WEST POINT, N.Y. (March 31, 2016) - In 1852, the U.S. Military Academy implemented the first Army fitness test, a program that included gymnastics, calisthenics, swimming and fencing. Fast forward to 1980 when the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), including push-ups, sit-ups and a two-mile run, became the standard.
Depending on your age and gender, a Soldier would qualify by achieving a passing score out of 300 possible points; a standard which most Soldiers and officers are all too familiar.
The Present and Future Army
Today, the Army is progressing at rapid rates. Within the last year, the first female Rangers were introduced and all Military Occupational Specialties (MOSs) have become open to everyone.
As the evolution of the Army continues, the standards must do so as well.
Thirty-six years after the implementation of the APFT, the Occupational Physical Assessment Test (OPAT) has been added in order to effectively screen prospective Soldiers.
Soldiers entering the Army and first-class cadets are required to complete the OPAT to join the Army and to help determine their MOSs.
In addition to completing the OPAT, they must still perform the APFT yearly as a measurement of their muscular and aerobic endurance.
“The OPAT is a series of physical performance tests used to assess a Soldier’s physical capabilities to serve in different branches,” Maj. Russ Nowels, deputy director of the Department of Physical Education at the U.S. Military Academy, said. “It provides measurements of upper- and lower-body muscular strength, endurance, power output and aerobic capacity.”
Specifically, the test includes the Standing Long Jump, Seated Power Throw, Strength Deadlift and the Interval Aerobic Run (beep test).