Sailors in the US Navy are expected to have a decent level of all-around fitness. Life onboard ship often involves many hours of strenuous physical work. The ships themselves can be vast and multileveled, and sailors must be fit enough to get from one part of the vessel to the other in a timely manner.
Add the pressure of performing duties in a combat situation, and fitness becomes even more important.
Many of the systems onboard a ship are mechanized, but those systems are operated by humans. The sailors must stay at their post and work effectively and diligently for many hours without a break. Fitness, endurance, strength, and resilience are all critical.
The Navy uses the Physical Readiness Test or PRT to determine if sailors are fit for duty.
What is The Navy PRT Calculator?
The Navy Physical Readiness Test (Navy PRT) is a series of fitness tests that members of the US Navy must pass. It is typically conducted once a year, and sailors are required to reach the minimum standards for their gender and age group. Those who don’t come up to scratch will be remanded to remedial PT and face being discharged if they do not reach the required standard when reassessed.
While any sailor can pass the Navy PFT by hitting the minimum levels, participants are encouraged to beat those standards, especially if they want to be considered as a candidate for promotion.
The Navy PFT comprises three stages:
1. Forearm Plank
In previous versions of the Navy PRT, core strength and abdominal endurance were tested with crunches and sit-ups. These exercises have recently been replaced with forearm planks, which are deemed to be much more functional and relevant to the modern Navy. Planks are also considered safer than crunches and sit-ups.
Core strength is critical for the safe lifting and carrying of heavy equipment and should help lower the risk of lumbar spine injuries, which are common among serving Navy personnel.
For this test, participants must hold a forearm plank for as long as possible. To pass this test, sailors must perform the plank correctly, and poor form is unacceptable.
To perform a plank to Navy PT standards:
- Lie on the floor and rest on your forearms so that your elbows are below your shoulders and your forearms are parallel. Elbows must be bent to 90 degrees.
- Position your feet so they are no more than hip-width apart.
- Raise your hips so your body is straight. Look down at the floor so your neck is neutral.
- You can perform your plank on a mat, but your arms and feet must be on it, not just your upper body or feet.
- Hold this position for as long as possible, but do not hold your breath.
2. Push-ups in Two Minutes
Push-ups develop and test upper body strength and endurance. They mostly work the chest, arms, and shoulders. However, they also involve the core and, to a lesser degree, the legs. For the Navy PRT, participants must complete as many push-ups as possible in two minutes.
Sailors must perform their push-ups using strict form:
- Adopt the high plank position with arms, legs, and body straight. Hands should be roughly shoulder-width apart.
- Bend your arms and lower your chest to within an inch of the floor. Your body must remain straight and move as a single unit. Arms are generally kept close to the body.
- Extend your arms fully and repeat.
- You can rest with your arms straight, but the test is over if you lie on the floor.
- Perform as many reps as possible in two minutes.
3. Cardio Test
The Navy PRT assesses cardio fitness in one of several ways. Depending on the space and facilities available, sailors are expected to complete one of the following:
- 5-mile run
- 500-yard swim
- 400-meter swim
- 2-kilometer row
While the run is the preferable and most common cardio test for the PRT, the other assessments may be used if appropriate, e.g., rowing while deployed at sea.
How to Use the Navy PRT Calculator
The Navy Physical Readiness Test (PRT) calculator is very straightforward to use. Just follow these step-by-step instructions to see how your fitness compares to sailors in your age bracket.
- Select your gender, choosing between male or female.
- Enter your age in years.
- Hold a plank for as long as possible, and then enter your result in minutes and seconds.
- Perform as many strict push-ups as possible in two minutes and then enter your results.
- Choose and perform your cardio test, choosing between running, swimming, and rowing, and then enter your time.
- Hit “Calculate.”
Interpreting your Results
The Navy Physical Readiness Test (PRT) calculator compares your performance in the three assessments to the standard tables for your age and gender. Younger participants are expected to perform better than older participants, and the standards for women are lower than those for men.
Each discipline has a maximum score of 100, and the highest total score for the Navy PRT is 300. Pass scores depend on age and gender.
After entering your results, you will receive the following:
- Your PRT Score
- Your performance level
- Your forearm plank result and level
- Your push-up result and level
- Your cardio result and level
To pass out of basic training, a sailor must achieve an overall category of “good (low),” meaning their average across the three tests must be 60 points or greater.
However, after basic training, sailors only need to reach the “satisfactory (medium)” category or above to pass their annual PRT, so they need an average score of at least 50.
Scores below 50 put you into the probationary category, meaning you must improve your performance in your next test. You may also face disciplinary proceedings or even be discharged from the Navy if you fail to meet the required standard.
How to Improve Your Navy PRT Score
Do you want to improve your Navy PRT score? These are the strategies you should use!
Forearm planks develop and test core strength and endurance. Core is the collective term for the muscles that comprise your midsection, including the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis.
The best way to get better at planks is to do plenty of planking. Start doing planks 2-3 times a week, working on gradually increasing the length of time you spend doing them.
- Week 1 – three sets of 30 seconds
- Week 2 – three sets of 40 seconds
- Week 3 – three sets of 50 seconds
- Week 4 – three sets of 60 seconds
- Week 5 – four sets of 60 seconds
- Week 6 – four sets of 65 seconds
- Week 7 – four sets of 70 seconds, etc.
You can also more challenging types of plank to overload and develop your muscles while adding variety to your workouts. Good options include:
Arguably the best way to get better at push-ups is to do lots of push-ups. While that might sound confusing or even impossible, it’s not. Push-ups are a skill, and the more proficient you are, the more reps you’ll be able to do in less time. Achieving this requires practice.
Grease the groove, known as GTG for short, involves doing lots of submaximal sets of push-ups spread throughout your day. While none of these sets are too taxing, they help you a) perfect your technique and b) develop the neural pathways that allow you to engage your muscles as effectively as possible.
The result? You could double your push-up max in as little as 30 days!
To do GTG push-ups, simply pump out lots of sets of your current single-set maximum. So, if you can currently do 20 reps in one go, do just 10 reps at a time. Make sure each rep is clean and performed with complete control. Take pride in how perfectly you do your push-ups!
Try accumulating up to ten sets per day, each separated by an hour or so. Do this 5 to 6 days a week for a month, and you’ll CRUSH the Navy PRT push-up standard.
Other ways to increase your push-up numbers include:
All these exercises are more challenging than conventional push-ups, so when you do the regular version, they should feel much easier than usual.
Passing the Navy PRT cardio assessment requires an above-average level of aerobic fitness. The best way to develop this fitness is to do plenty of the cardio activity that you will be assessed on.
So, if you are going to run 1.5 miles, you need to do frequent running workouts. But, if you are going to be assessed via swimming or rowing, then those are the activities you should focus on.
Regardless of the cardio modality, you should include the following types of training in your workouts:
Over-distance training – build up to doing at least 50% more than the test distance. So, if you are going to do the 1.5-mile run test, make sure you can run at least 2.25 miles fairly comfortably. Similarly, suppose you are doing the two-kilometer row test. In that case, you should have no problem rowing three kilometers, albeit at a reduced speed.
Speed intervals – this workout involves going faster than your expected test pace. Break the assessment distance down into 3-4 sets and do each one more quickly than your usual speed. Rest for 2-3 minutes and repeat. This will get you used to working at a higher level of intensity and will make the pace on test day feel more manageable.
Time trials – a time trial is a mock race and should help get you used to the demands of your Navy PRT cardio assessment. You should know in advance whether you are being assessed by running, rowing, or swimming. Practice that discipline over the test distance, working on gradually decreasing your time.
Do each of these workouts once per week on non-consecutive days.
Navy PRT Calculator FAQ
1. What is the best way to warm up for the Navy PRT?
Warming up before your Navy PRT will ensure that you can perform at your best while reducing your risk of injury.
To warm up for the Navy PRT:
- Go for an easy 5 to 10-minute jog
- Do some dynamic mobility and flexibility exercises for your main muscles and joints
- Do a couple of sub-maximal sets of push-ups and planks for practice
- Do a few short bouts of fast running, rowing, or swimming, e.g., 30 to 60-seconds
You should now feel warm-up and ready to kick butt during your Navy PRT.
2. How often should I do the Navy PRT?
The Navy PRT is typically administered annually, but there is no reason you can’t do it more often if you wish. However, your score won’t improve much if you do the test too often, so limit yourself to performing the PRT once every 1-3 months. Doing the PRT more frequently than this could lead to overtraining, probably making your scores worse instead of better.
3. Can I do the 1.5-mile run on a treadmill?
Sailors based on land usually do the 1.5-mile test on the roads on and around their base. However, when deployed at sea, they may use a treadmill instead. Ideally, you should train using use the modality on which you will be tested. So, if you know your next PRT will happen while you are on ship, you should practice on a treadmill. That way, you’ll be as prepared as possible for the test.
However, if you are only doing the Navy PRT for your own interest, i.e., you are not a serving sailor, there is nothing wrong with using a treadmill if that’s what you prefer it.
4. Are there any other fitness tests that Navy personnel have to pass?
In addition to passing the Navy PRT, sailors must also be below a specific body fat percentage to be considered fit for duty:
- Age 18 to 21 – 22% for males, 33% for females
- Age 22 to 29 – 23% for males, 34% for females
- Age 30 to 39 – 24% for males, 35% for females
- Age over 40 – 26% for males, 36% for females
You can read more about the US Navy Body Fat Calculator in this article.
Navy PRT Calculator – Wrapping Up
The Navy Physical Requirement Test (PRT) is the basic fitness assessment of the United States Navy. All sailors are expected to pass it at least once per year, and performance standards are adjusted according to age and gender.
The PRT assesses upper body and core strength and cardiovascular fitness. However, it’s not as comprehensive or demanding as some other military fitness tests. Still, the Navy life tends to be less strenuous than, say, the Army, whose biannual fitness tests are a little more demanding.
Take the PRT to see how your fitness stacks up against the sailors of the US Navy.
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