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Basic Training Sets New Fitness Standards

New Standards Take Effect in October 2003


Air Force Basic Training Fitness

SSgt. Dawn Adams (standing), a military training instructor with the 331st Training Squadron at Lackland AFB, monitors trainees' pushups during physical readiness training.

Official USAF Photo
Updated August 18, 2003

Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper announced July 30 the Air Force would be raising fitness standards in January. More rigorous basic military training graduation standards will take effect here Oct. 12.

Basic military training daily physical fitness regimens are now tougher and more focused on producing fit airmen for air and space expeditionary force duty.

Lackland's 737th Training Group, home of Air Force basic military training, has been infusing greater physical rigor into all of its programs over the past year. The unit has added a second run through the confidence course, a 2.5-mile formation run for graduating airmen, monthly fitness competitions between basic training squadrons and recognition of the most physically fit airmen in each graduating class.

On July 14, BMT officials unveiled a more comprehensive physical fitness program. The old program, known for years as physical conditioning, is out. Physical readiness training is in.

After much collaboration with exercise physiologists, basic training officials are now ready to roll out PRT standards designed to give today’s recruits a higher level of physical fitness.

"In line with (the chief of staff’s) vision for higher fitness standards, it all starts here at Lackland," said Col. Robert Holmes, 37th Training Wing commander. "We set the tone in basic training for the physical conditioning of the Air Force of the future. BMT begins with a solid foundation of tough, but success-oriented, physical readiness training coupled with AF standards; technical training builds on that foundation; finally, units continue with the permanent party force -- good solid building blocks at every level.”

The six-day-a-week PRT regimen includes three days of aerobic running and three days of muscular endurance training. The runs consist of 40-minute sessions of group-paced running, self-paced running and six 30-second sprint interval runs separated by brisk walking. Each week, trainees will be timed on a two-mile run.

The muscular endurance training takes up to 48 minutes on a circuit of crunches, leg lifts, pushups, flutter kicks and pullups. These are designed to improve upper body and abdominal strength quickly.

The Basic Training graduation standards are also increasing. To graduate from Air Force Basic Training, recruits will have to achieve the following minimum standards:


  • Two Mile Run - 16:45
  • 1.5 Mile Run - 11:57
  • Sit-Ups - 50 (in 2 minutes)
  • Push-Ups - 45 (in 2 minutes)


  • Two Mile Run - 19:45
  • 1.5 Mile Run - 13:56
  • Sit-Ups - 50 (in 2 minutes)
  • Push-Ups - 27 (in 2 minutes)

Even the most fit are finding the PRT regimen a welcome and rewarding challenge. Airman Francis Collins, a trainee in the 321st Training Squadron and the week's top male athlete, admitted, "The (physical conditioning) program we started out with didn't meet expectations, but the new (PRT) standards challenge us."

"We’re very much focused on building a fitter force here at BMT,” said Col. Sharon Dunbar, 737th TRG commander. “Our Air Force today is vastly different than it was a decade ago. So is basic training. Our military training instructors do an amazing job in preparing the young men and women entering our Air Force for the physical and mental rigors of the expeditionary Air Force. At the same time we’re training airmen for success, we’re showing them that fitness is as much a lifestyle as it is an operational necessity.”

Collins, who will train to be a firefighter, said members of the Air Force should apply the core value of “excellence in all we do” to meeting physical standards.

“I plan to go to the gym five times a week and run three times a week,” he said. “And that should be the standard for everybody, whether you're the fastest runner or the slowest runner. You should still work to make yourself better."

Much of the above information courtesy of the Air Force News Service.

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