Army replaces decades-old fitness exam with more rigorous test

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The US military plans to replace its old fitness test with a more rigorous model designed to better prepare soldiers for the demands of modern warfare.

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The new exam has been tested for two years and it is planned to officially start in March 2022. It replaces the 40-year-old Army Physical Fitness Test, which tested soldiers on their ability to perform two-minute situps, two-minute situps. Pushups and a 2-mile run.

2 hour army combat fitness test 3.0 (ACFT) evaluates movements that best parallel the demands of ground combat, including rescuing wounded personnel and loading equipment, according to Army spokesman Lt. Col. Gabriel Ramirez.


“There are a lot of rigors involved with being a soldier and being a soldier in war,” Ramirez said. “It is better for ACFT soldiers to be able to perform their duties on the battlefield.”

It includes six exercises: a medicine-ball throw, hand-release pushups, deadlifts, a 2-mile run, a sprint-drag-carry exercise, and a leg tuck or plank.

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Ramirez said the new test better assesses strength, coordination and cardiovascular endurance, in addition to encouraging “a different mindset of training.” He said more activities and more intense activities require more rigorous training, which can better prepare soldiers for the job.

“When I first started preparing for ACFT, it was a huge change from training … basic pushups, situps and runs,” Sgt. First class Nakeliya Rami said in a video “I knew the same routine was not going to work with ACFT,” published on the Army website.

Remy describes incorporating resistance bands and other equipment into his exercises, something that is unnecessary when training to do pushups or situps. He also discussed retraining his knees after an injury and his struggles with deadlifts.

“Physical fitness for soldiers is nothing new, so ACFT can be a challenge, but we have been able to overcome it,” Rami said.

He said the ACFT has been in use for years to collect data on its effectiveness but has not yet been used as a performance appraisal.

The latest version, ACFT 3.0, is the latest data-informed revision. The most prominent change compared to the 2.0 version includes the plank as an alternative to the leg tuck to address the high fail rates among women with leg tucks. Army officials said that both the plank and the leg tuck evaluate core strength, and would be considered the same in terms of scoring.

However, according to Army Force Command data published on, more than half of the women still fail the new test. Women in the military have expressed concern that the military will prioritize physical strength over technical skills or leadership qualities required in a high-tech era and may unintentionally marginalize women in the military and those with useful skills outside of fitness in general. people can use. The Washington Post reported last year.

“I think most people, most individuals, can pass the test with the proper training,” Ramirez said.

Army officials said another possible change to address the high failure rate among women would be the use of a performance-level program that would take gender into account.

“The discussion will continue,” Ramirez said. “I think the big thing for us is that we need to have the data to make informed decisions.”

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