army tape test

Army Tape Test Standards For 2023 (Male & Female)

Every military branch has expectations for a service member’s weight and body mass, and the Army tape test is a way to measure a person’s body fat.

The Army determines your fitness level in several ways.

Initially, and most importantly, the Army determines a soldier’s fitness level through the Army Combat Fitness Test.

However, the Army also has weight and height standards.

The weight and height standards determine the minimum and maximum weight you should weigh according to your height.

If you do not pass the initial assessment according to the height and weight chart, you will face the Army tape test to determine your body composition.

Related ArticleAPFT Standards For 2023

What Does the Tape Test Measure?

army tape test requirements

The Army tape test calculates your body composition, which is the percentage of body fat you have in relation to lean muscle, bone, and organs.

The tape test measures the circumference in two areas for men: the neck and waist.

However, women are measured at the neck, waist, and hips.

The tester enters these measurements into a formula that provides an estimate of your body fat percentage.

If you’re unable to meet the height and weight standards, you may still be able to meet the body composition standards.

Army PT Test Standards

Before taking the Army tape test, soldiers go through boot camp to help get them in shape.

Soldiers that leave boot camp meet the Army’s expectations because they passed the Army PT Test standards.

There are three events for the Army Physical Fitness Test.

These events include pushups, 2 minutes of situps, and a timed two-mile run. Also, these events occur in the order listed.

There are different standards for the fitness test depending on a person’s age and gender.

To graduate from basic training, you’ll need to score 50 points in each of those events.

You earn points for the number of situps or pushups you perform within the allotted time. The number of points coincides with your age.

For instance, if you are a 27-year-old man, you need to perform 30 pushups and 36 situps within the allotted time.

Also, you need to perform a two-mile run within 17 minutes and 54 seconds for those 50 points.

If you are a woman, you still must score at least 50 on all three events to pass the PT test.

A 27-year-old woman should perform 10 pushups and 30 situps and run the two-mile run within 21 minutes and 42 seconds to succeed.

Your maximum score is 100, but if you score less than 50, you are on probation.

Also, once you exit boot camp, you’ll need to pass the Army Combat Test, which is much harder and more complicated. 

Related ArticleArmy Height and Weight Standards

How is the Army Tape Test Performed?

The regulation that guides the Army’s Body Composition Program (ABCP) is AR 600-9.

The regulation specifies that soldiers should be officially weighed in every six months to ensure they’re meeting Army standards. 

You will have up to six months after boot camp to meet your height and weight requirements. If you do not meet those expectations, you are likely to have an Army tape test.

Army Height and Weight Standards

The male height and weight expectations are below.

Height (In Inches)Minimum WeightAge 17 - 20 Max Weight (in lbs.)Age 21 - 27 Max Weight (in lbs.)Age 28 - 39 Max. Weight (in lbs.)Age 40+ Max Weight (in lbs.)

Also, there are female height and weight expectations. 

Height (in inches)Minimum Weight (in lbs.)Age 17 - 20 Max. Weight (in lbs.)Age 21 - 27 Max. Weight (in lbs.)Age 28 - 39 Max. Weight (in lbs.)Age 40+ Max Weight (in lbs.)

Measurement Points for the Army Tape Test

The tape test is administered in two different ways, depending on whether the soldier is a male or a female.

Women are measured at the neck, waist, and hips.

Source: AR 600-9

Men are measured at the neck and waist.

Source: AR 600-9

Instructions for the Tape Test

  • Only non-stretchable measuring tapes will be used.
  • The measurement is taken from the right side of the body, with the tape parallel to the floor.
  • The tape must contact the skin at the neck and waist, without compressing the soft tissue.
  • Some compression is expected during the measurement of hips.

What Are the Acceptable Body Fat Standards for the U.S. Army?

Department of Defense Instruction 1308.03, published in March 2022, laid out specific limits on U.S. Armed Forces’ weight and body fat standards.

It instructs that height and weight charts should fall between 25 to 27.5 BMI, with a minimum BMI of no less than 19.

The instruction also reads that in no case may any service branch require servicemembers to measure below 18% body fat for men or 26% body fat for women. 

It also instructs that no branch may allow measurements higher than 26% for men and 36% for women. 

In light of these instructions, the Army has set its standards according to the chart below:

Army Maximum Allowable Percent Body Fat Standards

Age group: 17–20
Male: 20%
Female: 30%

Age group: 21–27
Male: 22%
Female: 32%

Age group: 28–39
Male: 24%
Female: 34%

Age group: 40 and older
Male: 26%
Female: 36%

If you’re curious if you’re already within standards, you can use an online Body Fat calculator after having a friend measure you according to the charts above.

You can find out more about the Army’s Body Composition Program (ABCP) online

Is There a Waiver for the Tape Test? 

If you’re one of those people who are in excellent shape but still don’t meet the weight standard, the Army has a response.

A March 2023 directive, Army Directive 2023-08 (Army Body Fat Assessment Exemption for Army Combat Fitness Test Score), states that soldiers who score 540 points on the ACFT (with 80 points in each event) aren’t required to take the Army tape test if they weigh in over the chart standards. 

Recent research into soldier fitness has found that those who scored well on the Army Combat Fitness Test resisted injury and were able to perform at high levels, regardless of their weight. 


Soldier Performs Deadlift for the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT)

The Army tape test is a part of how the Army ensures soldiers are fit enough for combat.

As discussed above, soldiers must meet expectations for fitness in boot camp.

After boot camp, however, those expectations increase.

Also, soldiers must have their height and weight evaluated to determine whether their body mass index is appropriate.

According to the chart, if the body mass index is too high, the Army tape test helps determine their body composition.

What happens if I fail the Army tape test?

There are some consequences if you fail the Army tape test. 

For example, if you do not meet the expectations, you might miss out on promotion or reenlistment opportunities.

Also, attending a professional school or training or qualifying for a transfer might be off the agenda if you fail the Army tape test.  

After failing the tape test, you will likely receive a letter letting you know you are on a program to help monitor your weight.

You will have a goal weight under this program, and you receive counseling to implement a routine to help you achieve your weight loss requirements. 

Is the Army going to stop using the tape test in the future?

The Army is undergoing testing to determine if there is a better way to assess body composition than tape.

There is some question about the accuracy of the tape test.

For instance, some soldiers are very fit, but the test overestimates their body fat because of what the tape tests measure.

This was addressed with Army Directive 2023-08, which waives the tape test for soldiers who score over 540 on the ACFT.

However, the Army is still considering if there is a better option to the current tape test that provides more consistency.

What kind of tape does the Army use for the test?

The Army has strict regulations on what kind of tape measure is used.

The tape measure has to be a non-stretchable material.

Ideally, fiberglass tape measures are ideal. Cloth or steel measuring tapes are prohibited.

Also, a tape measure needs calibration. In other words, it must be compared with a metal ruler to make sure it measures correctly.


The Army has standards for physical fitness and body composition for soldiers.

These expectations exist because it is critical that soldiers are always prepared for the demands of combat.

Recruits leave basic training with the ability to meet minimum expectations for fitness.

However, the standards for fitness increase after boot camp.

Also, the Army has ideal weights for your height.

If you are overweight, the Army will do a tape test to determine your body composition.

If the tape test confirms your body fat is above the maximum standard, the Army will put you on a weight management plan.

Not being able to meet minimum standards for fitness and body composition could impact your career in the Army. 



Rob V.
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Learn more about the Army Taping standards, including how the Army measures body composition, the PT test requirements, and more.

Originally posted on 03/20/22

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