Air Force Basic Training Fitness Requirements
The Air Force, like any military branch, has strict standards for its recruits and trainees to pass. Hence, the Basic Military Training and its rigorous fitness training and requirements that recruits have to pass before they are allowed into the boot camp. The fitness standards are also maintained throughout their careers as airmen.
The BMT involves a lot of physical drills, written exams, strategic games, and team-building exercises.
Trainees do rigorous workouts six days a week to build their muscles and endurance, as well as a 2-mile run once a week to prepare them for the 1.5-mile run that will be used as part of their assessment.
They also go through BEAST week, which is the most physically challenging part of the whole exercise.
REQUIREMENTS TO ENTER BMT
Before you get to the location of your Air Force boot camp, they expect you to be physically fit, at least to an extent. You have to be able to keep up with the rigorous training activities and the physical requirements of the Air Force. You need to condition yourself to withstand endurance training, weight lifting, and general body exercises.
At first, the requirements aren’t so much, but they expect you to improve on doing them within the eight and a half weeks you’ll spend in the boot camp.
There are separate requirements for men and women, as well as separate requirements for different age groups. Also, the requirements were recently updated to include waist circumference as well as the regular fitness goals you have to meet to be eligible for entry into the camp. The fitness test is in three steps: pushups, sit-ups, and a 1.5-mile run.
This initial assessment determines if you’re physically and medically fit to complete the BMT. It also places all recruits into a physical fitness class.
If you fail the body composition requirements, you immediately get processed for entry-level separation. The best course of action if you are not physically ready for the Air Force Basic Training is to get yourself in shape for the next batch.
The inability to meet physical requirements even after passing the initial assessment can get you recycled or eventually discharged.
For men, the initial physical assessments are simple. You need to complete at least 25 push-ups and 35 sit-ups in one minute each, and complete the 1.5-mile run in less than 18:30 minutes.
Also, you should have a minimum abdominal circumference of 39 inches. If you pass the other requirements but fail this one, your body fat will be taken into consideration. In this case, you need a body fat composition of 20% at the most.
The requirements for women are similar, but women must complete the mile and a half run in 21:35 minutes. They must also do over 15 push-ups and 30 sit-ups in a minute each.
Female recruits should also have an abdominal circumference of 35.5 inches, or 28% body fat maximum.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN AIR FORCE BOOT CAMP
The Air Force used to be known as the easiest of all the military branches. And while it wasn’t easy for the average Joe, it didn’t meet up to the more rigorous training of the other military branches like the Marines or the Navy.
So, in 2003, the Air Force Chief of Staff reviewed the Air Force Basic Military Training and updated a lot of the standards and requirements to get in.
The updated requirements include an initial assessment observed during zero week and a concluding fitness test that every recruit must pass before being accepted into the Air Force. During the weeks between these tests, the recruits go through intense training and exercises called physical readiness training.
Physical readiness training is a rigorous training that takes place on a schedule six days a week – more intense than the three or four days a week it used to be before 2003. Those six days of the week are divided into 2 – aerobic races and muscle stamina training, which take place for three days each.
The aerobic runs are split into group-paced runs that take 40 minutes per session, timed running, and six sprints that take 30 seconds each with a session of quick walking in between each run. Recruits also take a timed 2-mile run weekly, although it doesn’t count in their final fitness test.
A trainee’s performance in the 2-mile runs isn’t so important in the long run, as long as you fulfill the requirements.
But, you do not want all eyes on you for performing poorly at this stage, especially by your instructor.
The muscle endurance training focuses more on workouts that train the muscles of the body. Recruits do a lot of crunches, pull-ups, push-ups, and leg lifts aimed at building muscles and strength in different areas of the body like the core and upper body.
Apart from the physical training and exercises, the Air Force basic military training teaches you other rudimentary lessons you need in the Air Force. For example, you learn to fire a weapon, combat skills, how to fly a plane, and how to detect security threats. You also get orientation and your flight and individual duty assignments.
In the 6th week of training, you take the BEAST, aka, the Basic Expeditionary Airmen Skills Test, which evaluates you on everything you’d been taught during BMT.
After you graduate, you head on to Technical training where you’ll begin training for your individual Air Force position.
REQUIREMENTS TO PASS
The last fitness test that determines if you graduate or not is held in the 5th week of training. Like the initial assessment, this test is based on four requirements; push-ups, sit-ups, abdominal circumference, and a 1.5-mile run.
Except that this test is a little bit more challenging. It also has different requirements for different levels of graduation.
Also, trainees that fail this test will have another attempt the next day. If you fail to pass it again, you will probably be recycled for a week or more to prepare more adequately.
Levels of graduation
While there is a minimum requirement for graduation, there are rewards for doing better than is required of you. The pass mark calculation depends on your performance in individual test groups rather than a composite of all your performances.
So, while you might have gotten away with scoring around the minimum score and passing before, you have to do well in all the groups to be considered.
Each fitness group has a possible number of scores you can get for each. For push-ups and sit-ups, you can score up to 10 points, assuming you meet all the requirements.
The 1-5-mile run can get you 60 points, which is the highest of all the groups, while the abdominal circumference measurement gets you 20 points.
You need an average of 75 to graduate. If you score 90 and above, you get to retest in a year. 75 to 89.99 points means that you have to retest in six months, while anything lower than 75 means you have to retake the test in three months.
This is the minimum required for graduation, and it is the standard for any trainee. All trainees must merit this, but that doesn’t mean you should strive towards these standards.
This is the lowest graduation level, so you should always aim to do better than this to impress your instructors and superiors. If you get the minimum scores in each test, you will not b allowed to graduate.
- Push-ups: Minimum of 33 pushups in one minute for trainees aged 29 and below; 27 for trainees aged 30 to 39
- Sit-ups: Minimum of 42 sit-ups in one minute for trainees aged 29 and below; 39 for trainees aged 30 to 39
- Abdominal circumference: Minimum of 39 inches for trainees of all ages
- 1.5-mile run: Minimum of 13:36 minutes for trainees aged 29 and below; 14:00 minutes for trainees aged 30 to 39
- Push-ups: Minimum of 18 pushups in one minute for trainees aged 29 and below; 14 for trainees aged 30 to 39
- Sit-ups: Minimum of 38 sit-ups in one minute for trainees aged 29 and below; 29 for trainees aged 30 to 39
- Abdominal circumference: Minimum of 35.5 inches for trainees of all ages 30 to 39
- 1.5-mile run: Minimum of 16:22 minutes for trainees aged 29 and below; 16:57 minutes for trainees aged 30 to 39
The Thunderbolt is an honorary award that you earn when you get high scores above the scores required, but not high enough to get the maximum results.
To get the Thunderbolt award, you need to meet the requirements set by the Air Force.
They are different for males and females, and they can get you a combined score of over 90. If you reach the Thunderbolt requirements, you will be eligible for consideration as a basic training Honor Graduate.
- Push-ups: Minimum of 44 pushups in one minute for trainees aged 29 and below; 36 for trainees aged 30 to 39
- Sit-ups: Minimum of 46 sit-ups in one minute for trainees aged 29 and below; 42 for trainees aged 30 to 39
- Abdominal circumference: Minimum of 37.5 inches for trainees of all ages
- 1.5-mile run: Minimum of 12:54 minutes for trainees aged 29 and below; 13:14 minutes for trainees aged 30 to 39
- Pull-ups: Minimum of 4 pull-ups
- Push-ups: Minimum of 27 pushups in one minute for trainees aged 29 and below; 19 for trainees aged 30 to 39
- Sit-ups: Minimum of 42 sit-ups in one minute for trainees aged 29 and below; 33 for trainees aged 30 to 39
- Abdominal circumference: Minimum of 34 inches for trainees of all ages
- 1.5-mile run: Minimum of 15:21 minutes for trainees aged 29 and below; 15.50 minutes for trainees aged 30 to 39
- Pull-ups: Minimum of 2 pull-ups
Warhawk is the highest standard for the BMT fitness tests, and the standards are the most challenging to meet. You need to meet a very high physical standard and a combined score of 100.
The rewards for meeting Warhawk standards are a recognition certificate, a town pass on the weekend of your graduation, a unique T-shirt, and bragging rights.
You will also be considered for the Basic training Honor Graduate award, and you’ll have a good chance of being the top of your class.
- Push-ups: Minimum of 67 pushups in one minute for trainees aged 29 and below; 57 for trainees aged 30 to 39
- Sit-ups: Minimum of 58 sit-ups in one minute for trainees aged 29 and below; 54 for trainees aged 30 to 39
- Abdominal circumference: Minimum of 32.5 inches for trainees of all ages 30 to 39
- 1.5-mile run: Minimum of 9:12 minutes for trainees aged 29 and below; 9.34 minutes for trainees aged 30 to 39
- Pull-ups: Minimum of 10 pull-ups
- Push-ups: Minimum of 47 pushups in one minute for trainees aged 29 and below; 46 for trainees aged 30 to 39
- Sit-ups: Minimum of 54 sit-ups in one minute for trainees aged 29 and below; 45 for trainees aged 30 to 39
- Abdominal circumference: Minimum of 29 inches for trainees of all ages
- 1.5-mile run: Minimum of 10:23 minutes for trainees aged 29 and below; 10.51 minutes for trainees aged 30 to 39
- Pull-ups: Minimum of 5 pull-ups
What happens if you fail to graduate?
Failing to graduate is not something you may want to consider, but it is something you should know about just in case. Luckily, failing your PT test isn’t the end of the world; you can retake the test the next day.
However, if you still can’t meet up, you will be recycled into an earlier batch for a week or two to help you prepare.
To avoid failing, you should prepare yourself before you arrive for BMT and ensure that you are physically fit enough to participate.
AWARDS AND MEDALS IN BMT
During the Basic Military Training, trainees will have the opportunities to earn awards both individually and as a group. Some of the awards don’t attract any special recognition, except the knowledge that you did well and making an impression on your superiors.
Others may be relevant throughout your career or help you get good assignments and rewards.
Below are some of the awards you can look forward to winning during your BMT.
This is the highest honor a trainee can get during the BMT.
This award is an all-rounder category, and the winners will receive a ribbon to be worn throughout their careers as airmen as well as an extra town pass day during graduation weekend.
No more than 10% of the trainees of each flight can be eligible for Honor graduate.
- Thunderbolt or Warhawk status in the fitness test
- Must pass all inspections
- A score of 90 and above on written exams
- Recommendation from MTI for the award
At the end of BMT, there is one flight chosen as the Honor flight after all the necessary assessments. The flight gets an extra town pass on the Sunday of the graduation, and of course, bragging rights.
The compilation of the scores on all the events and drills performed during BMT determines the award for warrior flight. Any flight that exceeds those required points is identified as a warrior flight. Because the award is based on a point limit, multiple flights can earn the title. They do not get any extra privileges for achieving this, though, but they can take pride in their work.
At the end of the BEAST week, there are assessments based on zones with points awarded based on their performance. The zone with the best performance gets awarded the BEAST Excellence award. This award doesn’t offer any special rewards, but the scores help the flights earn their warrior or honor flight awards.
Expert Marksmanship Ribbon
The trainees who exceed the scores on their expert marksman assessments will receive this ribbon. Airmen can wear their ribbon throughout their careers, and they also have other opportunities to earn it in Technical School or during their permanent base assignments.
Air Force Basic Training Ribbon
All trainees who graduated from the basic military training will receive this ribbon.
National Defense Medal
The National Defense Medal is given to all members of the military to wear throughout their careers. The medal comes in a ribbon and a medal version that graduated trainees will wear with their blues uniform and formal dress uniform, respectively.
HOW TO GET YOUR BODY TO THE REQUIRED STANDARD
Every recruit is to prepare for their entry into BMT months before the time. You need to make sure that you meet the minimum fitness requirements for the initial assessment, and you also need to be fit enough to withstand the rigor of BMT.
Also, airmen have to pass the fitness test at least once a year, so the earlier you incorporate regular exercise into your schedule, the better for you.
You can start by exercising religiously at least three days a week for up to two hours, and then increase it to five or six days a week when the training date comes nearer.
It is also essential for you to prepare yourself for the 1.5 and 2-mile runs during the training by running at a consistent pace for at least 30 minutes a day. Your diet is also important so you can meet the weight requirements for the training.
There are several workout and diet programs you can incorporate into your regimen.
The Air Force’s fitness training is still considered one of the least challenging, especially when compared to the Navy or the Marines, but you still need to prepare adequately to pass it. Regular exercising and dieting are just the tips of what you need to do to qualify for graduation.
Also, the Air Force is a branch of the military that prioritizes smartness, so you shouldn’t neglect your mental preparation for your physical.
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