailors also retake the physical readiness test twice a year to confirm their abilities later on in their careers.

The events of the Naval PRT include:

  1. Sit-Ups. The number of sit-ups an enlistee can do in a measured time frame describes their core strength abilities. In this activity, another enlistee holds the feet of the one performing to keep them grounded with feet flat on the floor. Their arms are crossed over their chest with palms touching opposite shoulders.

    From a lying down position, the enlistee quite literally sits up to reach their knees and then goes back down. This constitutes one sit-up. The amount of sit-ups they can accomplish in one minute is their score.

    The requirements for sit-ups differ based on the participants’ age. An enlistee who’s 18 years old has to do at least 54 sit-ups in a minute. Alternatively, an experienced sailor whose 35 only has to do a minimum of 40.

  2. Push-Ups. The push-ups portion of the PRT is used to test a different set of muscular strengths – the upper body.

    To perform this second activity, participants start by putting their palms flat on the ground with the body straight behind, resting weight on the toes. It’s essential to keep a stiff, board-like posture when doing push-ups for the proper muscles to be used.

    Once in the correct position, participants lower their chest to graze the ground and push back up. They are given one minute to do as many push-ups as possible.

    There are variations for requirements based on age, but unlike the sit-ups test, there is also a consideration for gender. Women are only required to complete about half the amount of push-ups as men in the given timeframe.

  3. 1.5-mile run or cardio alternative. The final part of the PRT examines the enlistee’s cardio capabilities. Traditionally, this is done by completing a 1.5-mile run within timing guidelines dependent on the participant’s gender and age. Enlistees are not required to run the entire mile and a half, but they must finish in under a certain amount of minutes even if they choose to walk for a portion.

    The time limits for completing the 1.5-mile walk/run vary based on narrow age windows and gender.

    For example, a 24-year-old male enlisted needs to complete the run in 13 minutes and 15 seconds. A woman of the same age has two extra minutes to complete it. A sailor 20 years older would also be given an extra two minutes to complete the run.

    Instead of running the mile and a half, participants can opt for another cardio fitness test that measures similar qualities.

    This substitute test contains:

    • Swimming 500 yards

    • Peddling a bike or an elliptical for 12 minutes straight

How the Navy PRT Is Scored

A participant’s scoring on the Navy PRT test is found by calculating the average of their scores in each event. Each event has a score correlated to the number of sit-ups, push-ups, or the 1.5-mile run time they had.

The scores of each fitness test category are added together and divided by three to arrive at their overall PRT score.

Based on the value of their score, their abilities are ranked as either:

  • Satisfactory

  • Good

  • Excellent

  • Outstanding

Within each of these rankings, the enlistee or sailor also falls into a distinction of being high, medium, or low performing.

To pass the Navy Physical Readiness Test and graduate, their score must average at least 60, which is a ranking of Good and a performance of low.

For the bi-yearly PRT check-in’s for sailors, the minimum requirement is an average score of 50 or a ranking of Satisfactory at medium level.

The Navy PRT Score Rankings are as follows:

Outstanding-High-100
Outstanding-Medium-95
Outstanding-Low-90

Excellent-High-85
Excellent-Medium-80
Excellent-Low-75

Good-High-70
Good-Medium-65
Good-Low-60 (Minimum Score To Pass Boot Camp)

Satisfactory-High-55
Satisfactory-Medium-50 (Minimum Score For Sailors)
Satisfactory-Low-45

Tips to Prepare for the Navy PRT

  1. Start getting active before going to boot camp. The best way to go into the navy boot camp prepared is to get into an active routine before going. Altering your mindset to become more fitness-oriented is already a positive movement.

    Create an exercise routine that involves activities you enjoy to improve your stamina when it comes time to take the Physical Readiness Test.

  2. Talk to your doctor. Entering the navy is a huge mental and physical commitment. Speaking with a doctor or any qualified healthcare professional beforehand helps pinpoint your starting level of fitness.

    It also provides information about any risks you should be aware of before participating in a physically strenuous position, such as navy boot camp.

  3. Start eating healthier. The food you choose to consume is the fuel you’ll use to power through exercising and the navy PRT.

    Think about altering your diet before going to boot camp to prepare for the navy physical tests. It boosts your endurance and training abilities more than you realize.

  4. Don’t neglect cardio. Although it’s considered the most annoying activity to work on by most enlistees, do not neglect your cardio training and skills. When developing a work-out routine in preparation for boot camp and the navy PRT, include some form of cardio to train your body in this area.

    While every category of the navy fitness tests involves the required skills to succeed as a sailor, the cardio abilities are the most challenging to build up in a short time. Go into boot camp with a comprehensive cardio routine.

  5. Get better sleep. Sleep practices are similar to the food we put into our bodies because it gives us the energy to do daily activities. When a person’s daily activities are as physically intense as a navy enlistee in boot camp, this is even more important. While you’re in the swing of getting your exercise and food habits in order, evaluate your sleep schedule and how you could improve upon it.

    It’s recommended that people get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night to be fully functional during the day. If you’re not hitting that mark, it could hurt you when it comes time to pass the Navy Physical Readiness Test.

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Chris Kolmar

Author

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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