AFRC introduces alternant cardio assessment in lieu of weather waiver

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Chris Massey
  • 434th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Previously, during extreme weather conditions, Air Force Reserve Command had granted a weather waiver for the cardiorespiratory endurance component of the Air Force Physical Fitness Assessment.

As of Jan. 1, guidance from AFRC replaced the weather waiver with an alternate indoor cardiorespiratory fitness assessment.

Motivating factors for replacing the weather waiver were cardio exemptions had increased and many Airman had gone lengthy periods of time without completing a composite PFA.

“Weather waivers were there for safety, rightfully so, not to get rid of the run,” said Dustin Fulkerson, 434th Force Support Squadron exercise physiologist. “That’s the wrong thought.”

A two-year adaptation period is in place to properly prepare Airmen for this new assessment, offering an all gain and no loss option.

Implementation for the new assessment will be in a phased approach.  

Phase one began Jan. 1 for host installations which started their adaptation period. 

Phase two will begin July 1 for tenant locations which also starts their adaptation period.

During this period, Airmen will be allowed to count the assessment as a correlated 1.5-mile run time, while those members who do not achieve minimum standards will not be scored and will be authorized an exemption.

The alternate assessment is a 20-meter high aerobic multi-shuttle run.

“The test is as effective as it is safe,” Fulkerson said. “It’s a shorter amount of time running and it addresses some skill-related components of fitness, such as agility, balance and coordination."

The test encompasses continuous running between two lines, 20 meters apart, timed to recorded beeps.  The runners need to touch each line by the time the beep sounds. 

The 20m HAMR has the same correlation to predict V02 aerobic capacity as the 1.5-mile run, while also matching the age and gender scoring requirements.

Each level has an increased number of shuttles to complete and a decreasing amount of time in between beeps which requires an increase in pace.

Each line must be touched before turning around to touch the other.  If a runner fails to reach the line by the time the beep sounds, an observer will signal a miss.  A runner can have no more than two consecutive misses.  Three consecutive misses will terminate the run portion of the test. 

Redemption can occur as long as the runner increases their pace and touches the line before their third consecutive miss.  Once redeemed, the runner can continue, and the number of misses resets to zero.

Scores are based on levels and shuttles completed based on age, gender and the corresponding score that is matched up to the 1.5-mile run.

All Airmen must be physically fit to support the mission.

The goal of the air force fitness program is to motivate all members to participate in a year-round physical conditioning program that emphasizes total fitness, to include proper aerobic conditioning, muscular fitness training, and healthy eating.

An active lifestyle will increase productivity, optimize health, and decrease absenteeism while maintaining a higher level of readiness.

Grissom held its first alternate indoor cardiorespiratory fitness assessment Jan. 8, and two more Jan. 10, due to standing water on the base track.

“Test administration is going well, but we are currently looking at approximately 50% of testers needing to improve significantly,” Fulkerson said.  “Of the 35 members that have engaged in this test, 16 would not have passed.”

Grissom is holding open instruction and practice sessions every Wednesday, as well as each Saturday of the unit training assembly at 11:15 a.m.

“The best way to prepare for this test is to come over and practice it,” Fulkerson said.

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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