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Home > tests for tough guys


You can't argue with genetics. Take the IQ test, for example, which measures both innate and potential intelligence. Your score stays pretty much fixed your entire life. Seems unfair, doesn't it? Only one out of 100 people can lay claim to an IQ score of 137 or higher.

No matter how many Stanley Kaplan courses you take or Tony Robbins self-improvement tapes you listen to while speed-reading Michael Crichton novels, your intelligence-aptitude needle won't budge all that much. Of course, IQ measures brainpower, not smarts--witness all those valedictorians who lack plain common sense. Which brings us to fitness testing.

On exams that measure brawn and physical aptitude, your score is not fixed--it can improve over time. The physical fitness tests we've assembled here are not unlike those administered in junior high school by that whistle-blowing gym teacher who made you do push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, standing jumps and half-mile runs (assuming your school district was enlightened enough to mandate PE).

Specific physical-conditioning tests that set quantitative standards for fitness, agility and strength are mandatory for those seeking jobs in law enforcement, firefighting or the military. To prevent washing out, you must meet each group's minimum fitness requirements. Want to stay in the Marines Corps? Guys between the ages of 17 and 26 must be able to perform three pull-ups, do 40 sit-ups in two minutes, and run three miles in 28 minutes, while carrying body fat that doesn't exceed 18%. Semper sigh.

Performing well on fitness tests requires a bit of homework--regular strength and cardio workouts--and a good dose of physical and mental toughness. Are you ready to become an athletic genius and join the Mensas of MEN'S FITNESS? Have a go at these grueling physical-fitness rites of passage from the world of elite soldiers and public-safety pros to see whether you have the jewels to make the grade.



Smokejumpers are the top of the line of firefighters, parachuting into the hottest of hot spots. To be eligible for this prestigious yet hazardous position, candidates must have substantial fire fighting experience as well as pass the standard smokejumper physical-training test on the first day of training. The minimum requirements (it gets tougher once you're in) are:

* Seven pull-ups/chin-ups

* 45 sit-ups

* 25 push-ups

* 1 1/2-mile run in less than 11 minutes

The test is taken all at once, with five-minute breaks between exercises. Smokejumper candidates also need to perform 15 training jumps, and are required to show they can tote 110 pounds of gear a distance of three miles over a level surface in 90 minutes or less.



The Army Physical Fitness Test is a three-event physical-performance test used to assess endurance and strength, while providing a baseline for active Army soldiers and active guard/ reserves who are required to take the APFT at least twice each year. The test uses a 100-point measuring system per event.

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