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What the New Army Combat Fitness Test Means for Female Recruits

female recruits working on new ACFT skills

One of the important aspects of the new Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) is that it is gender neutral. This means that women recruits are tested and judged by the same criteria as men. This is a big change for the Army and represents an awareness of the importance of women in combat.

The Department of Defense formally opened combat positions to women in 2016, but until now there were different physical standards for the two genders. Basically, the training and testing suggested that women were not expected to perform in combat at the same level as men. Even with this uneven playing field, the Army transferred more than 600 women into combat occupations and more than 70 are in training to become infantry officers in 2017.


Rally Fitness: A Long History of Improving Military Fitness

In response to this change in the Army fitness test and the training that will be necessary for soldiers to meet these rigorous requirements, Rally Fitness has developed an Army Combat Fitness Test Equipment Package. This package was designed by Rally Fitness, known for its rugged CrossFit and high-use fitness facilities equipment, to help soldiers train and test administrators to accurately assess the fitness of Army soldiers.

If you would like more information on the Rally Fitness Army Combat Fitness Test Equipment Package, click here for more information.


New Test Measures “Warrior Tasks”

According to this recent article “advances in the science of physiology led the U.S Army to reform their old PT training to more accurately measure and predict a soldier’s capabilities. The new Army Combat Fitness Test measures Warrior Tasks that gauge 10 components of physical fitness relative to a soldier’s actual duties in combat including; muscular strength and endurance, power, speed, agility, aerobic endurance, balance, flexibility, coordination and reaction time.

“Although the previous test was cost effective and required minimal equipment, it only measured two of these components; strength and endurance– which biologically, height and weight ratios gave males a general advantage. Push-ups, sit-ups and a timed 2-mile run could not precisely assess an individual’s overall fitness and health, never mind tell a soldier’s required preparedness for combat. Further, this test held individuals against a normative public standard compiled from thousands of previous test results. Physical fitness is not synonymous with talent or combat effectiveness, which is why the APFT (the former test) only predicted about 40 percent combat readiness for all servicemembers.”

This new test features 6 events measuring the 10 Warrior Tasks that are designed to replicate experiences soldiers might face while deployed. This includes: evacuating casualties from a vehicle, moving under and around obstacles and grappling in hand-to-hand combat.


A Soldier Against the Mission

At the risk of waxing too philosophical, the new AFCT is fundamentally changing the criteria for evaluating combat readiness in both women and men. With this new test, some have noted that it no longer compares a soldier to the theoretical, “average” soldier. Unlike with the previous fitness test, it is no longer a soldier versus to another soldier. It is a soldier versus the mission.

This thoughtful piece on the gender neutralization of the ACT notes, “The tasks, the assessment and the scoring hold each individual to the status of soldier and not to the status of male or female. Removing dated, rudimentary notions of fitness, the Army’s new model actually trains and prepares our service-members to serve which has shown a reduction in lower extremity injuries, heightened combative fitness and lower likelihood of injury when deployed. Further, implementing a healthier social philosophy, the ACFT measures physical fitness without marginalizing and segregating the strength of our soldiers through a gendered lens.”


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The Rally Army Combat Fitness Test equipment package has everything needed for this new test, and it’s priced right

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