Shaw Airmen push through PT test

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. – Sweat, disinfectant and stress hang in the air as Team Shaw Airmen wait to begin their physical fitness test in the fitness center, at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. The smiles from casual conversation between testers vanish as “Hey everyone, let’s begin,” is heard. The PT test begins with height, weight and waist measurement. Regardless of age, male Airmen must maintain a waist size smaller than 39 inches and females a waist size of 35.5 inches or smaller. “The waist measurement is worth 20 points on the test, the same as the pushups and situps combined,” said Airman 1st Class Kelly Kemp, 20th Force Support Squadron fitness assessment augmentee. “People need to work out more and eat healthier because of how much the waist measurement is weighted.” After the body measurement, the testing Airmen don brightly colored jerseys to distinguish each member during PT testing. The first exercise performed is pushups. Fitness assessment proctors will demonstrate proper technique to test-takers, and will monitor pushups performed. Other testing Airmen will keep track of repetitions for an accurate score. “A common mistake is not going all the way down or up on the pushup,” said Senior Airman Jonathan Thomas, 20th FSS fitness assessment augmentee. “It is better to perform the repetition correctly once, than five incorrect reps.” Shaw testers can tuck their feet under a metal bar anchored to the floor at the fitness center or have a wingman hold their feet for the situps portion. The situp is used as a measure of abdominal endurance. “Problems with situps is testers taking their hands off their chest, elbows not coming all the way up to their thighs and not going all the way down,” said Thomas. “Performing an exercise incorrectly and the rep not counting is wasting time and energy.” The final measure in the fitness assessment is a 1.5 mile run. This portion of the test is conducted on the Shaw football field track and is approximately six laps. Every Shaw fitness assessment augmentee is CPR certified and has close contact with medical personnel if the need arises due to overexertion. “The most common mistake is people not pacing themselves,” said Kemp. “They start out too fast and tire themselves out quickly. Airmen should practice running and time themselves so they know what time they should be running each lap.” While some Airmen are naturally athletic and can pass the test with ease, others consistently struggle to maintain the standard. According to Air Force Instruction 1-1, being a good wingman means taking steps to help fellow Airmen not only pass, but improve their PT score. They may need a running partner or a wingman to do situps and pushups with, and it is every Airman’s responsibility to help. Thomas added that simple preparation can help alleviate anxiety regarding the PT test. “If you run a mile and a half as fast as you can and do as many pushups and situps as you can once a week, every week of your career, you would never have to worry about a pt test,” said Thomas.