ACFT Army Combat Fitness Test For Dummies
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The Standing Power Throw event on the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) represents your ability to execute quick, explosive movements that you may use to move equipment or people. You use a 10-pound medicine ball for this test event, which works muscles in your legs, core, shoulders, and back.

Muscles used in the Standing Power Throw. Muscles used in the Standing Power Throw

The STP requires you to hold the medicine ball at hip level while you’re standing with your heels at the starting line. You can prepare to throw while flexing at your trunk, knees, and hips while you lower the ball between your legs.

The Standing Power Throw. Zack McCrory

The Standing Power Throw.

You get two chances to show your stuff on the STP. You grasp the ball, lower it between your legs (like a kid at a bowling alley), and use your reserves of explosive power to throw it over your head and behind your back.

Drive your entire movement with power from your quadriceps. Get into a deep squat and explode upward and backward. If you only use your arms, you run the risk of sending the ball straight into the ground behind you.

You can’t put your heels on or over the starting line during the STP, but your feet can leave the ground when you throw. If your feet touch the line (even when you land), your grader gives you a raw score of 0.0 meters, and it counts as your first shot. If you fault on your second attempt by stepping on or over the line, you get another raw score of 0.0 meters. In that case, you get one final attempt—only because your first two were faults—and if you fault again, your event is terminated as a failure. (If you have a valid score on either the first or second throw, you don’t get that third attempt.)

If you accidentally throw your medicine ball into another lane, the distance of your throw stops where the other lane begins. For example, if you throw the ball to the right and it crosses the line at 6 meters, even if it lands at 10 meters, it’s scored as a 6-meter throw.

The scores you need to pass based on your physical demand category are 4.5 meters for 60 points, 6.5 meters for 65 points, and 8 meters for 70 points. Toss that bad boy 12.5 meters to get a perfect 100.

Standing Power Throw instructions

For the Standing Power Throw (e), you stand with your heels in front of the throw line (also called the fault line), which is behind you. Throw the ball over your head and behind you, using explosive power to launch that bad boy as far down the lane as you can. Your feet can come off the ground as you throw, but when you land, your feet have to be in front of the throw line.

These are the Army’s official instructions for the SPT:

You will face away from the throw line and grasp a 10-pound medicine ball with both hands. Stand with the heels at—not on or over—the start line. To avoid having the ball slip, grasp firmly and as far around the sides or beneath the ball as possible. You may make several preparatory movements by bending at the trunk, knees, and hips while lowering the ball toward the ground. Attempt to throw the ball as far as possible. Your feet must be stationary and on the ground prior to the throw. You may jump during the throwing movement to exert more power into the throw, but you must not fall, cross beyond, or touch the throw line with your foot. If you do, the throw will not count. The longer of the two attempts will be the one used for your record score.

When you’re training for the SPT, do the Standing Power Throw as often as you can, too. That way, you can get a feel for using the right form on the real deal.

SPT tips and techniques

Brush off the ball before you throw it; if you’re not the first thrower, the ball likely has some grass and dirt on it. If it’s wet, dry it off. (Test administrators provide rags or towels you can use for this purpose.)

Doing well on the SPT involves a specific technique. Grasp the ball as far around the outer sides as you can. Get a full swing by sitting into a squat with the ball between your legs, and then lift out of the squat by using leg power. At the same time, raise the ball in one fluid movement until it’s over your head. You have to release the ball in just the right spot to get it to travel as far as you want it to go, and for most people, that’s almost exactly when the hands pass the back of the head. Ideally, you get it over your head and let it go at a 45-degree angle from the ground.

Think of your body like a loaded spring when you’re in the lower position. Load up into a squat and do a full-body extension (your ankles, knees, and hips all straighten), and let go of the ball when your body is completely extended.

Work on your timing. If you let the medicine ball go too early, it gets all its distance up in the air (not straight behind you, where it counts). If you let it go too late, you drive it straight into the ground.

Trouble spots on the SPT

With a little practice, you can nail down the right technique on the SPT. On test day, graders are watching for testers stepping over the fault line and/or throwing at an angle.

If your medicine ball goes outside your lane, it doesn’t matter how far away it lands; what counts is where it crossed the line. You get two record throws, and the one that goes farthest is the one that your grader writes down as your raw score.

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