On Monday I finally knocked out my first try at the USAF physical fitness test. I didn’t go through the trouble of trying to get a licensed administrator. I simply followed the the instructions for administration and tried to stay true to form. First I did push ups, then I did sit-ups/crunches. I followed that by pull ups (my addition) and then a treadmill 1.5 mile run. The results? Not so great, but I technically passed.
First off, I felt tired even before I started my test. I tried to do a bunch of jumping jacks and stretches to try to get my energy level up, but no dice. While I could blame working on the house the past few days, my long run two days before or a couple of days of excessive eating of crap food, the bottom line is that my results weren’t much worse than I was expecting. I still would have liked to have been pleasantly surprised though.
Within one minute I got a measly 29 push ups. Believe it or not, that’s actually an improvement. In the past few years I have tried to start the 100 push ups challenge. That is a training program to get you doing 100 pushups at a time. The three times I’ve benchmarked my starting maximum number of pushups I got 27, 18 and most recently (February) 22. So 29 is actually quite a substantial upgrade. I found that number to be pretty pathetic, having remembered a time in the very distant past when I could easily bang out more than 60 at a time. However by the test standards it’s actually right in the middle of the pack.
Crunches on the other hand were another matter. I’ve been routinely, easily doing crunches at the gym 20 at a time. However the specification for these are that you have to cross your arms across your chest and you have to have your shoulders touch your knees. I must be doing something wrong because unlike my normal crunches I felt a substantial amount of muscle engagement in my lower back. I really don’t have as much muscle strength in my lower back, which is a sign of other problems I should address, probably. While I figured I’d be able to crank out a good 40 or more of them I managed to barely eek out a measly 28. That’s getting near the bottom of the pack for my age group.
The pull ups are not part of the test, but I want to track improvements in progress in those as well. I think in the traditional military tests that had pull ups those were the first up. However since these tests don’t have them, I didn’t want muscle fatigue from the pull ups to compromise my pushups. Pull ups have always been hard, and I wasn’t expecting to be able to do many of them however I was only able to do zero. Yes, not a single one on and not even close to it. I may have even counted a three quarters up one if I was rounding up and not being entirely honest. Instead I barely got to the half way point and my muscles just laughed and gave up. So zero pullups.
Last up was the mile and a half run. Based on some sprinting work outs I did the prior week I was really concerned about my ability to crank out a fast time on this. I’ve spent so much time working out in the very slow, not even getting your breathing up that much Zone 2 running and elliptical training, and no time at the higher ends that I thought my cardio fitness up there would fail. I know I can’t run my 10 minute mile test anywhere near as low a heart rate as I could a year ago. It will eventually happen, but what would the results be now? It turns out that my body was able to crank out a half decent time. I cranked out the mile and a half in 12:33. That’s not a lightening fast time, but it’s just north of the middle of the pack.
The last measurement for the test is an abdominal circumference. I’m never going to do well on this, so I’m not going to get too bent out of shape on this. The thinnest I have ever been, back in 2006 when I was down in the mid-160s, I still would at only get a barely above middle range score on this. As it is, my 36.25 inch measurement got me near the middle of the pack.
If you tally it all up what are the results:
|1.5 Mile Run||12:33||37.5|
Raw scores aside, which I hope improve as I crank up my training, to pass you need to have greater than 70. I actually managed to get that, so a mini Snoopy dance, I suppose. However I’m still in the “marginal” category. What scores am I targeting to get to in the foreseeable future? I think that I would like to max out the push-ups and pull-ups at 50 of each and be able to do the run at a 7 minute mile pace. If I were to do that and lean out a little I think I could the score as high as 87.25. If I managed to get my speed a bit faster than that I would be able to break the 90’s but just barely, due to never getting small enough around.