Top 10 PT Test Mistakes (and 12 Weeks of Free Workouts to Fix Them)

1. You are not prepared for the physical demands of the PT test.

2. Your diet does not meet your fitness goals or is too low in calories.

3. You do not have enough rest between sets and exercises due to fatigue from previous workouts or lack of sleep during weekdays and late nights on weekends.

4. You do not warm up properly before exercise.

5. You do not stretch properly after exercise.

6. You overdo it with weights or other strength training equipment.

7. Your workout schedule is inconsistent, which may cause you to skip days or even weeks of work out sessions and fail to reach your fitness goals in the allotted time period (see #2 above).

8. You do not follow a proper nutrition regimen.

9. You do not take adequate breaks between sets and exercises.

10. You lift weights without proper form, which causes injury or pain later on in life (see #5 above).

12-week training program for the APFT. This is a suggested training schedule to help you get through the APFT.

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Feel free to add, subtract, or change it to fit your own fitness goals. Remember to listen to your body and rest when necessary. Rest is just as important as working out!

Weeks 1-2: Cardio

Warm up for 10 minutes with light cardio and dynamic movements before each workout.

Go for a 20-30 minute jog.

Do 40 minutes of cardio at the gym (elliptical, treadmill, stationary bike).

Weeks 3-4: Strength training

Perform each of the following exercises for ONE set of 12 repetitions (reps) with a 1-minute break between each set. Do 3 sets per exercise.

Push-ups: Standard or kneeling if you need

Sit-ups: Feet anchored or knees in the air, whichever is more comfortable

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Pull-ups: If you can’t do at least 1 rep with your bodyweight, anchor your feet to a bench or buy some shoes with toe straps from the sport section of a store. If you are over 180 pounds, use an extra resistance band looped around your legs for added resistance.

Dumbbell or kettlebell swings: If you don’t have access to these, just substitute another exercise. The goal is to get your heart rate up, so you can use a medicine ball throw on a wall or slam dunk a basketball for a minute if you want.

Weeks 5-6: Running

Warm up for 10 minutes with light cardio and dynamic movements before each workout.

Run 1 mile as fast as you can.

Walk 1 minute and repeat 5 times.

Cool down with a 10-minute jog.

Weeks 7-8: Running and calisthenics

Warm up for 10 minutes with light cardio and dynamic movements before each workout.

Run 800 meters as fast as you can. Walk 1 minute, repeat 4 times.

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Do 1 set of max push-ups (see Week 4) between each set of 800 meter runs.

Cool down with a 10-minute jog and stretch.

Weeks 9-10: Rucking

Wear a backpack with 20-30 pounds of rocks or weight plates in it. Go for a 3-mile walk.

Wear the backpack while you walk, but take it off to do the calisthenics in Weeks 7-8.

Weeks 11-12: Final preparation

Do Weeks 5-6 again. This should be easy by now.

Wear your rucksack for the 3-mile walk in Weeks 9-10.

Take the week before the test to rest and eat well. Good luck!

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Tips for Taking the Test

Drink water and sports drinks like Gatorade in the days before you take the test. Stay hydrated!

Get a good night’s sleep before the test.

Eat a big breakfast that includes some simple carbs, like pancakes or cereal, and some protein, like eggs or a peanut butter sandwich.

Listen to your body. If you need to slow down, take a break or stop to stretch, then do it!

The most important thing is that you are physically able to finish.

Find more fitness tips at the Army Fitness Guide!


You have completed the Army’s minimum physical fitness standards and are ready to take on any challenge the Army has in store for you. Whether you’re continuing your journey as an Active Duty Soldier or seeking opportunities in the Army Reserve, your hard work has paid off.

Being physically fit means that you’re one step closer to reaching your goals and the Army has plenty of opportunities to help you accomplish those right now.

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Continue your journey to fitness by taking advantage of available sports facilities, joining a recreational sports team or organizing your own, like an intramural soccer league. No matter what your interests are, with the Army’s diverse array of opportunities and the many ways to stay physically active, you’ll be able to find something that excites you.

Why is getting fit and staying that way important for me?

Getting and staying fit has many benefits for your overall well-being.

You’ll be able to perform your job better.

You’ll be less likely to get sick and miss work or training because of it.

You’ll have more energy to do the things you want to do in your free time, like hobbies, games, or just hanging out with friends.

You’ll sleep better at night.

You’ll have more confidence in yourself and your abilities.

You’ll feel better about yourself.

Where can I go to find a wide range of fitness activities?

Whether you like team sports or individual activities, there are a variety of options available for you to choose from. The Army offers a wide range of fitness facilities and programs to take part in. Choose from the following activities:

Base or post recreational facilities and services

These are the gyms, pools, tennis courts, running tracks, and other exercise areas available on your base. You can take part in individual or group sports and train in a variety of fitness programs.

Some facilities offer specialized equipment to meet the needs of their members.

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Use the Resources Available

From an outdoor basketball court to weight rooms and indoor running tracks, the Army has numerous facilities for you to use. There’s sure to be one near you or one that is easy for you to get to.

Here are some great places to get fit:

Your Garrison

Most garrisons have gyms and sport facilities. Many have pools, running tracks, and weight rooms.

Some even have outdoor climbing walls and ski slopes! Many of these are available to you at little or no cost.

Army Community Centers (KMWs)

Army Community Centers (KMWs) are located on most Army installations. They provide a variety of social, recreational, educational, and health-related programs.

Programs and facilities are available for eligible military members, their family members, and installation personnel.

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Recreation and Sports Centers

This is a listing of Army Recreation and Sports Centers by state: (LINK REMOVED)

Army/Military Sports Federations

You can also use the resources offered by Army and Military sport federations such as the following: (LINK REMOVED)

Army Reserve Centers

Find the facilities available at your local Army Reserve centers at this link: (LINK REMOVED)

What is the Army’s policy on steroids?

The use of anabolic steroids is prohibited in the Army. (AR 600-85)

How can I get more information about physical fitness?

For additional information about Army fitness programs, go to the Army Physical Fitness Web Page (LINK REMOVED) or contact your unit’s wellness program manager.

Help, I can’t meet the standards!

Don’t panic! These standards are minimum requirements.

They are here to make sure you are able to survive the physical rigors of combat should the need arise. If you can meet these standards, great! If you cannot, do not despair! The following links contain a multitude of resources to help you achieve a level of fitness that will meet the requirements for your specific job.

What if I’m unable to meet the physical standards?

If you are not able to meet the physical standards, do not worry! Your results are not a measure of your manhood nor are they a measure of how much of a soldier you are! There are plenty of soldiers, male and female, who are unable to meet the standards right now. The key to getting in shape is to stay motivated!

Staying Motivated

The Army has plenty of physical training programs. Simply talking to your unit’s fitness leader should give you plenty of options to choose from.

If not, there are still plenty of resources available to help you. The following links contain a multitude of ways you can get into shape. Pick one that suits you and stick with it! Before you know it, you’ll be meeting the standards in no time!

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Physical Training Tips

Whether you’re a runner or a weightlifter, these tips should help you become a better you! (LINK REMOVED)

Special Operations Command Physical Training Guide

A list of physical training programs for each component of Army Special Operations. (LINK REMOVED)

Weight Control and Physical Fitness

A great place for information on nutrition and general fitness. (LINK REMOVED)

Special Operations Forces Guide to Fitness

The title pretty much sums it up. (LINK REMOVED)

Top 10 PT Test Mistakes (and 12 Weeks of Free Workouts to Fix Them) - GYM FIT WORKOUT


Army Physical Fitness and Sports Program

A presentation on the various physical fitness programs available to the soldiers of the U.S.


You can do it!

If you have come this far, then obviously you have the desire to serve your country and make something of yourself. The physical standards are there to ensure that you are able to survive the rigors of combat should the need arise.

However, meeting the standards is not a requirement for enlistment. Your country needs people like you. People who are determined to make a difference and committed to serving their community and their country. Don’t let a number determine whether or not you serve. You are better than that.

So what’s it going to be? Are you going to just skim over the information and pretend that you’re not interested because you couldn’t meet one of the standards? Or are you going to take the information you’ve learned here and use it to make yourself a better person?

The choice is up to you.

Good luck,

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Sources & references used in this article:

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Effects of ranolazine with atenolol, amlodipine, or diltiazem on exercise tolerance and angina frequency in patients with severe chronic angina: a randomized … by BR Chaitman, CJ Pepine, JO Parker, J Skopal… – Jama, 2004 –

The efficacy of various kinds of error feedback for improvement in the accuracy and fluency of L2 student writing by J Chandler – Journal of second language writing, 2003 – Elsevier

Feeling good by D Ravitch – 2013 – Vintage

Effects of the red pen by DD Burns – 1981 –

Association of resident fatigue and distress with perceived medical errors by HD Semke – Foreign language annals, 1984 – Wiley Online Library