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  • TrainingFor600

ACFT Standards: Why the Army is using a Hex-bar to assess Soldiers' Strength

Updated: Aug 29, 2020

Response to the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) is certainly polarizing, but it appears the ACFT and its logistical tail has reached cruising altitude and will touch down soon at an installation near you. If you’ve reluctantly chosen to move forward and train for the ACFT, or if you’re still miffed over the straight bar snub, this article is for you!


Here’s what you’ll learn in this post:

  • We’ll introduce a simple hypothesis for the Army’s hex-bar preference

  • We’ll review deadlift bro-science and the real peer-reviewed facts

  • We’ll tell you exactly what to do with all this information to improve yourself and your unit

  • We’ll even offer practical recommendations for how to train for the ACFT 3-repetition maximum deadlift (MDL) without any equipment at all

Have you completed the last Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) you’ll ever take?


On 1 October, 2020, the ACFT goes live. While the Army will still compel you to complete 2 minutes of push-ups and run 2 miles as quickly as possible, the sit-up will take its rightful place in history beside the strange knee rotation that crusty operations sergeant major still does every morning before PT.

Aside from replacing the sit-up with a meaningful measure of upper-body pulling strength and trunk stability, the six-event ACFT also introduces a non-trivial amount of equipment ($63.7M to be exact). After a contract dispute delayed initial delivery, mounds of hex-bars, bumper plates, kettlebells, and sleds are currently arriving to units nation-wide.