How to Prepare for the CFA (Candidate Fitness Assessment)

The Candidate Physical Fitness Test is used to test the fitness level of candidates applying to US Service Academies. Preparing for this sort of test takes determination and hard work from your body, and it is not an easy task. Do you want to know how to succeed? Read this article for guidance.


  1. 1
    Dedicate yourself to your training. If you really want to succeed, you need to train your body in any way possible, which means a lot of fitness practice and exercise. You need to build both lower, and upper body strength. You can find a coach to assist you in your training, for they can show you a lot about how to do certain exercises.
  2. 2
    Do push-ups. Form is very important when performing push-ups, so keep your back straight the entire time. Perform varieties of wide, standard, and "triangle" push ups. Using a website, video, or coach can be a very useful addition to your training. If you cannot do any push ups, put your knees down and follow a similar structure until you are strong enough to do standard push-ups.
  3. 3
    Try crunches, but remember, your form should be stressed. Do not let your hands come off of the tops of your shoulders/collarbone, as the entire event will be terminated. The case once again is that the more of these you do, the better you will get. Practice doing as many as you can in 3-4 minutes, and find a pace that works well enough for you to achieve your goals. Do not do more work than necessary when being tested, because your elbows only need to reach halfway up your thighs. Lower yourself only to the point where the shoulder blades touch the ground, and continue moving.
  4. 4
    Work on pull-ups. If you cannot perform any pull-ups, start with "negatives." Jump up to the bar and lower yourself down as slow as possible. If you can do pull-ups, search for and use the Armstrong Pull-Up Program. This will also improve push ups scores. There are plenty of resources and apps to use to track and improve pull up score, so try them and see which of them works the best for you.
  5. 5
    Run. If you aren't good at running, run more. Find a good pace that works for you, and run longer distances than your test requires (1 mile). Alternate between long, steady, distance runs and shorter, faster runs. Fartleks are also very effective in building up speed.
  6. 6
    Do a shuttle run. Short steps are the key to shuttle runs, because you will accelerate faster than taking long strides. Run as fast as you can. Practicing for this will improve your time a lot.
  7. 7
    Practice all of these at least once a day to improve in each one of them. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect! Make as much progress in these as you can before taking your CFA to increase your chances of passing.
  8. 8
    Take your CFA test and see how you did. Finished.


  • Work out more. Download fitness apps. Eat clean and healthy.
  • In any sort of fitness, it holds true that the more you perform an exercise, the better you will get at it.
  • Commit to regular training sessions to achieve your goals.
  • Exercises you can do to improve core strength include flutter kicks, the Russian twist, back extensions, and running.


  • Proper warm-ups and stretching is very important. Ignoring this step could result in serious injuries.
  • Don't work yourself too hard. This can lead to muscle strain and serious injuries, which can be hospitalizing.

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Categories: Cardio Exercises