Field-testing continues on the new, more challenging fitness test for the United States Army. It is designed to better prepare soldiers of both genders for combat tasks, reduce injuries and lead to ample cost savings across the service. The six-event readiness assessment, called the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), will replace the current three-event Army Physical Fitness Test, which has been around since 1980.
The Army is currently conducting a pilot with 63 battalions to determine scoring standards or any tweaks needed to make the test more feasible. Leaders can choose to implement the program Army-wide as soon as October of 2019, but as late as October 2020. As a part of getting soldiers and fitness instructors prepared for this test, the “Center for Initial Military Training” has announced the launch of a new website.
According to Army Times, “The site walks users through an implementation timeline, then lays out all six events. You can watch a video of each exercise as it’s performed on the test, plus three more with alternatives you can practice in the gym ― or in your living room ― to train the same muscles used in the test.”
The training site can be explored by clicking here.
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.
The Army Combat Fitness Test has been noticed and commented on by non-military fitness instructors. Here are some responses posted on the social media site Facebook after this test was featured on a recent post.
“This is long past due and will improve the confidence of both the soldiers and the citizens they protect. Well done Army!”
~ Brian, CrossFit trainer in Dallas
“In theory this is a great advance for the military. I worry a little about the injuries that might occur while training for and completing the test. Some of these tests require some skill and good form in order to avoid muscle strains and other injuries.”
~ Rachel, Fitness Instructor New Orleans
With a proposed weight range of 120 to 420 pounds, the deadlift event is similar to the one found in the Occupational Physical Assessment Test, or OPAT, which is given to new recruits to assess lower-body strength before they are placed into a best-fit career field. The ACFT will require soldiers to perform a three-repetition maximum deadlift and the weights will be increased. This event replicates picking up ammunition boxes, a wounded battle buddy, supplies or other heavy equipment on the battlefield.
Standing Power Throw
Participants will toss a 10-pound ball backward as far as possible to test muscular explosive power. This replicates that which is needed to lift themselves or a fellow soldier up over an obstacle or to move rapidly across uneven terrain.
In this event, soldiers start in the prone position and execute a traditional pushup, but when at the down position they release their hands and arms from contact with the ground and then reset to do another pushup. This is designed to build additional upper body muscles.
As they dash 25 meters, five times up and down a lane, soldiers will perform sprints, drag a sled weighing 90 pounds, and then hand-carry two 40-pound kettlebell weights. This test simulates pulling a battle buddy out of harm's way, moving quickly to take cover, or carrying ammunition to a fighting position or vehicle.
This test is similar to a pull-up, Soldiers lift their legs up and down to touch their knees/thighs to their elbows as many times as they can. This exercise strengthens the core muscles since it doubles the amount of force required compared to a traditional sit-up.
This is the same event as on the current test. In the ACFT, run scores are expected to be a bit slower due to all of the other strenuous activity.
The Army notes that “the ACFT gauges soldiers on the 10 components of physical fitness: muscular strength and endurance, power, speed, agility, aerobic endurance, balance, flexibility, coordination and reaction time. The current test only measures two: muscular and aerobic endurance.
Field testing will help determine scoring but it will likely be 100 points for each event for a maximum of 600. Minimum scores, however, may change depending on a soldier's military occupational specialty. Soldiers in more physically demanding jobs may see tougher minimums, similar to how OPAT evaluates new recruits.