Army Service Testing

Achieving and maintaining minimum levels of fitness are crucial for Army personnel to perform their jobs in peacetime and on operations.

Regardless of an individual’s chosen field of trade expertise, being able to participate in the basic skills of soldiering is a critical part of the New Zealand Army’s fundamental make-up. The fighting spirit, discipline, efficiency, and morale of units and individuals are closely associated with physical fitness.

Fitness testing allows the Physical Training Instructor (PTI) to assess where an individual's fitness level stands, evaluate their progress and assess if training has been effective. It also allows the PTI to inform commanders of the overall physical condition of their personnel.

Physical Fitness Assessments

The two main fitness tests that Army personnel must currently pass are the Land Combat Fitness Test (LCFT) and the Required Fitness Level (RFL) test. Depending on your role and the unit you are posted to, there may be other tests you are required to pass, such as the Basic Water Swim Test (BWST). Individuals will be given prior warning for these if build-up training is required.

Members of the Regular Force are to be RFL test qualified six-monthly, or every 12 months if a higher level of fitness is demonstrated. Personnel nominated for operational deployment must be RFL test qualified in order for their nomination to be considered. Further fitness testing would be conducted as part of their pre-deployment training schedule. Territorial Force personnel are to qualify at the required fitness level once in any training year. It is encouraged that all personnel should be able to pass a fitness assessment at any time.

For more information or guidance around training for fitness tests, contact your Unit Physical Training Instructor (PTI) or Regional Physical Training Advisor (RPTA).

Fitness test training

Most personnel will participate in unit physical training programs, run by PTIs. These programmes are designed to ensure personnel are physically fit enough to meet their job requirements whilst maintaining or improving one’s general fitness. It is expected that most soldiers with a base level of habitual fitness should meet test standards with little additional and specific training.


If you are unsure about your training or need guidance, consult a PTI within your region so they can design training specific to your needs and goals. 

Other fitness tests

The LCFT and RFL are the main Army service tests though there are other tests that personnel may have to pass depending on their role and unit they are posted to.

What happens if I fail my Army Fitness Test?

If you fail a fitness test you will be required to reattempt the test within a prescribed timeframe unless an exemption is granted by command or medical.

LCFT - Retest within 4 weeks.

RFL - Retest within 2 weeks.

You can seek advice from a PTI to address any specific deficiencies in order to effectively prepare for a retest. If the re-test is unsuccessful, you will be required to work with your command and local PTI and commit to a remedial training programme. A medical assessment may be required at this stage, to ensure no underlying health concerns are impacting on testing. Your deployment and promotion eligibility and course attendance may be affected by not maintaining your fitness test qualification, hence the importance of seeking support early to optimise training. 

Testing times

Contact your nearest gymnasium for their weekly testing schedule or check when your next unit test is planned.

  Waiouru  |  Linton  |  Trentham  |  Burnham

NZ Army Land Combat Fitness Test (LCFT)

Land Combat Fitness Test (LCFT) 

The Land Combat Fitness Test is a functional evaluation designed to assess physical readiness to perform the role of an All Arms Soldier, with the same standards for all.


Breakdown of components

1. Prepare Dress. Patrol order (Multi-terrain pattern (MTP) and webbing or service equivalent)
Load. All personnel regardless of gender or size will carry a load of 20kg. This is the combined weight including rifle, webbing and body armour. All participants will be weighed prior to the start of the LCFT.
Note. Additional weights may be given to participants to carry to ensure compliance with weight requirements.
2. Lift and Place Purpose. Assesses the ability of the All Arms Soldier to safely and effectively move stores. 
Task. Lifting a 20kg jerry can on to the deck of a vehicle (~1.4m high). 10 times in under 90 seconds.
3. Battlefield Manoeuvre Purpose. Assesses the physical demand and functional pattern of movements of a basic fire and manoeuvre task. 
Task. Advance 50 metres in 15 x 10 metre bounds in five seconds or less per bound, and with a five second rest between bounds. Adopting a kneeling unsupported fire position at the start and finish of each bound.
4. Lift and Carry Purpose. Assesses the ability to move stores or support the extraction of an average weight casualty.
Task. Lift and carry 2 x 20kg jerry cans over a distance of 200 metres in 8 x 25 metre bounds at a rate of 4.5 km.h-1, or 20 secs per bound; with a five second rest interval between bounds.
Note. The jerry can must not be dropped prior to the 20 second interval. Jerry cans can be rested on the ground during the 5 second rest interval.
5. Battlefield Endurance Purpose. Assesses the capability to perform a representative military endurance task.
Task. Cover four kilometre distance, carrying a fixed load of 20kg (made up of webbing, rifle and body armour), in a time less than 32 minutes.
Note. Participants may choose to run or walk the distance. The goal is to complete the task at a pace that would ensure rapid recovery in preparedness for future taskings at the completion of the test.

ales (minsRequired Fitness Level (RFL) test

The Required Fitness Level is a minimum standard of fitness expected of all personnel in the New Zealand Army. The assessment is designed by the New Zealand Army Physical Training Corps to test the aerobic fitness, upper body, and core strength of soldiers.


Breakdown of components

1. 2.4km Run Dress. Running shoes, singlet or T-shirt, and shorts.
Set up. All runners will assemble at the start line. The run will commence with the sounding of the starter gun.
Exercise. The run is to be conducted over a flat 2.4 km course.  The time is recorded to the next whole second for each individual.
2. Press Ups Set up. Press-ups are to start from the front support position.  Hands are to be placed outside the shoulder width with the point of the thumb in line with the outer edge of the shoulder line and the feet no wider than hip width apart. 
Exercise. The body is to be lowered to a position where the line across the upper arms, from the outside of the elbow to the top of the shoulder, is at least horizontal to the ground, then raised by straightening the arms back to the start position keeping the body straight throughout.  Complete as many repetitions as possible at a continuous rate with no time limit.
Note. If the chest rests on the ground in between reps, the pause in between repetitions at the lower or upper phases is too long or the press up is not deep enough the PTI will give a warning and may subsequently cease the exercise and complete your press up count from the last successful rep. You have only one attempt at press ups.


Curl Ups
Set up. Starting position is lying on the group with knees bent to approximately 90 degrees, head laid down on the mat. The shoulders are depressed with the fingers reaching towards the heels and touching the rear line. The lower back is flattening into the mat using a posterior pelvic tilt by contracting the abdominals.
Exercise. The individual then curls the shoulders, then the upper back, off the mat until the fingertips of both hands simultaneously touch the front line (measuring 7.62 cm away from the rear line). The individual then uncurls until their shoulder blades return to touch the mat and finger tips touch the rear line without allowing the head to touch. Hips, lower back and fingers should maintain contact with the mat throughout the curl.
Note. If the hands lift off the mat, or the trucm of the body slides too far forward the PTI will give a warning and may subsequently cease the exercise and complete your sit up count from the last successful rep. You have only one attempt at sit ups.

RFL walk test

Personnel who have been medically excused by a doctor from the run in the required fitness level test may undertake a walk test. The walk component is designed to assess cardio-respiratory fitness and leg muscle endurance and should be done in conjunction with the other exercises in the required fitness level test. 

Fitness standards

All Army personnel are to maintain a current RFL qualification in accordance with the following expiry periods:

Those who obtain a First Class Pass qualification will need to complete their fitness testing every 12 months from date of qualification.

Those who obtain a Pass qualification will need to complete their fitness testing every 6 months from date of qualification.

Army Required Fitness Level (RFL) - Male

RFL Score Age Run Press ups Curl Ups
First Class Pass All ages 10.00 30 66
Pass 16 - 24 10.30 28 60
Pass 25 - 29 10.55 26 57
Pass 30 - 34 11.20 24 54
Pass 35 - 39 11.45 22 51
Pass 40 - 44  12.20 18 48
Pass 45 - 49 13.00 14 55
Pass 50 - 54 13.40 10 45
Pass 55 - 59 14.25 8 39
Pass 60 - 65 15.00 6 36


Army Required Fitness Level (RFL) - Female

RFL Score Age Run Press ups Curl Ups
First Class Pass All ages 11.50 15 55
Pass 16 - 24 12.20 14 50
Pass 25 - 29 12.50 13 47
Pass 30 - 34 13.20 12 44
Pass 35 - 39 13.50 11 41
Pass 40 - 44  14.30 9 38
Pass 45 - 49 15.20 7 35
Pass 50 - 54 16.10 5 32
Pass 55 - 59 17.10 4 29
Pass 60 - 65 17.50 3 26


Army 4km walk test

Age Males (mins) Females (mins)
All ages 11.50 15
17 - 21 34.00 37.00
22 - 26 34.30 37.30
27 - 31 35.00 38.00
32 - 36 35.30 38.30
37 - 41 36.00 39.00
42 - 46 36.30 39.30
47 - 51 37.00 40.00
52+ 37.30 40.30

General training support

To ensure you can meet the fitness requirements throughout the year, it is important to train consistently. Individuals receive a reminder one month prior to the expiry of their fitness test qualification. The individual must attend their unit testing session or book themselves into a duty testing session run by their local gym prior to this expiry date.

Worried about failing?

A Physical Training Instructor can provide advice and assist you with a training programme that is right for you. It is better to be proactive than find yourself in a position that affects your job.

What if you have failed one component of the fitness test?

Request support from a PTI to train specifically for that testing component. Often this can simply involve advice on technique to improve your form, and is easily remedied. The PTI will ensure you are prepared to conduct the re-test.

How can NZDF provide support for you?

NZDF Managers. If you are having problems keeping on top of your fitness, talk to your manager and discuss this with them. Your commander may be able to provide you with additional support for your training.

Defence Health Centre (DHC). Regular checks are important to ensure you are up to date with your health. Book into your local DHC if you have any concerns.

Physical Training Advice. The PTIs have a wide range of skills to help you, from general advice on training, individual training prescription and recovery techniques. Alternatively, the gym manager of each facility can provide more information around the policy of training and testing.

NZDF Rehab Centre. The Exercise Rehabilitation Instructor (ERI) can provide advice around injury prevention and management to make sure you are training at your best.  If you continue to struggle with an injury it is important you see a physiotherapist.

Useful resources

Staying at the top of your game booklet

Health Related Fitness Test 

Injury rehabilitation