Army to roll out new gender-neutral physical fitness test

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Army is moving forward with a new gender and age neutral fitness test designed to test soldier's combat readiness.

The six-event test is called the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) and will replace the current three-event Army Physical Fitness Test that was put in place in 1980.

Starting in October 2020, all soldiers will take the new gender and age neutral test; however, some soldiers will take it at the beginning of October so that the Army can make adjustments before the official test rolls out.

The current test is made up of a series of sit-ups, runs and push-ups. The new test is much more strenuous, designed to test a soldier's peak strength under pressure.

ABC11 sent Morgan Norwood to test out the following new requirements.

The six test components are the following:

  • 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 back 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 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 situp.
  • Two-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.

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.