The Army Tape Test is a method used to estimate the body fat percentage of soldiers in the Army of the United States.
This test is part of the Army Body Composition Program (ABCP), which ensures that all soldiers maintain optimal well-being and performance under all conditions.
- Soldiers are “taped” using a measuring tape to determine the circumference of particular body parts.
- The Army uses these measurements in a formula to estimate a soldier’s body fat percentage.
Army Tape Test Standards
The standards for the tape test vary based on age and gender.
- The test uses different equations to calculate body fat percentages for men and women, which involve taking measurements around the neck and waist for men and the neck, waist, and hips for women.
In 2023, the Army updated the AR 600-9 to introduce a new one-site tape method that provides soldiers with a more accurate and consistent body fat assessment.
The on-site method will become the only authorized circumference-based tape method after a 12-month transition period.
New Army Tape Test 2023 (Updates & Changes)
- The Army recently published a new directive, “Army Body Fat Assessment for the Army Body Composition Program,” that changes the Army Body Composition Program (ABCP).
New Army Tape Test Policy
- As part of this directive, the Army rolled out a new tape test policy that takes effect immediately.
- This new Army tape test policy uses a more accurate and consistent body circumference-based tape method to estimate a soldier’s body fat content.
Highlights of New Tape Test
- The Army will only require taping at one site for all soldiers.
- Over the next year, the Army will phase out the older multi-site circumference-based tape method.
Transition Period Procedures
- Over the next 12 months, soldiers who need a tape test will take the new one-site army tape test.
- Soldiers who fail the one-site method can retake the test using the older multi-site method, as outlined in the older version of Army Regulation 600-9, also called ABCP.
Alternative Assessment Options
- If soldiers fail the initial and confirmation tests, they can request a supplemental body fat assessment.
- For this supplemental test, the soldier can choose between dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), an InBody 770, or a Bod Pod.
- After 12 months from the day of rolling out the new army tape test 2023, the Army will only recognize the one-site tape test as the authorized circumference-based tape method for assessing body fat in soldiers.
The changes aim to provide a fair and more accurate assessment of body composition among our soldiers.
Personal Experience with Taping
Regularly, I get many personal messages, comments, and questions about the Army’s height and weight requirements while on active duty.
For those who don’t know, there’s a regulation for almost everything in the Army.
The AR 600-9 Regulation (Army Body Composition Program) covers everything you need to know about the Army’s height and weight requirements.
For example, my friend gets taped all the time; his height is 66 inches, the maximum allowed weight for his height is 168 pounds, and the minimum for his weight, gender, and age is 117 pounds.
So he cannot go to the gym, go below 117 pounds, or go over 168 pounds. If he goes over 168, the Army will conduct a height and weight test, known as the tape test.
For males, the Army will tape you around the abdomen, and they do it three times, then average it out. I cannot exceed 23% body fat for myself. (Refer to the body height and weight chart below.)
The chart is also different for males and females. It also depends on your age and height.
The Army will tape you if you exceed the height and weight limits. If you do not pass the tape, you will automatically be flagged.
Army Taping Test Standards for Females
Below are the taping standards for females.
- Neck Tape Test Standard: For Females, you get taped around your neck (circumference of the neck).
- Abdominal Region Tape Test Standard: Females get taped in the smallest section of their abdominal area (waist circumference). Therefore, do not allow someone to tape you at your belly button, as that is correct. They should be taping you at the smallest part of your midsection.
- Hips Tape Test Standard: Females will be taped at the largest part of their hips. So, they will tape you around the most protruding part of your buttocks (the circumference of your hips).
Army Taping Test Standards for Males
Below are the taping standards for males.
- Neck Tape Test Standard – Males also get taped around the neck under Adam’s apple (circumference of the neck).
- Abdominal Region Tape Test Standard – Males also get taped on the waist.
- Hips Tape Test Standard – No hip measurements for males
So what does being flagged or getting flagged in the Army mean?
Being flagged means the commander will flag you, meaning you can’t go on leave, get promoted, or go to an NCO or army school.
The only way to get off that flag is to pass the height and weight standards and, most likely, a PT test. So, with that said, don’t fail the height and weight test, and don’t fail your PT test because if that happens, it will just halt your career.
You will be flagged and won’t go to Airborne, Air Assault, or whatever school you want to go to. You won’t even get promoted. And most likely, your commander, first sergeant, platoon sergeant, squad leader, NCO, and even senior specialist will be on your case.
Everything goes downhill, and they will smoke you a lot, probably just for you to lose weight. But don’t fret if you are having issues losing or maybe gaining weight; the Army can refer you to a medical hospital or medical facility to get the proper nutrition, diet, or plan to meet the height and weight standards.
Take it seriously, as getting flagged is not good at all. I have another buddy that’s been flagged for quite some time now. He got flagged when he got his P status because he didn’t pass height and weight.
The Army took his P status, and he’s just a regular specialist, and now he can’t get promoted. So don’t fail your height and weight standards or your PT test.