Sailors conduct their bi-annual Physical Readiness Test (PRT) on stationary bikes in the hangar bay of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71).

WASHINGTON (NNS) — The Navy announced several changes Tuesday to its Physical Readiness Program in NAVADMIN 141/17, including an incentive for Sailors to validate one physical readiness test (PRT) each year based on their fitness performance.

Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Robert Burke said that during his fleet visits he often hears ideas from Sailors on how to improve the Navy’s PRT process.

“I want Sailors to know we’ve heard them,” Burke said. “Many Sailors work hard to maintain high levels of physical fitness year-round and I believe this provides an incentive to continue to excel. This effort is aimed at both incentivizing physical fitness and also reducing administrative distractions throughout the fleet.”

Those Sailors who pass the body composition assessment (BCA), are within the Navy age-graduated body fat standards, and score an overall “excellent low” or better on the PRT, with no single event lower than a “good low,” will be exempt from participation in the next test. These changes will be effective Jan. 1, 2018, but be based on a Sailor’s performance during the second PRT cycle of 2017.

All Sailors, regardless of PRT performance will still be required to participate in the BCA each cycle. If a Sailor who is exempt from taking the PRT fails the BCA, they will be required to participate in the PRT that cycle.

Additionally, the Navy is also eliminating the use of elliptical machines as an alternate cardio device for use because of low-usage across the fleet during the PRT. This decision was based on two factors. First, less than 4 percent of the Navy uses the elliptical for the PRT, and maintaining PRT-compliant elliptical machines was becoming increasingly cost prohibitive. Shifting to non-PRT-compliant elliptical machines will allow for more modern elliptical machines in Navy fitness facilities. While the 1.5 mile run remains the service standard, commanding officers may still authorize the use of approved stationary bikes, treadmills or allow Sailors to swim as alternate cardio.

The Navy is also exempting post-partum Sailors from participating in the physical fitness assessment (PFA) for six months following the Sailors’ maternity/convalescent leave. This change reflects an increase to the Navy’s increased maternity leave policy of 84 days following child birth. This will ensure Sailors have adequate time to return to weight standards and pass a PRT following a pregnancy.

“We want to ensure our Sailors have adequate time to recover and succeed post pregnancy,” said Burke. “This extended time will help Sailors return to fitness levels and standards in a safe and healthy way.”