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Whether you have an official army tape test coming up or you're training for personal reasons, it can beneficial to keep track of your body composition. Administering your own tape test helps you understand how well your body fat maintenance efforts are, and if you will be accepted for service.

To calculate your body fat in terms of army standards with ease, try our free army body fat calculator. Enter a few measurements and this helpful tool instantly computes your body fat percentage.

Below you can find a closer look at how the tape test works, what the admission standards are, and what you can do to maintain your weight for it.


Why does the army use tape tests?

Before we get into the tape test, let's talk about the department of defense's expectations of its employees and why this test is in place.

To be the best soldier, commander, or general you can be, you have to be in top physical and mental condition to enrol.

That's why recruits go through vigorous training before becoming official members of the army, and that's why each active member has to continue to pass certain check-ups and tests, like the tape test.

Who It Applies To

The tape test doesn’t just apply to new recruits. If a member of the army gains a bit of excess weight, they may be asked to take the Army tape test.

This is done to ensure every member of the army is staying within the organization's health expectations.


If a person fails the test, new recruits could be denied and existing members could be ineligible for a promotion until their body fat is brought back down to the standard.

Using our calculator is a great way to keep track of your body composition and ensure that you pass the tape test with flying colors.

What are the tape test standards?

Men and women have different army body fat standards to meet on the tape test, based on army regulation 600-9. The requirements are broken into age groups, gender, height and weight standards, too.

For instance, two soldiers of the same height, but with different weights and genders, may have two different body fat percentage maximums available to them.

The differences won't be too significant, considering they're the same height, but it's a factor worth mentioning.

Body Fat Limits for New Recruits

17 to 20 years old

  • Females up to 30%
  • Males up to 20%

21 to 27 years old

  • Females up to 32%
  • Males up to 22%

28 to 39 years old

  • Females up to 34%
  • Males up to 24%

40+ years old

  • Females up to 36%
  • Males up to 26%

What measurements are used for the tape test?

The army tape test takes the following measurements into account:

  • height and body mass
  • the distance around the neck circumference
  • the distance around the waist
  • the distance around the hips (for women only)
  • All measurements are calculated to the nearest half inch. The numbers are combined to determine the person's body fat percentage when compared to the height and weight chart for the army to check for compliance.

    Taking the Tape Test

    The tape test is administered by a member of higher rank in the army for the individual in question.

    There are strict rules on everything from the kind of measuring tape used to what a person wears for their test.

    The outfit expectations are the same as a soldier's PT uniform - a t-shirt and gym shorts. No shoes are worn during the test, although socks are permitted.

    The individual is to stand straight up on a flat surface facing forward. The administer of the tape test will then take the measurements mentioned above, being careful not to compress the skin as they do so.

    For ladies, the hip measurements are allowed to be a little more snug, pushing the gym shorts to rest on the skin.

    How to make sure you pass the tape test

    If you're worried about passing your upcoming army tape test, or if you'd like to use this army body fat calculator at home for personal weight loss goals, keep the following things in mind.

    Regular workouts, a proper diet, and a system of accountability are essential to your success, regardless of whether you're in the army or not.

    Regular Workouts

    You can't expect to trim your body fat percentage without putting in some sweat.

    The army encourages active members to workout every day, and for recruits, runs and weight lifting are part of their overall army training. Once you make it in, though, it's up to you to stick to a routine.

    Find the time and method of training that work best for you. Some soldiers love to run and boost their endurance while they maintain their body fat. Others will row for an hour or two straight to stay in shape.

    Still, there is something all soldiers and civilians alike need to focus on for weight management: their diet.

    Mindful Eating

    Working out every day serves you little use if you're eating an unbalanced diet.

    Just as there are various army weight standards for different genders and heights, there are different levels of necessary nutrients for each body type, too.

    Take some time to educate yourself on what your body needs. It may not be the same as your PT classmate's or as the person who is your higher up.

    You have to break down your macros and micronutrients to best understand what you should be eating.

    Professional Support and Guidance

    If you're worried you're going to fail the army tape test, be proactive about the issue. Go to your sergeant in command and say you need help preparing for the test, or at least reach out to a classmate.

    They will offer you tools and guidance to get your body fat under control. These resources will be a mix of workout plans and dieting tips, as well as accountability and moral support.

    After all, in the army, no one gets left behind, right?

    Tell your friends about us!