Crush Your PT Test

Here’s something I’ve come to be known for and I love to do: preparing people for their military, fire, or law-enforcement PT test.

Step Into the Time Machine

If we go waaayy back, my brother and I were what I would call “paramilitary kids”.  We collected military surplus uniforms and equipment.  We read books and magazines and catalogs about strategy, tactics, weapons, and other tools of warcraft and spycraft.  We practiced all variety of skillsets that would only be valuable to a soldier, a private detective, or a terrorist (or a mercenary or bounty hunter, I guess).  We dug trenches and spider holes for fun.  Words like “bivouac” and “reconnoiter” were part of our daily vocabulary.

So, naturally, we did a lot of PT.  Push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, running.  These are a few of my favorite things.  I was never a big guy, but I could always do more pull-ups than anyone else I knew.  I could run all day.

Aspiring Marine

In my Junior year of high school, I decided I wanted to join the military.  I visited all the recruiters for Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marines.  The only ones who impressed me were the Marines.  They had the highest physical standards.  They were the sharpest-dressed, the toughest, and the killy-est.  I wanted to be a Marine.

The Marines had 3 physical test at the time: the sit-up test, the pull-up test, and the run test.  I practiced all 3 frequently until I was confident that I could pass them easily.  Then I practiced them more until I could beat all the other kids in the local recruitment pool.  Then I practiced them even more until I believed that I would be the “honor man” at boot camp.  I could do 20 pull-ups the hard way, run 3 miles in 17 1/2 minutes, and do 90 sit-ups in a minute.

My parents refused to sign my early enlistment paperwork as a Junior, and then some other life complications happened when I was a Senior.  After high school, I changed my mind and I never did join the Marines.  But those skills stayed with me.

Fast Forward

Over the years I had a lot of friends go into and come out of the military.  I was always able to beat most of them at any physical test.  At some point I started giving people training advice and stepping into this role as a coach.

I began training folks in a CrossFit gym in 2012.  I think I was in Thailand in 2013 when someone first paid me money to help them prep for a PT test.  Then, back stateside in 2014, I worked with the local recruiters to get a batch of Army recruits up to speed.  We also did some work with the Navy recruiters.  At my health club job, I trained a number of military hopefuls, some Sheriff’s deputies, and firemen.  I started working with the Big Lake Fire Department to setup their own gym and get their folks in better shape.  Then the Mount Vernon Police Department started tapping me on the shoulder whenever they had someone on the fence.  I trained a number of new guys hoping to go to the police academy, as well as several officers who were struggling to pass their annual reviews.

I am still called on from time to time to prepare someone for a military or LEO PT test.  In fact, I have a client right now who is training in hopes of joining the police force.  I have developed a philosophy of how to pass the test.

A Philosophy of How to Pass the Test

  1. First, you must work on your mindset.  The PT test is NOT the hardest thing you are going to face in this job.  If you are seriously considering joining the military, fire department, or a law enforcement agency, then you must be prepared to enter a world where life and death are on the line every time you show up for work.  You will be tested frequently, and your first test is this.  If this test is scary or intimidating to you, then what are you doing?  Toughen up and get ready to crush it, or change your ambition.
  2. Second, you must concentrate on the specific skills within the test.  In a way, training for the PT test is much easier than training for most sports, because the tests are so well-defined and known. Look up the standards and points of performance for your specific test.  There will only be a few things tested and they all have a very narrow definition of acceptable reps and passing scores.  Once you understand these, you can train them aggressively and specifically.
  3. Third, you must exceed the standards of the test.  Remember, you are entering a world where you will have to save lives, kill bad guys, and not get killed yourself.  This test is just the bare minimum standard to be able to enter that world, it is not the measure of difficulty of the job itself.  So, you need to train yourself to the point where this test is easy, and then you’ll be able to go above and beyond it.  Push-ups, sit-ups, and running (or pull-ups or a swim, or whatever) need to be as easy for you as putting on your pants in the morning.  You need to eat push-ups and breathe sit-ups and run in your sleep.

There’s not really much more to it than that.  Some folks can do this on their own, but others need a coach.  Having been on both sides of this, I think it’s good for a lot of people to have a coach.

  • A coach can give you a reality check and slap some sense into you when you need it.
  • A coach can educate you about exercise performance and adaptation to training.
  • A coach can help you design a training plan and keep you accountable to it.
  • A coach can send you to a doctor or therapist if you actually have something physically wrong with you that is hampering your ability to do the work.
  • A coach can hold you to a higher standard.
  • A coach can run your through some practice tests.
  • A coach can help you get yourself to your goal.
  • And, if it turns out that this is really not the right thing for you, or is actually outside of your physical abilities, a coach can help you process that and identify a new goal.

If you are getting ready to crush your PT test, I hope this article was helpful to you.  If you need a coach to help you crush your PT test, you can click here to schedule a complimentary consultation with me.

Published by nicnakis

Nicholas |nik-uh-luhs| n. a male given name: from Greek words meaning "victory of the people" John |jon| n. a male given name: from Hebrew Yohanan, derivative of Yehohanan "God has been gracious" Nakis |nah-kis| n. a Greek family name derived from the patronymic ending -akis (from Crete) Amha |am-hah| n. an Ethiopian given name meaning "gift", from Geez Selassie |suh-la-see| n. Ethiopian name meaning "trinity", from Geez

One thought on “Crush Your PT Test

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: