Training for the ACFT: 4 Simple Training Tips to Rapidly Increase Sprint, Drag, Carry Performance
Updated: Aug 29, 2020
This post contains affiliate links. Click here to learn more.
A friend recently asked me to review an ACFT-focused training plan. The training plan was sound. Perhaps most importantly, it was designed to address weaknesses identified during a baseline assessment. Due to the ease with which the author achieved an acceptable score on the Sprint-Drag-Carry (SDC) event, he chose not to dedicate time to deliberately training the SDC. That’s when it occurred to me the SDC might be undervalued and underappreciated due to an uncalibrated ACFT point scale. That led to another realization:
The Sprint-Drag-Carry is The Big Lebowski.
It’s just event four of the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT). The Big Lebowski is just a movie about bowling. Before a fight breaks out, let me be clear that I hold them both in high regard. The SDC, like The Big Lebowski, should earn immediate “cult classic” status; and over time, I hope it earns the favor of an even broader audience.
According to the draft standards, it’s not that hard to “max” the SDC.
It’s true, according to the current ACFT scoring table, earning 90 to 100 points on the SDC is relatively easy. However, the difference between running the SDC in less than 80 seconds and barely breaking 100 seconds is the difference between crushing a 12 minute two-mile run and loafing in at 16 minutes. As such, Soldiers should not train for this event with a goal of earning an arbitrary 100 points. Soldiers should train for this event with the goal of maximizing their potential in the most mission-focused and physically demanding event on the ACFT.
Developers deliberately designed the ACFT to assess more components of physical fitness than the APFT. Accordingly, the 3-Repetition Maximum Deadlift (MDL) measures absolute strength; the Standing Power Throw (SPT) measures power; the Hand-Release Push-Up (HRPU) measures upper-body muscular endurance; the Leg Tuck (LTK) measures grip strength, trunk stability, and muscular endurance; and the two-mile run measures aerobic endurance. So far, the only major component of fitness missing is anaerobic endurance. Enter the SDC -- it measures anaerobic endurance and then some. Here’s a quick break down of the event and how it measures different elements of fitness: