Are you as fit as a special agent? (Photo: Hero Images Inc./Hero Images Inc./Corbis)
For the first time in over a decade, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is requiring all of its special agents to take a physical fitness test, the New York Times reported today.
Agents have until October to go through the test, which consists of four different challenges: one minute of push-ups, one minute of sit-ups, a 300-meter sprint, and a 1.5-mile run, with only five minutes of rest between each segment. Scores are weighted based on a person’s gender and age. Agents do not have to meet weight, height, or other body composition standards.
For years, all new agents have been required to pass rigorous physical assessments. But the FBI stopped making physical testing mandatory for established agents in 1999. According to FBI officials quoted by the New York Times, after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the agency’s mission shifted to fighting terrorism — a job that often requires long desk hours — and fitness became less of a priority.
FBI director James B. Cooney reinstated the fitness tests at the end of last year. “The lives of your colleagues and those you protect may well depend upon your ability to run, fight, and shoot, no matter what job you hold,” Cooney said in an internal memo.
Are you fit enough to be an FBI agent? Here are the current standards that new applicants must pass. (As of press time, the FBI did not respond to Yahoo Health’s request for the established agent standards.) To pass the test, a person must have a score of one or better in each of the four tests, and a cumulative score of at least 12. The catch: Each of these four exercises must be separated by only a five-minute break.
1. Sit-ups in one minute
This test consists of one minute of continuous sit-ups — no pauses. For a rep to count, you must lift your torso until your back is perpendicular to the floor; at the end of each rep, your shoulder blades have to touch the floor.
Passing for women: 35+ sit-ups
Passing for men: 38+ sit-ups
2. 300-meter sprint
The 300-meter sprint is an all-out run covering ¾ of a lap of a standard track — about 2/10 of a mile. You start the sprint from a standing position (no track-style starts allowed).
Passing for women: 64.9 seconds or faster
Passing for men: 52.4 seconds or faster
In this test, you’ll do as many push-ups as you can. The test isn’t timed, but you have to do the push-ups continuously (no breaks). Both men and women must do full push-ups with toes on the floor. You must lower your body down until your upper arms are parallel to the ground for a rep to count.
Passing for women: 14+ pushups
Passing for men: 30+ pushups
4. 1.5-mile run
To assess endurance, the final portion of the test is a 1.5-mile run, or six laps around a standard track.
Passing for women: 13:59 or faster
Passing for men: 12:24 or faster
Note: Each of the passing scores above is the minimum for a score of one on the test. To pass the test, you need a score of one or greater on each individual test and a cumulative score of at least 12. (Better results yield higher scores.) If you’re really curious about how you’d do, check out the full ranking system on the FBI’s website.
Specialists such as hostage rescue team members have stricter requirements to pass the test compared to established special agents, according to the New York Times.
The FBI’s test is similar to other physical fitness tests for the military and public servants. The Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers, for example, which educate Federal law enforcement officers, requires a sit and reach test for flexibility, maximum bench press lift, a 1.5-mile run, and an agility run. There is also a body composition test to measure percentage of body fat, but it doesn’t affect a person’s score on the test.
The U.S. Marine Corps gives all Marines a physical fitness assessment yearly. The test includes pull-ups (or a flexed-arm hang for women), crunches, and a three-mile run that must be completed within 31 minutes.
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