11. August 2005 · Comments Off on AF Fitness Test Changes – Again! · Categories: Air Force

In the 60s, the Air Force’s fitness approach made use of the RCAF’s 5BX plan (you can download a copy of the book here — seeing the book cover brings back memories from the 60s of my Dad going through this exercise series almost every evening). When I came on active duty in 1980, the Air Force’s annual fitness test was a 1.5 mile run.

The run stuck around for another 10 or 12 years and was ultimately replaced with the dreaded stationary cycle. This program was tweaked a couple of times in the 90s and I think eventually included sit-ups.

I haven’t kept up much on the Air Force’s fitness test since I retired, but I see they’ve brought back the run AND they’re still tweaking that:

In January 2004, the Air Force underwent a major change in the way it looked at fitness. As part of the Fit to Fight program, the service adopted a more stringent physical fitness assessment that measures aerobic fitness, physical strength/endurance and body composition.

Updates to AFI 10-248 will include a change in how body composition is measured, a new table for the running portion of the test that takes into account the runner’s elevation, and a change in the number of days an Airman must wait before retesting after having scored in the marginal category.

I missed the run when they took it away. It was simple and easy to measure.

I hated the bike test. It involved all sorts of complex calculations based on heart rate, time, resistance, and other stuff. I saw some clearly fit individuals (including a guy who biked miles on a daily basis) fail the stationary bike test. Furthermore, with the run, you could test everyone at once. Not so with the bike test. At one point in my career, one of my additional duties was running the bike test, and it was an administrative nightmare (and a time sink).

I know that new discoveries are made about wellness and fitness, and I know that our requirements have changed in the GWOT, but I do wonder if the Air Force will ever stop tweaking.

Anyway, I’m glad the run has made a comeback.

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