MILITARY GOES SOFT: New air force fitness test will feature walking instead of running and modified push ups

Beginning in January of 2022, the Air Force will offer new physical training options.

For instance, the aerobics test can be completed by running, sprinting, or walking. To measure core strength, the options will be planks or sit-ups. The third portion is traditionally push-ups, now, airmen have the option to perform modified raised-hand push-ups. “Instead of going up and down like a traditional push-up, the raised hand push-ups allow airmen to alternate lifting their hands up while in the push-up ready position,” said Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly, the deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services at Air Force headquarters.

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By diversifying the testing options, the Air Force aims to give airmen more freedom and meet everyone’s strengths. Upon releasing the new PT options, the Air Force was critiqued for lowering standards. However, the intensity of the walking test and modified push-ups may still be demanding.

Task & Purpose, a publication catering to military members and veterans, reports, “The announcement stirred up discussion on forums like Facebook and Reddit, where some airmen made the interesting observation that the walking test may be more tricky than it sounds. Previously, airmen could walk instead of run only if they had a medical waiver to do so. ‘The walk f**ked my shins,” said one Reddit user. ‘They burned for days. Poor shins. Don’t walk. Don’t ever walk. Do the damn sprints.’”

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Thomas Spoehr, who serves as the director for the conservative Heritage Foundation’s Center for National Defense said, “I think you can make an event like walking just as hard as running depending on how you score it.”

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