IDF fitness test 370.
(photo credit: YAAKOV LAPPIN)
It’s a test all infantry brigade soldiers must pass before they become combat
The standard combat fitness test, which must be completed in
under 10.5 minutes, is a rather grueling experience in which soldiers must
overcome several obstacles under considerable pressure.
Surrounded by the
bright yellow mounds of the Negev near the Nahal Brigade’s training base, Lt.
Yodar Shafrir, the brigade’s combat fitness officer, passed through each
obstacle under a hot sun on Monday.
The test must be completed while
soldiers carry their firearms (in Nahal’s case, a Micro- Tavor assault rifle),
as well as five ammunition clips and two water canteens, while wearing heavy
With the temperature soaring in the mid-summer desert air, the
last test was held hours ago in the morning, and won’t be resumed until after
sunset, to avoid heat stroke and dehydration.
“The soldiers first try it
a month and a half after commencing basic training. Those who fail try again,
and those who pass can also do it again, to improve their grade,” Shafrir
Between 70 and 80 percent of soldiers pass on their first
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The exam begins with a 600 meter sprint, before the soldiers
reach a high wall, and must surmount it with the help of a kick that sends them
flying upward and over the obstacle.
“This is the hardest part,” Shafrir
said, before sending himself hurtling over the wall.
“The test is
supposed to simulate operations under pressure. The soldiers won’t do most of
these things in a war, but this is designed to ensure that they can work well
under pressure,” he added.
Additional obstacles include handlebars,
monkey bars, rope climbing, crawling under a metallic low structure, and an
obstacle one must jump over.
Relying on upper body muscle strength for
rope climbing is a common error, Shafrir said, before demonstrating how to loop
the rope around one’s feet while climbing.
Next came a tall wooden
structure that requires considerable balance to cross.
the last part of the test, running from one obstacle to the next, soldiers
sprint 400 meters to cross the finish line.
“Last year, Nahal reached
first place in test grades among infantry brigades,” Shafrir noted with pride.
“Even if soldiers complete their basic and advanced training [a total of seven
months], they cannot enter service until they complete this,” he
The IDF gives the soldiers plenty of opportunities to master the
obstacle course – seven practice runs – before commencing the real
Shafrir walked away from the exercise ground, having broken into a
sweat. The obstacles remained behind, shimmering in the sun, waiting for the
next group of infantry soldiers to prove that their combat fitness levels are up
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