Serving in the Navy. Participating in weekly workouts. Passing semiannual fitness tests. It all requires that you take part in general fitness routines as well as satisfy specific fitness standards. And for some jobs, you may also be required to meet more demanding fitness baselines associated with the particular role.
NOTE: You should consult your physician or other health-care professional before starting any exercise regime or other fitness program to determine if it is right for your needs. This is particularly true if you (or your family) have a history of medical illnesses or ailments that could be made worse by a change in physical activity. Do not start a fitness program if your physician or health-care provider advises against it.
Military Physical Fitness Requirements in the Navy
Beyond improving job performance, requiring Navy servicemembers to uphold certain levels of fitness and stamina encourages better physical and mental health – which is rewarding personally as well as professionally.
Navy Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA)
An official evaluation of physical health, ability and endurance – known as the Navy Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) – is conducted throughout each servicemember’s Navy career (twice each year). This process begins in Recruit Training (Boot Camp) or Officer Training. Basically, you need to meet established fitness requirements in order to be part of the Navy.
Specifically, the PFA consists of a standard medical screening, a Body Composition Assessment (BCA) and the Physical Readiness Test (PRT).
Standard Medical Screening
In the interest of health and safety, servicemembers must first receive appropriate medical clearance prior to BCA and PRT testing. This clearance involves successfully completing the Annual Periodic Health Assessment (PHA), a Physical Assessment Risk Factor Questionnaire (PARFQ) and pre-physical activity questions prior to taking on the actual Physical Readiness Test.
Waivers are available under certain conditions. A Navy Recruiter can provide details.
Body Composition Assessment (BCA)
Body composition is determined by height and weight measurements. These are evaluated according to established Navy standards (in some cases, circumference measurements are also required).
In general, the maximum allowable Navy body fat limits are as follows:
Standards and requirements for BCA vary by gender, age, height and weight (waivers are available under certain conditions). A Navy Recruiter can provide details.
Navy Physical Readiness Test (PRT)
The Physical Readiness Test (PRT) is a standard Navy fitness test consisting of push-ups, curl-ups (sit-ups) and a 1.5-mile run.
Participants have two minutes to complete as many push-ups as possible and two minutes to complete as many curl-ups as possible. The 1.5-mile run is also timed.
Outside of Recruit Training (Boot Camp), general Navy PRT requirements allow for a choice of the timed 1.5-mile run, a timed 500-yard swim, or one of the following events: 1) riding a stationary bike for 12 minutes or 2) performing cardio on an elliptical machine for 12 minutes.
Performance standards and requirements for PRT vary by gender and age. A Navy Recruiter can provide details.
Navy Physical Screening Test (PST)
While fitness is important for all Navy Sailors, it is imperative for those who make up communities like Special Warfare/Special Operations – which includes SEAL, Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman (SWCC), Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technician, Navy Diver and Aviation Rescue Swimmer (AIRR) professionals.
The qualification standards and training programs for these specialties – referred to as Navy Challenge Programs – are far more demanding.
The chart below highlights the current minimum Navy Physical Screening Test (PST) requirements for Navy Challenge Programs – for aspiring servicemembers who are in the Delayed Entry Program (DEP), in Boot Camp or already serving in the Navy.
|Minimum PST |
Physical Screening Test
|Swim 500 yards |
(450 M) – breaststroke or sidestroke
|REST: 10 MINUTES|
[in 2 minutes]
|REST: 2 MINUTES|
[in 2 minutes]
|REST: 2 MINUTES|
[in 2 minutes]
|REST: 10 MINUTES|
|Run 1.5 miles |
*AIRR may use sidestroke or breaststroke and utilize American crawl/freestyle or a combination of all.
NSW/NSO Training – For more details about the specific training pipelines and qualification standards for the Naval Special Warfare/Operations specialties, choose the area you are interested in:
Looking for military fitness training guidelines or military fitness workouts? Check out the Naval Special Warfare Physical Training Guide for workouts, tips and plenty of other useful information, including videos, that can help you get into tip-top physical shape.
Find specific programs that cover everything from running, swimming and weight lifting to calisthenics and core and flexibility training. Plus, be sure to look into the information on nutrition and injury prevention that is provided in the training section.
Military Physical Fitness Programs in the Navy
Consistent training, flexible workouts and good nutrition are key to any fitness program – and certainly in the Navy.
Command Physical Training (PT) Program
Often referred to as PT, Navy physical training provides a foundation for all Navy servicemembers. Basically, it’s a program that involves integrating exercise into the workweek.
Here’s an example of the type of physical activity associated with PT:
- 30 minutes of moderate intensity cardio training five days a week (for a total of 150 minutes; or 25 minutes of high-intensity cardio training three days a week (for a total of 75 minutes)
- Strength training exercises at least twice per week to work all major muscle groups
Facilities and Workouts
In the Navy, exercise-related activities can take place in just about any setting – from a state-of-the-art gym to an open field to the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. Workouts can encompass everything from muscular fitness training to agility fitness training, weight lifting to cardiovascular conditioning.
And facilities and resources are accessible in some capacity whether you’re on base or on deployment.
Following proper nutritional guidelines is integral to any physical fitness regiment. Whether looking to improve performance, body composition or general well-being, the Navy is committed to helping servicemembers reach those goals.
Maintaining optimal fitness is as much a part of “mission readiness” as it is a part of each Sailor’s overall quality of life. The overall Navy Physical Readiness Program ensures that this philosophy is a focus.