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Really?!? How Tough is the Army’s New Combat Fitness Test?

A Milestone in Fitness: The Evolution of the Army Combat Fitness Test

In a constant pursuit of excellence, the United States Army continually refines its training methods and assessments to ensure soldiers are at their peak physical condition. One such significant development is the introduction of the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT). This comprehensive evaluation is designed to measure the combat readiness of soldiers, offering a more accurate reflection of their physical capabilities. Let’s delve into the history of this pivotal fitness assessment and the recent changes

The Genesis of the ACFT

The need for an updated fitness assessment became evident as the nature of warfare evolved. Recognizing this, the U.S. Army began the process of designing a new test that would better prepare soldiers for the rigors of modern combat. This led to the development of the ACFT, which was officially introduced in 2018 and will be fully implemented in 2024.

Key Components of the ACFT

The ACFT comprises six events, each targeting specific aspects of physical fitness essential for combat readiness:

  1. Strength Deadlift: This event assesses a soldier’s ability to lift heavy loads, mimicking the need to carry equipment and wounded comrades.
  2. Standing Power Throw: Evaluating explosive strength, soldiers must throw a 10-pound medicine ball as far as possible.
  3. Hand-Release Push-Ups: A test of upper body strength, this event requires soldiers to perform push-ups with a unique hand-release technique.
  4. Sprint-Drag-Carry: Combining agility and strength, this event simulates the need to move quickly while carrying equipment and dragging a sled.
  5. Leg Tuck: Focusing on core and grip strength, soldiers must lift their legs to touch their knees or elbows.
  6. Two-Mile Run: A test of cardiovascular endurance, soldiers aim to complete a two-mile run in the shortest time possible.

The ACFT’s Impact

The introduction of the ACFT represents a significant shift in how the Army evaluates the physical fitness of its soldiers. Unlike its predecessor, the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), the ACFT provides a more comprehensive assessment that better aligns with the demands of modern combat scenarios.

Furthermore, the ACFT emphasizes a holistic approach to fitness, focusing not only on cardiovascular endurance but also on strength, agility, and power – all vital elements for success on the battlefield.

How tough is is really?

While I’ve not had any first hand experience on the fitness test, I can tell you that compared to the Navy’s PRT the Army’s ACFT is TOUGH. Previous to the ACFT all the services physical tests were endurance focused. There was a one or two mile run, which is an endurance event, some pushups and situps, also endurance events. The ACFT has really upped the Army’s game by adding STRENGTH events such as deadlift, Sprint-Drag-Carry, and standing power throw.

Just Take the Army’s Deadlift for example. Minimum passing score for a female and male for three lifts is 120lbs and 140lbs respectfully. That is a pretty significant weight for soldiers; especially for those lifting more than their body weight.

ACFT References

If you think you want to give it a go and see how strong you really are, dditional information on the ACFT test can be found on the official Army.mil website page for the specific fitness test –> https://www.army.mil/acft/

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