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New Era of Physical Assessments

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Victoria Nelson
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing

Pease Airman can expect some new exercise options the next time they complete their Air Force Physical Fitness Assessment.

The Air Force recently unveiled new assessment options that allow Airmen to choose from a wider variety of exercises to show their level of fitness.

2nd Lt. Ryan Ducharme, officer in charge of the 157th Personnel Flight, said most of the new components were implemented at Pease, Jan. 1.

“Airmen now have the option of hand-release push-ups or traditional push-ups for the strength portion, and plank, reverse crunch or traditional sit-ups for the endurance portion,” he said.

Cardio still has just one option, the 1.5 mile run, because of the New England winter weather and available space, but the high-aerobic shuttle run (HAMR) will be an option for cardio in the future.

Ducharme said the tests are now like an a la carte menu for Airmen to select an exercise in each component they excel at the most.

“The cool thing about the additions is that they are just adding more flexibility and moving away from a one-size-fits-all model,” he said. “All of the traditional PT test is still there if that’s what you prefer.”

Staff Sgt. Nicholas Reynolds, a recruiter with the 157th Force Support Squadron, recently watched the Air Force’s revamped example videos before completing repetitions of the new options.

“These newer exercises test your strength in a different way” he said after a few circuits of cross-leg reverse crunches.

According to Master Sgt. Robert Rojek, the 157th Air Refueling Wing Fitness Manager, the scoring for the assessment is the same as the traditional model with 20 points allotted for endurance, 20 for strength and 60 for the run. Height, weight and abdominal circumference are not testable.

“Categories will also be in five-year increments, instead of 10,” Ducharme added. “Having requirements change more frequently during a member’s career is another minor modification that can make a positive difference.”

Staff Sgt. Lindsey Knight, with the 157th Force Support Squadron, said all of the new information for members can be found on the 157th Air Refueling Wing’s SharePoint page under the Wing Program tab. She suggested Airmen become familiar with the new exercise choices before their next assessment.

“I would recommend Airmen try all of the new options before taking the PT test,” she said. “This will help them find which components are the best fit for them.”

Rojek agreed and added that the integration will be a learning process for everyone.

“Practice,” he said. “The exercises are not as easy as they may appear and they take a lot more time to complete. This isn’t going to be an easy conversion for anyone, especially with both a new test and database.”

While the new changes bring challenges, Ducharme said that ultimately the additions give Airmen the power of choice.

“There are so many different kinds of fitness and ways to be fit,” he said. “Now Airmen will have the option of choosing different things that they can do well, and prefer to do, to show they are fit to be in the Air Force.”