Military PT Tests

Preparing Military Members For PT Tests

Everyone knows that new soldiers, sailors and airmen have to pass a physical fitness test to join their respective branches of the military. But for active-duty military personnel, passing annual Physical Readiness Tests can become more daunting over time as joints and ligaments wear out from years of hauling heavy equipment and patrolling combat zones.


Tired knees, tweaked backs and painful shoulders can all impact a soldier’s performance on a PT test. Each branch of the United States military requires annual or semi-annual physical fitness tests of their members. While requirements may vary slightly depending on which branch you’re in, PT tests typically involve a timed run, push-ups and sit-ups. If you want to serve in Special Warfare/Special Operations in the Navy, such a Seal or Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician, you’ll also have to complete a timed 500-yard swim.

Performance standards for all branches of the military are based on gender and age, with less rigorous standards for older personnel. Even so, 27 pushups (the requirement for airmen in their 30s) or swimming 500 yards in 13 minutes can be difficult if you’ve previously torn your ACL during an operation or injured your shoulder loading munitions.


A soldier’s physical fitness has a direct impact on his or her combat readiness. In times of high stress, being in good physical condition will help members of the military ensure their own safety and the safety of those around them.

The average Navy Seal, for example, carries gear weighing up to 75 pounds. The average combat soldier in Afghanistan can find himself or herself hauling more than 100 pounds of gear for a multi-day mission. Carrying that kind of weight would be difficult for most people, but doing so while holding weapons and traversing rugged terrain could lead to serious injury for service men and women if they aren’t physically prepared.

Staying agile and fit is essential for active-duty military personnel to be able to safely manage such heavy loads on a regular basis. Without proper training and technique, injuries due to carrying so much weight under stressful conditions could impair a soldier’s ability to meet physical fitness standards.

Read our recent blog on other Common Injuries Suffered by Military Service Members.


A little TLC and attention to detail through sessions with a personal trainer, Performance Coach or physical therapist can help active-duty military get their fitness back on track and avoid unnecessary stress over concerns they won’t pass the PT test.

Performance Coaches at Tidewater Performance Centers in Suffolk, Gloucester and Newport News are degreed and certified in training the body, especially after an injury, to make it stronger. They also evaluate where weaknesses currently are and develop training programs to build up weak areas and strengthen overall.

Physical Therapists at Tidewater Physical Therapy clinics from Virginia Beach to Richmond are experts in how the body moves. That means they can create targeted movements and exercises to help soldiers, sailors and airmen train for performance and injury prevention. It means they understand how your body moves today so it can be more efficient tomorrow.  Strength and flexibility screening, movement screening and review of injury history can go a long way toward helping active-duty military members target areas to improve comfort and efficiency during a PT exam.

At its core physical therapy or physical training uses scientific and clinical therapies to restore and maintain physical function.

The physical therapists at Tidewater Physical Therapy offer a range of services that can help members of the military improve their exercise and movement technique so they can pass their Physical Readiness Tests with comfort and ease.

Tidewater Physical Therapy therapists are Direct Access certified and can see patients without a referral from a physician. Find a clinic near you and make an appointment today.