Scout's Personal Fitness Merit Badge
The Personal Fitness Merit Badge is earned by US Scouts who take an active role in their own physical health and understand the requirements of a fit lifestyle. This badge is a requirement for the Eagle Scout Award. Fitness testing only forms a part of the Personal Fitness Merit Badge requirements. On this page we will only list and discuss the fitness tests component - for all other items you should consult official Scout documents.
Merit Badge Requirements
As part of the Personal Fitness Merit Badge, scouts are required to complete tests of aerobic fitness, flexibility, muscular strength, and body composition, as described in the Personal Fitness merit badge pamphlet. The results need to be recorded and the areas that need improvement identified.
- Aerobic Fitness Test - Scouts can choose either the nine-minute run/walk test for distance OR the one mile run/walk. As the test name implies, Scouts are allowed to run or walk, though the aim is to cover the greatest distance or finish in the shortest time possible.
- Strength Tests – All three strength tests may be performed, though only the sit-up exercise and one other (either push-ups or pull-ups) is necessary.
- Sit-ups — record the most you can perform in 60 sec. The technique required is arms crossed, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, with someone holding your feet down.
- Push-Ups — record the most you can perform in 60 sec. Keep shoulders, hips, and legs in a straight line. Start flat on the ground and press up until the arms are fully extended.
- Pull-Ups - record the most you can perform in 60 sec. Palms should be facing forward. Start with your arms fully extended and your feet a few inches above the ground. Pull up until your chin is on top of the bar and repeat.
- Flexibility Test - Sit and Reach — Knees must be kept flat to the floor, and hold the stretch for 15 seconds. Do four reps, and record the last one. You can see instructions for making your own sit and reach box.
- Body Composition
Tests (see information about measuring girths)
- Right Arm Circumference — right upper arm, midway between the shoulder and the elbow, with the arm hanging naturally and not flexed.
- Shoulder Circumference - with arms hanging, place the tape two inches below the top of the shoulder and around the arms, chest, and back after breath expiration.
- Chest Circumference - Place the tape under the arms and around the chest and back at the nipple line after breath expiration.
- Abdomen Circumference - At navel level (relaxed).
- Right Thigh Circumference - measure on the right thigh, midway between the hip and the knee, and not flexed.
About Merit Badges
Merit Badges are awarded to Scouts who complete the requirements for each badge. Merit Badges such as the Personal Fitness Merit Badge are to be worn on their scout sash.
- MAXWELL, J., BURNS, R. D., & BRUSSEAU, T. A. (2017). Effects of the Boy Scouts of America Personal Fitness Merit Badge on Cardio-Metabolic Risk, Health Related Fitness and Physical Activity in Adolescent Boys. International Journal of Exercise Science, 10(7), 964–976.
- Arena S, Riley L, Schilz G, et al. (April 25, 2018) Fitness Measures Among Boy Scouts Completing the Personal Fitness Merit Badge. Cureus 10(4): e2538. doi:10.7759/cureus.2538
- More about Fitness Testing Children.
- Poll: What age is appropriate to start fitness testing children?