FORT EUSTIS, Virginia -- Fitness experts recently demonstrated the proper techniques required to pass each event of the new Army Combat Fitness Test, which will replace the Army Physical Fitness Test in October 2020.
The Army began a large-scale field test of the six-event ACFT on Oct. 1, sending mobile training teams out of Fort Jackson, South Carolina, to train and certify graders in more than 60 battalions across the active-duty, National Guard and Reserve force.
The field test is designed to refine the ACFT's testing and scoring.
Army officials held a media day Oct. 23 to demonstrate the proper techniques for the strength deadlift, standing power throw, hand-release pushups, spring-drag-carry and leg tuck events. They did not demonstrate the two-mile-run portion of the ACFT.
Demonstrators showed how soldiers must use a hex weight bar to perform the strength deadlift. In addition to proper form, fitness officials also went over what graders will be looking for and how to select the right weight based on a soldier's abilities.
Standing Power Throw
Fitness officials walked through the steps of performing the standing power throw, which involves hurling a 10-pound medicine ball backward as far as possible. Mastering proper form requires practice for this event, demonstrators stressed.
Army officials are experimenting with two different techniques for the hand-release pushup. Soldiers will either have to go all the way down to the ground and raise their hands straight up before coming back up or extend their hands out to the sides and bring them back in before coming up again.
Fitness officials had a soldier demonstrate each technique. Eventually, Army officials will select the version that is easiest to grade.
The sprint-drag-carry event is really five different sub-events. Soldiers will have to do a 50-meter sprint; a backward 50-meter drag of a 90-pound sled; a 50-meter lateral movement; a 50-meter carry of two 40-pound kettle bells; and a final 50-meter sprint. Demonstrators described each portion as soldiers demonstrated the do's and don'ts of the event.
Soldiers demonstrated the leg tuck, a challenging exercise that involves hanging from a pull-up bar and raising the knees up so they touch the elbows. Fitness officials discussed how jerking or swinging to pull the legs up will likely not count as a successful repetition during the test.
The soldiers doing the demonstrations were all winded after each of the events. They advised that troops shouldn't wait until the ACFT becomes the Army's test of record in 2020 to start practicing for it.
As it stands now, Army units will begin taking the ACFT in October 2019, but the current APFT will remain the test of record until October 2020.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correct the weight of the medicine ball and the date on which the media day occurred.
-- Matthew Cox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.