Soldiers participate in training for the Army Combat Fitness Test at Bell Gym.
In an effort to ensure Soldiers are ready for combat, the U.S. Army is replacing the Army Physical Fitness Test with the Army Combat Fitness Test as the physical test of record beginning October 2020.
Sky M. Clarke, Director, Sports, Fitness and Aquatics at Bell Gym said the ACFT is composed of six different tests that vary in muscular strength, agility, speed, coordination and stamina. The events are as follows: Event 1: 3 Repetition Maximum Deadlift; Event 2: Standing Power Throw; Event 3: Hand-Release Push-Up; Event 4: Sprint-Drag-Carry; Event 5: Leg Tuck; and Event 6: 2-Mile-Run.
The idea behind the test is to make sure Soldiers are fit enough for combat. According to the Department of the Army, right now less than 20 percent of our Soldiers are not fit enough for combat.
"I think the new requirements are an interesting addition," said Spc. Tanisha Tate. "The new physical fitness test is very different and challenging. It (will help us) better prepare for combat."
All of the events in the test simulate something Soldiers would have to do during combat such as being able to throw sandbags over their heads, sprinting, carrying gas cans, etc.
"I think it definitely improves on the different strengths we need to have and different muscle groups we need to use for equipment we carry," Tate said.
Clarke attended the Sports Directors Training for the Army in November 2018, where she learned about the new test. She said the new test is much more extensive compared to the previous test, which only included the 2-mile-run, push-ups and sit-ups.
"The leg tuck has been very challenging for the Soldiers because it involves a lot of upper body and core strength," Clarke said.
After the training in November Clarke came back to WSMR and trained her staff in the test. "It is much more challenging than it looks," she said.
"The new PT test is going to be great for the Army," said Sgt. Steven Randall. "It will measure combat fitness a lot better. I am looking forward to it."
Clarke said there were some concerns that Soldiers could get injured if they didn't train properly. So starting in January Bell Gym began to offer fitness classes to help strengthen the Soldiers for this test.
Clarke said the classes are designed to help Soldiers safely and successfully pass the test. The classes are free of charge for active duty Soldiers. The classes are offered Monday through Thursday at 6:30 a.m. and Monday and Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. In addition, active duty Soldiers can also attend CrossFit classes Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 11 a.m.; Tuesday at 11:30 a.m., Monday and Wednesday at 4:45 p.m., and Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
Soldiers have until October 2020 to take the test, giving them over a year to train and build up their strength.
Clarke said Bell Gym is giving Soldiers the tools to be successful when taking the test. "We are slowly getting more and more Soldiers in here," she said.
"I am a huge fan of this test," Clarke said. "I think it is amazing. Soldiers need to start training for it right now to be able to pass it in a year."
Clarke said they have the score sheets at Bell Gym. They start by doing a baseline to see where the Soldiers are at in the beginning and test them every few months to see where they are at and to help them get to where they need to be.