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  • Writer's pictureLTC Brechin, USAF, Ret.

The U.S. Military Academy CFA Videos

Updated: Nov 11, 2023

West Point is the only Service Academy that requires you to video two CFA events . . .

Video camera needed for the West Point CFA

One additional piece of 'equipment' is required if you are taking the Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA) for the U.S. Military Academy -- a camera!

You may use your cell phone, video camera, or similar device, as a candidate must upload two video files to document three items (i.e., their identification and the events) for their CFA.

Let's explore the details . . .

First, note that you are required to complete two separate videos for both events (pull-ups and push-ups) and submit videos to USMA Admission to complete the requirement. The video file should begin with you, 'the candidate,' holding a piece of paper with your name and USMA candidate ID number written on it. You may use your driver’s license or school ID for identification.

Each video must display the your entire body in the frame during the execution of the push-up and pull-up/flexed-arm hang events. Plus, the viewer must be able to 'see' you face -- not just the back of your head!

I recommend 'recruiting' someone (other than the CFA evaluator) to record the video for you. Be sure to review the requirements with your 'videographer' well before commencing the CFA. You should run a practice session or two to allow both of you to rehearse the two events and then review the 'trial' video files for compliance.

After completing the CFA, you should review the video for compliance before submitting them through the USMA Second Step Kit (SSK). Recall that your ID and candidate number must be displayed at the beginning of each video, as USMA asks. Note that CFA videos are rejected (along with the exercises) every year for poor execution.

Next, let's review each event that you must video along with some common errors . . .

Flexed-Arm Hang (only for females who cannot accomplish a pull-up)


  • Review this video from West Point to ensure proper form: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bB30Abi3dvM&feature=youtu.be

  • Main reasons videos are rejected:

    • You must return to a DEAD ARM HANG after each pull-up.

    • Your chin must go above the bar with jawline parallel to the ground. No 'sky reaching' with your chin (as they will not count).

    • You must start at a DEAD ARM HANG; you cannot start with your feet on the ground or a platform.


  • Review this video from West Point to ensure proper form: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kanPCAkR9QI&feature=youtu.be

  • Main reasons videos are rejected:

    • Do not just jerk the top half of your body as your push-ups will not count.

    • Do not bend your head down. This poor form makes you 'think' you went low enough for proper angle and form. This error is the #1 reason for rejected videos.

    • Your whole body should be level when it goes up and down, not just the top jerking up and down. No part of your body is allowed to touch the floor during a repetition.

    • Do not brace your feet against the wall during your pushups.

Keep all of these points in mind as you prepare for the CFA and the recording your videos for West Point. Review and practice with the person who will record the video for you. Don't forget to have your Candidate ID written legibly on a card along with your official identification, such as a driver's license or school ID.

Now, you are ready to max (and document your success on) the CFA!

[ I would welcome a chance to discuss details with you. I offer coaching services to pace and prepare you (and your parents!) for the entire Academy application process . . . including preparing for the CFA and your videos for West Point! Contact me at chris@cbbrechin.com, 503.515.7406 or use my contact form on this website. ]

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