Physical requirements needed to enlist in the army reserve

Updated April 17, 2017

Because Army reservists routinely deploy with active duty troops, they must meet the same exacting physical standards before enlistment and throughout their careers. The Army's medical requirements cover everything from height and weight to pre-existing medical conditions and physical fitness. People considering enlisting in the Army reserve should become familiar with these requirements.


Anyone who wants the join the Army must be between 17 and 42 years old. Enlistees younger than 18 need parental consent. Some special programs within the Army have lower age limits. For example, candidates for flight school must start training before their 33rd birthday.


The Army accepts recruits who stand between 58 and 80 inches tall. Height is measured without shoes and rounded to the nearest whole number. It is important that the heights of soldiers are somewhat standardised to ensure that they will fit properly into Army vehicles and equipment.


A soldier's authorised weight depends both on height and gender. On average, female soldiers have a maximum allowable weight that is 9.07kg lighter than male counterparts of the same height and age group. The taller the soldiers, the higher the maximum allowable weight. As soldiers grow older, they also tend to have a higher maximum allowable weight.


Though both men and women can enlist in the Army Reserve, women are barred from combat arm Military Occupational Specialty (MOSs). These include Infantryman (11B), Tank Crewmember (19K) and Combat Engineer (21B). Women also tend to be restricted from assignments with units that expect frequent contact with enemy forces. For example, a female soldier can serve as a Health Care Specialist (68W), but generally she cannot serve with a front line infantry or cavalry unit as a medic.

Medical Conditions

Enlistees are screened at the Military Entrance Processing Station to find medical conditions that would affect their training. Some disqualifying conditions include a history of asthma after the age of 12, gastro-esophageal reflux disease and hypertensive vascular disease.

Army Physical Fitness Test

While the Army doesn't administer an official physical fitness test before enlistment, they like to know that you will at least pass the test administered at the reception battalion before you ship to Basic Combat Training. The reception battalion test requires women to perform 3 push-ups and 17 sit-ups each in a one-minute period and run one mile in 10:30. Men have to perform 13 push-ups and 17 sit-ups and run one mile in 8:30.

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About the Author

Liz Frazier has been producing Web content, instructional articles and trivia for websites such as and since 2008. Her writing interests lie primarily in the areas of politics (specifically public administration and elections), the military, education and forced migration. Frazier has a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from California State University, Northridge.