U.S. Navy veteran and YouTuber Austen Alexander regularly shares military-inspired fitness challenges on his channel. Sometimes he’s coaching athletes through assault courses and fitness tests, while other times he is taking himself out of his own comfort zone by taking on ordeals which push him to his limits.
In his newest challenge video, Alexander attempts the U.S. Air Force Special Warfare Physical Ability and Stamina Test (PAST), a demanding assessment protocol for officers who want to be in combat control or pararescue. With Brian Kimber, a former Air Force pararescueman, serving as proctor, Alexander throws himself into each of the test’s five events with no prior practice, starting with pullups.
Alexander must get his chin over the bar at the top of the movement and fully extend his arms at the bottom in order for each rep to count. A minimum of 8 pullups is required to pass, although Kimber says that in order to be competitive, he should be aiming for at least 14. Alexander manages 12 reps before dropping from the bar. “More than I thought I could do,” he admits.
After 2 minutes of rest, they move onto the second event: as many chest-to-deck pushups as possible in 2 minutes. After a strong start, Alexander maxes out at the 1:52 mark, having completed 57 reps. “Chest to the deck ruined me,” he says. “I should probably have been more conservative on those pushups.”
The third round is 2 minutes of situps. Kimber anchors Alexander’s ankles, and he performs each rep with his fingers laced behind his head. He churns out 28 situps with good form, but after pausing between reps at 1:21, Kimber calls an end to this event, meaning he fails to reach the minimum rep count. “The situps creep up on people,” says Kimber.
The fourth event is a 1.5-mile run, where the maximum allowed time is 10:20. Alexander finishes in 9:47, but after all those bodyweight exercises, the cardio of the run leaves him exhausted. “That sprint will drain you,” he says.
Following a 30-minute recuperative window, it’s time for Alexander to hit the pool for the fifth and sixth events: 2 laps of 25 meters underwater, and a 500-meter swim broken down into 10 laps of 50 meters.
“Overall I feel alright,” says Alexander, upon finishing the test. Kimber praises the effort he puts in, and he ends up passing every round bar the situps.
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