Sometime early next year, airmen will be offered five different fitness assessment alternatives.
“We are moving away from the one-size-fits-all model,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., said. “More testing options will put flexibility in the hands of our airmen, where it belongs. We know not all airmen maintain their fitness the same way and may excel in different areas. Alternate components provide choices while still providing a mechanism to determine overall fitness.”
Three of the alternatives involve the cardio portion and sit-up components, while two are part of the push-up portion. At some point in the future, finalized scoring charts will be broken down to account for gender and age.
The Air Force is adopting the changes after collecting feedback from airmen and comparing its fitness assessment protocols with those of the other armed services.
For the cardio portion, airmen will select from among the traditional 1.5-mile run, the 1-mile walk or the high aerobic multi-shuffle run. They then can choose to perform either traditional push-ups or hand-release push-ups. In the sit-ups portion, they can choose the cross-leg reverse crunch or plank for the strength component.
The Air Force developed each component to accurately measure fitness while taking weight, age, and heart rate into account, whether a participant opts to take the walk or run tests.
“What we are about is measuring and testing aerobic fitness,” said Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly, deputy chief of staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services. “In fact, I think we’ll find fewer people will prefer that option over the more traditional mile-and-a-half run.”
Both airmen and fitness-test monitors will have roughly six months to get accustomed to the testing options. During that time, they will be able to provide additional feedback that could lead to more adjustments to the process.
At this time, the service is reviewing but not considering inclusion of swimming, rowing, or bicycling tests. Doing so would create an unfair advantage for those in remote locations, where such facilities would not be available.
In another change, the waist measurement no longer will be a scored part of the physical fitness test. Instead, the Air Force is awaiting a Defense Department instruction that will address body composition.
The Air Force also announce that a new web site, myFitness, replaced the Air Force Fitness Management Site II on July 1. Active and reserve component airmen and guardians can use the site to schedule or cancel testing, gain access to or submit fitness assessments, and upload and review medical documents.