The Army Combat Fitness Test consists of six events:
- 3 Repetition Maximum Deadlift (MDL)
- Standing Power Throw (SPT)
- Hand-Release Push-Up (HRP)
- Sprint-Drag-Carry (SDC)
- Leg Tuck (LTK)
- 2-Mile Run (2MR)
The ACFT aims to accurately reflect Soldier combat performance capability linked to warrior tasks and battle drills (WTBD) and common Soldier tasks. Soldier combat readiness is the ability to meet the physical demands of any combat or duty position in order to accomplish the mission. The ACFT predicts Soldier performance of warrior tasks and battle drills. The test events have a high correlation with these physically demanding tasks. The ACFT assesses all components of physical readiness required to build movement lethality—muscular strength, muscular endurance, aerobic endurance, explosive power, and anaerobic endurance as well as speed, agility, flexibility, balance, and coordination.
3 REPETITION MAXIMUM DEADLIFT
The 3 Repetition Maximum Deadlift (also known as MDL) is the first ACFT event. A 10-minute warmup for the Maximum Deadlift event should follow the same warm-up pattern used by the Soldier when training for the event. To improve their performance, Soldiers should know their goal weight for the test and should have lifted that weight in training. They should be confident that they can lift their goal weight while maintaining energy for the subsequent ACFT events. The recommended Maximum Deadlift preparation sets are:
- 8–10 repetitions at 25 percent goal weight or with empty bar (rest 2 minutes).
- 6 repetitions at 40 percent goal weight (rest 3 minutes).
- 4 repetitions at 50 percent goal weight (rest 4 minutes or until Maximum Deadlift event starts).
- Optional: 1 repetition at 80 percent goal weight (rest until Maximum Deadlift event starts).
After completing the 10-minute Maximum Deadlift preparation, Soldiers arrange themselves in a stack behind the weight they intend to lift.
The Maximum Deadlift is a muscular strength test that mimics movements required to safely and effectively lift heavy loads from the ground. For example, the Maximum Deadlift is a strong predictor of a Soldier’s ability to lift and carry a casualty on a litter and to lift and move personnel and equipment. This test event requires well-conditioned back and leg muscles that assist Soldiers in load carriage and in avoiding injuries to the upper and lower back.
It is important to understand the difference between an attempt and a repetition. A successful Maximum Deadlift attempt is three repetitions to standard.
A Maximum Deadlift repetition consists of three parts: preparatory phase, upward movement, and downward movement.
You must step inside the hex bar with feet shoulder width apart and locate the midpoint of the hex bar handles. On the command, “GET SET,” you will bend at the knees and hips, reach down, and grasp the center of the handles using a closed grip. Arms will be fully extended, back flat, head in line with the spinal column, and heels in contact with the ground. All repetitions will begin from this position. On the command, “GO,” you will stand up and lift the bar by straightening the hips and knees. After completing the movement up, you will lower the bar to the floor under control while maintaining a flat back. You must not rest on the ground. A successful attempt is 3 repetitions to standard. If you fail to perform a successful attempt, you will be allowed one re-attempt at the same weight or a lower weight of your choosing. If you complete 3 correct repetitions on your first attempt, you will be given the option to attempt a higher weight of your choosing to increase your score. The amount of weight successfully attempted will be your raw score.
STANDING POWER THROW
The Soldier who achieved the lowest weight on the Maximum Deadlift is the first Soldier in the Standing Power Throw lane. Soldiers maintain this order for the next four events. If only one or two Soldiers are being tested, they are given the programmed 5-minute rest period. Once all tested Soldiers are arranged in stacks of four across the lanes, the Standing Power Throw begins. After completing their two throws, Soldiers place the ball on the ground centered in their lanes behind the start line and stand fast. If a Soldier faults on both throws, he or she is allowed a third attempt.
The Standing Power Throw is a backward overhead throw for distance that measures explosive power. Tasks that require powerful movements include jumping across a ditch, executing a buddy drag, throwing equipment over an obstacle, throwing a hand grenade, assisting a buddy to climb up a wall, loading equipment, and employing progressive levels of force in hand-to-hand contact.
The Standing Power Throw consists of two phases, a preparatory phase and a throwing phase.
You will face away from the throw line and grasp a 10-pound medicine ball with both hands. Stand with the heels at (but not on or over) the start line. To avoid having the ball slip, grasp firmly and as far around the sides or beneath the ball as possible. You may make several preparatory movements by bending at the trunk, knees, and hips while lowering the ball toward the ground. Attempt to throw the ball as far as possible. Your feet must be stationary and on the ground prior to the throw. You may jump during the throwing movement to exert more power into the throw, but you must not fall, cross beyond, or touch the throw line with your foot. If you do, the throw will not count. The longer of the two attempts will be the one used for your record score.
The Hand-Release Push-Up begins after the Standing Power Throw, or after the programmed five minute rest period for the Standing Power Throw if only one or two Soldiers are being tested. The first Soldier in the lane steps forward and assumes the Hand-Release Push-Up starting position on the ground behind the lane start line.
The Hand-Release Push-Up is a two-minute timed event that measures upper body muscular endurance and has high correlation with the repetitive and sustained pushing used in combat tasks. It tests a Soldier’s ability to push an opponent away during hand-to-hand contact, push a vehicle when it is stuck, and push up from the ground during evade and maneuver. It also engages upper back muscles used when reaching out from the prone position, taking cover, or low crawling. When conducted to standard, the Hand-Release Push-Up provides a safe, equipment-free test of large muscle groups in the shoulders, trunk, hips, and legs.
The Soldier assumes the prone position with hands flat on the ground beneath the shoulders. The chest and front of the hips and thighs are on the ground. Toes are touching the ground and feet are together or up to a boot’s width apart. The ankles are flexed. The head does not have to be on the ground. With the hands placed flat on the ground, the index fingers are inside the outer edge of the shoulders. The hands return to this position to complete each repetition. The feet remain on the ground throughout the event and cannot be more than a boot’s width apart.
On the command, “GET SET,” you will assume the prone position with hands flat on the ground beneath your shoulders. Your chest and the front of your hips and thighs will be on the ground. Toes will be touching the ground and feet will be together or up to a boot’s width apart as measured by the grader’s boot. Your ankles will be flexed. Your head does not have to be on the ground. With the hands placed flat on the ground, your index fingers will be inside the outer edge of your shoulders. Your feet will remain on the ground throughout the event. On the command, “GO,” you will push the whole body up from the ground as a single unit to fully extend the elbows, moving into the front leaning rest position. You will maintain the same straight body alignment from the top of the head to the ankles. This straight position will be maintained for the duration of the event. Bending or flexing the knees, hips, trunk, or neck during a repetition will cause that repetition to not count. The front leaning rest is the only authorized rest position. While at rest, if you move out of the front leaning rest position the event will be terminated. After you reach the up position, your elbows will bend again to lower your body to the ground. Your chest, hips, and thighs will touch the ground. Your head or face does not have to contact the ground, however your eyes will be focused on the ground throughout the Hand-Release Push-Up test event. After reaching the ground as a single unit, without moving the head, body, or legs, you will immediately move both arms out to the side straightening the elbows into the T position. You will then immediately return your hands to the starting position to complete one repetition. You cannot pause or rest on the ground. If you place a knee on the ground or lift a hand or foot when in the up position, the event will be terminated. You have two minutes to complete as many correct repetitions as possible.
The Sprint-Drag-Carry begins after the last Soldier has completed the Hand-Release Push-Up, or after the programmed five-minute rest period if only one or two Soldiers are being tested. The first Soldier in the lane steps forward and assumes the Hand-Release Push-Up starting position on the ground behind the lane start line.
You must assume the prone position with hands on the ground beneath your shoulders and with the top of your head behind the start line, ready to complete 5 consecutive and continuous 50-meter shuttles. For the first shuttle, on the command, “GO,” stand up and sprint 25 meters before touching the 25-meter line with your foot and hand, turning at the line and sprinting back to the start. If you fail to touch properly, the grader will call you back before allowing you to continue. For the second shuttle, grasp each pull-strap handle to pull the sled backwards until the whole sled crosses the 25-meter line. If you fail to cross the line with the sled, the grader will call you back before allowing you to continue. Turn and drag the sled back to the start line. For the third shuttle, you will perform the lateral for 25 meters, touching the line with foot and hand before performing the lateral back to the start line. The lateral will be performed leading with the left foot in one direction and the right foot in the other direction. For the fourth shuttle, grasp the handles of the two 40-pound kettlebells and run 25 meters, touching the line with the foot before returning back to the start line. Place the kettlebells on the ground without dropping them. For the fifth shuttle, sprint 25 meters to the line, touching with the foot and hand before turning and sprinting back to the start line to complete the event.
The Leg Tuck begins after the last Soldier has completed the Sprint-Drag-Carry, or after the programmed five-minute rest period if only one or two Soldiers are being tested. The grader inspects the bar and removes any excess moisture.
You will assume a straight-arm hang on the bar with feet off the ground and uncrossed. You must use the alternating grip, with the dominant hand closest to the head. Your body will be perpendicular to the bar. Your elbows will be straight. Your feet cannot contact the ground or the pull-up or climbing bar during the event. On the command, “GO,” you will flex at the elbows, knees, hips, and waist to raise your knees. Your elbows must flex. They cannot remain fully extended or straight. The right and left knees or thighs must touch the right and left elbows respectively. Your grader must observe both of the knees or the front of the thighs contacting both elbows. You will return under control to the straight-arm hang position to complete each repetition. If your elbows remain bent in the straight-arm hang position, that repetition will not count. You do not have to be completely still in the straight-arm hang position, but deliberate, active swinging of the trunk and legs to assist with the upward movement is not permitted. Small, inconsequential or passive movement of the body and twisting of the trunk is permitted. Your grader may assist with controlling these movements if they become excessive. You may rest in the straight-arm hang position. The event will be terminated when you voluntarily stop by dropping from the bar or if you use the ground to rest or push off to complete a repetition.
There is a 10-minute rest period after the Leg Tuck. The 10-minute rest period starts when the last Soldier completes the Leg Tuck. During this time, graders issue numbers or vests to their Soldiers, and Soldiers move to the 2-Mile Run start line. The 2-Mile Run starts at the end of the ten minutes.
Prior to starting the ACFT event, you will already know the 2-mile course including the start and finish points, turn around points, or number of laps. On the command, “GO,” the clock will start and you will begin running at your own pace, completing the 2-mile distance without receiving any physical help. You may walk or pause but you cannot be picked up, pulled, or pushed in any way. You may pace another Soldier or be paced by another Soldier. Verbal encouragement is permitted. Leaving the course at any time or at any point during the event will cause the event to be terminated. Your time will be recorded as you cross the finish line at the 2-mile point.
In order to pass the ACFT, Soldiers must attain a score of at least 60 points on each event and an overall score of at least 360 points. The maximum score a Soldier can attain on the ACFT is 600 points. There is no extended scoring scale.
See the ACFT Score Card for required scores.
An ACFT-focused program trains all aspects of fitness, including mental toughness. Just as Soldiers have to carefully manage energy output across different moments in combat, so too will Soldiers have to plan their pacing strategies to avoid under-performing on one of the later events in the ACFT. For example, Soldiers who are accustomed to relatively fast run times on the Army Physical Fitness Test (known as APFT) will have to think and train differently to match these times on the ACFT.
The ACFT tests a Soldier’s ability to move under fatigue—his or her ability to concentrate and keep going to sustain lethality. Soldiers unaccustomed to moving heavy weights will be more likely to fatigue and demonstrate improper form on the Maximum Deadlift, Standing Power Throw, Hand-Release Push-Up, Sprint-Drag-Carry, or Leg Tuck. Movement lethality degrades with fatigue. Soldiers must be tenacious to maintain lethality.
Soldiers complete the six events of the ACFT in order on the same day during a test period not to exceed 120 minutes to include Preparation Drill and 3 Repetition Maximum Deadlift preparation. This time limit applies to all ACFT scenarios, to include Soldiers taking the Army Combat Fitness Test (Modified) (ACFT MOD) as well as Soldiers testing individually or in pairs. The test period is the time that elapses from the start of the Preparation Drill to the finish of the 2-Mile Run (from the first Bend and Reach to the 21-minute point of the 2-Mile Run) or the finish of the 25 minutes allowed for completion of the ACFT MOD events.
Soldiers must attempt all six events or all the events of the ACFT MOD. They cannot stop if they fail an event prior to completing all the events. This ensures best effort and gives commanders an opportunity to redirect training and build tenacity.
Starting with the Standing Power Throw test event, Soldiers rotate as groups of four through each lane. Once every Soldier in the formation has completed the event, the next event starts. The first five test events proceed in this fashion. After the Leg Tuck, there is a programmed rest of 10 minutes that starts when the last Soldier completes the Leg Tuck.
Except for 10 minutes to recover after the Leg Tuck, there is no programmed rest between events nor a required amount of rest per Soldier. The exception is when one or two Soldiers are being tested. In those cases, 5 minutes of rest are programmed between the first four events. The 10-minute rest after the Leg Tuck remains the same for all scenarios.
There are no test event re-starts. Incorrectly performed repetitions are not counted. Soldiers sign their scorecards before leaving the test site, acknowledging that they concur with the scores recorded by their grader.
Soldiers can only wear prescribed APFU components during the ACFT. Any piece of clothing not prescribed as a component of the APFU is not permitted for wear during the ACFT. Neither are devices or equipment that offer any potential for unfair advantage during testing. Soldiers cannot wear the following items: nasal strips, back braces, elastic bandages, or limb braces. Biometric measuring devices such as watches, heart rate monitors, step counters, and fitness trackers are permitted. The wearing and carrying of other electronic devices is not permitted. These include electronic music players and cell phones. To protect the hands, Soldiers may use gloves that conform to AR 670-1 for any event and at any time of year in any climate.
The Preparation Drill is a dynamic warm-up that properly prepares the body for more intense activity such as the ACFT. The 2-hour running clock begins with the start of the Preparation Drill. Soldiers who are about to take the ACFT will conduct the exercises in the Preparation Drill to their own tolerance, avoiding fatigue. After completing the Preparation Drill and Maximum Deadlift warm up preparation, the first event (the Maximum Deadlift) will begin. Upon completion of all ACFT events, Soldiers will conduct the Recovery Drill as either a collective or individual activity.