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PT is the military acronym for Physical Training. The methods used during PT vary depending on the PT Leader, or PTL (Air Force). PT sessions range anywhere from an hour to several. PT sessions of higher intensity or extremely long duration may be classified as a smoke session. Possible reasons for conducting such a session include special selection courses, such as for Special Operations candidacy, or as punishment.


There are as many types of PT as there are limits of the imagination, but some of the more common types include:

Standard PT[]

The term standard is actually misleading, as there really is no standard for physical training. The most common methods employed, however, include bodyweight exercises such as pushups, situps, side-straddle hop (jumping jacks), and pullups, among others. The use of running, plyometrics and unorthodox equipment such as tractor tires, logs, etc. is also common practice.

Road Marches[]

Another method utilized by military units is to embark on road marches, also called ruck marches. This involves hiking or marching with weighted packs (rucks) and other gear (kit) for any given distance or duration. For most units, the gold standard is 12 miles in under 3.5 hours.

Pool PT[]

Many units will employ the use of a swimming pool for physical training. Popular exercises and drills include lap swimming, kick-board, underwaters, drownproofing, and the incorporation of calisthenics in with the aforementioned drills.

PC (Air Force)[]

Physical Conditioning is the terminology used in US Air Force Basic Military Training.

PT Testing[]

Each branch of military service has their own protocols for testing physical fitness levels.

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