Navy Service Testing

Navy service personnel are required to achieve and maintain minimum levels of fitness to enable them to perform their jobs in peacetime and on operations.

Why we need naval fitness testing

In order to be a world-class Navy for a large maritime nation, the appropriate level of physical fitness is one that will enable personnel to react appropriately and confidently to the potential risks and hazards that are encountered in the maritime environment. Personnel are required to possess a minimum level of physical fitness that will:

  • Enable them to carry out a diverse range of tasks in often challenging operating environments.
  • Reduce the risk of work‐related injury, illness and stress in a domestic and operational environment.
  • Improve the overall health and longevity of the individual.

RNZN Fitness Test explained

RNZN fitness testing consists of two elements that simulate ship tasks, along with a general assessment of aerobic fitness.


Multi Stage Fitness Test (MSFT)

Purpose. To estimate an individual's aerobic capacity (VO2 max) as an indicator of a minimum level of health-related fitness.

Test. Participants line up on the start line. At the sounding of the beep participants commence running towards the opposite line, 20 metres away, before the next beep has sounded. On the sounding of the next beep, participants run back to the start line. Participants are to continue leaving one line on the sound of the beep and reaching the opposite line before the sounding of the next beep, until they can no longer keep pace with the beeps. Note. One foot must be physically grounded on or past the line at the end of the 20 m distance before or at the start of the beep sounding.

2 Simulated body drag

Purpose. To assess the ability to drag a fellow sailor out of a compartment 

Test. Participants are to start with both their feet behind the start line with two hands holding the test dummy (dummy to weigh 86kg and be dressed in overalls). On the order to start, participants are to drag the dummy a distance of 15 metres using two hands at all times and walk in a backwards motion. Both feet of the participant must cross the 15 metre line for a pass to be achieved, and the task must be completed in under 30 seconds.

3 Equipment carry

Purpose. To test the ability to move and carry stores, simulating damage control equipment

Test. Participants are to start with both feet behind the start line with a 20kg kettle bell weight on their left hand side. Participants are to uplift the kettle bell weight with one hand and carry it a distance of 15 metres to a second line. On arrival, they are to step over the line and place the kettle bell weight on the ground, turn around, then uplift the kettle bell weight with their opposite hand and carry it back to the start line. Participants are to repeat the exercise until they have carried the kettle bell weight over a total distance of 60 metres (4 x 15m shuttles).
Note. Participants will fail if the kettle bell weight is carried in two hands at any stage, or if the kettle bell weight is lowered before they cross over the line.

Navy fitness testing results tables

1. Required Multi stage fitness test (MSFT) scores are presented below as Level and Shuttle with the associated VO2max in in brackets. 

  <30 yrs 30 - 39 yrs 40 - 49 yrs 50 - 59 yrs 60+ yrs
Male standard pass 7.10 (39.9) 6.10 (36.4) 5.09 (32.9) 4.09 (29.4) 4.04 (27.7)
Male first class Pass 10.04 (48.0) 9.07 (45.5) 9.02 (43.8) 7.10 (39.9) 6.06 (35.0)
Female standard pass 5.09 (32.9) 4.09 (29.5) 4.01 (25.9) 3.01 (22.4) 2.04 (20.7)
Female first class pass 8.01 (40.3) 7.05 (38.2) 6.10 (36.4) 6.06 (35.0) 5.01 (29.8)


2. Stimulated body drag - 86kg weighted drag - 15 metres in less than 30 seconds

3. Equipment carry - 20kg kettle bell weight carry - 4x15 metres in less than 45 seconds.

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.

Testing times

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

  Devonport Trentham 

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.

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.

What happens if I fail my Navy Fitness Test?

If you fail your fitness test and are medically fit you will most likely commence a 28 day remedial training period from the date of the failed test. If you pass the Navy Physical Fitness Test during this period you will be removed from the remedial programme at that time. On completion of the 28 days, if you  have not passed the test you will be placed on a Divisional Officer’s warning and  required to attend the ‘Fit for Life’ training programme at the Fleet Gym. Navy personnel located outside of Devonport will be supported by their local defence gymnasium.

Fit for Life (FFL)

The Fit for Life training programme has been designed for personnel to reach the operational service requirements. The programme consists of six-week blocks, and provides health support in the specific areas needed to assist an individual to improve their health.

This includes three scheduled classes and three self-led classes each week. The aim of the programme is to improve cardio-respiratory fitness, general endurance and strength, and provide active recovery classes to optimise training. The program will build on running capacity and include frequent testing at specified distances to gauge and encourage progress. The FFL program provides a supportive and encouraging environment for personnel to improve their fitness and overall health.

An individual who has not met the Navy Physical Fitness standard after completion of three consecutive months of FFL will be subject to divisional command reporting policy, as detailed by the appropriate Commanding Officer.

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 Physiotherapist: Book in with the base physiotherapist for injury and rehabilitation requirements.