United States Army this year replaced its outdated physical fitness test with a more rigorous model designed to better prepare soldiers for the demands of modern warfare. The United States Army in the 1980s introduced rhythmic gymnastics and tests for push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, and running. The test consisted of two minutes of push-ups, 10 minutes of sit-ups, and a 2-mile run.
But after the numerous physical injuries of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, the army decided to change the physical access tests to confirm the physical condition of its soldiers and establish a very difficult fitness test. As of 2020, the APFT (National Test) has been phased out to make way for the new Army Physical Fitness Test, Combat Physical Fitness Test o ACFT (Army Combat Fitness Test) and every soldier in the army has to pass it twice a year.
For several years military training entered the atmosphere with force fit. Olympic bars, tractor wheels, bats, thick ropes, rotating levers and dumbbells are an indispensable part of gyms and sports centers. Crossfit, Boot Camp or “Marine Workouts” are gaining more followers every day. Incorporating strength, endurance, speed and precision exercises, they consist of sessions where athletes are subjected to extreme physical and mental challenges. You may be familiar with GRIT routines, Murph or Navy Seal training known as TRX or the brutal routine of the fearsome Spetsnaz, Vladimir Putin’s elite soldiers, but Would you be able to pass the US Army Fitness Test?
The Army’s two-hour Combat Fitness Test 3.0 tests movements that best meet the demands of ground combat.
The test has an approximate duration of 50 minutes, divided into different exercises to be performed at once, with corresponding breaks between controls. The 6 tests are performed in a row in the following order: Three-rep deadlift, medicine ball throw, arm extension with arm release, sprint sets, drag and carry, plank and 2 mile run.
This is the tough physical test of the US Army
1. Three-rep max deadlift
Assesses the muscular strength component of fitness measuring the soldier’s lower body, grip and core muscle strength. RIt requires well-conditioned back and leg muscles and helps soldiers avoid hip, knee and lower back injuries. Flexibility and balance are secondary components of the physical fitness tested.
It consists of doing three repetitions of the deadlift with the maximum possible weight. The test is performed with a hexagonal beam, which simplifies the technique of the exercise and favors its execution. For to get 60 points you will need to lift 63.5 kg and for 100 points 154 kg.
2. Medicine ball toss
It consists of throwing a medicine ball of almost five kilograms as far as possible. To get 60 points (which is the minimum to pass) the medicine ball must be thrown 4.5 meters and for 100 points 12.5 meters.
It assesses the strength component of fitness by measuring the soldier’s ability to generate rapid, explosive movements with the upper and lower body. Secondary fitness components assessed include balance, coordination, and flexibility.
3. Arm extensions with arm release
Assesses the muscular endurance component of fitness by measuring the soldier’s upper body endurance.
It consists of performing a maximum number of push-ups with the release of the hands in two minutes. It serves to know the strength of the shoulders, arms and trunk required to use and load the weapon. To get 60 points, you need to do 10 repetitions, and for 100 points – 60 repetitions.
This exercise consists of 5 sets of 50 meters of incline. Each series includes a two-way section of 25 meters and is done in a different way. When running 250 meters, run 50 meters touching the end with your hand, drag a weight from 40 kg on the backdrop it, run to the side without crossing the legs, on the fourth set lifting two weights of 20 kg each and ends with a final sprint for a maximum time of 3.35 minutes.
This exercise tests anaerobic endurance and involves especially the lower body with the involvement of other muscles.
The 60 points are obtained in 3.3 minutes and the 100 in 1.33.
Assesses the muscular endurance component of fitness by measuring a soldier’s core strength and endurance. Balance is a secondary component of rated ability. The performance consists of staying as long as possible in a plank position with an upright body. Although it varies by age and gender, the passing score is above 1′ and 10 above 3′ in all categories.
6. Run 2 miles (3.2 kilometers).
2RM tests the aerobic endurance component of fitness. Higher aerobic endurance allows the soldier to work longer and recover faster when performing repetitive physical tasks.
The race can be completed on an indoor or outdoor track, or on an improved surface such as a road or pavement. 2MR cannot be tested on unimproved terrain. The start and finish line will be near the same location as the test site for the other five test events. Laps or laps of the track are allowed.
A time of 21′ (6’30″/km) will correspond to 60 points and 13’30” (4’15″/km) will be 100 points.
One last note
The final grade is graded on a scale with a maximum score of 600 points. In August 2019 (when this new test began testing), a member of the 22nd Chemical Battalion became the first soldier to record a perfect score, surpassing the previous record of 597 set in June by a member of the Kentucky Army National Guard.
ACFT is looking changing the fitness culture of soldiers to improve combat tasks and reducing injuries by strengthening the muscles. Do you dare to try?