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Training for the ACFT: The Hand-Release Push-Up (HRPU)

Updated: May 2

UPDATE: FY20 ACFT Standards confirm the Hand Release Push-up now includes arm extension instead of a hand lift. This is also known as the "T Push-up."

The Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), scheduled to replace the current APFT in the fall of 2020, is a six-event test with a 600 point scale that does not change based on a Soldier’s age, gender, or MOS. Unlike the Army’s current physical assessment, which only measures aerobic and muscular endurance, the ACFT will also assess anaerobic endurance and muscular strength. Here’s a look at the 6 ACFT events:

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Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) Events and Physical Demands

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Same push... but harder

One of the events most similar to the current APFT is the HRPU. Like the standard push-up, the HRPU also assesses upper body muscular endurance; unlike the current test, maxing out the HRPU is very difficult! This event is more difficult for several reasons.

  1. The standard is more clear and easier to enforce. The performer must begin in the “down” position of the front leaning rest with chest on the ground and index fingers within the frame of the shoulders. Like the traditional push-up, the performer must reach full extension at the “top” of the movement and then return to the starting position. UPDATE: To complete the first repetition, the performer must now fully extend both arms laterally (forming a T) and return hands to the starting position. Also similar to the traditional push-up, the performer must maintain the body in a generally straight line in order for a repetition to count. While this may not seem like a significant difference, the arm extension at the bottom of each repetition requires the performer to execute the movement with full range of motion. This slows the pace of the exercise to a cadence at which graders can more easily identify and correct deficiencies. Bottom line -- it is far more difficult to slide sub-par repetitions past a committed grader.

  2. Closer grip. As mentioned above, the index finger of both hands must remain closer to the midline of the body. Some may call this a “close-grip” push-up or “tricep” push-up. We’d prefer to call it the only push-up worth training. The hand positioning on this push up requires the