AUGUST 31, 2021 – The Air Force is beta testing new ways to assess physical fitness. Airmen at Kunsan Air Base were some of the many across the Air Force helping to determine if the proposed components are the changes physical training testing needs.
The fitness assessment alternatives were announced July 2021, and beta testing at Kunsan ran from 9 to 31 August.
The four new components include hand-release push-ups, cross-leg sit-ups, planks, and a 20-meter High Aerobic Multi-shuttle run. All beta testing was voluntary, and the scores from the test were not counted as official PT scores.
Despite the low-stakes in accomplishing the components, the beta test is crucial to the future of Air Force fitness tests, according to Tech. Sgt. Akin Hyde, noncommissioned officer in charge of the Kunsan fitness assessment cell.
“We’re getting as many people to take the test as possible,” Hyde said. “What sparked the Air Force looking into new ideas for PT testing this time is feedback from Airmen. The proposed new components are trying to provide different and more scientific ways to test upper body strength, core strength and cardiovascular health.”
The proposed new alternative components are the most comprehensive changes to Air Force fitness testing since replacing the outdated cycle ergometry test in 2004 with the test’s current fitness components, part of the Air Force’s Fit to Fight Initiative.
The latest changes; however, align under the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force’s Action Orders to Accelerate Change or Lose. Specifically targeting Action Order A: Airmen.
“We are moving away from a one-size-fits-all model,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. in the initial change announced May 2021. “More testing options will put flexibility in the hands of our Airmen – where it belongs.”
Hyde said the Airmen who have taken part in the beta test mostly had good things to say, but some felt the scoring standards were “a little off” for the new components, especially for the hand-release push-ups.
“At the end of the day”, said Hyde, “I don’t think all the new components are perfect but I’m really proud the Air Force is taking steps in the right direction and trying something new. I’m looking forward to us working to make things work smarter and better.”
With the beta testing wrapping up at Kunsan, Hyde said Airmen should look for new PT guidance in the coming months.
Story by Tech. Sgt. James Cason
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs