How to Stand at Attention. Military units are impressive when the service men and women are in formation standing at attention. If you've ever wondered how to properly stand at attention, military style, follow these steps.

Stand up straight and tall, keeping your hips level. Suck in your stomach as tight as possible. Keep your chest lifted and arched with your shoulders squared.

Touch your heels together and have the toes of both feet go out at a 45-degree angle. Keep your body weight resting equally on your heels and balls of your feet.

Keep your legs together and straight without locking your knees.

Put the arms straight at your sides along the seams of your pants. Keep your thumbs pointing downward along the seam while curling the fingers loosely toward the palm.

Look straight ahead with your head up focusing your eyes directly in front of you. Keep your face straight and relaxed. No smiling allowed.


  • When showing respect to the American flag while in civilian clothing, stand at attention with your right hand over your heart. If you are wearing a hat, remove it and hold it in the right hand over your heart. While in military dress, render a salute while standing at attention and hold it until the last note of the National Anthem is played.


  • Do not lock your knees when standing at attention. Locking your knees can cut off or reduce circulation of the blood from your feet and cause you to faint. If you have to stand at attention for long periods of time, wiggle your toes periodically to increase circulation and prevent fainting.