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U.S. Army Approves New Combat Fitness Test That Will Take Effect In 2020

U.S. Army Combat Fitness Test

Soldiers will soon need to take a more strenuous fitness test, regardless of age that will evaluate their readiness in combat. It will replace the Physical Fitness Test that has been in place for 38 years and based on a pilot that was conducted over 6 years that was known as the Combat Readiness Test.

Around 2,000 soldiers participated in the pilot program and by the beginning of October 2020. All soldiers, regardless of gender and age, will need to take the test.

In a news report at the website, Maj. Gen. Malcolm Frost, commanding general of the U.S. Army Center of Initial Military Training, said, "The Army Combat Fitness Test will ignite a generational, cultural change in Army fitness and become a cornerstone of individual Soldier combat readiness. It will reduce attrition and it will reduce musculoskeletal injuries and actually save, in the long run, the Army a heck of a lot of money.”

The Army Combat Fitness Test will have 6 events that will need to be completed in order by soldiers and can take anywhere around 45 to 55 minutes. The website lists these as:

Strength deadlift: 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 (only one in OPAT) and the weights will be increased. The event replicates picking up ammunition boxes, a wounded battle buddy, supplies or other heavy equipment.

Standing power throw: Soldiers toss a 10-pound ball backward as far as possible to test muscular explosive power that may be needed to lift themselves or a fellow Soldier up over an obstacle or to move rapidly across uneven terrain.

Hand-release pushups: In this event, Soldiers start in the prone position and do 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 allows for additional upper body muscles to be exercised.

Sprint/drag/carry: 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 can simulate pulling a battle buddy out of harm's way, moving quickly to take cover, or carrying ammunition to a fighting position or vehicle.

Leg tuck: Similar to a pullup, 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 situp.

2-mile run: 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.

Soldiers are given 2 minutes of rest after each event with the exception of the 2-mile run as they are given a 5 minute rest before they go with their. As for scoring, there will be a maximum of 100 points per event, with a maximum total 600 points. There will be a minimum score per event which may change depending on the soldiers specialty with soldiers doing tougher jobs may just face tougher minimums.

The new test will be part of the a Holistic Health and Fitness System that is designed to produce fitter and healthier soldiers.

Perhaps this is something for serious airsoft milsim teams to follow to ensure that their members are as fit as Army soldiers. If you need a physical regimen that is being used by a major military organisation, then this new fitness test can help. Who knows? Your team members may be called up by the army, especially if they are reservists or conscripts, then they will be ready to meet the test and be combat ready.


Top photo: Soldiers pulling a 90-pound sled for 50 meters as part of the Combat Fitness Test pilot. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sean Kimmons)