Updated: Oct 14, 2019
If your training efforts are directed towards earning as many points as possible on the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), then you are "Training For 600." Each of the six events that comprise the ACFT, the year 2020 replacement for the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), are scored on a 100 point scale. "Max” out each event, and you’ve earned 600 points. But here’s the rub: unlike “maxing” the APFT, earning 600 points on the ACFT will be a rare occasion. Why? Mostly because few Soldiers will possess both the strength to deadlift nearly 400 pounds and the endurance to run 2 miles in under 13 minutes. Any Soldier that demonstrates excellence (scores 100 points) in each of the 6 events of the ACFT (3RM Maximum Deadlift, Standing Power Throw, Hand-Release Push-Up, Sprint-Drag-Carry, Leg Tuck, 2-Mile Run) is a physical stud. Could the same be said for any Soldier that scores 300 points on the APFT? Absolutely not. APFT standards are too low and too few components of fitness are tested.
Thousands of Soldiers score 300 points on the APFT. For years we’ve acted like this was the mark of supreme physical fitness. You know better, though. The past 18 years of training for the crucible of ground combat was a good teacher. Your experience informed your training methods, and many of you have already started training with a broader type of fitness in mind. Strangely enough, this may have actually decreased your score on the APFT. This is because the APFT favors the endurance specialist (Soldiers that were born with a knack for running or Soldiers that trained mostly in the aerobic domain). If you shift your focus to being strong and powerful, your 2 mile run score may initially trend downward. According to APFT score, Soldiers that make this choice are less fit, despite making a wise choice to broaden their fitness.
The ACFT presents a new paradigm. The ACFT will reward Soldiers that make the wise choice to expand their fitness beyond just the endurance domain. Consider this scenario: Soldier A weighs 160 pounds, ran cross-country in high school, and during PRT focuses on bodyweight exercises. Soldier B weighs 185 pounds, played several different sports in high school, and likes to mix in some functional fitness or “CrossFit” from time to time. Both Soldiers score a 300 on the APFT. On paper these Soldiers possess the same level of physical fitness. A promotion board could never tell the difference between these two Soldiers. Enter the the ACFT. Soldier A scores very well in the muscular and aerobic endurance events (Hand-Release Push-Up, Leg Tuck, 2-Mile Run), but performs abysmally in the other three events. Soldier B puts up an above average performance on each of the events, and does especially well on the Deadlift and Sprint, Drag, Carry. Soldier A scores 490 points. Soldier B scores 530 points. Who is more fit now?
So, finally we have a test worthy of your training effort. Nobody expects you to max this test. Each of us will have obstacles standing in our paths. Remember this: “What stands in the way becomes the way.” You must train with loftier goals in mind. Take the test, assess your weaknesses, and let this test be a call to action!
Train with loftier goals in mind -- join TF600. Let's start Training For 600.
Know the difference between training for power and training for muscular strength? How do you push your anaerobic threshold higher so you can work harder for longer periods of time? How much recovery is required during and after a workout to maximize your gains? ArmyCombatFitnessTest.com can help you learn the training principles you'll need to dominate the ACFT.