ACFT Push-Ups

ACFT Push-Ups play a crucial role in evaluating soldiers’ physical fitness as part of the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT). The ACFT aims to gauge soldiers’ preparedness and capability to handle combat duties effectively. Push-ups take center stage in this test, challenging soldiers to execute as many as possible within a two-minute timeframe. The ACFT push-up introduces a variation to the traditional push-up, adding an extra layer of difficulty. This post aims to delve into the correct technique, advantages, and tips for ACFT push-ups, offering soldiers guidance to enhance their performance in this exercise.

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Standing Power Throw (m)

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Hand-Release Push-Ups (reps)

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Sprint Drag Carry (m:s)

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Plank (m:s)

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2 Mile Run (m:s)

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ACFT Overview: A New Fitness Paradigm for Soldiers

The Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) signifies a paradigm shift, replacing the outdated Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT). Crafted to provide a more comprehensive evaluation of a soldier’s overall fitness and combat readiness, the ACFT comprises six events: three-repetition maximum deadlift, standing power throw, hand-release push-up, sprint-drag-carry, leg tuck, and two-mile run.

Among these, the hand-release push-up takes a prominent position, demanding soldiers to initiate from a prone position, lift their hands off the ground, lower themselves, and then push back up—a test designed to assess upper body strength, endurance, and core stability.

The ACFT sets a new standard, incorporating a diverse range of exercises mirroring the physical demands of combat. It adopts a gender- and age-neutral stance, holding all soldiers to a uniform standard, irrespective of age or gender. With elevated standards compared to the APFT, the ACFT poses a more formidable challenge, aiming to ensure soldiers are well-prepared for the demands of modern warfare.

The Significance of Push-Ups in ACFT

Within the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), push-ups emerge as a cornerstone event, bearing immense significance. These exercises, ingrained in fitness history, serve as a fundamental gauge of upper body strength and endurance—a critical aspect for various tasks in the Army. Tasks like carrying heavy loads, climbing ropes, and overcoming obstacles hinge on upper body strength and endurance, both of which benefit from regular push-up training.

Beyond strength and endurance, push-ups contribute to the development of core stability. Core muscles serve as the linchpin for all movement, playing a pivotal role in maintaining balance and stability during physical activities. By integrating push-ups into their routines, soldiers can fortify core muscles and enhance overall physical performance.

Additionally, push-ups prove instrumental in refining posture—a key factor in reducing the risk of back pain and other musculoskeletal issues. Soldiers with good posture are better equipped to navigate the physical challenges of their duties. Regular push-up sessions become a proactive measure to improve posture and minimize injury risks.

In essence, push-ups stand as a fundamental exercise in ACFT, serving as a barometer for upper body strength, endurance, core stability, and posture. Soldiers embracing push-ups in their training regimen not only enhance their physical fitness but also fortify their readiness for the diverse demands of military service.

Mastering Proper Form and Technique for ACFT Push-Ups

Executing push-ups for the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) demands adherence to proper form and technique to ensure accurate and safe scoring. Consider these tips for mastering proper form and technique:

  1. Starting Position: Initiate in the front-leaning rest position with hands shoulder-width apart and feet together or up to 12 inches apart. Make sure to maintain a straight line from head to feet.
  2. Lowering Phase: Lower your body until your chest touches the ground, keeping elbows close to your body. Avoid sagging hips or piking.
  3. Pushing Phase: Push your body back up, maintaining a straight line and elbows tucked in close.
  4. Breathing: Inhale as you lower your body, exhale as you push up.
  5. Repetitions: Perform as many push-ups as possible within the two-minute limit, ensuring consistent form and technique.

Practice proper form during training to guarantee precise and safe scoring during the ACFT.

Strategic Training Tips for Enhancing ACFT Push-Up Performance

Improving ACFT push-up performance requires a strategic approach to training. Consider these tips to enhance your push-up prowess:

  1. Focus on Proper Form: Before increasing push-up reps, ensure proper form. Maintain a straight back, engage the core, and position hands shoulder-width apart. Avoid flaring out elbows to prevent shoulder pain and maximize push-up count.
  2. Gradual Volume Increase: Boost push-up training volume gradually. Begin with a low number of reps and sets, gradually increasing over time. Aim for at least three sets of 10-15 push-ups, three to four times a week.
  3. Practice to Failure: Push yourself to failure during training—perform as many push-ups as possible until unable to complete another rep. This method builds endurance and strength.
  4. Work on Explosive Power: ACFT push-ups demand explosive power. Integrate explosive push-ups into your routine, lifting your hands off the ground with force. This enhances power and speed.
  5. Vary Push-Up Styles: Explore different push-up variations like diamond push-ups, wide grip push-ups, and decline push-ups. Diversifying styles targets different muscle groups and prevents monotony.
  6. Strengthen Core Muscles: Core stability is crucial for push-up form and endurance. Incorporate core-targeting exercises like planks, Russian twists, and crunches into your routine.

By incorporating these tips, soldiers can elevate their ACFT push-up performance, ensuring readiness for the test. Always listen to your body and avoid overtraining to prevent injuries.

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