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The Primary Reserve component of the Land Force is organized into ten Brigade Groups spread across the country. In total there are 116 units. Most of the units are located in community armouries in smaller cities and towns. The Primary Reserve offers part-time employment. Weekly training takes place in the evening at the armoury with weekend exercises and two-week exercises during the calendar year. There is also a possibility of full-time work on contract and opportunities to transfer to the Regular Force. Joining the Primary Reserve starts by visiting the local armoury in your community or region. The enrolment process starts at the local level. Note, if you are looking for a particular trade you must join a unit that offers that type of work. Primary Reserve applicants must undergo a physical fitness evaluation to ensure that you are ready for the demands of basic training. Successful completion of this evaluation is a necessary step toward being accepted into the Canadian Forces. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to meet or surpass the objectives in the evaluation. Remember, your enrolment in the Canadian Forces will be delayed unless you are sufficiently fit. There are four test items in the Primary Reserve evaluation: a step test to measure your aerobic fitness (equivalent of a 2.4 km run), push-up and sit-up tests to measure your muscular endurance, and a hand-grip (squeeze) test to measure your muscular strength.

The mCAFT is a double step test where the individual completes one or more sessions of three minutes of stepping at predetermined speeds based on their age and gender. Everyone begins the stepping sequence on the double 20.3 cm step. Fitter (and younger) individuals may complete their appraisal with a single step sequence using the single 40.6 cm step by crossing to the other side of the stepping apparatus. The mCAFT is structured so that in most cases the individual’s first three-minute stage is at an intensity of 65 to 70 percent of the average aerobic power expected of a person ten years older. Instructions and time signals are given on the CD as to when to start and stop exercising and for the counting of the ten-second measurement of the post-exercise heart rate. Depending on the exercise heart rate response, the individual will either proceed to the next stepping stage or have the test terminated. The second stage of three minutes of stepping is at 65 to 70 percent of the average aerobic power expected for their own age group. If they do not attain or exceed the ceiling heart rate, a further three minutes of stepping is performed at an intensity equivalent to 65 to 70 percent of the average aerobic power for a person ten years younger. The individual completes as many of these progressively more demanding three-minute bouts of exercise as necessary to equal or exceed the ceiling post-exercise heart rate. The ceiling is set at 85 percent of the predicted maximum heart rate for their age group. To determine the ceiling post-exercise heart rate, refer to Figure 2. Having the individual exercise to this level of intensity helps in determining an accurate aerobic capacity.

Grasp the Dynamometer at the base of your thumb between the fingers and palm. You may manually adjust the grip so the second joint of the finger fits snugly under the handle, taking the weight of the instrument. Hold the dynamometer in line with your forearm at thigh level away from the body (no more than a 45 degree angle) and exhale while squeezing vigorously, exerting maximum force. Do not move arm or let the instrument touch your body or any other object. Both hands will be measured twice, alternating between hands. The best score for each trial will be added to determine your overall score for the test.

Lie in the prone position (face down) on floor. Place your hands pointing forward, partially under your shoulders, with feet together. Drive your body upwards until elbows are at full extension, keep your spine and neck in neutral alignment. Keeping your body in a straight line, lower yourself down until the back of your arms are parallel to the floor. Elbows may flare out to sides on up position, but hands must stay below your shoulders. Keep movement continuous. Incorrect repetitions will not be counted; you will be verbally cued of improper form. The test will be discontinued when you are visibly straining to complete a push-up or are unable to maintain proper technique.

SIT UPS in 60 sec
Lie flat on your back with knees bent at 90 degrees, feet flat on the floor. Cup your hands behind your ears and keep them there for the duration of the exercise. An assistant must hold the ankles for stability. On “GO” sit up bringing the tips of your elbows to the top of your knee, then back down so that your shoulder blades touch the mat. Do not flap arms or lift your hips off the mat. Breaks are permitted at any time. Only sit ups performed properly will be counted; you will be verbally cued of improper form.

Minimum Performance Objectives

Test Item Men Women
Step Test (mCAFT)    
Under 35 39 32
35 and Over 35 30
Hand Grip (kilos, both hands combined)
Under 35 75 50
35 and Over 73 48
Under 35 19 9
35 and Over 14 7
Under 35 19 15
35 and Over 17 12


CF Reserve Application Physical Fitness Evaluation
Pre-Evaluation Information and Instructions for Applicants
Annex D

CF Reserve Applicant Physical Fitness Evaluation
Consent for Test Form – ADULT
Annex E

CF Reserve Applicant Physical Fitness Evaluation
Consent for Test Form – YOUTH
Annex F

CF Reserve Applicant Physical Fitness Evaluation
Physician Referral Form (Vital Signs)
 Annex G

CF Reserve Applicant Physical Fitness Evaluation
Physician Referral Form (Health Questionnaire)
Annex H

Link to Internet Reservist Website


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