The Army has created a new Army Combat Fitness Test that will replace the Army Physical Fitness Test and become the standard for soldiers going forward—so it's vitally important that you become familiar with it if you serve.
"Beginning October 2020, all Soldiers will be required to take the new gender- and age-neutral test," the Army says on its website. "Before that, field testing set to begin this October will allow the Army to refine the test, with initial plans for up to 40,000 Soldiers from all three components to see it."
As a result of the changes, there is no need for age groups or male and female standards.
The New Army Combat Fitness Test
The Army Combat Fitness Test includes the following events:
- Deadlift—This is a three-repetition maximum deadlift using a hex bar.
- Standing Power Throw—Throw a 10-pound medicine ball as far as possible over the head and to the rear.
- Hand-Raised Push-ups—You still have to do pushups, but now you also have to add a lift of your hands off the floor when in the down (chest to ground) position each repetition.
- A 250-Meter Sprint, Drag, and Carry—This is five different tests within one event: a 50-meter sprint; a backward 50-meter drag of a 90-pound sled; a 50-meter movement; a 50-meter carry of two 40-pound kettlebells; and a final 50-meter sprint.
- Leg Tuck—This is a hanging knee up from a pull-up bar, bringing the knees to the elbows multiple times.
- Two-Mile Run—Soldiers still have to run 2 miles for their cardiovascular endurance test.
Occupational Physical Assessment Test
After Basic Combat Training, the soldiers will be tasked to take the Occupational Physical Assessment Test, which will determine how physically demanding the job training (AIT) can be for the new soldier.
The OPAT measures muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiorespiratory endurance, explosive power, and speed. The tests used to measure these elements of tactical fitness include:
Standing Long Jump—This is the standard broad jump with no running to build momentum.
Seated Power Throw—This test involves a forward throw with both arms while seated using a 4.4-pound (2 kilogram) medicine ball the size of a basketball.
Strength Deadlift—The strength deadlift is the standard lift of weight (using a hex bar, not a barbell) from the floor to a standing position. You start at 120 pounds and build up to 220 pounds.
Interval Run (Beep Test)—This is a short distance interval run designed to assess aerobic capacity. The intervals are only 20 minutes apart and you start each 20-minute run on the sound of "beeps" at intervals that decrease with time.
The Current Army Physical Fitness Test
Here you'll find the current Army Physical Fitness Test requirements and the male standard for ages 27-31.
The U.S. Army measures physical aptitude through the Army Physical Fitness Test, or APFT, which requires soldiers to complete three events: 2 minutes of push-ups, 2 minutes of sit-ups, and a 2-mile run.
Scoring on the APFT is based on age category, gender, number of repetitions performed of the push-up and sit-up, and run time. The score for each event ranges from 0 to 100 points. Soldiers need to score at least a 60 to pass the test. APFT standards may be tougher for some special purpose units.
Scores of 270 or above on the APFT—with a minimum score of 90 in each event—earn soldiers the Physical Fitness badge.
However, critics say the test does not adequately measure strength and endurance. For this reason, the Army piloted the Army Physical Readiness Test (APRT) in 2011 on more than 10,000 soldiers but eventually decided to stick with the APFT test.
US Physical Fitness Charts for Males Age 27-31
While the APFT test is still being used, the following charts show the number of repetitions and scores needed for men ages 27 to 31 to pass the test. Standards vary by age and gender, and the standards have been criticized due to the differences in passing scores for men and women.
Running (2 Miles)
The Army says that the new ACFT will incorporate exercises that soldiers need on the battlefield, which revolve around gender-neutral and standards-based skills.
The Occupational Physical Assessment Test (OPAT) is a gender-neutral test that includes a standing long jump, a deadlift, an aerobic interval run, and a "seated power throw"—a gauge of upper-body strength and specifically loading ammunition.
Other details about the test include the following:
- Scoring for each event has yet to been determined, but unlike the APFT, plans call for one system for all ages and genders.
- MOSs (Military Occupational Specialties) will be ranked in a three-tier system. Recruits with scores that fall short of Tier 1 (high-demand) in a given event won’t be eligible for specialties in that tier.
- Recruits must meet the Tier 3 standards to join the Army.
- Re-tests will be allowed with time frames and limits to the number of tests.
- Like the physical fitness test, the OPAT can be administered individually or in a group setting.
Want to learn more about the Army? Here are more articles that can get you up to speed:
- Army Field Manuals
- Basic Training is Smarter, Not Softer
- The Rules of the Army Field Manual About Physical Training
- Recruiting School