Fit Tip: Military Fitness

Posted On Jun 23, 2021 By Lisa Traugott

Every year we had to take the Presidential Physical Fitness Class, only my high school decided to have local Marines administer the test. (And I never got the cute Marine either. I always got the 45-year-old career Marine who smelled like Lucky Strikes and looked like he could kill me in 15 seconds for giggles.)

“Ladies,” shouted the scary drill sergeant. “The year is 1990. There is no such thing as a ‘ladies push-up!’ You will do as many push-ups as you can when I say go.”

He held up a stopwatch. We got on the overly polished gym floor on our hands and feet and looked at the soldier in frightened anticipation.

“Go! Do you think that is a push-up? Move! Move! Move! Get lower. Nose to the ground! Do you think you’re done? I’ve got forty seconds left on my stopwatch. Don’t even think of stopping!”

Other fifteen-year-old children collapsed around me. I was too scared to stop until he said to.


Oh no! Why is he pointing at me? My entire body flushed crimson. He walked over to me in stern strides. Everyone in 5th period gym class was looking at me now. I was on the floor panting. He was nine feet tall.

“How many push-ups did you do, young lady?”

“Um, fourteen…sir?”

His face broke into a broad smile and he gave me a thumbs up. “Good job!”

Do you think you can pass the current Military Physical Fitness Test? Each branch has their own requirements that are broken down by age group. Here’s the one for the Army. I’ve listed the minimum passing score for ages 27-31.

Military Physical Fitness Test

Exercise Reps Minimum passing
Push-ups 2 minutes 39
Sit-ups 2 minutes 45
2-mile run As fast as possible 17:00

I have to admit, sometimes it helps to have a drill sergeant. They are good at pushing you past your limits, redefining what’s possible. Give it a try. Not only is it a fun way to mix up your normal fitness routine, it’s a good way to gauge your basic fitness and gives you a goal to reach towards.

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Push-ups for Beginners