Air force BMT workout plan: how to prepare for pt test

   Air force BMT workouts or Basics Military Training is just a hell on earth for newbies. This is not just a workout or a set of exercises, it is a routine that the air force has chosen for life.

   The air force workout plan starts by waking up at 4:45 am. But athletes often get up earlier to brush their hair and put on their running shoes and tighten their running belts if it’s a running day. Because after the call there will be no time for that.

   To prepare for a military camp, you can do workouts like this.

Air force pre-boot camp workout

To prepare for a military camp, you can do workouts like this. Air force pre-boot camp workout

Air Force workout plan

Negligent blogger that I am, when I returned from tech school, I never took the time to tell you the ins and outs of my experience at BMT.  By September, BMT seemed like a world away.  Air Force BMT is one of those experiences that you hate when you’re in the thick of it, but love in hindsight, or at least it was that way for me.

Now that I’m two weeks away from my first anniversary in the Air Force, I thought I might take the time to describe to you some of my experiences.  It’s easier to do it in little chunks than it is to try to tell you everything at once.  So, today I bring you…

photo BMT PT test

Air force basic training workout
The air force basic training workout is a hard and stressful workout, especially for beginners. You can watch in detail about air force basic training workout in these videos:

Ok, maybe I’m kidding, although it is a shock to the system when you first get there!  Wake-ups at BMT were officially at 04.45 when reveille played.  Typically, trainees were up long before that, getting their hair done (there was no time to do it later), putting on sneakers, and strapping on our running belts if it was a running day.  We live in fear in the mornings, that it would be the day that we got an early inspection, what they call a “Non-Duty” (probably “non-duty hours”).  If the clock reached 0430 and there wasn’t a key coming into our dorm, unannounced, we were safe.  MTIs have morning meetings at 0430, so they were tied up by then.  If an MTI came in for a non-duty and you were up and walking around, let alone with your hair done and ready to go, there’d be hell to pay.

Air force workouts are mixed. New day – new load. There are running days, Air Force BMT Strength Days.
I typically slept in full PT gear – socks, spandex, shorts, shirt, ID holder around my neck, and usually with extra 341s in my pocket already (more on them later).  In the morning, all I’d have to do was throw my hair up into a bun, put my money list in my pocket, put on my shoes, and grab my flashlight and running belt.  Meanwhile, if you were ready to go, you should’ve been making your bed already, since time would be limited after PT.

MTIs couldn’t tell us to come down for PT too early, or else they’d catch hell from their supervisors about not giving us the required amount of sleep (that was a joke, to say the least – we didn’t get much sleep).  At 0448, our MTI would be on the intercom telling us, “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go – get down there!”  [Lots more after the jump!]

Arm Rotations Not my picture – this one looks bright, sunny, and pleasant – far from my experience!  Being in San Antonio during the summer, PT was the first order of business for the day.  We did PT six days a week, with the only day off being on Sunday.  We alternated strength days (T, Th, S) and running days (M, W, F).  The picture that PT above, but with a dark, early morning sky, stars and moon still out.  Imagine those lights, with an eery yellow glow, illuminating that red synthetic track.  Couple that with an MTI barking at you and you may get the idea.  We were being marched out to my own personal hell, every morning.  The only thing calming about it was gazing at the stars while on our backs doing warm-ups.

Now, before you poo-poo my thoughts here since this is only Air Force BMT workout and not the Army or the Marine Corps, I challenge you to give it a go if you’re not a service member yourself.  Demanding physical training on little sleep in a stressful environment is never fun.  Working out is a lot easier when you’re not being yelled at or demeaned during the process.

Here’s a quick rundown of each day.  I still do the warm-up and cool down for the running days when I’m running on my own.

photo army-fitness

 How are mixed air force basic training exercises

Air Force BMT Run Days

Basic training exercises

On running days, students usually begin their workout with a dynamic warm-up.

Dynamic warm-up workout

– Knee raises

– knee to chest

– body turns

– leg raises

Running program for BMT training

Runners are categorized by running speed or endurance and wear colored straps to indicate which group they belong to. The fastest runners run the most. For the air force, you need to have good running shoes. 

  • Warm-up run – 15 minutes at a pace of 2:15 min/circle.
  • Independent run – 10 minutes, but MTI will shout at you to run faster. 
  • Brisk walking – 1 minute.
  • Interval Sprints: 6 sprints of 30 seconds each. Alternating with 30 seconds of brisk walking.

Air Force BMT Strength Days

Strength training is more difficult than running training in us air force exercises.

The air force BMT workout card looks like this:

  •  Push-ups
  • Squats
  • Turns by hands
  • Half squats
  • Raise your knees
  • squatting plank
  • jerking hands
  • push-ups in the pyramid
  • knee pads
  • pull-ups


photo PT test

Air Force BMT Strength Days (Air Force workout routine)

The strength days were painful.  Running I can handle, strength, not so much!  They start you out with a minimal number of reps (always in 2-3 sets), which keep building week by week until you graduate, air force bmt workout card.
  • Sit-ups
  • Push-ups – Eventually, you were able to get away with the modified push-ups on your knees, but don’t get used to that, since they’re not allowed in PT tests.
  • Arm Rotations
  • Partial Squats
  • Knee Lifts
  • Squat Thrusts – Holy Moses…
  • Arm Rotations
  • Cross-Knee Crunches
  • Pyramid Push-ups – Shoot me now, these are the worst!
  • Leg Lefts
  • Knee Overs
  • Pull-ups

Air Force BMT PT Tests (Air Force basic training PT test)

photo air force pt test

Air forces basic training pt test: the most important week

  The main training tests of the Air Force software are held on Monday 1, 4, and 7 weeks. Week 7 is the most important and difficult week as this is your final software test. Failure to pass the software test within the 4th week may result in overwork. You may be sent for retraining.

All throughout those exercises, you’re sounding off.  We would count off beats through squadron chants – “3 – 2 – 4 – KNIGHTS!”  “Check out these Knights!”  “Ready for Battle!”  “One sir!  Two Sir! Three Sir!”  Don’t even think about hesitating to jump up or jump down when you’re supposed to be standing or lying down.  The more you look like you’re trying and you’re motivated, the less the MTIs will bother you.  If you’re a high profile trainee – a leader or a known troublemaker – they’re going to find you.  Luckily, they taper off a bit as you advance in the weeks of training.  We tried to get away with as much as we could when they weren’t looking.  During week 1, they swarm around you, and sluggishness from one exercise to the next makes everyone hold their positions until the MTI in charge of calling the exercises thinks they’re ready/motivated to move on.
  Ok, on that pleasant note, I’m done describing most of my PT experience!  It’s possible for you to be put on a waiver if you’re ill or injured.  We had our fair share of people who seemed like they were on waivers the entire time.  NOT a good idea, trust me.  Suck it up and do it.  I was sick during my 6th week of training, but I didn’t bother to go into the clinic until after my 7th week PT eval.  I didn’t want anything to jeopardize getting out of there on time.  It worked in my favor – I got to enjoy some leisurely runs at my own pace on run days in those last weeks of training.

In these videos, you can watch the air force basic training pt test and air force basic training pt schedule.


If you are planning to take the air force basic training pt test, you need to do the air force pre-boot camp workout, a complex of BTM training in the camp, master a new routine of routine life and gain a lot of courage and patience. Good luck everyone!



  • Mrs Duhsaid

    Okay, my husband is an MTI… but he never told me that trainees have to do all that! That's crazy! I have heard that they'll be all over you if you dare chat or complain, though. You are one tough lady for making it through BMT! Thanks for sharing this story.

  • Joaniqua Rutherfordsaid

    Your post have helped me a lot! Thank you so much! I leave for basic training April 2nd and my only two worries are pushups and mainly running. I read somewhere where you said that your pushups were at around 13, what did you do during BMT to help you increase them? For me I can do about 15 right now and my running is about maybe 16-17 minutes. I'm so worried that while I'm there that I wont get my mile and a half down to at least 14 minutes.

  • Erinsaid

    @Joaniqua – Glad to help! Not too much longer before you leave! I didn't do anything out of the ordinary while at BMT to bring up my numbers – PT will do that for you, trust me! If you ARE worried, your MTI will make some suggestions as to some exercises to do while in the dorms. There's one that has a specific name, but it slips my mind right now. As for running, you'll improve as well. Focus more on your running – your pushups are almost there!

  • Robin Chatellesaid

    Hello Erin. I am part of the April shippers group on facebook. We have been trying to get some clarification on a couple of things. 1) What happens if you are over your max weight when you arrive?2) What happens if you are above your max abdominal circumference when you arrive?3)When do they weigh you and do the abdominal circumference? What day and what time of day? Do they take their time when measuring to make sure the tape is straight?I realize you may not know this information but I thought I would ask. Thank you!

  • Erinsaid

    @Robin Chatelle – You know, I'm not entirely sure about the weight thing. I thought they didn't let you ship if you were over the weight limit. As for the waist, they took our measurements that first night. I don't remember too much about being weighed initially, but I'd assume it happens that first night as well. It happened pretty quickly, when the female MTL picked us up and put us in the dorm. They do the measurements fairly quickly, since they have 50ish people to measure. We were in our underwear as well. Hope that helps!

  • Saraisaid

    I leave in 2 weeks and I am so worried I won't be able to make the physical part of it. If I can't do what they ask me to do right off the bat when I get there, do they give me time to work up to it? Or am I automatically sent back home?

  • Erinsaid

    @Sarai – My understanding when I went through is that the first PT test was a diagnostic and they allowed you to work up to it, possibly with the assistance of additional PT sessions during the day. I'm not sure if that's changed. You might try joining the FB group for your shipping month and asking recent graduates what their experience was like.

  • Shirls Downssaid

    Hello! I heard they have two different tracks.. one track if for PT testing which is a 1/4 mile lap track.. the other track was used for running days (group paced run, self-pased run, and sprints).. do you know the distance for each lap on that track?

  • Erinsaid

    @Shirls Downs – Yes, that's correct, although I don't know the exact distance. It's not that much different, just rectangular.

  • Becca Nyssaid

    I am loving your blog! So informative. I can run no problem but push ups are my weakness. How many could you do when you first arived versus graduated?

  • Erinsaid

    @Becca Nys – Not many, trust me! Pushups are definitely my weakness – I've never had much upper body strength. There were plenty of people there that couldn't do many (under 10 for sure, maybe 5ish) that were able to do the 19+ to pass. Off the top of my head, I really can't remember what I did and I don't have my notes handy. I focused on meeting the minimum in that area and excelling in the run. Best of luck to you!

  • Erinsaid

    @Jaleesa Davis – My time definitely dropped, especially due to the altitude as well. I felt like I came in with good habits though. At BMT you'll learn to keep driving on, and never stopping!

  • Hannah Bartlettsaid

    Thanks so much for all of the time you took into putting this blog together and helping so many people especially me. I have been living off of your blog for many weeks carefully reading everything about three times haha I leave in 7 days and this has definitely made me at ease knowing what to expect. Thanks again so much!!-Hannah

  • Christopher Armisteadsaid

    Sorry to ruin it with me not being female, however you will quickly learn that you are not the only person there who does not know how things are. In other words you will learn, just take it the best you can and don't worry. The saying in the AF is "we set you up for success." Oh and the most important thing to know before you get there is your reporting statement….."Sir/ Mam trainee (your last name) reports as ordered." That's it no more no less to that statement. Oh and if the MTI calls for you make sure you say "proceeding Mam/Sir.

  • Jon Betzsaid

    Hello. I'm needing some assistance. I've been instructed to lead the pt regimen in student flight for my Air National Guard unit. Chief wants it to be as similar to basic as possible. I don't rememeber too much about it in basic. Can you give me as much info that you know for strength days. Sets, and reps for males and females. Order of excersices-push-ups, sit-ups, bridge push-ups to sitting military raises, etc. He wants everything from lining up to cool downs. Anything helps. Thank you

  • Erinsaid

    @Leanne – You'll need to pass the same standards as the Active Duty AF charts. You can do a search for "AF Physical Fitness charts" and see what your requirements are based on age. Shoot for the charts for 17 – 29 year olds. My MTI never clearly answered if I was held to those standards or the ones for 30 year olds.@Jon Betz – email me at I may be able to put you in touch with someone.

  • Amandasaid

    Ana don't worry about pull ups we always had to try doing them but I nay have done one the entire time we were there. I never got yelled at but I always tried.

  • David Gomezsaid

    Is the BMTSG available for download. If it is, do you have the link. I have search but I'm not sure what publication number it is. Please help with the link , it would help my daughter. She will be joining the Air Force very soon. Thank you

  • Erinsaid

    @David Gomez – I have not been able to locate in it e-pubs. It's possible they may be keeping it offline, since it changes so often.

  • Camille Dysartsaid

    What type of physical shape were you in prior to heading to BMT? Did you come from Colorado? I currently live in Colorado Springs. I read you were selected to honor grad and that is what I want. I leave in 30 days and I am currently at my max for pushups, my run was 11:53 about two months ago, but my sit ups need the most work. I can do 1-2 pull ups. When doing flutter kicks, squats, sit ups, etc do you think it is more beneficial to go for a minute (or two) or do X number of reps/sets? Any other tips/preparation for reaching honor grad?

  • Erinsaid

    Nothing crazy spectacular. I'd been running every other day and doing push-ups and sit-ups. If I were training for initial entry, I'd focus on reps/sets. As for the last bit, focus on your leadership/Airmanship while you're down there, as well as your academics. Good luck! You'll rock the run!

  • cb86f21c-e08b-11e5-88c4-c715c8a0235bsaid

    I am seeing differing information online about passing PT scores to graduate. Can you point me in the right direction for what exactly is required to pass the final PT test? Also, are the strength day exercises similar to those that you would do in a boot camp class at a gym?

  • Erinsaid

    Here's the chart for PT scores. The BMT standard should be the same. They were VERY vague about it when I was down there, and didn't confirm/deny that all of us that were 30+ were being held to the appropriate chart. They want to push you to the very best.'ve never done a boot camp class at a gym, but I would assume they are the same. Typical strength exercises – flutter kicks, different types of pushups, bicycles, etc.

  • Alabama girlsaid

    Do you have the number of repetitions of each exercise you did each week written down somewhere?

  • Jsaid

    Honestly, just be fit. Here in the real Air Force we just go to the gym. So just do that now and you'll be fine.

  • Erinsaid

    @Alabama girl – I don't, I'm sorry. I don't think it was any more than 20/30.@J – I definitely agree. Sometimes easier said than done, but that's all you need to strive for.

  • Unknownsaid

    This may sound crazy…it is crazy, but I'm 40 years old and leaving for BMT April 12th (I enlisted at 39). I struggle with push-ups in a bad way. I can do under 5 regular push-ups due to poor upper body strength. I can do modified push-ups all day long, and with good form. I'm worried that I won't be able to pass my PT tests! Any suggestions that you might have would be great! Also, do you know if I am held to the same standards as the younger trainees or will I follow the standards for my age? I think for my age, females have to do 11 push-ups, but the BMT standard I believe is 27.

  • Erinsaid

    @Unknown – You won't be the first, trust me! 🙂 Have you already been working on core strength through planks and the like? You will follow the standards for your age group. They won't likely tell you that outright, but you will. Always shoot higher, just in case. I was never strong at pushups for the same reason, but the training at BMT is really helpful and you'll advance in your ability more than you think. Good luck to you!

  • Megan Brownsaid

    I've talked to a recruiter n my area and looked online at the weight requirements and I need to be at 170 which isn't too far from where I am, I was wondering if you have any tips on how I can lose weight faster, like a certain maybe. I try to eat less and exercise but I have a long way to go. I want to be a good bit under 170 before I sign up, any tips?

  • Erinsaid

    @Megan Brown – I'm a big fan of My Fitness Pal (the app) and logging all of my food, but I can't say that it's a "fast" fix. Have you looked into maybe consulting with a nutritionist or trainer?

  • lisa ransaid

    I don't know if you still reply to this blog but I am a 36 year old female that recently enlisted for the AFGuard. I was wondering if you had any pointers for running. I have mastered push ups/sit ups but my running is not great. Thanks.

  • Jsaid

    Hey Lisa, I sucked ass at running when I joined, haha. You'll get good at it. I went from a red belt to a blue belt (worst to best) in like 5 weeks. It's all good.

  • Queline Diariessaid

    I just enlisted in the ANG as well! I actually enlisted the day you posted this question. Have you received your ship date yet?

  • Queline Diariessaid

    I just enlisted in the ANG as well! I actually enlisted the day you posted this question. Have you received your ship date yet?

  • Erinsaid

    @Lisa Ran – Yep, still do! Congratulations on your enlistment! Just keep at it. Build up the endurance first, and the speed will come.@J – Thanks for the input!@Queline Diaries – Awesome! I hope you two get to connect!

  • Emel Yukselsaid

    What is the running surface like? Is it cement? I run but I do trail running so I am worried if the surface is cement, I have to move onto cement trails so that I can avoid shin splints and other possible injuries. Thank you!

  • Erinsaid

    @Emel Yuksel – Yes, J is right. It's concrete, although the testing surface is a track with a slightly more forgiving surface.

  • Unknownsaid

    For the strength days, did you do the exercises by time (like 30 sec) or by the amount required (i.e.20 push ups)? Thank you.-Alex

  • Hayley Sewellsaid

    Hey there! So I leave for basic in May and am shooting for a Warhawk status for my final PT. But i can't do one pull up! I'm in the Delayed Entry Program and we do our run(last time was 10:50) and Push ups(last time 47) and sit ups(41), but we never really work on pull ups. Do they help build your strength for them there?

  • Erinsaid

    @Alexandria Philpot – We did the number required, but we sounded off as we did so – we were all in unison with our motions. Knee overs are when you lay on the ground and bring your knee over to the other side and touch the ground with it. I'm assuming it's to work your obliques.@Hayley – You have plenty of time to build up that upper body strength! You'll have opportunities to do them at BMT, but I wouldn't go in expecting to do a bunch. Might be something to work at while you're still home.

  • Chase Dostiesaid

    That's so awesome you were a knight me too!! And it was brutal. I went may of 2007. And you described this perfectly. Ha love it I haven't remembered sounding off 3 2 4 knights till I saw this . Most remember phrase …. sir, trainee dostie reports as ordered ….

  • Chase Dostiesaid

    If you could do a YouTube video demenstraiting these stretches and the strength exercises. I'd be forever grateful I have been trying to remember each of them but again that was almost 10 years ago

  • Ash

    Hey! So I’m currently in DEP and I’m trying to work on my running for BMT. Pushups and sit ups are a breeze for me but running kills me every time. Do you have any tips on how to build endurance or be able to run better for longer periods of time?