Saturday, February 21, 2015

WWII Fit Test


Kids and Kittens,

Ever wonder how you would stack up against the WWII GIs? Try out the test below!

I stumbled upon this article on The Art of Manliness page, and it's just fantastic! (Though I don't agree with the form pictured for squat jumps.) I think we should incorporate more of this type of workout into the current military tests. What do you think?


The first year the Army introduced a fitness test to the troops. It composed of squat jumps, pushups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and a 300 yard run. "The emphasis was on functional fitness and giving the American GIs the strength, mobility and endurance they would need to tackle real tasks on the battlefield."

Modern Standards for Today's Warrior

In the following years, the test changed drastically.
Soldiers are now only required to complete as many pushups and sit-ups as they can in 2 minutes and finish a 2 mile run under a certain time.
Air Force has to do pushups and sit-ups for 1 minute and a mile and a half run.
Marines are required to do pull-ups or flexed-arm hang (females), sit-ups, and a 3 mile run.
Navy has to do pushups and sit-ups for 2 minutes and a mile and a half run.

Are our troops prepared for the demands required of them for deployment? Why don't we increase the standards so we're "fit to fight" at a moment's notice? We've gone soft. We've decided we don't need to be in shape since we sit behind a desk. It's the modern way! I don't agree with that mentality and I hope you don't either!

Do this test on your own or get your squadron/platoon/etc. to try it!

The Test

Rule #1. Don't sacrifice quality for quantity. For example, pushups are ALL THE WAY DOWN and ALL THE WAY UP! None of that bouncing nonsense I see all too often.

Rule #2. Choose either the Outdoor or the Indoor tests. On the Indoor test, choose only one variation of number 5.

I'm only going to go over scoring. Full explanations of proper form can be found here.  Let's get started!

1.  Pull-ups
1.  Pullups
2.  Squat Jumps
2.  Squat Jumps
3.  Pushups
3.  Pushups
4.  Situps
4.  Situps
5.  300-yard Run
5A.  Indoor Shuttle Run
5A(1).  60-Second Squat Thrusts



Each time the performer pulls his chin above the bar in correct form, he is given credit for one pull-up. He is not credited with a pull-up if he fails to raise his chin above the level of the bar or if he stops to rest. 

If the performer does not straighten his arms at the bottom of a movement, if he kicks or jerks, only half a pull-up will be counted. If there are four half-pull-ups, the performer should be stopped and retested later.

If the performer starts to swing, the judge should stop the swinging with his hands. Some such aid as a resin-bag or a cake of magnesium carbonate should be available to prevent the hands from slipping.


The performer is credited with one squat jump each time he springs up from the squat to the erect position and returns. The movement is not scored if he fails to descend to a complete squat, if he does not straighten his legs completely and reverse his feet while he is in the air, if he removes his hand from his head, or if he discontinues the movement and comes to a stop.

If he loses his balance and removes a hand from his head momentarily, or falls but immediately recovers and continues, he shall not be penalized. If the performer gets his feet too far apart but comes to a squat on the rear foot, there is no penalty. Some men cannot squat all the way down on the heel. If they go down as far as possible they should not be penalized.



The performer is credited with one pushup each time his arms are completely straightened and the exercise is performed in acceptable form. There is no penalty for the hips being slightly out of line if the whole body is moving upward at about the same speed.

The men may proceed but may not stop to rest.

If a man violates any of the instructions given above, he is credited with a half-pushup. If and when the performer is no longer able to hold a correct front leaning rest, the test is terminated.



The performer is given credit for each sit-up completed within the 2-minute period. 

No score is given if he unclasps his hand from his head, if he pushes up from his elbow, or if he keeps his knees bent while lying back on the ground.  He is not penalized if the elbow misses the knee slightly.  He must, however, sit up far enough so that the elbow almost touches the knee.  Time should be announced every 20 seconds.  At the end of 2 minutes, the timer calls: STOP and the judge counts the full number of situps completed before the stop command.


Each runner has one inspector, or judge, who stands at the finish line.  The judge watches his runner to see that he makes the turns properly and observes all the rules.  This inspector also holds the man’s card and records his performance.  A timekeeper stands on one of the lines in the middle of the course, 20 feet away from the finish line.  The men are started by the starter with ordinary signals of: “Get on your mark; get set; go.”  Since the timer starts his watch by the “go”, the starter should also use a hand signal.
When the first runner is about 30 yards away from the finish line, the timer begins to count the seconds aloud using “hup” for the half-seconds.  For example, he counts “44, hup, 45, hup, 46, hup, 47, hup, 48, hup …… etc.”  The judge for each man listens to the count and at the same time watches his runner.  He then records the last full second or half-second, which was counted before the man reached the finish line.  After the inspector records the time on the man’s scorecard he returns the card to him.



This event is administered and scored as the 300-yard run. The time of the run is taken as the runner’s body passes beyond the turning board on the final lap.


 A score is given for the successful performance of each complete squat thrust. 

No score is given if: the feet start backward before the hands are placed on the ground; the hips are raised above the shoulder-heel line when the feet are back; or the performer does not fully recover to the erect position on the fourth count. 

The judge should not count aloud as this is apt to confuse other nearby judges.  If the man is performing the event incorrectly, the judge should coach him, or stop him and have him repeat the test after more coaching.

Check the score sheet here to see how you did!

Fit Dame

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