U.S. Army Physical Demands Study: Development of the Occupational Physical Assessment Test for Combat Arms soldiers

J Sci Med Sport. 2017 Nov;20 Suppl 4:S74-S78. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2017.07.018. Epub 2017 Jul 26.


Objectives: The United States Army sought to create a legally defensible, scientifically validated physical pre-employment screening test. The purpose of this study was to identify a single combination of predictor tests that would predict physical performance on all of the criterion measure task simulations relevant to the Combat Arms military occupational specialties.

Design: Concurrent validation.

Methods: Data from 838 (608 males, 230 females) soldiers who completed both the criterion measure task simulations of a military occupational specialty and up to 14 predictor tests were used in the development of the test batteries. Stepwise regressions were used to identify test batteries that significantly predicted performance on the criterion measure task simulations of the military occupational specialties.

Results: Three test batteries were developed based on different subsets of the predictor tests: Test Battery 1 consisted of the medicine ball put, squat lift, beep test, standing long jump, and arm ergometer (adjusted R2=0.80-0.85, p<0.01); Test Battery 2 consisted of the medicine ball put, squat lift, beep test, and standing long jump (adjusted R2=0.79-0.80, p<0.01); and Test Battery 3 consisted of the standing long jump, 1-minute push-ups, 1-minute sit-ups, 300m sprint, and Illinois agility test (adjusted R2=0.55-0.71, p<0.01).

Conclusions: Test Battery 2 was selected as the Army's Occupational Physical Assessment Test. It was highly predictive of performance of the Combat Arms military occupational specialties, required no complex equipment, and covered a range of physical fitness domains.

Keywords: Criterion measure task simulations; Fitness; Military; Physical employment standards; Pre-employment screening; Validation.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise
  • Exercise Test / methods*
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Military Personnel*
  • Occupations
  • Physical Examination
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sex Factors
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • United States
  • Young Adult