Can the US Air Force’s Fitness Test be Modified?

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(Photo credit: Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson)

Research Paper Title

Modifying the U.S. Air Force Fitness Test to Reflect Physical Combat Fitness: One Study’s Perspective.

Background

Within the past few years, the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps have either incorporated or are in the process of incorporating physical fitness tests that assess a soldier’s fitness capability in a combat environment. In this article, the researchers investigated how the U.S. Air Force Physical Fitness Test (AFPFT) events compare to sister-services’ physical fitness test events with respect to their predictability of a proxy for combat fitness.

Methods

Using linear regression via ordinary least squares, the researchers demonstrate that the AFPFT correlates poorly with an airman’s combat fitness. AFPFT scores had minimal predictability (adjusted R2 0.20-0.23).

Results & Conclusions

Investigating all of the individual events from the three services tests, the researchers developed a new Air Force fitness to consider and to adopt. The test incorporates a timed 1/2-mile run, 30-lb dumbbell lifts in 2 minutes, and maximum number of push-ups in 1 minute. The adjusted R2 for this model was 0.90, an almost 300% improvement over the current test, in terms of predicting combat fitness.

Reference

Worden, T. & White, E.D. (2012) Modifying the U.S. Air Force Fitness Test to Reflect Physical Combat Fitness: One Study’s Perspective. Military Medicine. 177(9), pp.1090-1094.

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