By Buddy Blouin
Ensuring the Soldiers are in the best shape that they can be is an important component of keeping the U.S. Army a ready and capable fighting force. This means you’re going to have to take into account the health and physical ability of the 480,000+ people making up the U.S. military’s largest branch. But the Army tape test isn’t exactly the best measure of such data points and this can be problematic. However, it continues to be deemed good enough and the alternative costs too much to change things. Fiscal responsibility may feel odd for an organization that has billions upon billions of dollars to spend each year, but it can come into play, even if inaccuracies remain.

The Purpose of the Army Tape Test

The Army tape test is also known as the body composition test or the military body fat test and is a physical fitness test used to test the body fat percentage of Soldiers. Each Soldier must maintain military body composition standards, and this test is there to help ensure those standards are met. Despite revamps to such approaches, criticism, and ongoing reviews to change things in the future, the Army tape test standards and usage continue. While maintaining optimal health and performance in the field is important, it’s a bit curious that a flawed testing measure continues to be used. By measuring the circumference of the neck and waist, an Army tape test calculator uses a formula to calculate the body fat percentage of Soldiers. Failing to meet the standards in place by the tape test Army personnel are held to can lead to disciplinary action, including discharge from the military. Staying physically fit is the goal, but there are anxieties and discrepancies that can come as a result of the testing. But with the extra costs associated with full body scans, it looks as if the test is here to stay. If there is a silver lining, a door for Soldiers to challenge the results looks to be emerging.

Flawed Tests, Costs, and Challenges for Soldiers

Maintaining Army height and weight standards continues to come under controversy as research shows the test used has flaws, yet is accurate enough to stay. The alternative is body scanning Soldiers, but studies show the costs and impracticality of this technique are too much to deploy service-wide. For many years, the Army has used outdated techniques to assess the physical fitness level of its Soldiers. This has led to widespread criticism, as these methods involve measuring a Soldier's weight, neck, and abdomen, and calculating their body fat percentage. The Army tape test chart and its methods have caused concern and unease among both service members and high-ranking officials, both of whom share a common anxiety about the effectiveness of these methods. Fitness has been a growing concern for Army planners and Congress, with the service and Capitol Hill exchanging views. Even when accounting for Soldiers that are overweight, many of them are found to suffer from some sort of injury. Scanners are typically used in healthcare to measure body fat, but considering they can cost as much as $100,000, budgetary concerns and their practicality of them come into question. The machines are better than the Army tape test but cost too much. Looking ahead, the Army's planners are considering making slight modifications to the Army tape test, with the expectation of improving accuracy by approximately 10%. These adjustments involve eliminating neck measurements and only measuring at the belly button. Additionally, as well as making slight changes to how a soldier's weight is factored into the calculation. If a Soldier is found to be non-compliant according to the Army body fat calculator, the option to request a body scan may be available. But the details aren’t finalized. The ability to challenge the results of an Army tape test is also still being developed. Throughout 2023, new updates should become available as the branch continues to work toward improving accuracy and decreasing anxiety surrounding the test.

How to Pass Army Tape Test

There are plenty of Army tape test tricks available online, but any methods should be done in a safe, planned-out manner. In other words, with the help of your doctor and/or nutritionist. Nevertheless, there are some tricks you can try, including the following:
  • Cutting carbs the week of your test.
  • A trip to the sauna is a great way to lose water weight.
  • Ironically, drinking a reasonable amount of water can also help.
  • Good posture is also important so that measurements are properly taken.
  • Of course, maintaining a healthy weight through property diet and exercise is also a great way to pass.
It’s not fun, and it’s not always fair, but at least more attention is being paid to the methods and the potential to appeal is available. For now, the Army tape test is a part of being a Soldier.




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