While the Army fitness overhaul to the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) got a lot of press, that doesn’t mean fitness changes for other branches haven’t been happening in the past few years. The U.S. Navy has not replaced their Physical Fitness Test with a new test, but they have made changes to some of their events and have provided alternate events for members.

Key U.S. Navy Fitness Changes

So what’s changed over the past four years? Here are four key fitness tweaks that the U.S. Navy has made.

1. Swimming tests are in.

Navy recruits have to pass a 3rd class fitness test during basic training. This training’s purpose shows you have the ability to stay afloat and be rescued during a man overboard situation. This test is made up of three parts, a deep water jump, a 50-yard swim (using any stroke), and a 5-minute prone float. Other levels of swim tests are required in certain jobs within the Navy, but at a minimum, all members must pass this basic test to complete Basic Training.

2. Curl ups have been replaced by forearm plank.

Over the past few years, the Navy has continued to update and change the Navy Physical Readiness Program Guide 5. The most recent version was released in February 2023. In the 2022 guide, the Navy removed curl-ups from the test and replaced the event with a timed forearm plank. Originally, the Navy planned to have gender-neutral standards, but after research, it learned there was a slight difference in performance between males and females. The forearm plan guidance is located within Guide 5 and the standards for males and females are also provided. Currently, the max amount of time for a forearm plank for a male 17-19 is 3:24, and for a female 17-19 is 3:14.

3. Cardio now has options besides running.

The standard used to be for everyone to run 1.5 miles, and your time would be equated to points on a sliding scale based on age and gender. Today’s Physical Fitness Test gives you options. Unfortunately, these options are only available after you complete Boot Camp. During boot camp, everyone must pass the run. If you have completed boot camp, you have the option of a 1.5 mile run or you can exchange the run for either a 2-km row, stationary bike, elliptical, 500-meter swim, or a 450-meter swim.

Just like the run, these are timed events and are based on your gender and age. The 2-km row option was added in 2022, the instructions for all the alternate exercises are located in the Navy Physical Fitness Program Guide 5. The 2km row, stationary bike and elliptical give sailors an alternative to the run for locations without a pool and can be done indoors during inclement weather. The standards for time based on gender and age are also available in Guide 5.

4. Push-ups are still in.

The final event push-ups have not changed. It continues to be a 2-minute test where the member does as many push-ups as they are able to. Instructions and breakdown of pushups and how they compare to scores are available in the Navy Physical Fitness Program Guide 5.

The Navy continues to make minor tweaks and changes to their programs and standards. They are working to ensure standards help test the level of fitness of its members while also providing options for members to be able to test on the option they find best.


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Amanda is a military spouse and veteran who served in the Air Force for six years as a Civil Engineer including a deployment to Afghanistan. She traded in her combat boots for a diaper bag to stay home with her two boys and follow her husband’s military career. She published her first book in 2019 titled Women of the Military, sharing the stories of 28 military women. In 2019 she also launched her podcast also titled Women of the Military. In 2020, she was published as a collaborative author in Brave Women Strong Faith. And in 2021, she launched a YouTube channel to help young women answer their questions about military life, Girl’s Guide to the Military. You can learn more about Amanda at her blog Airman to Mom.