Armed Forces News

Army Sgt. 1st Class Danny Gonzalez, Recruiting and Retention Command, New Jersey Army National Guard, carries two 40-pound kettlebells during the ACFT at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ in 2018. The three-repetition maximum dead lift, standing power throw, hand-release push-ups, leg tuck, two-mile run and sprint-drag-carry, are to remain in place. (NJ National Guard photo by Mark C. Olsen)

Soldiers still will have to complete the new Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) beginning Oct. 1, but will have more time to do so. The service’s senior enlisted leader, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael A. Grinston, described accommodations intended to provide more time to both train for and take the six-event test.

Soldiers who do not pass the ACFT no longer will face separation, derogatory or referred evaluation reports, or Soldier’s Order of Merit List standings.

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The ACFT is replacing the Army Physical Fitness Test (ACFT). As of the start-up date this fall, only soldiers who have failed the ACFT would have to retake it.

The most significant change involves an interim option for soldiers to substitute a two-minute plank for the leg tuck – allowed once a soldier has attempted the leg tuck.

The other six requirements – the three-repetition maximum dead lift, standing power throw, hand-release push-ups, leg tuck, two-mile run and sprint-drag-carry, remain in place.

The plank option likely would go away, and the leg tuck would return, within three to six months. It is advantageous currently because the COVID-19 pandemic has limited soldiers’ personal workout options. Plank exercises are considered an adequate temporary substitute core workout.

While the stationary bike workout also remains as a substitute for soldiers who cannot complete the two-mile run, it has been dropped to 12,000 meters from 15,000 meters.

All soldiers will be required to pass with an overall score of at least 60. Soldiers in more demanding MOSs (military occupational specialties) would have to earn higher scores.

The new test is geared toward both improving overall fitness and decreasing injuries.

“We were seeing vast improvements with the ACFT” until the COVID-19 pandemic derailed activities, Grinston said.

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