If you’re scheduled to take the ACFT, you probably have a lot of questions about how it all works – so here’s what you need to know.
ACFT (Army Combat Fitness Test) FAQ
These are pretty common questions about the ACFT. I address them in ACFT For Dummies, but in case you haven’t gotten around to getting the book yet, I’ll answer them here:
- What score do you need to pass the ACFT?
- How does the ACFT work?
- How can you pass the ACFT?
- What are the three alternate events for the ACFT?
- What FM covers the ACFT?
- Is the ACFT easier than the APFT?
- What happens if you fail the ACFT?
- Can you wear gloves during the ACFT?
- Can you change your shoes during the ACFT?
Here’s a closer look at each.
What score do you need to pass the ACFT?
The score you need to pass the ACFT depends on your MOS. More specifically, it depends on the Physical Demand Category, or PDC, for your MOS. You will have to achieve a score in the Moderate, Significant, or Heavy category.
The score requirements can – and most likely will – change by the time the ACFT becomes required in FY 2022. Here’s a quick look at each of the standards. Again, these are accurate right now; they may not be in the future.
How does the ACFT work?
The ACFT has six events:
- 3-Repetition Maximum Deadlift
- Standing Power Throw
- Hand-Release Push-Up – Arm Extension
- 2-Mile Run
Each of these events has its own rules, which I cover in ACFT For Dummies, and its own requirements to pass. If you haven’t yet taken an ACFT, you should familiarize yourself with each of them by clicking the links above.
How can you pass the ACFT?
The only way you can pass the ACFT is through physical training. You can’t just hop up after sitting on the sofa for a year, take the test and make the grade. For some people, daily PT with their units is enough – but for the rest of us, a little extra time in the gym or on the treadmill is necessary.
There are several exercises you can do to strengthen the muscles you need and improve your cardiorespiratory endurance to pass specific events. There are dozens of them (with pictures and step-by-step instructions) in ACFT For Dummies, but if you know you need to start somewhere, I recommend kicking things off by strengthening your core. You’ll need your core muscles for every event on the test, which means you should start working on them, like, yesterday.
You won’t pass just by doing regular exercises at the gym or at home, either. You also have to practice the events themselves so you can nail down your form and find out what works best for you.
But wait! There’s more!
You also have to eat right leading up to the test. If you have a few extra pounds on your midsection, for example, the Leg Tuck is going to be that much harder for you. The Army isn’t kidding when it says you need to be a lean, green, fighting machine. (Need nutrition tips, an inside look at how your body processes food and all the other stuff you put in it, and guidance on shedding a few pounds in a healthy way? Check out ACFT For Dummies – there are six whole chapters dedicated to diet and nutrition.)
Is the ACFT easier than the APFT?
Some people swear the ACFT is easier than the APFT, but I disagree. The ACFT is a full-body workout. It’s demanding from start to finish, and it’s conducted at a fairly quick pace – and that means you need to be completely prepared.
What are the three alternate events for the ACFT?
The three alternate events for the ACFT are the row, bike or swim. You can only take one of the alternate events if you’re on a permanent profile – if you’re on a temporary profile, you shouldn’t be taking the ACFT at all.
What FM covers the ACFT?
FM 7-22, Holistic Health and Fitness covers the ACFT. Other resources that can help you with the test include ATP 7-22.01 (Holistic Health and Fitness Testing) and ATP 7-22.02 (Holistic Health and Fitness Drills and Exercises).
What happens if you fail the ACFT?
If you fail the ACFT, you can be chaptered out of the Army. They’re taking it seriously, just like the APFT. Remember, a failure in one event is a failure of the whole test. You can’t fail one and max out the other five and expect to get a passing score – it just doesn’t work that way.
Can you wear gloves during the ACFT?
YES! You can absolutely wear gloves during the ACFT as long as they meet the standards outlined in AR 670-1.
Can you change your shoes during the ACFT?
YES! You can change your shoes during the ACFT. A lot of people want to do the MDL (the 3-Repetition Maximum Deadlift) and the 2MR (2-Mile Run) in different shoes. There is absolutely nothing (as of this writing) in the regs about changing your shoes during the test. If someone tells you otherwise, tell them to show you the reg (respectfully, of course).
Send them to Angie@UniqueWebCopy.com and I’ll address them here – and if your question isn’t already in ACFT For Dummies, I may address it in an updated edition of the book!