The Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) emerged in 2019 as a revamped physical fitness assessment by the U.S. Army. Tailored to better evaluate a soldier’s physical preparedness for combat, the ACFT signifies the Army’s commitment to crafting a more thorough and efficient fitness program.

Diverging from the previous Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), which comprised push-ups, sit-ups, and a two-mile run, the ACFT stands as a six-event challenge:

  1. Three-repetition maximum deadlift
  2. Standing power throw
  3. Hand-release push-up
  4. Sprint-drag-carry
  5. Leg tuck
  6. Two-mile run

Each event systematically tests distinct facets of a soldier’s physical fitness, encompassing muscular strength, power, endurance, and agility.

Crucially, the ACFT extends beyond a mere physical fitness gauge; it serves as a litmus test for a soldier’s ability to perform in combat scenarios. The events simulate field tasks, such as carrying heavy equipment, evacuating a wounded comrade, or scaling a wall.

ACFT Calculator

Gender Age

Maximum Deadlift (lbs.)

lbs. points

Standing Power Throw (m)

m points

Hand-Release Push-Ups (reps)

reps points

Sprint Drag Carry (m:s)

m s points

Plank (m:s)

m s points

2 Mile Run (m:s)

m s points

ACFT Prep: A Holistic Approach

Achieving success in the ACFT demands a holistic training regimen focusing on strength, power, endurance, and agility. This entails exercises like weightlifting, plyometrics, sprint training, tailored to target specific muscle groups crucial for each event.

In tandem with physical training, soldiers must emphasize proper nutrition, hydration, and recovery. This multi-pronged approach ensures peak physical condition for the test.

In essence, the ACFT marks a substantial shift in how the Army evaluates physical fitness and combat readiness. Armed with an understanding of the test’s nuances, soldiers can effectively ready themselves for the physical rigors of their mission, serving their country with optimal capabilities.

Training Blueprint for ACFT Success

Preparing for the ACFT necessitates a dual focus on physical and mental training. Given the test’s emphasis on strength, endurance, and agility, here are strategic training tips:

  1. Baseline Assessment: Before diving into training, conduct a baseline assessment to gauge your current fitness level. This provides a roadmap for focusing on specific areas and tracking progress.
  2. Strength Training: Given the six strength-demanding events in the ACFT, integrate strength training exercises targeting relevant muscle groups. Embrace deadlifts, squats, bench press, and push-ups.
  3. Cardiovascular Endurance: As the test requires cardiovascular endurance, incorporate running, swimming, or cycling into your routine. Incrementally build endurance over time.
  4. Agility Training: Given events like sprint-drag-carry and leg tuck, infuse agility training with drills like ladder drills and cone drills.
  5. Mental Training: Acknowledge the mental challenge of the ACFT. Practice visualization techniques and cultivate a positive mindset toward the test.
  6. Consistent Training: Regular training, ideally five days a week, forms the backbone of ACFT preparation. Gradually intensify workouts to build strength and endurance.
  7. Rest and Recovery: Just as vital as training, prioritize proper rest and recovery. Ensure adequate sleep, a balanced diet, and rest days for muscle recovery.

Remember, ACFT preparation requires dedication and patience. Stay committed to your training routine, and success in the test will follow suit.

Fueling Success: Nutrition and Recovery for ACFT

Nutrition and recovery play pivotal roles in the journey toward ACFT success. By supplying the body with the right nutrients and facilitating proper recovery, soldiers can enhance strength, endurance, and overall performance.

Consider these tips for nutrition and recovery:

  1. Balanced Nutrition: Maintain a balanced diet comprising carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. Carbs offer energy, protein aids muscle repair, and healthy fats support overall health. Include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins in your diet.
  2. Hydration Essentials: Adequate hydration is crucial for optimal performance. Regularly drink water, especially before and after workouts, steering clear of sugary drinks and alcohol.
  3. Strategic Recovery: Prioritize rest and recovery alongside exercise. Ensure sufficient sleep, and incorporate activities like stretching, foam rolling, and massage to support muscle recovery.
  4. Consider Supplements: While a balanced diet is primary, consult with a healthcare professional before considering supplements like protein powder or creatine.

By following these nutrition and recovery guidelines, soldiers can bolster their chances of success in the ACFT. Listen to your body, make necessary adjustments, and maintain commitment to training for a triumphant outcome.

Tips for Triumph in the ACFT Performance

Here are some actionable tips for a triumphant ACFT performance:

  1. Regular Practice: Consistent practice is the cornerstone for improving overall fitness and excelling in the ACFT. Dedicate weekly time to hone specific exercises and test events.
  2. Target Weaknesses: Identify personal challenges and prioritize them in training. Whether it’s boosting upper body strength or enhancing endurance, tailored training can overcome weaknesses.
  3. Hydration Focus: Optimal athletic performance hinges on proper hydration. Maintain water intake before, during, and after ACFT training sessions to sustain peak functionality.
  4. Nutritional Fuel: A balanced, healthy diet fuels the body and provides the energy essential for ACFT excellence. Prioritize protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
  5. Adequate Rest: Sufficient sleep and rest are pivotal for allowing the body to recover and perform optimally. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night and integrate rest days to prevent burnout and injuries.
  6. Sustain Motivation: While motivation can waver, staying focused on goals is critical. Set achievable milestones, and reward progress to stay motivated and on track in your ACFT training journey.

Triumph in the ACFT requires dedication and consistency. Be patient, stay committed to your training regimen, and success in the test will follow. Best of luck!

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