Last Updated: October 16th, 2020By

FORT KNOX, Ky. – With the grass illuminated by a single light post mixed with the beams of passing cars, Cadets from 6th Regiment, Basic Camp arrived at Fiddler Field at 4:30 a.m. to complete the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) on July 19.

Through yawns and dew-covered grass, Cadets participated in the three-stage fitness test to assess their current physical abilities. The APFT is one of the six must-pass obstacles Cadets must overcome while at Cadet Summer Training.

Cadet Luke Weliever, Virginia Military Institute, completes his push-up portion of the army physical fitness test on July 19 at Fort Know, Ky. (Photo by Emily Peacock)

“If any Cadets choose to contract they’ll have to do this twice a year for the remainder of their time in the army,” said Capt. Nathan Justin. “So this is good practice for them.”

The three stages of the APFT include two minutes of push-ups, two minutes of sit-ups and a timed two-mile run.

“It’s a good assessment of their physical fitness,” said Justin. “We go into the field in a couple of days so this will give them a good idea of what the remainder of their time is going to be like.”

When asked which part of CST he finds Cadets struggle with most, Justin stated that problems stem from getting used to the army life-style and the timelines they’ve had to operate with.

“Most of these Cadets woke up around 3:30 a.m. and now they’re doing something that could arguably be the most demanding physical test they’ve taken in their entire lives.”

Before performing the APFT, Cadre demonstrated the proper form and technique for each exercise to accurately show what is considered acceptable and what will not be counted toward their final score. Cadets must receive at least 60 percent overall to pass.

Cadet Tyler Nelsen, University of Northern Iowa, holds the feet of Cadet Madison Miller, Norwich University, in place during the two-minute sit-up portion of the army physcial fitness test of July 19 at Fort Knox, Ky. (Photo by Emily Peacock)

“Each day we’re doing something active,” said Cadet Michael Sanzone, Canisius College. “The better shape you’re in then the better you’re going to do, whether that’s at the obstacle course or any rucking that we’ll be doing.”

While CST in its entirety is considered both extremely physically and mentally challenging, Sanzone credits his friends and his family as his motivation to finish strong.

“They all have my back and they’re all supporting me back home,” said Sanzone. “Sometimes when I’m waking up at 3 a.m. and I’m feeling a little tired, I just think back to them and that helps me get out of bed a little faster and it helps me march a little faster.”

Before heading off for the final stage of his APFT, Sanzone sounded optimistic with his performance so far at CST. “I’m doing well! I’ve tried my best on everything so I’m happy with my results here and what I’ve done so far.”