Fitness exam most common cause for failure in Army Reserve

The Army Reserve fitness exam was the most common area of failure for applicants over the past four years according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

In order to be accepted into the Irish Army Reserve, candidates must be between the ages of 18 and 35 years, complete a fitness test, interview, medical exam and pass garda vetting.

*The years 2015 & 2016 were combined. 2016 results are included with 2015 data in the graph.

The fitness exam is composed of three aspects:

  • A candidate’s Body Mass Index (BMI) is recorded to ensure they are considered healthy and within the required parameters (BMI between 19-24)
  • If successful, they may complete a local muscular endurance test. This consists of candidates performing 20 push-ups and 20 sit-ups within a minute.
  • Next, applicants must undergo an Aerobic Capacity exam which requires them to run 2.4 km in a given time. The maximum time for males being 11 minutes and 40 seconds, while females are given a time of 13 minutes and 10 seconds.

“Physical fitness is a basic requirement of military life which places unique physical and psychological demands on personnel,” said Captain Paddy Molloy from the Defence Forces Press Office. “In order to be prepared for these demands, regular assessment is required to ensure the standards are being adhered to.”

Speaking to, the HSE has commented that “in relation to the general population, the Healthy Ireland Survey highlights that almost two-thirds of the adult population in Ireland are not sufficiently active to meet the national physical activity guidelines. In addition six out of ten adults in Ireland are overweight or obese, with BMI greater than 25.”

The National Physical Activity Guidelines for Ireland recommend adults should be active at a moderate level for thirty minutes, at least five days a week.

“The number of personnel failing fluctuates annually, but is assessed as being within acceptable parameters,” said Captain Molloy.

Statistics showed that last year 20 percent of failures were among female applicants.  

According to Captain Molloy, “the fitness test makes allowances for age, gender and chronic physical injuries in line with international standards and best practice.”

Females made up 15 percent of those that have applied in 2018 so far. Last year saw a peak in female applications at 678, while this year saw a record low in recent years with 201 applicants so far.          

No females have failed the garda vetting in the past four years.

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