How to Prepare for a Military Physical Screening Test

In every branch of America’s military you must be physically fit in order to pass a PST (Physical Screening Test). Each branch has different events a person must pass, and you want to do your best to exceed the scores asked. The most common of all the events will be push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, an endurance run, and even a swim. Some programs want a higher score to qualify, but even if you are not going for these programs it is still excellent to show your commitment to fitness.


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    Be sure to stretch. Stretching is the most important part of exercise. If you do not stretch your muscles you could cause serious damage to them.
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    Work on improving your push-ups. Your present physical capability will determine how many repetitions (push-ups) you will do in each set (one setting). Push-ups measure your upper body strength and capability.
    • Be sure that you know how to do a proper push up.
      1. When doing push-ups, make sure you are on a flat surface, and your stomach is facing the floor. The arms, legs, back, and buttocks are straight and do not sag.
      2. Bend your elbows to lower the entire body until the arms, shoulders, and back are aligned.
      3. Push your body weight back up until your arms are straight.
        • If you cannot complete 10 push-ups without resting in-between sets you should start off doing push-ups on a chair with the arms on the seat. When doing your sets for push-ups it should never be easy. Always challenge yourself to exceed doing what you think you can. Your daily goal for push-ups should be between 200-500+ push-ups, and your set goal should 20-60 push-ups in one setting.
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    Improve your situps.
    • Sit-ups will measure your abdominal strength and capability. Having a strong core (abdominal area) is vital to all exercises even push-ups.
      1. To do a proper sit-up lay on a flat surface with your knees bent, and feet 12–18 inches (30.5–45.7 cm) from your buttocks.
      2. Your arms should be crossed and your thumbs at your throat.
      3. Lift your arms ups then down and propel yourself forward. Your elbows should be hit 1–3 inches (2.5–7.6 cm) below your kneecap when you come up, and then lay back with your arms back into the air. Y
        • Your thumbs NEVER leave your throat. If you cannot complete 10 sit ups or more in on set do crunches instead. A crunch is the same as a sit-up, but only your back and shoulders leave the floor and your elbows never touch your kneecap. Your daily goal for sit-ups should be between 300-800+ sit-ups. Your set goal should 30-80 sit-ups in one setting, but remember to always push yourself.
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    Work on your pull-ups.
    • Pull-ups measure your overall upper body strength, including arms, chest, and back. Pull-ups are difficult, and if you have never tried any doing one, it will be a challenge.
      • Pull-ups should be done on a pull-up bar or a sturdy bar able to support your weight. Your hands should not be much farther than shoulder width, and palms facing away from you.
    • If it is a short bar bend your knees and cross your legs so you support all of your weight. Pull your weight up and your chin must reach above the bar then all the way down until your arms are straight. If you cannot complete 1-3 pull-ups us resistance bands that are hooked from the bar to your feet so you carry less weight. Your daily goal should be 50-200+ pull-ups, and Your set goal should be 5-10+.
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    Endurance run. The endurance run is a measure of your body’s overall ability to run constantly for a period of time. The PST runs vary from 1.25 miles (2.01 km) or more and they are timed. You should run at least for 40+ minutes a day but more is always better. You should sprint short distances about a street block or so 5+ times a day and also time yourself to track your progress. If you cannot run for 40 minutes without stopping pace yourself to run as long as you can then walk briskly for a short period as a small break. Your goal should be to run 1.5 miles (2.4 km) under 11 minutes or less.
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    Swim. Most branches do not have a timed swim, but swimming is a great exercise for you to try. The timed swims vary from 300–800 yard (274.3–731.5 m) swim in under 12-11 minutes. You should swim for 30+ minutes and swim one lap timed relays. Your goal should be is to swim 40-50 second short lanes and 60-65 long lanes using the breast or sidestroke, and swim 30-40 second short lanes and 40-50 long lanes using a freestyle stroke.
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    Apply. Incorporating this into a daily workout can take hours, but will pay off in the end. If your branch requires a timed swim make sure to swim at least 3-7 days a week, but if it does not swim just to break up the monotony of your workouts. Always remember to push yourself beyond what you think you can do, and never settle for the minimum. Never slack on your exercise, because if you cheat the exercise you cheat your body.


  • Always push yourself.
  • Workout with a friend.
  • Exercise 6 days a week.


  • Do not workout if you have injured yourself (cuts and bruises do not count).

Things You'll Need

  • Motivation.

Article Info

Categories: Men's Health | Personal Fitness