Fit to lead Physical fitness training for potential RAF officers

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Life in the RAF is physically demanding – not simply in terms of running long distances or lifting heavy weights.03 FIT TO LEAD PHYSICAL FITNESS TRAINING FOR POTENTIAL RAF OFFICERS FITNESS IN THE ROYAL AIR FORCE As an officer in the Royal Air Force you’ll be expected to lead from the front. Before you’re allowed to start Initial Officer Training (IOT) you have to attend the Officers and Aircrew Selection Centre (OASC). In every aspect of your work. it also keeps your mind sharp when the heat is on. including a six-week fitness programme which will bring you up to a minimum level of fitness. And the IOT course itself will make huge demands on your physical and mental stamina. and if you are already fit.uk/careers . you will set the standard for the men and women under your command – and this includes physical fitness. This booklet tells you what to expect from both the OASC fitness assessment and the IOT course. TRAINING TIP You don’t need expensive equipment or gym membership to get fit – just a pair of well-fitting exercise trainers and the right attitude. you can’t rest on your laurels. Physical fitness not only enables you to keep your body going. which includes a fitness assessment. raf. but making decisions in stressful situations and working effectively when you may be suffering from lack of sleep. you’ll need to start training now. It also contains advice on getting fit.mod. If you’re not already fit.

and for this reason the assessment is often called the ‘bleep test’. This four-day selection process includes a fitness assessment – to ensure that all personnel have a basic level of fitness. The first stage of the fitness assessment consists of completing as many 20-metre shuttle runs as you can – at a steadily increasing speed. The pace is set by a series of electronic bleeps. You will then have to perform as many press-ups and sit-ups as you can in one minute. Remember: this only represents the minimum standard we expect. so you should be aiming to beat these standards fairly easily. On the next page are the minimum standards for all aspects of the fitness assessment – they are determined by your age and gender. TRAINING TIP The OASC fitness assessment only represents a base level of fitness. IOT will push you far harder. More will be expected of you once you join – so don’t stop training! . you must first attend OASC.04 FIT TO LEAD PHYSICAL FITNESS TRAINING FOR POTENTIAL RAF OFFICERS THE FITNESS ASSESSMENT To become an RAF officer.

10 5.06 5.10 8.03 FEMALE Age 17–24 25–29 30– 34 Score 6.mod.05 FIT TO LEAD PHYSICAL FITNESS TRAINING FOR POTENTIAL RAF OFFICERS SHUTTLE RUN MALE Age Score 17–24 25–29 30– 34 9.03 PRESS-UPS MALE Age Number (per minute) 17–24 25–29 30– 34 SIT-UPS MALE Age 17–24 25–29 30– 34 13 12 11 FEMALE Age 17–24 25–29 30– 34 Number (per minute) 10 9 8 Number (per minute) 35 31 27 FEMALE Age 17–24 25–29 30– 34 Number (per minute) 25 22 19 raf.uk/careers .10 8.

remember that the fitness assessment only represents the minimum standard. The RAF fitness programme outlined in this booklet is an excellent way of improving your all-round fitness. your Offer of Service may be withdrawn. Regardless of whether you pass or fail. so if you’re looking to do well at both OASC and IOT. But you will have to work on your fitness. However. if you are very close to the minimum standard and have excelled in other areas. Training can be tough.06 FIT TO LEAD PHYSICAL FITNESS TRAINING FOR POTENTIAL RAF OFFICERS WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE FITNESS ASSESSMENT? If you pass First of all. . your fitness training shouldn’t stop. but keep going. You will go to the RAF College Cranwell for a familiarisation visit eight weeks before your IOT course is due to start and take the fitness assessment again. why not start now? TRAINING TIP RAF officers are people who don’t give up. we may give you the benefit of the doubt. so if you fail the fitness assessment it is highly unlikely that you’ll pass the course. If you fail Physical fitness is one of the key qualities we’re looking for during OASC. If you fail at this stage. so you should be looking to get even fitter. A lot more will be expected of you when you start IOT.

you’ll get more out of the course and give yourself the best possible chance of passing. You’ll find the course easier If you are fit when you arrive. There are two very good reasons for this: You are less likely to fail the course or have to repeat a stage The single largest reason for people failing during IOT is that they are not fit enough. you’ll help to ensure that this doesn’t happen to you. raf.mod. IOT is a physically demanding course and we expect you to be fit before you start. achievable fitness goals – it will give you something to aim for.uk/careers . If you arrive fit. TRAINING TIP Set yourself clear.07 FIT TO LEAD PHYSICAL FITNESS TRAINING FOR POTENTIAL RAF OFFICERS FITNESS DURING IOT Passing the OASC fitness assessment is just the start.

We see fitness as a personal responsibility. But IOT isn’t just an endless routine of timed runs and press-ups. Physical fitness is the best way of preparing your body (and mind) for this challenge. We’re just looking for a basic level of fitness and a willingness to put in the required effort. You’ll be tested on arrival. with long days and often very little sleep. We don’t expect superhuman strength or endurance on day one of the course. I wish I’d done more fitness training before I arrived at Cranwell – it makes such a difference. you’ll have to repeat that stage of your training.08 FIT TO LEAD PHYSICAL FITNESS TRAINING FOR POTENTIAL RAF OFFICERS FITNESS GOALS IOT will test you physically in ways you’ve probably never experienced. and at various stages throughout the course – if you fail to meet the standards we expect of you. You’ll be following a demanding training programme.’ . ‘Looking back. The physical demands will become greater as the course progresses. so arriving in good shape will impress your training staff and demonstrate that you possess the self-motivation that we look for in our officers. so you’ll need to continually reassess your fitness level and set yourself new goals.

it’s the perfect way to start. Examples of muscular endurance exercises: press-ups. Aerobic How efficiently you can transport oxygen around your bloodstream – effectively. . muscular endurance and flexibility. Flexibility Your body’s suppleness and range of movement. gymnastics. IOT will demand all these elements. dorsal raises. yoga. raf. how long you are able to continue exercising before fatigue sets in. sit-ups. and that you warm up and cool down before and after exercising.uk/careers The next 13 pages outline the RAF health and fitness programme. and their ability to work against resistance. swimming. cycling. Examples of aerobic exercise: running. If you want to prepare for life in the RAF. Muscular endurance The power and endurance of your muscles. so it is essential that your fitness programme incorporates both aerobic and muscular endurance elements. rowing.mod. Examples of flexibility exercises: stretching.09 FIT TO LEAD PHYSICAL FITNESS TRAINING FOR POTENTIAL RAF OFFICERS ‘I never thought of myself as a “fitness” kind of person before. but I really enjoyed it during IOT and I’ve kept it up ever since. The key ones for you are aerobic fitness. martial arts.’ THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF FITNESS Fitness has many different components. a stretching programme and advice on diet and lifestyle. There is an effective combination of aerobic and muscular endurance exercises. tricep dips.

Dress to train: comfortable sports clothing will help you train more effectively and you should always put on something warm after exercising. But it needn’t be – proper preparation will ensure your fitness training is effective.10 FIT TO LEAD PHYSICAL FITNESS TRAINING FOR POTENTIAL RAF OFFICERS GETTING STARTED One of the hardest parts of a fitness programme is getting started. If possible. enjoyable. during and after exercising. above all. . try to run on grass rather than tarmac or concrete – it isn’t so hard on your joints. Drink plenty of water before. safe and. TRAINING TIP Try finding someone to train with – you can keep each other motivated. talk to your doctor before you start. Here are some tips for getting off on the right foot: If you’re planning to increase the amount of physical activity you do. If you experience pain or sudden shortness of breath when training – stop! See a doctor before exercising again. Wear appropriate footwear – a pair of running trainers will improve your performance and lessen the chance of injury.

as well as flexibility advice. there is no better way. If you want to prepare yourself for IOT. but by the time you get to the end of IOT – because you’ve got so much fitter – you find yourself really looking forward to it.mod. at first you really dread fitness training. It’s been put together by RAF Physical Education staff and is specifically designed to prepare you for the rigours of training. so you can fit it in around work or study.uk/careers .’ raf. We’ve also ensured that it isn’t a massive time commitment.11 FIT TO LEAD PHYSICAL FITNESS TRAINING FOR POTENTIAL RAF OFFICERS THE RAF FITNESS PROGRAMME The following pages outline the official RAF fitness programme. so it will quickly develop your all-round fitness. It’s simple to follow and doesn’t require any specialist equipment or gym membership. ‘It’s strange. The programme contains both aerobic and muscular endurance exercises.

SIDES SHOULDERS CALF HAMSTRINGS . Now that your muscles are warm and the blood is flowing. you can start stretching. controlled manner. in a slow. This prepares your body for training and helps prevent injury. Never bounce the stretch. You should do this for about five minutes and it should leave you sweating slightly and breathing a little more heavily. Some points to remember: Stretch gently. it is vital that you warm up. Start off with a gentle exercise that uses the whole body – jogging or cycling is ideal.12 FIT TO LEAD PHYSICAL FITNESS TRAINING FOR POTENTIAL RAF OFFICERS WARMING UP AND COOLING DOWN Before you do any form of exercise. Hold each stretch for 10–20 seconds. This means taking your muscles beyond their normal range of movement.

Injuries and illness Don’t exercise when injured or if you feel unwell – you will only make matters worse. If you are able.mod. TRAINING TIP Make sure that you go to a sports shop to get a pair of trainers that are designed for exercise and fit you properly – not fashion trainers.uk/careers . simply follow the same programme as you did to warm up: a gentle exercise like jogging or cycling to loosen the muscles. QUADS INNER THIGHS GLUTEALS raf.13 FIT TO LEAD PHYSICAL FITNESS TRAINING FOR POTENTIAL RAF OFFICERS Cooling down Just as important as warming up. and then complete the full stretching programme. it is also vital that you cool down. Remember: always warm up and cool down – it’s the best way to prevent injury. try low-impact exercise like swimming or cycling. help you feel less stiff and lessen the chance of cramp or injury. To do this. This will help the body relax after training.

cannot talk easily Low-impact aerobic exercise One of the key components of this fitness programme is what we call ‘low-impact aerobic exercise’. This means fitness building exercises that don’t put pressure on your joints (in the way that running will). This is to ensure a gradual progression in your training. sweating. ask a training instructor at your local leisure centre for help and guidance. Gentle Can breathe normally Moderate Hard enough to increase breathing but can still talk relatively normally High Heavier breathing. ‘moderate’ and ‘high’ intensity. .14 FIT TO LEAD PHYSICAL FITNESS TRAINING FOR POTENTIAL RAF OFFICERS TRAINING ADVICE Training ‘intensity’ Throughout this fitness programme. you will see references to exercising at ‘gentle’. These include: Cycling Swimming Rowing TRAINING TIP If you’re not sure how to do these exercises.

Action: raise your head and shoulders off the floor in a slow. DO NOT grip your hands. then lower to the floor. Repeat. Action: push up until your arms are straight. Action: starting with your elbows bent.mod. PRESS-UPS Position: lie face down with your feet together and toes on the floor. Action: step onto the bench with your left foot. Here are the exercises that make up the RAF muscular endurance circuit – and the correct way to perform them. controlled motion. Then step down with your left foot. fingers facing forwards. Alternative: cross your hands behind your back. DO NOT pull your head up with your hands. Action: raise your head and shoulders until your elbows touch your knees. then return to the starting position. then lower your chest until it is 10 cm (4 inches) off the floor. box or step about 30 cm (12 inches) high. Alternative: put your knees on the ground – keeping your back straight. Position: lie face down with your feet together and your hands at the side of your head. Alternative: move your feet further away from the bench. Position: stand in front of a bench. box or step about 30 cm (12 inches) high. then bring your right foot up to join it. Put your hands in line with your shoulders. raf. TRICEP DIPS DORSAL RAISES Position: sit in front of a bench. Repeat. Place your hands on the edge. with your fingers facing forwards. Alternative: do at running pace. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees at 90 degrees. Place your hands at the side of your head. Keep your feet on the floor. Repeat. push up until your arms are straight and then lower to the starting position.15 FIT TO LEAD PHYSICAL FITNESS TRAINING FOR POTENTIAL RAF OFFICERS THE RAF MUSCULAR ENDURANCE CIRCUIT One of the core components of the RAF fitness programme is a circuit of muscular endurance exercises.uk/careers . Repeat. and bring the right foot down to join it. STEP-UPS SIT-UPS Position: lie flat on your back with your chin on your chest and your knees at 90 degrees. Repeat. Alternative: put your hands on your thighs and slide them up to your knees.

5 mile run (2. WEEK ONE Mon Fitness test (record your scores below): – 1. If you follow this programme you will find your fitness improves dramatically. . so you can see how much you’ve improved.4 km) in your best time – As many press-ups as you can manage in 1 minute – As many sit-ups as you can manage in 1 minute Tues Low-impact aerobic activity for 20 minutes at gentle intensity Weds 2 circuits: – 15 tricep dips – 20 sit-ups – 7 press-ups – 15 dorsal raises – 25 step-ups Thurs Rest day Fri 20 minute run at moderate intensity Sat Repeat Wednesday’s muscular endurance circuit Sun Rest day TRAINING TIP Make a note of your fitness test results (Monday) – you will take the test again at the end of the programme.16 FIT TO LEAD PHYSICAL FITNESS TRAINING FOR POTENTIAL RAF OFFICERS THE RAF FITNESS PROGRAMME The next six pages outline the six-week RAF fitness programme. Each activity has a tick box so that you can record your progress.

mod.uk/careers .’ raf.17 FIT TO LEAD PHYSICAL FITNESS TRAINING FOR POTENTIAL RAF OFFICERS WEEK TWO Mon 20 minute run at moderate intensity Tues Low-impact aerobic activity for 25 minutes at gentle intensity Weds 2 circuits: – 17 tricep dips – 23 sit-ups – 8 press-ups – 17 dorsal raises – 27 step-ups Thurs Rest day Fri 20 minute run at moderate intensity Sat Repeat Wednesday’s muscular endurance circuit Sun Rest day ‘Getting started on my fitness was definitely the hardest part. but before long I was actually really enjoying it.

but mentally as well. The fitter you are.18 FIT TO LEAD PHYSICAL FITNESS TRAINING FOR POTENTIAL RAF OFFICERS WEEK THREE Mon 25 minute run at moderate intensity Tues Low-impact aerobic activity for 25 minutes at gentle intensity Weds 2 circuits: – 19 tricep dips – 26 sit-ups – 9 press-ups – 19 dorsal raises – 29 step-ups Thurs Rest day Fri 25 minute run at moderate intensity Sat Repeat Wednesday’s muscular endurance circuit Sun Rest day/swim ‘IOT tests you all the time – not just physically.’ . the better you are at handling the pressure.

uk/careers .mod.19 FIT TO LEAD PHYSICAL FITNESS TRAINING FOR POTENTIAL RAF OFFICERS WEEK FOUR Mon 20 minute run at moderate intensity Tues Low-impact aerobic activity for 30 minutes at gentle intensity Weds 2 circuits: – 21 tricep dips – 29 sit-ups – 10 press-ups – 21 dorsal raises – 31 step-ups Thurs Rest day Fri 25 minute run at moderate intensity Sat Repeat Wednesday’s muscular endurance circuit Sun Rest day/swim TRAINING TIP Don’t be tempted to cut corners when no one is watching – you’re only cheating yourself. raf.

20 FIT TO LEAD PHYSICAL FITNESS TRAINING FOR POTENTIAL RAF OFFICERS WEEK FIVE Mon 30 minute run at moderate to high intensity Tues Low-impact aerobic activity for 30 minutes at moderate intensity Weds 2 circuits: – 23 tricep dips – 32 sit-ups – 11 press-ups – 23 dorsal raises – 33 step-ups Sun Rest day/swim Thurs Rest day Fri 30 minute run at moderate intensity Sat Repeat Wednesday’s muscular endurance circuit TRAINING TIP Don’t let fitness become a chore – find an exercise or sport that you enjoy and make it part of your weekly routine. You’ll find you begin to look forward to it! .

uk/careers .21 FIT TO LEAD PHYSICAL FITNESS TRAINING FOR POTENTIAL RAF OFFICERS WEEK SIX Mon 30 minute run at moderate to high intensity Tues Low-impact aerobic activity for 30 minutes at moderate intensity Weds 3 circuits: – 25 tricep dips – 35 sit-ups – 12 press-ups – 25 dorsal raises – 35 step-ups Thurs Rest day Fri 30 minute run at moderate to high intensity Sat Fitness test (record your scores below): – 1.5 mile run (2.4 km) in your best time – As many press-ups as you can manage in 1 minute – As many sit-ups as you can manage in 1 minute Sun Rest day/swim TRAINING TIP Fitness is progressive – once you’ve reached a good standard. you need to keep training to stay at that level.mod. raf.

Diet For an engine to run at its best. Right fuel – Carbohydrates such as potatoes. sweets. It will make it harder for you to exercise effectively and is also bad for you. TRAINING TIP Eat healthily. it needs the right fuel – and the same is true of your body. but avoid eating just before you exercise. fish and soya will help you build muscle. Make sure you drink lots of water instead. If you want a healthy tomorrow – quit smoking today. . bread and pasta will give your body the energy it needs. blocked arteries and high cholesterol. but it isn’t enough on its own. Smoking Smoking is responsible for thousands of deaths every year. Protein foods like meat. Exercise makes you dehydrated and alcohol increases this effect. chips) or foods with a lot of sugar (chocolate. It causes approximately 30 per cent of all cancer deaths and is a major contributor to heart disease and breathing conditions. Indian and Chinese takeaways. rice. making it harder for you to absorb oxygen. It also reduces your ability to exercise by damaging your lungs. Wrong fuel – Fatty foods (fast food. fizzy drinks) can lead to weight gain.22 FIT TO LEAD PHYSICAL FITNESS TRAINING FOR POTENTIAL RAF OFFICERS A LIFESTYLE CHOICE Exercise is a vital part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Alcohol Try to limit your intake of alcohol – especially before and after training. Fresh fruit and vegetables are good energy sources and also provide your body with essential vitamins and minerals.

visit raf.uk/careers . For more information about life in the Royal Air Force.mod. or to find out about the range of careers on offer. please contact your local Armed Forces Careers Office.23 FIT TO LEAD PHYSICAL FITNESS TRAINING FOR POTENTIAL RAF OFFICERS CONTACT INFORMATION If you have any further questions. or want to know more about the OASC fitness assessment.

and offers opportunity to all. a rewarding career and skills for life. the RAF Regiment is open to men only. © Crown Copyright 2006 . for reasons of combat effectiveness. Please check with our careers information staff for current details. 3/06 Prepared for the Royal Air Force by COI AIRF 270316 The information in this booklet was correct at the time of publication but may have changed since. However.The RAF vision An Air Force that: is trained and equipped to generate air power as a vital contribution to the security of the UK and as a force for good in the world. religion. Equal opportunities The RAF values every individual’s unique contribution. PUB 771 Printed in the UK. ethnic origin. is proud of its heritage but modern and flexible. fosters professionalism and team spirit founded on commitment and self-discipline. irrespective of race. gender. sexual orientation or social background.