ACFT Army Combat Fitness Test For Dummies
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The first step toward acing the Army Combat Fitness Test, or ACFT, is to study each test event and understand what Uncle Sam expects from you. From there, it’s all about functional fitness training and giving your body the right fuel to succeed.

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Study Up on ACFT Events

The ACFT’s six events measure how physically fit you are, and that includes your muscular strength, explosive power, and cardiovascular fitness. Check out the events in order (and what they require) so you can tackle the test head-on.

ACFT Event What it Tests
3 Repetition Maximum Deadlift (MDL) Muscular strength, balance, and flexibility
Standing Power Throw (SPT) Explosive power, balance, and flexibility
Hand Release Push-Up – Arm Extension (HRP) Muscular endurance
Sprint-Drag-Carry (SDC) Agility, anaerobic endurance, muscular endurance, and muscular strength
Leg Tuck (LTK) Muscular strength and endurance
Two-Mile Run (2MR) Aerobic endurance

Meet Your Minimum PDC Qualification on the ACFT

When you take the ACFT, you have to meet or exceed the minimum score required for your job regardless of your age or tenure. The Army divides the scores into three Physical Demand Categories, or PDCs: Heavy/Black, Significant/Gold, and Moderate/Gray. Every military occupational specialty, or MOS, is attached to a PDC. Here’s an ACFT score chart so you can see where to aim.

100 340 12.5 60 1:33 20 13:30
99 12.4 59 1:36 13:39
98 12.2 58 1:39 19 13:48
97 330 12.1 57 1:41 13:57
96 11.9 56 1:43 18 14:06
95 11.8 55 1:45 14:15
94 320 11.6 54 1:46 17 14:24
93 11.5 53 1:47 14:33
92 310 11.3 52 1:48 16 14:42
91 11.2 51 1:49 14:51
90 300 11.0 50 1:50 15 15:00
89 10.9 49 1:51 15:09
88 290 10.7 48 1:52 14 15:18
87 10.6 47 1:53 15:27
86 280 10.4 46 1:54 13 15:36
85 10.3 45 1:55 15:45
84 270 10.1 44 1:56 12 15:54
83 10.0 43 1:57 16:03
82 260 9.8 42 1:58 11 16:12
81 9.7 41 1:59 16:21
80 250 9.5 40 2:00 10 16:30
79 9.4 39 2:01 16:39
78 240 9.2 38 2:02 9 16:48
77 9.1 37 2:03 16:57
76 230 8.9 36 2:04 8 17:06
75 8.8 35 2:05 17:15
74 220 8.6 34 2:06 7 17:24
73 8.5 33 2:07 17:33
72 210 8.3 32 2:08 6 17:42
71 8.2 31 2:09 17:51
70 (Heavy/Black) 200 8.0 30 2:10 5 18:00
69 7.8 28 2:14 18:12
68 190 7.5 26 2:18 4 18:24
67 7.1 24 2:22 18:36
66 6.8 22 2:26 18:48
65 (Significant/Gold) 180 6.5 20 2:30 3 19:00
64 170 6.2 18 2:35 19:24
63 160 5.8 16 2:40 19:48
62 150 5.4 14 2:45 2 20:12
61 4.9 12 2:50 20:36
60 (Moderate/Gray) 140 4.5 10 3:00 1 21:00


Give Yourself an Extra Boost on ACFT Events

Although nothing can stand in for plenty of practice, each event on the ACFT is easier when you use the right techniques to execute the movements. These tips can help you perform your best, so practice them well in advance of test day:

  • MDL: Grab the hex bar right in the center so it doesn’t tip forward or back.
  • SPT: Get a full swing on the ball by sitting into a squat with the ball between your legs, and let go of the ball when your hands are just behind your head.
  • HRP: Spread your fingers wide to distribute weight across your hands while you push, and keep your chest on the ground when you extend your arms.
  • SDC: Pull your sled straight back and use your legs; don’t flex your arms when you’re pulling the sled. Avoid bouncing when you’re doing laterals, and use your deltoids and lats to help keep your kettlebells under control while you run.
  • LTK: Pull your body up at an angle (it helps to look at the bar) and keep your shoulders, lats, and core engaged during the entire event.
  • 2MR: Take it one lap at a time. If someone you know is slower than you passes you, sprint and take it back down to a more comfortable pace when you’re back in the lead.

Train for the ACFT on Your Own Time

Some people are better equipped to pass the ACFT than others are, but no matter where you fall on the athletic ability spectrum, you’re going to need to do some ACFT training on your own time. The Army isn’t big on giving people downtime, so you may have to squeeze in mini-workouts when you have only a few minutes to spare. Check out these exercises you can do anywhere. Although they won’t change your physique overnight, if you perform them regularly, they’ll give you a little extra power and endurance, and every little bit helps.

  • Planks: You can plank when you’re watching TV, while you’re waiting for formation, or while your morning coffee is brewing. Planks strengthen your entire core, your legs, your shoulders, and just about everything else. You can also switch things up by doing side planks.
  • Dips: Scoot your rear end close to a table, your desk, or the back of a sturdy chair or stool and do tricep dips. Keep your elbows tucked in so your inner arms brush your sides and use your arms to push yourself up and lower yourself down under control.
  • Squats: You don’t need weights to add a little power to your quads. Stand in front of your chair at work or the sofa at home and squat until your booty touches the surface; then come back up. Do them every time you think of it, and your legs will benefit from an endurance boost on test day.
  • Lunges: Travel from Point A to Point B with walking lunges, and you work your quads efficiently and effectively. Just make sure your front knee stays stacked over your ankle and both your legs form approximately 90-degree angles as you move.
  • Leg lifts: Stand against a counter or your desk and raise one leg behind you under control. Go as far as you can without arching your lower back, flexing your glutes and entire leg. Switch legs and repeat a few dozen times to strengthen your glutes, which may help prevent back and hip pain.
  • Sit-ups and push-ups: Knock out a few standard sit-ups and push-ups when you get tired of planking. Both these standard exercises do a lot for your body. When you do sit-ups, keep a light touch behind your head or cross your arms over your chest; when you do push-ups, tuck in your elbows and look at the floor. Completely disregard the old Army “wisdom” that you should look forward (which can hurt your neck).
  • Supermans: Lie face-down with your arms and legs extended. Then, raise all four at the same time to form a small curve in your back. Get creative and add Ys, Ts, and Ws if you’re up for it, all while flexing your back muscles.
  • Flutter kicks: Lie on your back with your palms facing down. Lift your heels about six inches from the floor and flutter your legs as long as you can (just keep a neutral spine).
  • Glute bridges: Lie faceup on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lift your hips until your knees, hips, and shoulders form a straight line, and flex your glutes while you contract your abs.
  • Single-leg deadlifts: Stand with your feet together and lift one leg behind you (you can bend it or keep it almost straight), and bend your grounded leg slightly. Reach your arms to the floor and come back up. You can also do single-leg squats. In fact, you can really make the exercise fun by doing a single-leg deadlift, a single-leg squat, and then a single-leg calf raise before switching sides.

What Happens If You Don’t Pass Height and Weight for the ACFT

You have to meet the Army’s height and weight requirements, which are governed by Army Regulation 600-9, in order to pass your ACFT. Unlike the ACFT’s neutral scoring, your height and weight limits are dependent on your biological sex and your age. If you don’t pass height and weight, you’ll be enrolled in the Army Body Composition Program, which requires you to steadily lose weight so you can meet the Army’s standards. Failure to lose weight on the program can result in involuntary separation from the military.

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