I was just watching Star Trek: Into Darkness, and I noticed that James Kirk and Spock were both showing incredible feats of physical fitness. Both of them managed to climb obstacles with only their arms pulling up their entire body weight (Kirk climbing up to realign the warp core, Spock clambering up the side of two unidentified red ships). I was also very impressed by Spock running at a dead sprint for several extended minutes.

It seems like officers aboard a starship wouldn't have opportunity to hone these skills. Even if they were forced to do so in some kind of "basic training" equivalent, they would quickly atrophy with no upkeep. So I was wondering if there's any real in-universe explanation for them being in such good shape (really, remarkable fitness, not just passable fitness).

  • 100+ years further on, yes
    – Izkata
    Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 20:11
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    I don't know if you ever see it in the original series (you do in TNG and DS9), but presumably there are gym facilities on board the ships.
    – Random832
    Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 20:59
  • @Random832 - Yes there are. Kirk and crew seem to use the (extensive) gym and dojo daily; youtube.com/watch?v=SZOxjFg5kqA
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 21:56
  • Also: Spock is a Vulcan. Vulcans have a much "stronger" anatomy, so that might explain at least Spocks endurance. Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 8:22

3 Answers 3


If you remember the original series, there were several episodes where Dr. McCoy gave the crew regular physical checkups, testing their fitness levels as well as their general health. Also, you've seen episodes where there were crew members working out in various ways. There was at leat one episode of Enterprise where you saw some of the crew running treadmills as well.

Being that Starfleet is a military organization (yes, they are explorers, but they are also military at the same time), they would be required to maintain physical fitness in order to continue to serve. And when you consider they have to be physically ready for anything because of the places they visit (extreme conditions, lighter gravity, heavier gravity, etc), they would pretty much have to keep in shape.

  • Yes. And rather confirmed in "Tomorrow is Yesterday". CHRISTOPHER: Yeah. I see physical training is required in your service, too. SPOCK: Crude methods, but effective.
    – Basya
    Commented Nov 12, 2019 at 8:39
  • Starfleet isn't a military organisation
    – Valorum
    Commented May 2, 2023 at 19:46
  • @Valorum - it is not a military organization in purpose, but it is certainly set up very much like a military organization in training, structure, etc. , and would (as is stated on screen) have physical training as part of the service.
    – Basya
    Commented May 3, 2023 at 10:49

They show in the first new startrek movie that vulcans undergo physical training on vulcan, they are also physically stronger then humans (not to argue on their actual strength but generally an average vulcan can out perform a well fit human in almost every aspect). Humans officers on the otherhand most likely are required to take a basic combat/physical fitness classes, kirk on the other hand, is probably in advanced combat(or just from experience), as well as his womanizing behavior, he def lifts bro. And we know that they are not required to continue being in shape as scotty is an excellent example. however like earth military i believe officers still have to take PT tests in which they must be able to do a minimum X physical activity to stay on active duty.

In enterprise they regularly show crew members doing physical activity such as boxing, or lifting weights. i believe hoshi is seen doing a daily run, alone and with others.

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    It's silly, but I actually think Kirk being obsessed with body image would explain his strength. Nice point.
    – asteri
    Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 15:55
  • i think like i said, after your basic training its all individual, you've got tactical officers who are probably trained more, but for science, and engineering officers, they probably just have to meet minimum standards every so often, and anything else is on them.
    – Himarm
    Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 15:59
  • In TNG (though it is negated because of the movies) they have various fitness activities. Worf teaches Klingon Martial Arts, and people swim and play tennis on board (shown indirectly in various episodes). This is similar to a rl US Navy Carrier
    – JoeyD473
    Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 18:55
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    @Robotnik Tuvok also turned up the gravity on some decks during those training sessions. Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 5:09
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    @snowman the ships are able to control their gravity, and im pretty sure standard starfleet gravity is set to earth's gravity.
    – Himarm
    Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 13:56

In the newer series (TNG and DS9), the Holodeck/Holosuite seemed to be the primary source of physical training.

Worf had a series of combat training programs.

O'brien went kayaking quite often.

O'brien and Bashir played a tennis-like game a few times.

I think it's safe to assume that they used at least some of their free time to keep themselves physically fit using various holo programs to simulate a wide variety of sources for exercise.

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