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Army Combat Fitness Test Standards

New Army Combat Fitness Test
New Army Combat Fitness Test

The United States Army is renowned worldwide for its robust training and readiness protocols, with physical fitness at its core.

To continue upholding its standards and adapting to the ever-evolving demands of combat, the Army has rolled out the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), a comprehensive assessment designed to gauge a soldier’s physical readiness.

The United States Army uses the ACFT (Army Combat Fitness Test) as a fitness test to gauge the physical readiness of its soldiers.

Introduction to ACFT

The ACFT, an acronym for the Army Combat Fitness Test, is a fresh paradigm in military physical assessments. 

Designed to replace its predecessor, the APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test), the ACFT offers a more holistic evaluation of a soldier’s fitness, focusing on endurance and strength and the diverse demands of modern warfare.

Beginning April 1, 2022, the Army will put the ACFT into full gear. This test is a general physical fitness evaluation, factoring in age and gender, to provide a more nuanced and fair assessment of a soldier’s overall physical capabilities.

Diagnostic Tests and Implementation Timeline

A step-by-step approach has been chosen for the rollout of the ACFT:

  1. April 1, 2022: Initiation of diagnostic tests using the new scoring scales.
  2. October 1, 2022: Regular Army and active Guard Reserve personnel begin the ACFT as a record.
  3. April 1, 2023 – April 1, 2024: Reserve component soldiers transition into the ACFT record system.

Rationale Behind the ACFT’s Implementation

The Army’s decision to transition to the ACFT was made over time. It is grounded in extensive research and feedback.

  • Rand’s independent study
  • Feedback from soldiers accumulated over three years
  • Analysis from nearly 630,000 test scores

The ACFT doesn’t just test for fitness; it evaluates a soldier’s capacity to execute tasks integral to combat situations. 

With six events that touch on muscular strength, endurance, and cardiovascular and respiratory fitness, it promises a comprehensive assessment.

Preparation and execution of the ACFT

Before diving into the ACFT, soldiers are advised to:

  • Study: Familiarize oneself with the ACFT guide, understanding test standards and events.
  • Equip: Ensure the availability of the necessary equipment, including:
    • 2-inch by 4-inch by 8-foot beams
    • 20-pound medicine balls
    • Pull-up bars
    • 35-pound kettlebells
    • Adjustable weight dumbbells
  • Warm-up: An essential step, warming up adequately can prevent injuries and enhance test performance.

The ACFT includes six main events and offers four alternate aerobic events for soldiers who cannot perform the 2-mile run.

Main ACFT Events

Three-Repetition Maximum Deadlift (3RM DL)

  • Objective: To assess the strength of the lower body and upper back.
  • Description: Soldiers lift a hex bar, loaded with weights, for three repetitions, aiming for the maximum weight they can safely lift.

Standing Power Throw (SPT)

  • Objective: To gauge the soldier’s explosiveness and power.
  • Description: Soldiers toss a 10-pound medicine ball overhead and backward, seeking to achieve the maximum distance.

Hand Release Push-Up—Arm Extension (HRP)

  • Objective: To evaluate upper body muscular endurance.
  • Description: Soldiers perform a push-up, but after each rep, they lay flat on the ground, extend their arms forward, and then return to the push-up position.

Sprint-Drag-Carry (SDC)

  • Objective: To test the soldier’s speed, endurance, and agility.
  • Description: Soldiers sprint, drag weights, perform lateral movements, and carry over a 50-meter distance in various ways.

Plank

  • Objective: To measure the soldier’s core strength and endurance.
  • Description: Soldiers hold a plank position (forearms and toes on the ground, body in a straight line) for a prescribed duration. 

Two-Mile Run (2MR)

  • Objective: To measure aerobic capacity.
  • Description: Soldiers complete a 2-mile run as fast as possible.

Alternate Aerobic ACFT Events

For soldiers unable to complete the two-mile run due to medical conditions or injuries, the ACFT offers four alternate aerobic events:

ACFT Bike

  • Equipment Used: A Stationary Bike
  • Description: Soldiers cover a distance of 12 km on the stationary bike.

ACFT Row

  • Equipment Used: A Stationary Rowing Machine
  • Description: Soldiers row a distance of 5 km.

ACFT Swim

  • Description: Soldiers swim for 1 km.

ACFT Walk

  • Description: Soldiers walk for a distance of 2.5 miles.

Conclusion

The ACFT events are specifically designed to evaluate various facets of a soldier’s physical fitness, ensuring a comprehensive assessment of their capabilities and readiness for combat situations.

The inclusion of alternate events emphasizes flexibility and inclusivity while ensuring that aerobic fitness remains a priority.

In summary, the introduction of the ACFT reflects the Army’s commitment to evolving its training protocols in line with modern warfare’s demands. 

Ensuring its soldiers are fit and combat-ready, the ACFT promises to set a new benchmark in military fitness assessments.

George N.
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