Air Force Tactical Fitness Test

Airmen at Offutt Air Force Base work out on the rowing machines.
Team Offutt members use the rowing machines during the tactical fitness class in the field house on Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., April 2, 2012. (Charles Haymond/U.S. Air Force photo)

The Air Force created a tactical fitness test that focuses on functional fitness. Air Force battlefield airmen will perform this test during selection and once on active duty after being assigned to Air Force Special Operations units.

In addition to the physical ability and stamina test (PAST), these airmen also will be required to pass the following 10 skills (each is graded on a 10-point scale):

Rules: To pass, each participant must score at least two points on each event and compile an overall score of at least 52. You are allowed five minutes between each event.

1. Grip strength: Squeeze a baseline hydraulic hand dynamometer to measure grip strength, measured in pounds per square inch (PSI).

2. Medicine ball toss: Measured in feet, toss the ball over your head as far as you can. Then toss the ball while twisting from the side as far as you can. Combine the distance of both throws for a points total.

3. Three-cone drill: From the prone position, get up and run to the first cone (5 yards) directly in front of you and back to the start, then pivot and run around the first cone to a second cone that is 90 degrees and five yards to the right (L shaped formation). Run around the second cone and back to the starting position the same way you just ran.

4. Trap bar deadlift: Lift a weight from the floor to your waist for 1-5 repetitions. You get points for a maximum-weight one repetition and similar points for a lower weight but done for five repetitions.

5. Pull-up: Body-weight pull-ups for maximum repetitions. For maximum points, you need 30 reps. The minimum is nine reps.

6. Lunges (keep pace with a metronome): Alternating lunges to the beat of 56/minute pace while shouldering a 50-pound sandbag until you fail to keep pace.

7. Cross knee crunches (keep pace with a metronome): Lie flat on your back on the floor. Lift your torso as if you were doing a sit-up, but cross your left elbow to meet your right knee. Repeat with your right elbow to your left knee each time you go down and up. Maintain a pace of 56 beats per minute until you fail to keep pace.

8. Farmer carry: A 100-yard farmer carry with two 50-pound sandbags with handles. This is a sprint, not a walk.

9. 1,000-meter row: Row 1,000 meters on the ergometer as fast as you can. Failing is more than four minutes.

10. 1.5-mile run: Do a 1.5-mile timed run as fast as you can. Failing is 11:48, but maxing the test is 7:40.

Here is a video of the test being observed. Note: You may want to mute the volume, as the heavy metal music does not match the effort of the video.

The Tactical Air Control Party/Joint Terminal Attack Controller test is tough and is more in line with the way the other branches of the service are helping to prepare their fighters for the elements of fitness that likely will be seen during their job.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

Want to Learn More About Military Life?

Whether you're thinking of joining the military, looking for fitness and basic training tips, or keeping up with military life and benefits, has you covered. Subscribe to to have military news, updates and resources delivered directly to your inbox.

Story Continues