Physical Fitness Requirements for Coast Guard Recruits

Physical fitness is crucial in the Coast Guard, ensuring personnel are ready for the demanding tasks they face.

Coast Guard basic training is rigorous, preparing recruits both mentally and physically for their roles.

The training is essential for building the strength, endurance, and resilience needed to serve effectively.

Physical Fitness Test (PFT) Requirements

The Physical Fitness Test (PFT) is a critical component of Coast Guard basic training, designed to assess recruits’ physical capabilities.

The requirements differ slightly between male and female recruits, ensuring that all recruits meet the necessary fitness standards to perform their duties effectively.

Male Requirements

Male Physical Fitness Requirements for Coast Guard - how hard is it

Now let us go through the requirements for males:

Push-ups: 29 in 60 seconds

Push-ups test upper body strength, particularly the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Recruits must maintain proper form throughout, keeping their body straight and lowering their chest to about an inch from the ground.

Sit-ups: 38 in 60 seconds

Sit-ups assess core strength and endurance. Recruits lie on their back with knees bent and feet anchored. Each sit-up involves raising the upper body to touch the knees with the elbows.

1.5-mile run: 12:51

The 1.5-mile run tests cardiovascular endurance. Recruits must complete the distance as quickly as possible, demonstrating their stamina and aerobic capacity.

Sit and reach: 16.50 inches

This test measures flexibility, especially in the lower back and hamstrings. Recruits sit with their legs extended and reach forward as far as possible.

Swim circuit

Tread water for 5 minutes, jump off a 6-foot platform, and swim 100 meters. It is a component that tests water survival skills. Recruits must demonstrate their ability to stay afloat and swim efficiently, showcasing both endurance and water confidence.

Female Requirements

Female Physical Fitness Requirements for Coast Guard - how hard is it

Now that we understand the requirements for males, let us check the female requirements.

Push-ups: 15 in 60 seconds

The push-up requirement for female recruits is slightly lower, reflecting average physiological differences. The proper form remains critical to prevent injuries and ensure effectiveness.

Sit-ups: 32 in 60 seconds

Female recruits must also demonstrate strong core muscles, though the requirement is slightly lower compared to males.

1.5-mile run: 15:26

The time requirement for the 1.5-mile run is adjusted to reflect differences in average aerobic capacity, while still demanding a high level of endurance.

Sit and reach: 19.29 inches

Female recruits must reach slightly farther in the flexibility test, which takes into account general flexibility differences between genders.

Swim circuit

Tread water for 5 minutes, jump off a 6-foot platform, and swim 100 meters. The swim circuit requirement is the same for both genders, emphasizing the importance of water survival skills for all Coast Guardsmen.

Preparing for the Physical Fitness Test

Early preparation for the PFT is crucial for success in Coast Guard basic training program.

Prospective recruits are encouraged to begin training well in advance of their reporting date. A well-rounded fitness regimen should include cardiovascular exercises, strength training, and flexibility workouts.

For running, a progressive training program can help improve endurance and speed.

Starting with shorter distances and gradually increasing to the 1.5-mile run can build the necessary stamina. Interval training, which alternates between high-intensity running and recovery periods, can also enhance cardiovascular fitness.

Strength training should focus on exercises that target the major muscle groups used in the PFT.

Push-ups and sit-ups can be practiced regularly to build upper body and core strength. Including exercises such as planks, burpees, and weightlifting can provide additional benefits.

Swimming is another essential component, particularly for the swim circuit. Regular swimming practice, along with treading water exercises, can help recruits build confidence and proficiency in the water.

Flexibility training, including stretching and yoga, can improve performance in the sit-and-reach test and help prevent injuries.

Physical Fitness Test Details

Each component of the Physical Fitness Test (PFT) is designed to measure specific aspects of physical fitness, and understanding the details of each test can help recruits prepare effectively.


Push-ups assess upper body strength, particularly in the chest, shoulders, and triceps.

Proper form is crucial:

  • Hands should be shoulder-width apart
  • The body should form a straight line from head to heels
  • Elbows should bend to at least 90 degrees with each repetition

To excel, practice push-ups regularly, focusing on form and gradually increasing the number of repetitions.


Sit-ups evaluate core strength and endurance.

During the test, recruits must lie on their back with their knees bent and feet anchored, and they must touch their elbows to their knees with each repetition.

Consistent practice can help build the necessary abdominal strength.

1.5-mile run

The 1.5-mile run measures cardiovascular endurance. To prepare, start with shorter runs and progressively increase the distance.

Adding interval training and long, slow distance runs to build both speed and endurance. Proper pacing during the test is essential to avoid exhaustion.

Sit and reach

The sit and reach test assesses flexibility, particularly in the lower back and hamstrings.

To improve flexibility, adding stretching exercises into your routine. Stretching the hamstrings, lower back, and hip flexors can enhance performance in this test.

Swim circuit

The swim circuit tests water survival skills. Practice treading water to build endurance and confidence.

Jumping off a platform and swimming 100 meters requires both physical and mental preparedness. Regular swimming practice, focusing on technique and stamina, is crucial.