The Army APFT improvement guide

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So finish off that coffee, grab a stopwatch and get ready to get after it! Every soldier that I have ever come across wants to improve their 2-mile time but are unsure as to what the best approach is. And then give you a plan to follow to go crush that next 2-miler on your APFT!

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If you want to be fast you have to train fast. If you want to be slow train slow. The only time I would recommend longer distances when training someone up for a 2 mile is if they are so deconditioned that they need to get more volume in. This is awesome and is arguably one of the best and fastest ways to improve your 2-mile time. For example, soldiers will often go out and crush the 1st m in 90 seconds or less without much of an issue.

Then the trouble comes on the 2nd repeat where they run it seconds slower. And then the 3rd when they run it seconds slower and then the 4th when they are almost 45 seconds slower than the 1st repeat. This is a prime example of where you need to train smarter and not harder. Yes there is a time when you have to go all out but you should wait until your final interval of the day for that. For example, if you have 5 total intervals run the fifth one as hard as possible, not the first one. This all comes back to the train smarter not harder approach.

APFT Training Plan

Rest is one of the most underutilized performance enhancing methods around. No matter what type of training you are doing you need to rest. The magic happens with the rest that you take. Sadly it can be looked at as a sign of weakness to take a rest day. So get great sleep, take a rest day between runs and put your self in the best possible position for success on your next APFT. When it comes down to it, if all you do is run you are missing out on the massive benefits of doing some added strength work. Not only will you be increasing your whole body strength and reducing the likelihood of injuries but you will also improve your running efficiency; and the more efficient the runner the better.

Runners with a strong lower body, upper body and core will typically outperform those without. By having the added strength you will improve your performance by reducing the amount of energy the body loses to weaknesses within the system. Dailey always works out with one or more soldiers, sticking to a simple but tough PT plan.

Preparing for and Passing the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT)

Here's a look at his typical PT routine. He does four sets of the following combination of upper body and core exercises:. For the upper body: 10 reps of free weight dumbbell bench presses and dumbbell curls. For the core: crunches on an exercise ball, followed by crunches on the ball or floor. He follows those up with two sets of 75 sit-ups. After the four sets he he finishes with 15 tricep dips followed by bicep burnouts, where you run dumbbell curls as fast as you can until you reach muscle failure.

The target is 30 reps on each side.


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He repeats this four times as well. Eight pull-ups followed by 40 pushups, followed by sit-ups or crunches and 25 left oblique and 25 right oblique crunches. Nine pull-ups followed by 45 pushups, followed by sit-ups or crunches and 25 left oblique and 25 right oblique crunches. Ten pull-ups followed by 50 pushups, followed by sit-ups or crunches and 25 left oblique and 25 right oblique crunches.

How to Pass Your Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT)

Nine pull-ups followed by sit-ups or crunches and 25 left oblique and 25 right oblique crunches. Dailey takes Sundays for personal PT. What he does on Sundays could tie into his overall fitness plan, or something recreational. This could include swimming, a long run, a bike ride or playing sports.


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Dailey, who at 42 is the youngest soldier to serve as the sergeant major of the Army, has maxed out the Army's PT test for almost his entire career. An infantryman by trade, the 5-foot-9 Dailey tries to take care of himself, watching his weight and nutrition in tandem with his PT regimen.

Cut 2 minutes from your PT run in 2 months — Olympic coach's tricks

Dailey, who quit smoking cold turkey about 15 years ago, also tries to get six or seven hours of sleep each night, which sometimes can be difficult because of the demands of his job. Dailey weighs himself every morning — he came in at pounds after his morning run on April 17 — and he likes to stay between and pounds. Dailey also tries to stick to a low-carb, low-fat diet, "but I splurge, too," he said. Dailey and his wife try to eat fish two or three times a week, and they limit their red meat intake.

It's just a thing I've done my entire adult life. Dailey typically starts his day with hardboiled egg whites, and he'll have chicken breast and a salad for lunch. Dinner is whatever his wife, Holly, has planned, he said. Here are some tips to improve your scores in the push-ups, sit-ups, and two-mile timed run events:.

For pushups and situps, you can increase your scores significantly in two weeks.

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There is a system called the Pushup Push and the Situp Push where you do pushups and situps every day for ten days straight. Then you rest from doing any pushup or abdominal exercise for three days and you re-test yourself on day But don't plan to start this, or any other exercise routine, at the last minute; you're more likely to be successful if you pace yourself over time. The transition from the upper body calisthenics part of the Army PFT test makes running the two-mile timed run more difficult.


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Use the "rest time" in between events to stretch your upper body prior to running to get your best performance on the fitness test. The Balance Careers uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By using The Balance Careers, you accept our.