Plan Focus: APFT Training Plan


By Rob Shaul

Our APFT Training Plan is one of our most popular and over the years we’ve continued to evolve and improve its design and effectiveness.

The latest iteration is Version 6 of the plan, updated in April 2017.

This is not a general fitness training plan. Rather, it has a laser focus on increasing your performance for the 3 events of the APFT (push ups, sit ups, run), regardless of age,  gender or incoming fitness.

(Want to learn about the history of the APFT? CLICK HERE)

Program Design
The plan deploys the APFT Assessment three times – beginning, middle and end.

The follow-on push up, sit up and running progressions are based on the athlete’s most recent assessment results. In this way the training plan automatically “scales” to your incoming fitness and continues to “scale” and push you as your fitness improves during the plan.

Here is the Weekly Schedule:

  • Monday: Weeks 1, 3, 5: AM: APFT; PM: Push-ups, Situps; Weeks 2, 4, 6: Push-ups, Sit-ups, Run
  • Tuesday: Run
  • Wednesday: Push-Ups, Sit-Ups,
  • Thursday: Run
  • Friday: Push-Ups, Sit-Ups, Run.

How To Use the Plan
This plan is designed to be completed the 6 weeks directly before the official APFT.

Many US Army members continuously train to the APFT events during their regular PT time. We feel this is the wrong approach.

Training continuously for the APFT means athletes are always doing push ups, sit ups and runs for PT – which can lead to boredom, staleness and overtraining.

Also – the APFT events don’t well represent the real-world fitness demands of a deployed soldier or field training where heavy loads, rucking, relative strength, stamina and chassis integrity (mid section strength and strength endurance) are needed. Training continuously for the APFT means training for these demands is pushed aside, which leads to poor downrange or field exercise physical performance.

Rather, we feel military athletes’ day to day fitness should build and maintain these real world fitness demands. Then, when an APFT is on the horizon, athletes can step away from this base training to focus 6 weeks on specific APFT programming using this plan.

After the APFT – go back to the balanced “base” programming.

Required Equipment?
• Stopwatch, preferably one that can record lap times and has a timer. (Timex Ironman is best)
• Running area (track or other) with known 800m and 1 mile distances.

Changes to Version 6?
– Simplified the training plan in terms of administration, and deployment. Also reduced the equipment required to a track and stop watch.
– Standardized the weekly programming schedule across the plan
– Decreased the complexity of the running training to focus on 800m, 1 mile intervals and a long easy weekly run on Fridays.


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