The Double PFT Will Prepare You for Any Fitness Test

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A soldier does overhand pull-ups in Iraq.
Spc. Eder Tavera, a gunner with Company A, 1st “Dragon” Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, United States Division-Center, does overhand pull-ups to warm up before a chest workout Aug. 17, 2011, at the Pfc. Ramon Mora Jr. Gym at Camp Liberty, Iraq. (Staff Sgt. Justin Phemister/U.S. Army photo)

Preparing for a military physical fitness test takes time and specific practice. If your goal is to crush the fitness test and reach maximum points, doing what we call the Double PFT is a good option.

Typically, we have done the Double PFT in regular order the first time, then repeated in reverse order the second time. This works really well with tests like the Navy SEAL PST or the AF PJ PAST, where you swim first and last in this arrangement. 

It usually goes something like this:

  • 500-yard swim

  • Push-ups

  • Sit-ups

  • Pull-ups

  • 1.5-mile run

  • Rest five minutes

  • 1.5-mile run

  • Pull-ups

  • Sit-ups

  • Push-ups

  • 500-yard swim 

This is just one way to complete a double PST. 

You also can take your current scores on every event of your fitness test, then double them.

For instance: 

  • 500-yard swim in nine minutes x2 = 1,000 yards in 18 minutes

  • Push-ups 100 in two minutes x2 = 200 reps

  • Sit-ups 100 in 2 minutes x2 = 200 reps

  • Pull-ups 20 x2 = 40 reps

  • 1.5-mile run in nine minutes x2 = three miles in 18 minutes

We literally doubled the PST. Now these are just goals to attempt, and you can make this a normal workout where you swim 1,000 yards or two 500-yard laps and mix in sets of push-ups and sit-ups until you reach 200 of each in a swim PT workout. Then shoot for 40 pull-ups in as few sets as possible.

Finally, run three miles while making sure you push the first 1.5 miles at a minimum. Finish strong on the final 1.5 miles while maybe mixing in some intervals and fartlek runs if you have any juice left.

Getting specific in your training will help you master any fitness test. It just takes practice. Doing this type of workout every other week will help you maintain or build upon previous scores and put you in good stead with the most competitive candidates of entering any program that requires a fitness test.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to stew@stewsmith.com.

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