By Tyler Inman
The Army will officially replace its current physical assessment, the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), with the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) in October 2020. Soldiers that currently earn 300 points on the APFT by focusing on aerobic and muscular endurance training (high volumes of running, push-ups, and sit-ups) are left with a choice: languish in mediocrity by scoring well in only one or two ACFT events, or drastically shift their approach to physical training by incorporating current strength and conditioning principles. This is not another opinion regarding the Army’s new fitness test. Instead, this is an Army leader’s attempt to distill the basic principles of exercise science into a palatable guide for planning Physical Readiness Training (PRT) that is effective, sustainable, and ultimately contributes to increased readiness for combat.
A New, More Demanding Test
The ACFT is a six event, 600-point, comprehensive physical assessment. It is comprehensive because unlike its predecessor, the ACFT measures each major component of fitness: aerobic and anaerobic endurance, muscular strength and endurance, and power. Scoring very well on the ACFT will also require coordination, balance, and stability. The six events, in order of execution are the 3-Repetition Maximum Deadlift, Standing Power Throw, Hand-Release Push-Up, Sprint-Drag-Carry, Leg Tuck, and 2-Mile Run. Each event is scored on a 100-point scale, for a total of 600 available points. Unlike the APFT, even very physically fit Soldiers will fall short of “maxing out” this new test and the ACFT is age and gender neutral. One test, one scale, one challenging standard.