Baseline Performance - Everything You Need To Know

Baseline Performance is required for Forward, Endure, and Advanced programming.

Figuring out your baseline performance lets you take a good look at where you are currently, and helps you create goals on where you want to be. Being able to watch your improvements over time gives you concrete evidence that your training is working. A lot of athletes who are just starting out tend to skip this step, but it's one of the most valuable pieces of information you can have. After all, an assessment is only as good as what you do with that information.

Knowing your baseline performance gives you insight into how much intensity you can, or should, put into your workouts and rucks. You may notice stiffness or even poor postural habits you've kept over time that could be limiting your range of motion.


What Is Baseline Performance?

Baseline Performance is a way for you (and for PATHFINDER) to measure your improvement at the end of Class compared to an established baseline recorded in the beginning of Class in four (4) key areas. These four key performance areas are:

  1. 2 minutes maximum push-ups
  2. 2 minutes maximum sit-ups
  3. 2 mile run time
  4. 2 mile ruck time

While performing your assessment, do as many push-ups and sit-ups as you can for time and record those numbers. On your run times, it's okay to walk. If you're new to assessments, it can feel intimidating, but everyone starts somewhere.

Performance Exercise Guidelines

Timing and Structure: 
You don't have to do all the exercises one after the other. You don't have to conduct them in the context of the APFT parameters either (although you are welcome to and can use these numbers if you are attempting any APFT Challenge). You can do push-ups today and sit-ups tomorrow. Up to you. But try to get them recorded as soon as possible so we can see your improvement over time.

Proper Form: 
You'll want to use proper push-up and sit-up form as prescribed by the APFT guidelines. If you are not yet at the level where you can do the proper form, then do your best and record it as your baseline, then endeavor through the Class to improve your form and do them as prescribed.

The Run: 
Do the full 2 miles in one go. Even if you have to walk some or most of it. Do not wear a ruck, and try to do your run on a flat course. Alternately, a roster may choose to perform the Rockport Walking Fitness Assessment, which is described in further detail in the Common Questions section below. The Rockport Walking Fitness Assessment is completed WITHOUT a ruck.

The Ruck: 
Do the 2 miles in one go. Your ruck weight does not matter (Advanced is not required to use 45#/30# dry weight). But whatever weight you do choose, use the same weight when you retest at ENDEX.

If you have limitations that would prevent you from doing any of the exercises, just skip that metric and don't enter anything.

Running Specifics:

Running will not be required of a roster, but will be recommended. Why?

  • Running creates faster cardiovascular gains
  • Efficient running gait improves rucking gait and creates a faster, more efficient ruck.
  • Even a walk/run combo (which is highly recommended for rosters new to running in general) will create more gains over time than a walk.

I am unable to run due to orthopedic/other medical issues:

No problem. We don't ever force anyone to do anything that could hurt them. The approved alternative is the Rockport Fitness Walking Assessment. A 2011 study published in Military Medicine concluded that the Rockport walking test compared favorably to the Air Force 1.5-mile running test in assessing cardiovascular fitness. 

Recording Performance

Baseline Performance is found on your dashboard in the Online Log system that has your log system options. You will see a button labeled: Set Performance. Click/tap that button to get to the new entry form where you can enter your baseline metrics.

Where To Find Baseline Performance

When you click/tap the "Set Performance" button you will see a new screen where you can enter your numbers. Enter your numbers carefully; once you submit them you will not be able to edit them

You will also notice that the ENDEX stats are inaccessible at this time. Those will not come available until one week prior to the end of Class. We request that you do not test your performance until at least that time, especially if you have not completed your program requirements. You will still be able to update your ENDEX stats for about a week after then end of Class, so you can even test after ENDEX if you need to.

Baseline Performance Input

Common Questions

Do I have to do this?
Baseline Performance is now required as part of completing the Advanced, Endure, and Forward programs.

Why are we doing this? 
Two reasons: 

  1. We want establish standard, measurable performance metrics to show in a quantifiable way the improvements a Roster can achieve through the program, and 
  2. We want to be able to publish the results in aggregate publicly as one dimension of hard proof that the program produces results.

So you're going to publish my stats publicly?
No, your name and/or Roster No. will not be associated with any stats we publish publicly.

What if I forget?
Your Course Advisor will remind you, as will we.

Can this count as one of my workouts? 

Can this count as one of my Challenges?
Yes, but only if you treat the push-ups, sit-ups, and the 2 mile run as if you were taking the APFT:

  • Forward: It can count as a baseline or improvement for the APFT Achievement Challenge; if you pass with a score of at least 60 in each dimension it can satisfy the AFPT Challenge
  • Endure/Advanced: if you score 250 or higher it can satisfy the AFPT Challenge for Endure and the APFT Requirement for Advanced.

Do the miles count? 
Yes, ruck miles count toward your total mileage requirements.

No, run miles do not count towards the mileage requirement total.

How will you measure performance improvement? 
Right now we plan to just measure by percentage increases in number of push-ups and sit-ups, and percentage reduction in run and ruck times. We may record most, least, average, and median improvements in each metric across the Class as a whole.

Can I transfer my ENDEX stats from my previous class to the stats for STARTEX of the next class?

Yes! As long as you've done your ENDEX assessment within 10 days of Class completion and a new Class beginning, you may transfer that data into your assessment for the next Class. Of course, this means that you'll need to do an assessment at the end of that class. If you miss Classes or Baseline Performance data, you will need to do your assessment.

How do I perform the Rockport Walking Fitness Assessment?

The rules for the walking assessment (performed without a ruck) are:

  1. A level 1 Mile walking course (a school track is ideal, with four laps = 1 mi) with an unobstructed path or walkway with no stop signs, ditches, barriers, or elevation.
  2. Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes with easy walking.
  3. Start your stopwatch and immediately start walking as fast as you can. Make every effort to push yourself, but avoid jogging.
  4. At the end of the 1 mile, stop your stopwatch and record your time.

If I want to keep track of my Vo2Max output to further assess my cardiovascular output, how do I do that?

This is entirely OPTIONAL and is strictly an additional way to chart your own progress. This can be done with either the walk or the run.

  1. Calculating the VO2 max for rosters is not necessary in this implementation of the assessment, but if they are interested in this data, it can be useful in charting progress. If they are planning to chart this, they should take their heart rate at the end of the assessment. If taking their own pulse, count the heartbeats for 15 seconds and multiply by four. For example, if there are 40 heartbeats in 15 seconds, their heart rate would be 160 beats per minute (bpm).The formula is:
  2. VO2 max = 132.853 - (0.0769 x your weight in pounds) - (0.3877 x your age) + (6.315 if you are male or 0 if you are female) - (3.2649 x your walking time) - (0.1565 x your heart rate at the end of the test)

What do I do if I have a problem? 
Let your Course Advisor know what the problem is; they will communicate it back to us. If you have a problem with the log system try to grab a screenshot of any errors or anything that looks off.

    Challenge Restrictions

    • Ruck safely. Communicate your route and estimated times to another individual/party who can alert
    • YOU MUST COMPLY WITH ALL APPLICABLE LAWS AND RESTRICTIONS. DO NOT TRESPASS. If you are in doubt contact facility management for a clear understanding of access to and usage of any facility’s property. PATHFINDER assumes no liability whatsoever for any actions taken by a PATHFINDER roster.

    PATHFINDER assumes no responsibility or liability for any injuries, damages or death. A roster assumes all risk associated with their participation in any and all PATHFINDER programming.



          • So excited to join. First ever physical workout event. New to rucking in June and needing to lose weight. Nervous but ready for the challenge! Let’s get it team!!!!

            David F.
          • I am ready to start this journey with Pathfinder. Nov. 4, 2020. I had a Bi-lateral hip replacement. It’s all about Accelerating, for me. Setting a pace, so I can continue growing.

            Danny Silverio # 31-444

            Danny Silverio
          • I’m very excited for these next 12 weeks and beyond. I’m hoping to to run during the required run portions, but I have been dealing with plantar fasciitis since June. I can’t wait to be challenged physically and mentally. Let’s go!

          • Excited to get started. I will have to forgo the run. I ruck because I physically can’t run.

            Michael Kurtz

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