Physical Fitness Evaluation

My Unit has recently decided to have all employees perform an annual Physical Fitness Evaluation (PFE) and we just finished 2  out of 3 test days. The evaluation is a mash up of Cooper Institute and US Army events that have been shown to demonstrate overall fitness and are highly predictive of long term health and longevity as well as job performance. The events chosen were partially based on ease of administration and availability of equipment with the intent being that the evaluation could be performed anywhere with only basic implements.

Here is what we went with:

Warm-up (7-10 minutes)

A. General warm-up – 2-3 minutes of easy jogging, Instep lunges, etc.

B. Stretching – 5-7 minutes, include dynamic and static mobility.

Physical Fitness Test Battery (PFTB)

A. Broad Jump (3 minutes rest) 3 attempts

B. One Minute Sit-Ups (5 minutes rest)

C. Maximum Pull-Ups (7 minutes rest)

D. Maximum Push-Ups (10 minutes rest)

E. 300-Meter Run (15 minutes rest)

F. Maximum Distance 3/4 Bodyweight Dumbbell Farmer’s Walk (15 minutes rest)

G. 1.5 Mile Run/Walk

Cool-down (5 minutes)

After running approximately 120 firefighters through the battery it appears to work pretty well for assessing overall fitness, which was the point, but I think it might fall short when it comes to lower body strength. The 300m sprint and broad jump are the two main events designed to assess the lower body and it would appear that jumping skill/coordination and anaerobic work capacity might limit the reliability of those events. All in all I am not too concerned because skill/coordination and anaerobic capacity are very important to this job, so I feel that evaluating them is fair and relevant.  That being said I’m not sure that total lower body strength is being tested sufficiently, after the 3rd round I will mine through all the data and see how it shakes out. Another factor is that the performance in each event is greatly affected by the preceding events,  so taking any one score and comparing it out of context will not be relevant. For example; those who chose to do kipping pull ups had reduced performance in the push up and participant’s 1.5 mile run times were much slower than expected. For this reason it is important to perform the battery the same way every time and look at the overall performance when comparing data. For some information on age/gender normalized performance standards check out the links below.



5 Responses to Physical Fitness Evaluation

  1. Eric C. says:

    Congratulations on getting the whole unit to participate!

    Sounds like you gave the choice of kipping vs strict?

    What was the median 1.5 time?

  2. Adam says:

    Hey Eric, yeah we gave the option on pull ups. I am still vacillating on that one, its clear that strict pull ups are a better indicator of strength but I kind of like the coordination and metabolic elements of the kip. The 1.5 ers have been slow, I have not entered all the data yet so I don’t know exactly but I would guess low 13s…

  3. Drew says:

    Did our 1st refresher PT Assessment last week w/ 32 FF’s. Overall, everybody put out. Our system is based on a 500 point scoring system. You receive points for all events: run, push-up, pull-up (no kipping of course :)), sit-up, BW squat, and the 2 min. tire flip. We went with this because it stresses all metabolic pathways, especially the two we really need when the s&*$ hits the fan. Did the run 1st, all else after in no specific order, BW squats then tire flip is a bad idea though. Run time was pretty good with the fastest coming in at mid-high 8’s, slowest, just over 15. Record tire flip of 61 in 120 seconds, no matter how small the tire that is blazing. Not a small tire though, the guy is ex- USA Rugby.

  4. Adam says:

    That’s awesome Drew! We were limited by the union influence and lucky to get any distance away form the old academy pt test.

  5. Drew says:

    We’ve been tweaking it for the last 4 years, but I think this is the one we’ll stick with. FF’s are broke down, but get a score out of it for comparison, love the camaraderie, and goal setting.

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