Training for PFT – Physical Fitness Test in the Military

military-PFTI talk to a lot of young kids that are looking to go into the military and they ask me about training and how they can get into better shape, do more pull ups and run a fast mile. The answer is simple… you have to work hard and put in the time.

I know that sounds simple, but the truth is most young kids do not know what to do or where to start. For most kids entering the military out of high school, they should be in pretty good shape and it should not take too long to get ready for a standard PFT in any branch of the military. I also talk to friends my age “35” who are getting ready to enter the training academy for state police, county etc… and these tips will help them as well.

What made me think about doing this post was a college kid I know, who is getting ready for Marine Office Training School and told me he sucks at pull ups. I immediatly thought P90X would cure you of that, then I started thinking about the Beachbody workouts that would be a good fit for anyone who is getting ready to enter the military and wants to be ready for the PFT (Physical Fitness Test) or any physical type test for that matter.

First the requirements are different for every branch (Click Here To See Them), but they all revolve around Push Ups, Pull Ups, Sit Ups, Running and some Swimming. So you pretty much have to be ready for all of it. I want to go over some tips to get better at the above and some Beachbody Workouts that would get you ready for sure!

Tips to get better at Push Ups, Pull Ups, & Sit Ups

  • pull upsWe all know pull ups stink. Trust me when I was in 8th grade I was 6′ tall and I could barely get more then a pull up in. Heck up until last summer I was luck if I could get three overhand pull ups! How did I fix this?


  • Tip 1 – Get a pull up bar. In the beginning I would designate one day a pull up day and one day  curl up day. I would hit the bar pretty much every time I walked by it and do as many as I could. At first it was 1 at a time. I would just put a mark on my calendar, but by the end of the day I would have done maybe a dozen. So one day pull ups, next day curl ups, then pull ups etc… After about a week I was able to bust out 2-3 pulls ups at once. I eventually got up to about 8 in one shot, but could do it gain if I rested. What a difference being strong in pull ups is!


  • push-upsTip 2 – This pertains to Pull Ups, Push Ups, & Sit Ups…. What you need to do is pick a few days a week to do this for each move. You will need to block out some time as well, maybe 10 minutes or 20 minutes. It all depends on how in shape you are. So lets say for push ups. You can only do 5 real pushups. Then pick a number like 50. Do your 5 then rest… start again, maybe you only get 4 in.. rest again. Now don’t rest for more then 30-60 seconds and keep going till you get those 50 in. I have been doing this for pull ups lately and it is a great workout and I am so much stronger. If you can do this you will have no doubt increase your numbers in as little as two weeks time.
  • Tip 3 – You are going to have to get your cardio up for the running. Last year I had to get ready for the Super Spartan Obstacle Race 8+ Miles! I had not ran a mile in…. well prob 6 or 7 years! You just have to start out and run. Simple as that. I ran a mile and thought I was going to die!! Find a track at a local school and get at it! Or just run around your block. To track miles just know that 4 times around the track is one mile, but you can download apps like Nike + or Map My Run to your phone which is nice because it keeps track of everything.  Start to work your way up each time you run, even if it is just a 1/4 mile more then the last time. If you get tired then stop and walk for 20-30 seconds then run again… That is what I had to do my first month. Even when I was doing a 5k I would stop, walk for 30 seconds then run again. It might have taken twice as long, but you need to get those miles on your legs! If you start to feel good and you can run 1-3 miles and not be super sore the next day then turn it up a notch. Start running in areas that have hills or start running the bleachers at the track. Stick with it and know that it will suck the first few weeks, but after that it will come a lot easier. Just think in the back of your mind how bad your test will go if you don’t get these runs in!

Beachbody Workouts To Get You Ready For PFT (Physical Fitness Test)

  • In all honesty if you just did the above for a few months I think you would be ready to pass the basic PFT’s , but adding in some workouts and interval training will be a huge benefit, plus you do not want to just pass you want to become the best soldier you can be!  Will list the workouts in order of best to least for this training. I will also link to challenge packs for these workouts which will give you the best price and optimal nutrition as well.
  1. P90X – This workout or a hybrid p90x/insanity workout will get you in the best shape for everything the PFT throws at you. P90X alone is a 90 day workout and if pull ups are you weak point then believe me you are going to be a pro at pull ups after this. This is an all around workout that is split up into weights, cardio, abs, stretching, kenpo x and much much more. The only thing  you are not going to get from it is your running. Your cardio will be up for sure, but you will still want to get some real running mileage on your legs. CLICK HERE TO GET P90X
  2. InsanityInsanity is an intense 60 day workout that will get you in great shape. Like I mentioned above with the p90x/insanity hybrid would be your best bet overall! Insanity is going to push your cardio to the limits via interval training. Your cardio is going to be tip top, blowing through pushups will be a thing of the past, and your abs/core will be strong! The only thing you are not going to get better at with is pull ups. Sure you will be stronger,but the only way to get better at pull ups is to do them. Of course if you do this workout and the pull up regimen we talked about you will be good to go. You are still going to have to get some mileage on your legs, but your heart/lungs will be ready for it. CLICK HERE TO GET INSANITY
  3. Insanity Asylum – The Asylum is a very sports/agility/speed oriented 30 day training workout which is geared to get your ready for game day. If you were good with most of the above and were looking for something to just get you sharper then Asylum is right up your alley!
  4. Other Workouts – If you can afford a monthly gym membership or even find some Groupons check out Crossfit, Boot Camps, or any kind of MMA type training gyms. I would choose Crossfit out of all of them if I had the chance.

There are more workouts available and you can CLICK HERE to check them all out and see what is right for you. With what I have listed here you should be well on your way to being in tip top shape for your PFT and then some. Remember it is not just about passing the test, it is about creating a lifestyle of health and fitness. After all you are going to be serving our country or become a police officer, why would you not want to be in the best shape you can be in.

There is not one right way to doing something there are many different ways to get the same result. These are just some ideas to give you a road map. I would love to hear feedback, so leave some below.


Here is a Video of What you might be in for!

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