Physical Conditioning Standards at VMI
The VMI program, with the Rat Line as its centerpiece is an experience that challenges cadets to improve in every facet of their lives. Learning to live a healthy life style and being physically fit under extraordinarily intense external pressures are part of the unique education offered at VMI.
The physical demands at VMI require our students to be healthy. If a prospective Rat, for example, reports to VMI overweight or in poor physical conditioning, they will struggle to meet those demands during their Rat year and, historically, many of them will leave VMI. We want all cadets who matriculate to succeed at VMI without posing untenable health risks, so our physical fitness standards are high.
In order to ensure our cadets have the maximum opportunity to succeed, VMI has weight and body fat standards. Those are contained in General Order 49, VMI Height/Weight and Body Fat Assessment Program . An applicant’s weight may be considered in the initial application process to decide whether or not to admit the applicant. Once initially appointed and during the medical evaluation process, those prospective cadets who are overweight/over body fat will be asked to provide evidence of their level of conditioning in order to make this important decision.
Prospective cadets should review these requirements and ensure they are in compliance. The weight standards will also be reviewed during the medical evaluation process for students who have been conditionally appointed. Applicants who are not in compliance may be denied entry to VMI.
Fitness at VMI is further measured by the VMI Fitness Test (VFT), which is administered twice each semester. It involves a 1.5 mile, sit-ups, and pull-ups. A cadet’s performance on this test is scored. Those who cannot pass the VFT are placed in remedial physical training and, as applicable, referred for dietary counseling. Information about the VFT can be obtained by reviewing General Order 31, VMI Fitness Testing Program. This test is not part of the Admissions process.
In order to assist students who are preparing to enter VMI with their condition, the Department of Physical Education has prepared a sample work-out plan along with an instructional video on how to correctly perform some portions of the VFT. Both can be viewed here.
VMI cadets are also expected to meet their ROTC-specific requirements. Each service conducts two or more service-specific fitness tests each year. Besides the VFT that all cadets take, cadets will also take their service-specific fitness tests. Additionally, the services and ROTC departments have service specific height/weight and body fat standards.
For cadets pursuing a commission, being able to meet weight/body fat requirements and pass the service PT test is critical. Cadets who are on an ROTC scholarship, risk losing their scholarship if they cannot meet fitness and weight standards.