How Many Pushups Does the Army Require? APFT Standards & Training Tips Explained

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Thinking about joining the army? One of the first things you’ll need to master is the pushup. This simple yet challenging exercise plays a crucial role in the fitness test that determines your eligibility. But how many pushups does the army actually require?

Understanding the pushup requirements can help you prepare effectively and boost your chances of success. The number of pushups you need to complete depends on several factors, including your age and gender. So, let’s dive into what you need to know to meet these standards and get one step closer to your goal.

Overview of Army Fitness Requirements

Understanding the Physical Fitness Test

The Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) measures your physical capabilities. This test includes three events: pushups, sit-ups, and a timed 2-mile run. Designed to evaluate muscular strength, endurance, and cardiovascular fitness, each event is scored independently. You must pass minimum requirements in each to qualify for military service. Age and gender determine your specific standards, ensuring a tailored assessment for all recruits.

The Role of Pushups in Army Training

Pushups are a fundamental exercise in army training. This exercise assesses your upper body strength and endurance, directly reflecting your physical preparedness. During the APFT, you must complete the maximum number of pushups in two minutes. Scores vary by age and gender, with men aged 17-21 required to perform a minimum of 42 pushups, and women in the same age group needing at least 19 pushups. Pushups aren’t just a test; they integrate into routine training, promoting discipline and fitness.

Benchmark for Army Pushups

Minimum Pushup Requirements

The minimum number of pushups required varies based on a few factors. For entry into the army, men aged 17-21 must perform at least 42 pushups to meet the baseline. Women of the same age group need at least 19 pushups. These figures apply to the initial fitness test upon joining. Failure to meet these standards may result in additional training or reevaluation.

Variation by Age and Gender

Pushup requirements differ across age groups and between genders to account for varying fitness levels. For men aged 22-26, the minimum requirement is 40 pushups, whereas for men aged 27-31, it’s 39 pushups. Women in these age brackets have adjusted requirements too, with 17 pushups for ages 22-26 and 16 pushups for ages 27-31. These standards ensure that fitness evaluations are fair and aligned with physiological differences.

Age Group Gender Minimum Pushups
17-21 Male 42
17-21 Female 19
22-26 Male 40
22-26 Female 17
27-31 Male 39
27-31 Female 16

These benchmarks ensure readiness and maintain a consistent measure of physical capability across the army. Pushups remain a foundational exercise, reflecting both strength and endurance essential for army service.

Training Tips for Meeting Army Pushup Standards

Developing Strength and Endurance

Building the strength and endurance needed for army pushup standards involves consistent training. Focus on exercises that target your chest, shoulders, and triceps. Incorporate pushup variations like incline pushups and decline pushups to challenge different muscle groups. Consistency is key; aim to work out five days a week.

Use progressive overload to steadily increase your strength. This means gradually adding more repetitions or resistance as you get stronger. Track your progress by keeping a workout log. Engage in activities like running or cycling to improve cardiovascular fitness, which supports overall endurance.

Recommended Training Routines

Structure your training routine to meet the army’s pushup standards effectively. Start with a warm-up that includes dynamic stretches to prepare your body for exercise. Follow a workout schedule that balances pushup exercises and other strength-training activities. Here’s an example:

Day 1: Pushups and Core

  • Standard Pushups: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Plank: 3 sets of 1 minute
  • Pushup Holds: 3 sets of 10 seconds

Day 2: Rest or Light Cardio

  • Jogging or brisk walking: 30-45 minutes

Day 3: Chest and Triceps

  • Incline Pushups: 3 sets of 12-20 reps
  • Tricep Dips: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Chest Press: 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Day 4: Full Body Workout

  • Standard Pushups: 3 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Squats: 3 sets of 20 reps
  • Pull-ups: 3 sets of 5-10 reps
  • Yoga or stretching: 30-45 minutes

Incorporate rest days to allow muscle repair and recovery. Adapt the routine based on your fitness level. Use this structured approach to build the strength and endurance required to meet army pushup standards.

Comparison With Other Military Branches

Differences in Physical Requirements

Each military branch has distinct physical requirements. The Army requires 42 pushups for males and 19 for females in the 17-21 age group. The Navy demands 42 pushups for males and 19 for females within the same age range. In contrast, the Marine Corps sets higher standards with 50 pushups for males and 20 for females. The Air Force requires 33 pushups for males and 18 for females. Each service has unique benchmarks, reflecting its physical readiness priorities.

Pushup Standards Across Services

Pushup standards vary significantly among the services. Army standards are specific to age and gender. The Marine Corps, known for rigorous training, maintains stringent standards. For instance, males must complete 50 pushups, while females need 20. The Navy and Air Force have more moderate requirements, with the Navy at 42 for males and 19 for females, and the Air Force at 33 for males and 18 for females. Understanding these differences helps tailor your training to meet your chosen branch’s demands.

Branch Male Pushups (Ages 17-21) Female Pushups (Ages 17-21)
Army 42 19
Navy 42 19
Marine Corps 50 20
Air Force 33 18

These standards highlight the varying expectations and physical readiness levels required across the military branches.


Mastering pushups is essential if you’re aiming to meet the Army’s physical fitness standards. By understanding the specific requirements of each military branch, you can tailor your training to ensure success. Whether you’re preparing for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, or Air Force, focusing on strength and endurance will help you meet and exceed the benchmarks. Remember consistent practice and dedication are key to achieving your fitness goals.


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