Fitness tests come in all different shapes and sizes and I am sure we can all think of a diabolical workout we’ve decided to put ourselves through to see how we stack up compared to other athletes. Beep tests, CrossFit circuits (Fran, Murph, Cindy, etc.), marathons, triathlons, and the list goes on. Testing ourselves is important because it allows us to quantify our current fitness level as well as monitor progress. During my time in the Ranger Regiment we were required to regularly pass the Ranger Physical Assessment Test (RPAT) which I would argue is one of the best functional fitness tests around. It’s also not widely known so I wanted to share the workout in case you’re looking for an awesome challenge or maybe a change of pace at the gym.
The full test requires you to be in combat uniform which includes boots, helmet, body armor, and full fatigues (pants and blouse), but unless you’re currently in the military or spend the weekends playing Army dress up, I will assume you don’t have this gear. To get as close as possible I recommend using a 30lb weighted vest to simulate the helmet and body Armor – the boots and fatigues can be substituted for regular workout clothes.
The test calls for a rope climb, a SKEDCO pull, a caving ladder climb, a wall climb, and a bunch of running so you’re going to need to improvise a little. If your gym has a rope and a sled, then you’re all set – you can substitute where needed. The entire test is completed wearing the required gear. Here is the test:
- Conduct a 2-mile run as fast as possible. The run will begin and end at a 20-foot fast rope.
- After the completion of the run, immediately climb the 20-foot fast rope and do a controlled descent.
- When the rope climb is complete, drag a 185-pound SKEDCO litter 50 yards, turn around and drag it back 50 yards to the start point. This is where you can substitute a sled for the SKEDCO litter. For reference, a SKEDCO litter is a military stretcher that is designed to be pulled on the ground.
- Immediately following the SKEDCO pull, climb a 20-foot caving ladder and climb all the way back down. A caving ladder is a tiny wire ladder used for caving or other tactical situations. If you don’t have a caving ladder (which I assume you don’t) then substitute this with another rope climb and controlled descent.
- At the bottom of the Caving ladder, sprint 100 yards, turn around, sprint back 100 yards and climb over the 8-foot wall. If you don’t have a wall do 3 muscle-ups on a pull-up bar.
- Conduct a 1 mile run. The run will begin and end at the 8-ft wall. Time stops when you cross the line at the 8-foot wall.
The rope, caving ladder, SKEDCO, and wall should all be collocated so you aren’t burning time to get to each station. Each run starts and stops at the gear. To pass the Ranger standard you must complete this event in under 40 minutes. Strong athletes should aim to complete this in about 30 minutes and some of the best times I have ever seen are sub 25 minutes.
Altogether, this is a great test of functional fitness and a killer workout. If you ever get a chance to give it a run drop us a line and let us know what you think! Here is a link for a quick video overview of the test and what it looks like. Good Luck!