I Tried the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) And Scored 564 – Can You Beat Me?

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Julien Raby

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Have you ever wondered how you measure up to the rigorous standards of physical fitness required by the U.S. Army?

The Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) is not just a yardstick for soldiers; it’s a comprehensive assessment tool that reflects the real-world physical demands of modern military service. 

ACFT
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Read on to discover how you would fare on the test!

What’s the ACFT

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The Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) is a comprehensive physical fitness test that has replaced the traditional Army Physical Fitness Test. It is designed to assess a soldier’s combat readiness through a series of six challenging events that test various aspects of physical fitness.

A score of 540 (80 in each event) exempts soldiers from the Army body fat circumference-based tape assessment. The test is seen as challenging to excel in, requiring soldiers to have diverse workout routines and be well-rounded athletes.

The ACFT is a holistic assessment that reflects the essential physical tasks a soldier might face in the line of duty.

Why Does it Matter?

For the brave men and women in uniform, passing the ACFT is more than a requirement; it’s a matter of survival and efficiency in demanding situations.

But here’s the twist: even if you’re not planning to join the Army, the ACFT presents an excellent opportunity to benchmark your fitness against some of the most stringent standards out there. Whether you’re a Crossfit warrior, a weekend trail runner, or just someone looking to shake up your fitness routine, the ACFT challenges you to step out of your comfort zone and test your limits.

The 6 Tests of the ACFT

3-Rep Max Deadlift

3-RM Deadlift
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The 3-Rep Max Deadlift is the initial event of the test, emphasizing the importance of controlled movements for demonstrating strength, skill, and safety. Here’s a concise summary of how the event is executed:

  1. Preparation: Soldiers start with a preparation drill and deadlift warm-up.
  2. Setup: Moving to their designated lane, soldiers face a hex bar loaded with their target weight.
  3. Commencement: On ‘get set’, soldiers step into the bar, adopting a straddle stance with ankles centered and aligned with the hex bar handles.
  4. Execution: Soldiers bend their knees and hips to grip the bar’s center, maintaining straight arms, a flat back, and an aligned head and spine. Feet remain flat on the ground.
  5. Lifting Technique: While keeping the spine straight, soldiers lift the weight by straightening their knees, hips, and trunk, pausing briefly in the upright position before lowering the weight to the ground.
  6. Repetition: This lift-and-lower sequence is performed two more times, totaling three lifts.
  7. Adjustment for Failures: If unable to complete three successful lifts, soldiers move to a lighter weight for one additional attempt.

This event tests foundational strength and proper lifting technique, critical in a soldier’s physical training and combat readiness.

Here are the maximum and minimum points for this event:

Age RangeMaximum Points (100)Minimum Points (60)
17-21340 lbs140 lbs
22-26370 lbs140 lbs
27-31370 lbs140 lbs
32-36370 lbs140 lbs
37-41340 lbs140 lbs
42-46340 lbs140 lbs
47-51320 lbs120 lbs
52-56280 lbs100 lbs
57-61250 lbs80 lbs
Over 62230 lbs80 lbs

Standing Power Throw: Assessing Explosive Might

Standing Power Throw
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The Standing Power Throw is the second event, designed to assess upper and lower body explosive power, total body flexibility, and dynamic balance. Here’s a summary of how this event is conducted:

  • Positioning: Soldiers face away from the start line, holding a 10-pound medicine ball at hip level. They stand with heels at, but not beyond, the start line. A distance from the line can be chosen to prevent stepping over it during the throw.
  • Preparation: Towels or rags are available to clean the medicine ball. Soldiers must grasp the ball firmly, wrapping their hands around as much of it as possible.
  • Execution: During the throw, no body part may touch or cross the start line, which would result in a fault. Feet can leave the ground but must not step over the line. Losing balance and falling in any direction also counts as a fault.
  • Attempts and Scoring: Each soldier gets two attempts to record a throw, unless they fault on both, in which case a third and final throw is granted. The farthest throw is recorded for scoring. If a soldier falls during a record throw, they receive a score of 0.0 meters. If all three attempts are faulted, the soldier also scores 0.0 meters for the event.

Here are the maximum and minimum points for this event:

Age RangeMaximum Points (100)Minimum Points (60)
17-2112.6 m6 m
22-2613 m6.3 m
27-3113.1 m6.5 m
32-3612.9 m6.5 m
37-4112.8 m6.4 m
42-4612.3 m6.2 m
47-5111.6 m6 m
52-5610.6 m5.7 m
57-619.9 m5.3 m
Over 629 m4.9 m

Hand-Release Push-Up

Hand-released push-ups
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The Hand Release Push-Up, the third event in the test, is designed to enhance endurance in the muscles of the shoulders, arms, and trunk. Performance is measured by the number of successful repetitions over two minutes. Here’s a concise breakdown of the event:

  1. Starting Position: Soldiers begin in a prone position with hands flat under the shoulders and feet together or up to a boot’s width apart. The head may be on or off the ground, eyes facing downward.
  2. First Movement – Push-Up: The initial move is pushing up from the ground into the front leaning rest position, with elbows fully extended. The hips and trunk lift simultaneously, maintaining a straight line with the legs and head.
  3. Second Movement – Lowering: Soldiers then flex their elbows to return to the starting prone position.
  4. Third Movement – Hand Release: Without moving the head, body, or legs, soldiers extend their arms to the sides, hands either on or off the ground.
  5. Fourth Movement – Reset: Soldiers return to the starting position, placing hands under the shoulders, completing one repetition.

This exercise tests the ability to maintain form and endurance under repetitive strain, reflecting functional strength essential for military tasks.

Here are the maximum and minimum points for this event:

Age RangeMaximum Points (100)Minimum Points (60)
17-215710
22-266110
27-316210
32-366010
37-415910
42-465610
47-515510
52-565110
57-614610
Over 624310

Sprint-Drag-Carry

Sprint-Drag-Carry
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The Sprint-Drag-Carry is the fourth event of the ACFT, designed to test a soldier’s anaerobic endurance, muscular power, agility, and coordination. Here’s a breakdown of how this dynamic event unfolds:

  • Preparation: Before starting, soldiers can position the sled handles and kettlebells just behind the start line.
  • Starting Position: At the command ‘get set’, the soldier takes a prone position with hands flat on the ground, head behind the start line.
  • Sprint: On ‘go’, the soldier stands and sprints 25 meters, touches the line, then sprints back to the start.
  • Sled Drag: Next, the soldier grabs the sled straps and drags the sled backward 25 meters, then returns to the start line. The entire sled must cross the line for completion.
  • Lateral Shuffle: After the sled drag, the soldier performs a lateral shuffle for 25 meters, touches the line, and shuffles back. They must face the same direction for both lengths, leading with each foot.
  • Kettlebell Carry: The soldier then picks up two 40-pound kettlebells and carries them to the 25-meter line and back, keeping the kettlebells at their sides.
  • Final Sprint: Finally, the soldier places the kettlebells down, turns, sprints 25 meters, touches the line, and sprints back to finish the event.

The event is timed, and scoring is based on how quickly the soldier completes the entire sequence. This challenging event encapsulates a broad spectrum of physical abilities, simulating combat tasks such as moving quickly under fire, dragging equipment or a casualty, and carrying supplies.

Here are the maximum and minimum points for this event:

Age RangeMaximum Points (100)Minimum Points (60)
17-2101:2902:28
22-2601:3002:31
27-3101:3002:32
32-3601:3302:36
37-4101:3602:41
42-4601:4002:45
47-5101:4502:53
52-5601:5203:00
57-6101:5803:12
Over 6202:0903:16

Plank

Plank
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The Plank is the fifth event of the test, focusing on core strength and endurance in a static posture. Here’s how this test unfolds:

  • Starting Position: On ‘get ready’, soldiers position their hands on the ground, either in fists (pinky side down) or flat with palms down, spaced a fist-width apart. Hips are bent with one or both legs on the ground.
  • Command to Begin: On ‘get set’, soldiers lift their knees, aligning hips with legs and shoulders, gazing at the ground in a front-leaning rest position. Feet can be up to a boot’s width apart, with elbows aligned under shoulders and forearms forming a triangle. Ankles are flexed, toes on the ground.
  • Execution of the Plank: The event starts on ‘go’. Soldiers must maintain a straight line from head to ankles, without interlocking fingers. The clock starts, and time is called out in 15-second intervals.
  • Maintaining the Plank: The body must stay in a straight line, with feet, forearms, fists, or palms in constant contact with the floor. Any deviation, like touching the floor with any other body part, lifting a foot or hand, or failing to maintain the straight line, can lead to termination of the attempt.
  • Warnings and Termination: Graders provide one verbal warning for failure to maintain the proper position. If the soldier can’t correct the deficiency, the performance is terminated. Shaking due to exertion is permissible as long as the correct position is maintained.

Here are the maximum and minimum points for this event:

Age RangeMaximum Points (100)Minimum Points (60)
17-2103:4001:30
22-2603:3501:25
27-3103:3001:20
32-3603:2501:15
37-4103:2001:10
42-4603:2001:10
47-5103:2001:10
52-5603:2001:10
57-6103:2001:10
Over 6203:2001:10

2-Mile Run

2-Mile Run
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The Two Mile Run, assessing aerobic endurance, is the last event of the test. Key aspects of this event include:

  • Timing: The run starts no more than 10 minutes after the last soldier completes the plank event.
  • Location: It can take place on an indoor or outdoor track with an improved surface. Running on unimproved terrain is not permitted.
  • Execution: On the command ‘go’, the time starts, and soldiers run the two-mile distance at their own pace. Assistance such as pushing, pulling, or physical holding is not allowed.

This event is a straightforward test of cardiovascular endurance, challenging soldiers to maintain a steady pace over a significant distance.

Here are the maximum and minimum points for this event:

Age RangeMaximum Points (100)Minimum Points (60)
17-2113:2222:00
22-2613:2722:00
27-3113:3122:00
32-3613:4222:00
37-4113:5822:11
42-4614:0522:32
47-5114:3022:55
52-5615:0923:20
57-6115:2823:36
Over 6215:2823:36

Scoring and Standards: ACFT’s 600-Point Challenge

In the 2023 update for the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), the scoring system remains on a 0 to 100 scale. Active-duty soldiers need to achieve at least 60 points in each event to pass. The scoring criteria vary based on the soldier’s age and gender, with the highest attainable score in any event being 100 points. The threshold for passing any ACFT event is set at a minimum of 60 points.

The ACFT’s Scoring Matrix

In the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), your physical prowess is quantified in a comprehensive scoring system. Each of the six events contributes to a total score out of 600. Here’s the catch: excellence in one event doesn’t offset a weaker performance in another. This system demands all-around physical competence, reflecting the multifaceted nature of combat readiness.

Event-Specific Scoring

Each ACFT event has a unique scoring range. For instance, the 3-Rep Max Deadlift ranges from 60 to 100 points, with soldiers required to lift varying weights based on their military occupational specialty (MOS). This MOS-specific scoring ensures that the test remains relevant and challenging for each soldier’s unique role in the Army.

What Does This Mean for You?

Curious about where you stand? Let’s say you’re a 30-year-old male Crossfit enthusiast. In the 2-Mile Run, finishing in 13 minutes might earn you a solid 80 points. Meanwhile, a 28-year-old female marathon runner might score 90 points with the same time. This nuanced scoring reflects diverse physical capabilities and ensures a fair assessment for all participants.

Here’s how you can easily calculate your score, based on your age and gender.

I scored 564

Given my Crossfit background, these 6 tests are a regular part of my training. I got 564 when I tried the ACFT:

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The 540 Benchmark in ACFT

In the realm of the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), achieving a score of 540 is more than just a display of physical prowess; it’s a gateway to exemption from the Army’s body fat circumference-based tape assessment. This means, if you’re a soldier who can score an impressive 80 points or more in each of the six events, you’re considered fit enough to not require the traditional method of body fat measurement.

The Significance of the 540 Mark

Why is this 540 score so crucial? It’s simple. This benchmark is a testament to your balanced physical fitness. It’s not just about strength or endurance in isolation; it’s about demonstrating proficiency across a diverse set of physical challenges. Achieving this score indicates a well-rounded physical condition, aligning with the Army’s holistic approach to fitness.

Implications for Non-Military Fitness Enthusiasts

For those outside the military, striving for a 540 in the ACFT can be a lofty yet achievable goal. It’s a challenge that calls for balanced training in strength, endurance, and agility. Whether you’re a Crossfit aficionado, a dedicated runner, or someone exploring the limits of your physical capabilities, targeting this score provides a structured and comprehensive fitness goal.

Preparation and Training: Your Roadmap to ACFT Success

To excel in the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), a strategic and well-rounded training regimen is vital. The Army Combat Fitness Test Training Guide is an invaluable resource in this journey. This guide is not just a collection of exercises; it’s a comprehensive blueprint that aligns with Army doctrine, focusing on enhancing strength, endurance, and mobility – the three pillars essential for ACFT success.

Strength Training

Strength is a cornerstone of the ACFT, and the training guide offers a plethora of exercises to build muscular power and endurance. From deadlifts to squats, and bench presses to power cleans, these exercises are designed to increase your raw strength, crucial for events like the 3-Rep Max Deadlift and the Standing Power Throw.

Endurance Training

Endurance is another critical aspect of the ACFT. The guide emphasizes a mix of cardiovascular exercises – from interval training to longer, steady-state runs. These workouts are tailored to improve your aerobic capacity, directly impacting your performance in the grueling 2-Mile Run.

Mobility

Often overlooked, mobility is integral to performing well in the ACFT. The training guide includes dynamic stretching, plyometrics, and agility drills. These exercises enhance your flexibility and range of motion, ensuring you can perform each ACFT event with proper form and minimal risk of injury.

Utilizing Common Training Methods

The beauty of the ACFT Training Guide lies in its use of familiar strength training methodologies. Whether you’re a gym veteran or a fitness newbie, these methods are accessible and effective. They include traditional weightlifting techniques, bodyweight exercises, and even Crossfit-style workouts, offering variety and scalability to suit different fitness levels.

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About

Julien Raby is the owner of BoxLife. He owns a bachelor in literature and a certificate in marketing from Concordia. He's Crossfit Level 1 certified and has been involved in Crossfit since 2010. In 2023 he finally made it to Crossfit Open Quarterfinals for the first time. LinkedIn Instagram Facebook

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