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The Service Academy CFA – Candidate Fitness Assessment by
- USNA 1991
by StewSmith - USNA 1991
Every week, there are several young people seeking advice about how to prepare for the country’s Service Academies fitness assessments. The CFA – or Candidate Fitness Assessment is a test that not only evaluates strength and endurance, but a measures potential for athleticism. The history behind the CFA is decades old, it but used to be called the PAE – which stands for Physical Aptitude Exam. The major difference between this fitness test and other PRTs in the military is the use of the shuttle run and the kneeling basketball throw. This article will assist Naval Academy, Air Force Academy and Military Academy candidates with this universal fitness exam.
This fitness test is a 40 minute exam that requires the candidates to perform a list of exercises in order and in accordance to strict time regulations. In summary, the test is the following chart:
See USNA link for more specific information on the CFA at http://www.usna.edu/Admissions/paeinstructions
Here are some helpful tips to assist with performing to your best on the CFA:
Basketball throw – Practice throwing the ball from your knees at a 45 degree angle using your entire torso and arm. By using a twisting motion of your torso you will be able to generate more throwing power than if you just threw with your arm.
Exercises to assist with this test:
Cadence Pull-ups – The best way to get better at pull-ups or flexed arm hang is to PRACTICE PULLUPS / FAH. However, the following exercises will assist:
120 ft Shuttle run – The shuttle run is a full out sprint that requires you to stop and change direction as fast as you can. To get better at this agility drill, practice the shuttle run turn-around as well as the following exercises for speed and strength:
Leg exercises on weight machines
Pushups – The pushup is a military standard. You should be able to do pushups continuously without much effort. The best way to be able to increase this upper body exercise is to do pushups 3-4 times a week. I do have a quick way to add significant numbers in a short period of time – see the article:
Exercises to assist with pushups are the following:
Pushups - See Pushups articles
Bench press – high reps – light weight
Dips or bench dips
Crunches in – When you have to do worth of crunches, you will want to pace yourself and break up the time into 4 x 30 seconds quarters. Find your goal and pace it out every 30 seconds. For example, if your goal is to do 80 crunches in , then at every 30 seconds mark you want to be at 20 crunches.
Compare the crunches to the run. If you sprint too fast in the mile run on the first ¼ mile, you will have a tough time maintaining your pace. The same goes for crunches in period.
1 mile timed run – Learn your mile pace by practicing mile runs as fast as you can for testing purposes as well as at a maintainable pace for long runs. For example, running a mile in is not that tough to do, but maintaining that pace for 3-4 miles is very tough. You should have two speeds. One for the mile sprint test in the CFA and one for distance runs of 3-5 miles. Find your pace and push yourself with sprints and interval training drills as in this workout plan.
Read several Running Articles on the right of the page
For more info on the CFA click the link to get the
ACE THE CFA / PFT
For more info on the CFA click the link to get the ACE THE CFA / PFT Handbook.
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author
certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National
Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a
workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the StewSmith.com
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