Following on from his last military fitness test fail, bodybuilder and trainer Steve Cook sets out to redeem himself in his latest video by taking on the U.S. Navy’s Physical Readiness Test once again. Back in fighting shape after recovering from COVID, this time Cook is trying out the new version of the test, due to be rolled out in March, which switches out the traditional curl-ups for a forearm plank in order to better evaluate core strength.
“I really like the fact that they looked at it and thought, that full situp isn’t a great indicator of how strong your abs are,” says Cook. “Also, all that spinal flexion really isn’t good for the lower back.”
The first round of the test is two minutes of pushups, and Cook comes strong out of the gate; the maximum score for any age group in the test is 92 pushups, and he churns out 100 reps with a couple of seconds to spare. “I feel good about that,” he says.
After three minutes’ rest, the second test is the plank, which Cook has to hold for 3:25 to get the best score for his age group, while maintaining a 90-degree elbow position and a flat back, and not letting his head drop. “I’ve never done a plank for this long,” he says. “A minute, maybe a minute and a half; 3 minutes is intense.”
He ends up maxing out at around the 3:25 mark. “I definitely felt that in the hip flexors, transverse abs, everything, even shoulders still” he says. “That’s why we do the plank after the pushups, because you need the stabilizing muscles for pushups, but doing the plank right after that… Maybe should have rested.”
For the final round, Cook opts for a 2,000-meter row over a 1.5-mile run, aiming for a time of 7:20 to keep his perfect score going. He over-performs on this event too, hitting 2,000 meters in 7:14. “Much better rowing than running a mile and a half… but it still sucked,” he says. “That was a doozy. That absolutely kicked my butt.”
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