5 Tips for Improving Your PT or APFT Score

As Soldiers, we should always do our best in everything we do.  I understand that some Soldiers will NEVER max their APFT.  That is just a reality.  I was one of those Soldiers.  That being said, we can all IMPROVE.  We can get better and have a better score every APFT.

What is the key to doing this?  Well, you have to have a plan and some discipline.  It definitely won’t happen by accident.  What I’m going to do in the paragraphs below is share five tips that I used in the past to improve my own APFT score.  I hope you find the information helpful.

# 1 Identify Your Areas for Biggest Improvement – If you look at the three areas of your PT score, you will notice trends.  In some events you might score really high, while in other events you might not do as well.  I would focus on the event with the lowest score, since this will be the area you can make the biggest improvement.  If you already score high on an event, it will be difficult to improve the score very much.

# 2  Develop a Game Plan and Exercise Routine – Failing to plan is planning to fail.  I’ve found that most people who do well on their APFT have a regular exercise routine.  They work out at least three to five days a week.  They do a variety of different exercises, but they always have a game plan.  They never go to the gym NOT knowing what they are going to do to workout. Ideally, you want to meet with a trainer, or someone who does really well on the APFT, and come up with a game plan and schedule that works for you.

# 3 Practice the Actual Events – Another simple way to improve your APFT Score is to practice the actual events.  For instance, I can’t think of a better way to improve your sit-up score than by doing more sit-ups.  Make sure that at least once or twice a week, every week, you are practicing the actual APFT events.  This will make life much easier for you when the next APFT rolls around.

# 4 Confuse Your Muscles – I’ve seen people who go to the gym every day for MONTHS, but they don’t lose weight or get any healthier.  Why?  The biggest reason is because they do the same workouts every week and their body gets into a comfort zone. They don’t really stretch themselves.  One of the best things you can do is mix up your work out and confuse your muscles.  Do different exercises at different intervals and different frequencies.  This will really help out a lot.  Don’t do the same exact exercise routine week after week after week.

# 5 Drop Some Weight – If you are carrying around some extra weight (many Soldiers do) losing 10 to 15 pounds might make a big difference with your next APFT score.  Dropping those extra few pounds might help you run faster or knock out a few more situps.  If nothing else, losing the weight will help you have some additional energy and feeling better.

BONUS TIP – As a bonus tip, I would like to include eating right.  Eat more fruits and vegetables and less candy and junk food. Adopt a healthy diet that is balanced and gives you good nutrition.  This will help with losing weight and with your energy levels.

Final Thoughts

Everyone can improve their APFT Score.  It isn’t rocket science.  It really just takes a plan and a little bit of discipline.  If you follow the advice mentioned above you will be well on your way.

What are your thoughts?  What are your best tips for improving your APFT score?  Leave a comment below to let me know what you think.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)
Publisher, Part-Time-Commander.com
Email: mrchuckholmes@gmail.com

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2 thoughts on “5 Tips for Improving Your PT or APFT Score”

  1. This is a must-read article for me because I am huge on fitness and I dedicate a significant portion of my time to my own fitness. I worked out in Army fitness centers while living in Korea and it is safe to say that many soldiers are very driven and focused when it comes to their physical fitness and health. I’ve seen thousands of reps of push ups and sit ups in the gym, and hundreds of miles run around the base. This reflects the idea that the only way to perform specific tasks masterfully is to practice those exact movements again and again and again. Sure, you might be a big, strong guy, but if you don’t put in ton of reps on the exercises specific to the PT/AFPT, it won’t be all that helpful, particularly in the run. The only way to pump out push ups to practice pumping out push ups. The only way to run fast is to practice running fast.

  2. I would say of all the PT failures I've seen almost all come down to one of two things: Either the person is overweight and that is affecting their other areas or the person has not practiced some or all of the test prior to the test. It cannot be stressed enough how important attempting the test prior to the real test date is. It not only helps you practice for the test, but it also will leave you more confident on the day and not praying for a miracle to pass.

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