what preparation for a 16 year old hopig to join the army


Please can someone help me - my son will be 16 at the end of march and is hoping to join the army as what used to be called a boy soldier!! - I think!!
He has read through all the Barb tests etc - can you tell me what kind of fitness level would be expected - I am going round in circles - one place says 1.5 mile run in 15 mins another says 10.30mins!! W<are having family discussions!!! as to what will be expected of him.
Also is there anything else he can do to prepare - he will possibly be going to the 14 week army school or the 42 week school - will this affect what his fitness needs to be?
We understand he will have to have his Barb tests, return for an interview and will then be told where - if anywhere he will be going.
Any help would be very much appreciated, as he has wanted to go into the army since he was 5 years old and now the time for taking the tests gets nearer, I am worried for him he wont be accepted.
Thank you for any sensible answers.


War Hero
You've Got Mail!

Short answer though - phone the recruiting office anonymously and ask them for the official and up to date answers!

Check your PM's though, I've added quite a bit more detail.
First of all, don't worry about him taking the BARB test - he WILL be accepted! Unless, of course, he's really weird, in which case you might want to think about sending him to RMAS. All the BARB is is an aptitude test designed to help him in choosing which arm he might do well in. By the way, where is he thinking of going?

Also, all training is progressive, especially fitness - he's not expected to be superfit on day 1. As long as he puts in the effort, he'll be fine. A basic requirement though, I think, is to be able to do the 1.5 mile run in 13:45.
Im off to harrogate this sunday as a junior soldier - the fitness requirments needed to get in is 1.5miles in under 14.30 i think. But they will expect you to do it faster than this. Just get him to go out and do 2-3 mile runs, and pullups pressups and sit ups.


War Hero
Don't let him join up simple as that don't waste his precious life fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan for the sake of Phoney Tony and his Muppets!


Fitness and health are the biggest factors when joining. It's a personal best run...so make him do his best rather than beat a time. Crunches, Press-ups and heaves. Yes it will be hard...but with a dad like you supporting and incouraging him he should do fine. I have recently joined up as an 18 year old. Take other factors into consideration aswell. i.e do you want him to finish a-levels first, mabey get a degree, go in as an officer. It is the 10th most popular thing to do after graduating from univercity. If you delay he's application until he's 18 he will be able to make the important decision alone and probably more fitter.

Oh and the there's the politics. grr. Well good luck. Sorry about my lengnth.
Tartan jock what excellant advice you give there , you complete bellend .
You talk complete crap , i wonder if you have actually been to Iraq\Afganistan ?
When you have done then you can give advice.
As for the run timings , your son will have to be able to pass a BPFA within 10.30 secs
forty odd press ups and 50 odd situps within 2 mins.He will
As for the physical side of things, dont worry to much as the training is progressive and as long as he puts effort into it he will be fine. The most important thing he will need is his families support when he gets homesick and fed up of the new and bewildering surroundings he finds himself in. I joined as a boy soldier many moons ago and it was support from family and friends that was the most hepfull thing.

Good luck
drain_sniffer said:
As for the physical side of things, dont worry to much as the training is progressive and as long as he puts effort into it he will be fine. The most important thing he will need is his families support when he gets homesick and fed up of the new and bewildering surroundings he finds himself in. I joined as a boy soldier many moons ago and it was support from family and friends that was the most hepfull thing.

Good luck
I'm leaving for Lichfield in 18 days having had a year to train, would you suggest i edge back on the training these next couple of weeks to avoid injury? I have been injured twice this year and would definatly not want anything to happen this close to going. I can do the 1.5 mile run in 8.30, and the 44 pressups etc, and i can run 35-40 minutes easy enough. Since the training is progressive during basic it would be alright for me to edge off a bit and stick to maybe doing 2 mile runs instead of 4 or 5? If i dont train for a while i usually get my fitness back to a decent level after a couple of runs.

Shortman, I think you will find that with that level of fitness you will be head and shoulders above the majority of your fellow recruits. Take it easy on the training and let the PTI's guide you. They are the experts. Just do enough to keep your base fitness level and crack on when you start Basic. Hope it all goes well for you


Have you practiced tabing (walking fast with weight on your back) thats the only thing i found hard in Basic tranning. (also at lichfield)
Fcuk Tabbing Mate. Save them Shins for when you need them is my opinion. Just get his arrse out the door running. He wants to be doing any kind of cardio vascular fitness he can fit in. Circuit training classes are the way forward for him.
My shins are a bit dodgy, if i dont warm up properly on a long run they tighten up like fcuk after about 15 min. Can be really annoying. So i think i'll pass on tabbing and get stuck into it when im there.
If you don't want to do long runs mate,find a good steep hill,run up walk down(good for ankle strength) wait till heartrate drops then repeat till either bored or Knackered and I always used to wear boots,hope it helps,another thing I used to do is carry a 5 ft dog lead to pass over thick branches to do heaves and other exercises with just use your imagination and you can do a lot of exercises using your body weight and a dog lead or length of rope


Thank you for those replies -except the Iraq one!!! All I can say is I'm glad he's not your son!!! Given the choice I would have preferred him to stay on at school and go to University but it has been his dream since he was 5 years old - I wont stand in his way, the only thing I have said to him is get a trade that, if you dont like it, you can use when you leave! He wants to go in and work his way up.
Living away from home will not be a problem as we moved to Spain 3 years ago and he went straight to Spanish boarding school not speaking more than a few words of Spanish!!! Sharing a bedroom with 11 people who dont speak your language and spending 5 days a week with a school full of people who dont speak your language cannot be as bad as Basic Training.
I shall try and answer all the points that have been raised - he is going to apply at the Burnley Recruitment Office.
Again we have had misleading advice on time scales for applications etc he has been told he can go mid January and speak to them, they will then arrange his Barb tests for the following week, his interview the week after and hopefully get him into the 14 week school thingy in February!!! - are we being too hopefull!!!
Do you have to run the whole 1.5 miles or can you run and walk??? as long as you get he best time!!!
Basically does he just need to keep practising the 1.5mile run, prss ups and sit ups???
The 1.5 mile run seems to be worrying you out of proportion. The Basic Fitness Test (BFT) comprised a 3 mile run to be completed in various times according to age (and year). While Regulars ran the first half as a squad in 15 minutes, with individual effort for the second half (hence when they quote "did the BFT in 10.5 minutes," the time refers only to the second half), the TA ran the whole distance as individual effort. From age 23 to age 38, I constantly ran the first half non-stop in 10 minutes and 30 seconds - I ran/walked the second half (I detest running!), completing the whole distance in 24 minutes and 22 seconds.

Given that my only training was the BFT of the previous year, your 16 year-old should have no problems whatsoever running the whole 1.5mile distance faster than I did, particularly if he has been training. Provided he has the will to do it, he will.


Dont't worry about him we were all sixteen once (well some of us) when your lad goes in he should just concentrate on getting through basic and then establishing himself in whatever regt/corps he chose. I should however warn you he will probably return home with a bag of dirty washing and a horrendous tracksuit (kingo's exempt if your scouse)and then proceed to piss on your Doormat, Dog, Postman, best spareroom mattress, (whichever/whoever he comes in contact with first) and then proceed to babble inchoherently that he loves you like a brother, dont be ashamed the boy done good.


P.S count yourself lucky atleast he's sixteen if he was a jock he could join at 15 and 3/4 imagine the shame (p.s my last post was not from personal experience)...........Honest!


Thanks for all those comments - I am a bit preoccupied with the 1.5 mile run and its not the Basic thats bothering me - its him getting INTO the Basic!!! that is my concern - once hes there I dont have a problem and know he will improve and do what is necessary but its getting the fitness level to be accepte thats concerning me.
Once again thanks for all your comments - he leaves Spain next Tuesday to the Uk to start the process.

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