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

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Within the past few years, the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps have either incorporated or in the process of incorporating physical fitness tests that assess a soldier's fitness capability in a combat environment. In this article, we investigate 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. Using linear regression via ordinary least squares, we demonstrate that the AFPFT correlates poorly with an airman's combat fitness. AFPFT scores had minimal predictability (adjusted R2 0.20–0.23). Investigating all of the individual events from the three services tests, we develop 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.


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Military Medicine