Army APFT Regulation: Physical Fitness Army Regulation

What is the Army APFT Regulation?  To answer your question, there are several regulations that address the ins and outs of the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT).  We will cover these regulations, forms and field manuals in more detail below.

FM 21-20 This is the Bible, when it comes to the Army’s Physical Fitness Test.  This Field Manual covers all types of topics such as leader responsibilities concerning physical fitness, nutrition, injuries, cardio endurance, muscle training, flexibility, body composition, circuit training, obstacle courses, developing a unit fitness program, environmental considerations and so much more.  Chapter 14 provides the instructions and rules for the Army Physical Fitness Test.  When units administer the APFT, a designated representative is required to read the instructions verbatim out of this field manual.

AR 600-9 This Army Regulation covers the height and weight standards for soldiers.  It shows the acceptable weights for soldiers based off age, gender and height.  In addition, it provides guidance on how to measure body fat.  It also covers the Army Weight Control Program.

AR 600-8-2 This Army Regulation covers the suspension of favorable actions (FLAGS) and tells commanders what they are supposed to do when a soldier fails the APFT.

DA Form 705 This form is the scorecard used for recording the results of the APFT.  Each soldier has their own DA Form 705.  The person administering the APFT records the information on the scorecard, calculates the score, and signs the form, hence making it official.

DA Form 550 This form is used to determine body fat and record the results.  When a soldier exceeds the allowed weight, based upon their age, height and gender, they get a “tape test” to determine if their body fat is within the standards.  That information is recorded on this card and placed in the soldier’s personnel file.

Once again, FM 21-20 is the official APFT Army Regulation, but there are other supporting regulations, manuals and forms.  As a small unit leader, it would be in your best interest to educate yourself on these forms, manuals and regulations so you know the “right way” to administer the APFT in your unit.  In addition, FM 21-20 can provide multiple helpful insights on how to improve your APFT Score and improve the overall physical fitness in your unit.

On a side note, if you are a small unit leader and know of a few other helpful forms and regulations concerning the APFT, I would love to hear from you.  Just leave a comment to share any helpful regulations that you know about. If you have any questions I may be able to help with, you can ask them below too.  Thanks.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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5 thoughts on “Army APFT Regulation: Physical Fitness Army Regulation”

  1. Neil, you nailed it. Being in good physical shape is imperative to being able to perform effectively as a soldier, so the training should not be taken lightly. You also made an excellent point about physical fitness being an important tool in stress management. Endorphins produced during exercise greatly increase seratonin reuptake inhibitors, key in reducing depression, and they also reduce cortisol and norepinephrine, which are stress hormones.

  2. Army regulation regarding physical fitness and testing as per instructions in the field manual FM 21-20 make sense. I would imagine that proper amount of rest might be part of the counseling required to be really fit. I say this because there is research by the National Sleep Foundation such as in which lack of sleep can cause people to gain weight, reduce muscle tone and memory, and of course, disorient them emotionally.

  3. Neil O'Donnell

    Army APFT Regulations serve a vital purpose, though these regulations are likely not thought of much. Soldiers need to be physically capable of enduring the stresses encountered on missions. To that end, Regulations AR 600-9 and AR 600-8-2 provide commanders with guidelines for determining the fitness of their soldiers and appropriate actions with regards to those who fail to maintain a good physical state. These concerns are not to be taken lightly as the success of missions often hinge on the fitness of the soldiers carrying them out.

    1. Candace Ginestar

      Soldier fitness should not be questioned when it comes to completing the mission. If you do have to question it, then you aren’t working hard enough and your FLL need to address the issue.

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