3. Front planks are a good test of anterior core endurance. Well conditioned anterior core muscles are essential for providing your spine with support and generating force during movements such as lifting or throwing. These muscles also play an important role in holding you upright when you are carrying a heavily loaded rucksack on your back. Adopt the front plank position with your weight resting on your elbows and toes only and your heels, hips and shoulders forming a perfectly straight line. Without holding your breath, maintain this position for as long as possible. As soon as your hips drop out of alignment the test is complete.
4. The timed back extension test will assess your posterior core muscles. Spending long periods of time seated can make these muscles weak and weak posterior core muscles increase your risk of back injury. Lie on your front on an exercise bench with your hips level with the front edge. Use a training partner to hold your legs down by sitting astride your thighs. Raise your upper body until it is parallel to the floor. Hold this position using the strength of your lower back, glutes and hamstrings. As soon as your shoulders drop below the level of your hips the test is complete. Try not to hold your breath during this test.
5. Press ups test and develop upper body endurance. Perform as many press ups as you can in a single set. Resting on extended arms is permissible but no resting with your chest on the ground. To ensure you perform a full range of movement, place a tennis ball on the floor under your chest. You MUST touch the tennis ball with your chest and extend your arms fully for a repetition to count.
6. Pull ups are performed with a shoulder-width overhand grip and will assess your upper body pulling strength. Perform as many repetitions as possible. You can rest in the “dead hang” position but once you have dropped off the bar, the test is finished. You must touch the bar with your chin and lower down to full extension for a repetition to count.
If you are unable to perform a full pull up, you can perform inclined rows instead. Set the bar of a Smith machine or squat rack to hip-height and lie beneath the bar with your arms and legs extended. Pull your chest up to the bar while keeping your body perfectly aligned.
7. Last, but by no means least, the 300 meter run will test anaerobic fitness and mental fortitude. Place two marker cones 50 meters apart and on the command “go” run out and back six times as fast as possible. Why 50 meter shuttles and not a straight 300 meter run? Stopping and starting every 50 meters breaks up your running rhythm and makes this already challenging test harder. Also, it’s often easier to find and measure a 50 meter course than a 300 meter course.
|1||1.5 mile run|
|2||Burpees in 180 seconds|
|3||Front plank holds|
|4||Back extension holds|
|7||300 meter sprint|
Ranks indicated for entertainment purposes only! < = less than, > = more than.
How did you measure up? If you aren’t used to performing these exercises you may find that your scores are lower than your general fitness levels would suggest. Like all things sporting and fitness related, specificity plays a part in your UFPFT performance. If there are glaring disparities between some of your scores, for example you achieved a sergeant ranking in press ups but a corporal ranking in pull ups, this would suggest there is a significant imbalance between your pushing and pulling muscles. Likewise, if your 1.5 mile run result ranks you as a private but you achieved a sergeant rank in the 300 meter sprint test, you may be lacking in aerobic fitness. Use your results to highlight areas of weakness and then address them in your subsequent workouts.