USCG Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA)

US Coast Guard Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA)

The Coast Guard Physical Fitness Program

To meet operational challenges, you must be fit for duty and appear so in uniform. Their appearance must reflect credit on themselves, the Coast Guard, and our country. The Coast Guard's weight/physical fitness program is intended to contribute to the fitness and appearance of all Coast Guard members.

The Coast Guard Fitness Plan

All Coast Guardsmen are required develop an annual basic fitness plan. This personal fitness plan must be submitted to your supervisor during their performance evaluation period. The basic fitness plan shall, at a minimum, include vigorous cardiorespiratory endurance training three times a week for thirty minutes each time and a vigorous strength training event one to three times per week.

The Physical Fitness Assessment

The Coast Guard Physical Fitness Assessment will be conducted as required either as part of the prerequisites for training and job requirements or as a remedial program for those members placed on probation due to failing the meet the maximum allowable weight standards.

Three key factors in fitness are aerobic capacity, muscular strength and muscular endurance. Aerobic capacity or cardiovascular fitness is the component of fitness that relates mostly to health and the ability to do vigorous, sustained physical activity.

The following chart shows the basic Coast Guard PFA standards:

Men Push-ups Sit-ups
<30 29  38
30-39 24 35
40-49 18 29
>30 23 32
30-39 19 25
40-49 13 20
Men Sit & Reach 1.5 Mile Run 12 Min. Swim
<30 16.5" 12:51 500 yds
30-39 15.5" 13:36 450 yds
40-49 14.25" 14:29 400 yds
>30 19.25" 15:26 400 yds
30-39 18.25" 15:57 350 yds
40-49 17.25" 16:58 300 yds

The Semi-Annual Weigh-in

All servicemembers are screened against the height and weight standards every October and April. The Coast Guard weight standards are based on your height and skeletal build (frame size) - which is determined by measuring the wrist. Since wrist size and height do not tend to change over time, wrist size and height generally need to be determined once at the beginning of your career. The Coast Guard will use this measurement as the basis for all future weight screenings. If you screen as overweight, your height and wrist measurements may be rechecked or verified.

If you fail the weight screening using the weight standards you will be measured to determine your body fat percentage. If your body fat exceeds the limits (shown on the chart below) you will be placed on probation, during which you must lose the excess weight or body fat.

While on probation your progress will be monitored, this includes a monthly Physical Fitness Assessment. If you fail to make consistent progress during probation, or fail to attain your maximum allowable weight or body fat by the end of the probation you may be processed for separation.

Some members' physical makeup (usually due to high muscle mass) puts them in an overweight category even though their body fat percentage is within limits. These members will be assigned a screening weight.  This is designed to avoid requiring the member to have additional body fat determinations as long as he or she does not gain additional weight.

Coast Guard Body Fat Standards

  Percentage Body Fat
Age Men Women
Less Than 30 23% 33%
Less Than 40 25% 35%
40 or Greater 27% 37%

Stew Smith can teach you to develop your own personal workout routine. The following PT programs to help you prepare you for the Coast Guard fitness program can be found in the following links:

- Pullups / Flexed Arm Hang - Pushups and Sit-ups - Running - Swimming

Loosing weight and getting in shape requires a commitment to a healthy diet and a regular workout routine.  Stew Smith has a variety of articles to assist you in learning how to eat to lose weight as well as better prepare you for the rigors of military fitness. Check out the following links to reach your fitness and weight loss goals:

- Five Phases of Fitness - Pass the Tape Test - Body Composition - Lean Down Meal Plan - Fundamentals of Nutrition - Food Pyramid - Ace the PFT

Other related Coast Guard Fitness Articles:

- The Coast Guard Basic PFT - Coast Boot Special Missions and Law Enforcement Fitness Standards - Coast Rescue Swimmer PFT Standards - Performing for the Special Forces - Physical Fitness Test Anxiety

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at

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