YouTuber and US Navy serviceman Austen Alexander is no stranger to fitness challenges. Having already challenged Olympic swimmer Markus Rogan to try the
Navy SEAL Screening test, CrossFit Games athlete Lauren Fisher to the USMC fitness test and himself to the SOCOM Dive Screener, Alexander is well-versed in what it takes to perform as a high-level military operative.
In a recent video, Alexander took on the SWAT Physical Fitness Qualifier (PFQ), a test of fitness and strength that's used to screen applicants before advancing further through training. "The SWAT PFQ is the physical fitness portion that we use to evaluate the guys that want to try out for our team," explains Kenneth Bradley, a SWAT sniper and Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran who was tasked to evaluate and proctor Alexander's efforts. "It's also the bi-annual fitness test that we use for guys that are on the team to ensure they're maintaining a high level of physical fitness."
At the start of the challenge, Bradley walks Alexander through the first phase of the PFQ. Working to an individual time-cap of 90 seconds per exercise, it requires the participant to perform a minimum of 40 push-ups, 15 pull-ups, 20 burpees and 40 air squats.
Once completed, phase two involves a 'slick' 800m run and another 400m run in a vest and gas mask to be completed in nine minutes and fifteen seconds. The third phase is a 225lbs (102kg) sled push, 25 air squats, 25 push-ups and 25 jumping jacks in a three minute and forty-five second time-cap. Lastly, the fourth phase is 10 minutes of treading water and a 50m swim — two lengths of the pool — to close out the PFQ. (Continued below)
Griding through the first of the SWAT PFQ, Alexander hits 40 press-ups in 35 seconds, resting for just under a minute before starting his 15 pull-ups that are performed under a strict set of standards. "The first five [reps] must be completed before dropping off the bar," explains Bradley. "After those five, you can drop down and knock out the remaining ten." Alexander performs the full 15 reps in 52 seconds and hits the 20 burpees — chest to floor, clapping above head — next, finishing the round in 55 seconds. For the air squats, Bradley instructs, Alexander's legs must go parallel to the ground and, on the way up, he must reach full extension but can break as he needs. Alexander wraps the squats in 47 seconds before resting for two whole minutes ahead of phase two.
Starting phase two, Bradley sets up a there-and-back 200m stretch for Alexander – to hit his 800m run – to be repeated four total times. Alexander runs the course at a six-minute-mile pace. With a final time of three minutes and one second he gets ready to don the weighted vest and gas mask for the 400m run. Managing to maintain a consistent pace, Alexander impresses Bradley with his fitness levels, closing phase two of the SWAT PFQ with a time of six minutes and 41 seconds.
Next up: phase three. Firstly, Alexander must complete 25 air squats, before moving the 102kg sled and repping out a further 25 air squats. Then, Alexander must drag the sled back to the starting position before hitting 25 jumping jacks.
Lastly, Alexander hits the pool for 10 minutes of treading water and a 50m swim, which he equates to a "seven" on the effort scale. Breezing through it, the US Navy veteran finishes phase four of the PFQ with a time of 11 minutes and nine seconds. "Traditionally now, if he was trying out for SWAT, we would leave the pool," explains Bradley. "We would get to the [firing] range and do handgun quals and go on to the rifle."
Talking to Alexander, Bradley confirms the US Navy veteran as an "honorary passee of the SWAT Physicial Fitness Qualifier!"
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