If you're going to compete,
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We encourage a diverse array of applicants to compete for an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy. Some may need to take specific preparation or application steps. All should prepare to be the most competitive applicant possible. Get insights for your application, here.

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Physical Preparation

If you dream of attending the Academy, there are many things you can do to physically prepare yourself to shine in our applicant pool and, should you be selected for appointment, to perform to Academy standards as a cadet.


Prepare Fitness Habits and Skills

Take steps to develop your physical fitness level and habits by establishing a regular daily workout program and sticking to it faithfully. Select activities with an eye towards increasing your fitness as early as middle school and throughout your high school years. For example, you can build your strength and endurance through the following activities:

  • Rigorous team sports (ex. Soccer or Football)
  • Strenuous individual sports (Swimming or Wrestling)
  • An individual fitness program including both distance running and conditioning exercises — upper-body strength, running speed and endurance should be your objectives

Participation in these activities will help prepare you for the Candidate Fitness Assessment you must complete when applying to the Academy, and if selected, for the intense physical demands of Basic Cadet Training (BCT) once you arrive at the Academy.

Note that at the Academy, women participate in the same strenuous programs as men. Female applicants should include exercises to increase upper-body strength in any preparation program. You must be able to do at least one pull-up and should strive for more.

Finally, cadets are required to take aquatic classes at the Academy. If you do not already know how to swim, you need to learn.

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Prepare for the Fitness Assessment

Satisfactory completion of the Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA), a test of strength, agility, speed and endurance, is required for admission. Become familiar with the six events in the CFA and practice them to score well. Although the CFA is Pass-Fail, it is imperative that you perform to the best of your ability on each event. Below-average performances may disqualify you from admission consideration. For more details, see the Fitness Assessment admissions requirement.

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Prepare for the Altitude at the Academy

Due to the Academy’s high elevation — 7,250 feet above sea level — your endurance will be diminished. Incoming cadets often discover that they cannot run as fast or as far as they did before they arrived. Adjustment to conditions at the Academy is much easier if you have achieved an extremely high level of physical fitness (especially cardiovascular fitness) before you arrive.

The Academy’s primary measure of aerobic fitness is the 1.5 mile run. Current cadets run 1.5 miles in 10:18 on average. No matter where you train, you can use the 1.5 mile run to predict how altitudes at the Academy will impact you, and how your fitness is likely to compare with other cadets.

Predicting Your Performance

First determine your current average 1.5 mile run time. Add 48 seconds to your average to adjust for altitude. Then, compare your altitude-adjusted average to the cadet average.

Improvements made to your run time at your current elevation will also improve your altitude-adjusted performance. Just keep the altitude in mind, and train hard.

Average 1.5 Mile Run Times
Cadet Average Your Altitude-Adjusted Average
10:18 seconds Your Current Average Run Time + 00:48 seconds
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Prepare for Basic Cadet Training

Should you be selected for appointment, your first year will be one of the most physically demanding of your life. Many new cadets arrive at the Academy in poor shape and unprepared for the rigors of Basic Cadet Training (BCT). Even if you think you are in great shape, it is extremely important to prepare for the rigors you will face at the Academy:

  • BCT is designed to push your physical limits no matter what your fitness level may be.
  • The altitude at the Academy campus will take a toll on your physical performance.

To help you arrive in top physical form, Academy instructors have created a Pre-Arrival Cadet Training (PACT) regimen for incoming cadets. This regimen can be customized to your fitness level and the amount of time you have to train before you enter the Academy.

Getting Started

To get started, select the PACT regimen best suited to your fitness level and the amount of time remaining before you arrive at the Academy. Assess your fitness level based on these general criteria:

  • Good Physical Condition: You are able to run more than 5 miles comfortably.
  • Fair Physical Condition: You are able to run 3 – 5 miles comfortably.

Then, complete your PACT regimen each week for two to four weeks. Monitor your fitness level as you go. As your fitness improves and your Academy arrival date nears, progress to a more advanced regimen. Choose your regimen from the options, below:

The PACT Regimen: 12+ Weeks from Arrival

Physical Condition: Good Physical Condition: Fair
DAY 1DAY 1
WARM UP
  • Jumping Jacks: 40 reps
  • Flutter Kicks: 40 reps
  • Arm Circles: 20 reps forward
  • Arm Circles: 20 reps backward
  • Jog: 1⁄4 mile
  • Light Stretching: 10 min.
WARM UP
  • Jumping Jacks: 40 reps
  • Flutter Kicks: 40 reps
  • Arm Circles: 20 reps forward
  • Arm Circles: 20 reps backward
  • Jog: 1⁄4 mile
  • Light Stretching: 10 min.
WORKOUT
  • Pull-Ups: max reps x 1 set
  • Bicep Curls with dumbbells or barbell: 12 reps x 2 sets
  • Push-Ups: max reps x 1 set
  • Jog: 1/2 mile x 2 reps (walk 1⁄4 mile between reps)
  • Bent Leg Sit-Up: max reps x 1 set
  • Back Extension: 12 reps x 2 sets
  • Dumbbell Calf Raise: 20 reps x 2 sets
WORKOUT
  • Pull-Ups: max reps x 1 set
  • Bicep Curls with dumbbells or barbell: 12 reps x 1 set
  • Push-Ups: max reps x 1 set
  • Jog: 1/4 mile x 2 reps (Walk 1⁄4 mile between reps)
  • Bent Leg Sit-Up: max reps x 1 set
  • Back Extension: 12 reps x 1 set
  • Dumbbell Calf Raise: 20 reps x 1 set


COOL DOWN
Stretching: 10 min.
COOL DOWN
Stretching: 10 min.
DAY 2DAY 2
  • Jog 1⁄4 mile and stretch 10-15 min.
  • Jog 1 mile to loosen muscles
  • Jog 1⁄4 mile and stretch 10-15 min.
  • Jog 1⁄2 mile to loosen muscles
DAY 3DAY 3
WARM UP
  • Jumping Jacks: 40 reps
  • Flutter Kicks: 40 reps
  • Push-Ups: 20 reps
  • Jog: 1⁄4 mileLight Stretching: 10 min.
WARM UP
  • Jumping Jacks: 40 reps
  • Flutter Kicks: 40 reps
  • Push-Ups: 15 reps
  • Jog: 1⁄4 mileLight Stretching: 10 min.
WORKOUT
  • Wide Grip Lat Pulldown: 12 reps x 2 sets
  • Bicep Curls with dumbbells or barbell: 12 reps x 2 sets
  • Sprint: 100 yards x 3 sets (2 min. rest between reps)
  • Sprint: 200 yards x 2 sets (4 min. rest between reps)
  • Walk: 1⁄4 mile
  • Crunches: max reps x 1 set
  • Dumbbell Calf Raise: 20 reps x 2 sets
WORKOUT
  • Wide Grip Lat Pulldown: 12 reps x 1 set
  • Biceps Curl with dumbbells or barbell: 12 reps x 1 set
  • Sprint: 100 yards x 2 sets (2 min. rest between reps)
  • Sprint: 200 yards x 2 sets (4 min. rest between reps)
  • Walk: 1⁄4 mile
  • Crunches: max reps x 1 set
  • Dumbbell Calf Raise: 20 reps x 1 set
COOL DOWN
Stretching: 10 min.
COOL DOWN
Stretching: 10 min.
DAY 4DAY 4
  • Jog 1⁄4 mile and stretch 10-15 min.
  • Jog 1 mile to loosen muscles
  • Jog 1⁄4 mile and stretch 10-15 min.
  • Jog 1⁄2 mile to loosen muscles
DAY 5DAY 5
WARM UP
  • Jumping Jacks: 40 reps
  • Flutter Kicks: 40 reps
  • Arm Circles: 20 reps forward
  • Arm Circles: 20 reps backward
  • Jog: 1⁄4 mile
  • Light Stretching: 10 min.
WARM UP
  • Jumping Jacks: 40 reps
  • Flutter Kicks: 40 reps
  • Arm Circles: 20 reps forward
  • Arm Circles: 20 reps backward
  • Jog: 1⁄4 mile
  • Light Stretching: 10 min.
WORKOUT
  • Pull-Ups: max reps x 1 set
  • Bicep Curls with dumbbells or barbells: 12 reps x 2 setsPush-Ups: max reps x 1 set
  • Jog: 1 mile
  • Walk: 1⁄4 mile
  • Bent Leg Sit-Up: max reps x 1 set
  • Back Extension: 12 reps x 2 sets
  • Dumbbell Calf Raise: 20 reps x 2 sets
WORKOUT
  • Pull-Ups: max reps x 1 set
  • Bicep Curls with dumbbells or barbell: 12 reps x 1 set
  • Push-Ups: max reps x 1 set
  • Jog: 1 mile
  • Walk: 1⁄4 mile
  • Bent Leg Sit-Up: max reps x 1 set
  • Back Extension: 12 reps x 1 set
  • Dumbbell Calf Raise: 20 reps x 1 set
COOL DOWN
Stretching: 10 min.
COOL DOWN
Stretching: 10 min.
DAY 6 – 7DAY 6 – 7
  • Rest
  • Rest

The PACT Regimen: 6 – 12 Weeks from Arrival

Physical Condition: Good Physical Condition: Fair
Day 1 WARM UP
  • Jumping Jacks: 40 reps
  • Flutter Kicks: 40 reps
  • Arm Circles: 20 reps forward
  • Arm Circles: 20 reps backward
  • Jog: 1/4 mile
  • Light Stretching: 10 min.
WORKOUT
  • Pull-Ups: max reps x 2 sets
  • Bicep Curls with dumbbells or barbell: 12 reps x 3 sets
  • Push-Ups: max reps x 2 sets
  • Run: 3/4 miles x 2 reps (walk 1/4 mile between reps)
  • Bent Leg Sit-Up: max reps x 2 sets
  • Back Extension: 12 reps x 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Calf Raise: 25 reps x 2 set
COOL DOWN
  • Stretching: 10 min.
WARM UP
  • Jumping Jacks: 40 reps
  • Flutter Kicks: 40 reps
  • Arm Circles: 20 reps forward
  • Arm Circles: 20 reps backward
  • Jog: 1⁄4 mile
  • Light Stretching: 10 min.
WORKOUT
  • Pull-Ups: max reps x 1 set
  • Bicep Curls with dumbbells or barbell: 12 reps x 2 sets
  • Push-Ups: max reps x 1 set
  • Jog: 1/2 mile x 2 reps (walk 1/4 mile between reps)
  • Bent Leg Sit-Up: max reps x 1 set
  • Back Extension: 12 reps x 2 sets
  • Dumbbell Calf Raise: 20 reps x 2 sets
COOL DOWN
  • Stretching: 10 min.
Day 2
  • Jog 1⁄4 mile and stretch 10-15 min.
  • Jog 1.5 miles to loosen muscles
  • Jog 1⁄4 mile and stretch 10-15 min.
  • Jog 1 mile to loosen muscles
Day 3 WARM UP
  • Jumping Jacks: 40 reps
  • Flutter Kicks: 40 reps
  • Push-Ups: 25 reps
  • Jog: 1⁄4 mile
  • Light Stretching: 10 min.
WORKOUT
  • Wide Grip Lat Pulldown: 12 reps x 3 sets
  • Bicep Curls with dumbbells or barbell: 12 reps x 3 sets
  • Sprint: 100 yards x 4 sets (2-3 min. rest between reps)
  • Med. Run: 1/4 mile x 2 sets (2-3 min. between reps)
  • Walk: 1/4 mile
  • Bent Leg Sit-Up: max reps x 2 sets
  • Dumbbell Calf Raise: 25 reps x 2 sets
COOL DOWN
  • Stretching: 10 min.
WARM UP
  • Jumping Jacks: 40 reps
  • Flutter Kicks: 40 reps
  • Push-Ups: 20 reps
  • Jog: 1⁄4 mile
  • Light Stretching: 10 min.
WORKOUT
  • Wide Grip Lat Pulldown: 12 reps x 2 sets
  • Bicep Curls with dumbbells or barbell: 12 reps x 2 sets
  • Sprint: 100 yards x 3 sets (2 min. rest between reps)
  • Sprint: 200 yards x 2 sets (4 min. rest between reps)
  • Walk: 1/4 mile
  • Crunches: max reps x 1 set
  • Dumbbell Calf Raise: 20 reps x 2 sets
COOL DOWN
  • Stretching: 10 min.
Day 4
  • Jog 1⁄4 mile and stretch 10-15 min.
  • Jog 1.5 miles to loosen muscles
  • Jog 1⁄4 mile and stretch 10-15 min.
  • Jog 1 mile to loosen muscles
Day 5 WARM UP
  • Jumping Jacks: 40 reps
  • Flutter Kicks: 40 reps
  • Arm Circles: 20 reps forward
  • Arm Circles: 20 reps backward
  • Jog: 1⁄4 mile
  • Light Stretching: 10 min.
WORKOUT
  • Pull-Ups: max reps x 2 sets
  • Bicep Curls with dumbbells or barbell: 12 reps x 2 sets
  • Push-Ups: max reps x 2 sets
  • Jog: 2 miles
  • Walk: 1/4 mile
  • Bent Leg Sit-Up: max reps x 2 sets
  • Back Extension: 12 reps x 2 sets
  • Dumbbell Calf Raise: 25 reps x 2 sets
COOL DOWN
  • Stretching: 10 min.
WARM UP
  • Jumping Jacks: 40 reps
  • Flutter Kicks: 40 reps
  • Arm Circles: 20 reps forward
  • Arm Circles: 20 reps backward
  • Jog: 1⁄4 mile
  • Light Stretching: 10 min.
WORKOUT
  • Pull-Ups: max reps x 1 set
  • Bicep Curls with dumbbells or barbell: 12 reps x 2 sets
  • Push-Ups: max reps x 1 set
  • Jog: 1 mile
  • Walk: 1/4 mile
  • Bent Leg Sit-Up: max reps x 1 set
  • Back Extension: 12 reps x 2 sets
  • Dumbbell Calf Raise: 20 reps x 2 sets
COOL DOWN
  • Stretching: 10 min.
Day 6 – 7
  • Rest
  • Rest

The PACT Regimen: 0 – 6 Weeks from Arrival

Physical Condition: Good Physical Condition: Fair
Day 1 WARM UP
  • Jumping Jacks: 40 reps
  • Flutter Kicks: 40 reps
  • Arm Circles: 20 reps forward
  • Arm Circles: 20 reps backward
  • Jog: 1/4 mile
  • Light Stretching: 10 min.
WORKOUT
  • Pull-Ups: max reps x 3 sets
  • Bicep Curls with dumbbells or barbell: 12 reps x 3 sets
  • Push-Ups: max reps x 3 sets
  • Run: 1.5 miles x 2 reps (6-8 min. rest between reps)
  • Walk: 1/4 mile
  • Bent Leg Sit-Up: max reps x 3 sets
  • Back Extension: 12 reps x 2 sets
  • Dumbbell Calf Raise: 25 reps x 2 sets
COOL DOWN
  • Stretching: 10 min.
WARM UP
  • Jumping Jacks: 40 reps
  • Flutter Kicks: 40 reps
  • Arm Circles: 20 reps forward
  • Arm Circles: 20 reps backward
  • Jog: 1⁄4 mile
  • Light Stretching: 10 min.
WORKOUT
  • Pull-Ups: max reps x 2 sets
  • Bicep Curls with dumbbells or barbell: 12 reps x 3 sets
  • Push-Ups: max reps x 2 sets
  • Run: 3/4 mile x 2 reps (walk 1/4 mile between reps)
  • Bent Leg Sit-Up: max reps x 2 sets
  • Back Extension: 12 reps x 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Calf Raise: 25 reps x 2 sets
COOL DOWN
  • Stretching: 10 min.
Day 2
  • Jog 1⁄4 mile and stretch 10-15 min.
  • Jog 2 miles
  • Jog 1⁄4 mile and stretch 10-15 min.
  • Jog 1.5 miles to loosen muscles
Day 3 WARM UP
  • Jumping Jacks: 40 reps
  • Flutter Kicks: 40 reps
  • Push-Ups: 30 reps
  • Jog: 1⁄4 mile
  • Light Stretching: 10 min.
WORKOUT
  • Wide Grip Lat Pulldown: 12 reps x 3 sets
  • Bicep Curls with dumbbells or barbell: 12 reps x 3 sets
  • Sprint: 100 yards x 2 sets (2-3 min. between sets)
  • Med. Run: 1/2 mile x 2 sets (2-3 min. between sets)
  • Walk: 1/4 mile
  • Bent Leg Sit-Up: max reps x 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Calf Raise: 25 reps x 2 sets
COOL DOWN
  • Stretching: 10 min.
WARM UP
  • Jumping Jacks: 40 reps
  • Flutter Kicks: 40 reps
  • Push-Ups: 25 reps
  • Jog: 1⁄4 mile
  • Light Stretching: 10 min.
WORKOUT
  • Wide Grip Lat Pulldown: 12 reps x 3 sets
  • Bicep Curls with dumbbells or barbell: 12 reps x 3 sets
  • Sprint: 100 yards x 4 sets (2-3 min. rest between reps)
  • Med. Run: 1/4 mile x 2 sets (2-3 min. between reps)
  • Walk: 1/4 mile
  • Bent Leg Sit-Up: max reps x 2 sets
  • Dumbbell Calf Raise: 25 reps x 2 sets
COOL DOWN
  • Stretching: 10 min.
Day 4
  • Jog 1⁄4 mile and stretch 10-15 min.
  • Jog 2 miles
  • Jog 1⁄4 mile and stretch 10-15 min.
  • Jog 1.5 miles to loosen muscles
Day 5 WARM UP
  • Jumping Jacks: 40 reps
  • Flutter Kicks: 40 reps
  • Arm Circles: 20 reps forward
  • Arm Circles: 20 reps backward
  • Jog: 1⁄4 mile
  • Light Stretching: 10 min.
WORKOUT
  • Pull-Ups: max reps x 3 sets
  • Standing Long Jump: max distance x 5 reps
  • Bicep Curls with dumbbells or barbell: 12 reps x 3 sets
  • Push-Ups: max reps x 3 sets
  • Jog: 3 miles
  • Walk: 1/4 mile
  • Bent Leg Sit-Up: max reps x 3 sets
  • Back Extension: 12 reps x 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Calf Raise: 25 reps x 2 sets
COOL DOWN
  • Stretching: 10 min.
WARM UP
  • Jumping Jacks: 40 reps
  • Flutter Kicks: 40 reps
  • Arm Circles: 20 reps forward
  • Arm Circles: 20 reps backward
  • Jog: 1⁄4 mile
  • Light Stretching: 10 min.
WORKOUT
  • Pull-Ups: max reps x 2 sets
  • Bicep Curls with dumbbells or barbell: 12 reps x 2 sets
  • Push-Ups: max reps x 2 sets
  • Jog: 2 miles
  • Walk: 1/4 mile
  • Bent Leg Sit-Up: max reps x 2 sets
  • Back Extension: 12 reps x 2 sets
  • Dumbbell Calf Raise: 25 reps x 2 sets
COOL DOWN
  • Stretching: 10 min.
Day 6 – 7
  • Rest
  • Rest
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