Company C, 2nd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment, recently hosted a physical training session for 3rd Chemical Brigade senior leaders focusing on the new Army Combat Fitness Test, giving leaders the opportunity to see a demonstration and to try it out before pushing it out to their troops.
Lt. Col. Steven McGunegle, 2nd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment commander, said it’s important for senior leaders to gain firsthand experience with the ACFT.
“Experience is the best teacher,” he said. “We must assess the requirements and resources needed to implement the ACFT and experience is an important part of the assessment.”
McGunegle added, “With any new test or event we owe our Soldiers training to prepare for an evaluation. We have to teach proper execution of the events and then conduct training and retraining before we are prepared to execute the new test.”
Approximately 20 leaders came out and participated in the early morning event.
Capt. Richard Smock, Company C commander, said the event was a success in helping explain to command teams the amount of time, equipment and even the level of fitness required to complete the test successfully.
Company C Executive Officer 1st Lt. Jacob Thielemier helped organize the event and said it’s important to fully understand the standards on something new and unfamiliar before asking Soldiers to do it.
“The Army is always changing, whether it is a new weapons system or new physical readiness assessments,” Thielemier said. “If you can stay on the forefront of change, you will be able to succeed. Adaptability is a leadership trait.”
In July the Army announced the new gender- and age-neutral test would become a requirement in October 2020, replacing the current three-event Army Physical Fitness Test which has been used since 1980.
Army officials said the test was designed to “better prepare Soldiers for combat tasks, reduce injuries and lead to cost savings for the Army.”
The Army Combat Fitness Test consists of six events which should take about 45 to 55 minutes to complete:
— Strength deadlift with a proposed weight of 120 to 140 pounds to replicate picking up ammunition boxes, wounded individuals, supplies or heavy equipment;
— Standing power throw where a 10-pound ball is tossed backward as far as possible to test ones “muscular explosive power” that is needed to lift themselves or others over an obstacle or the ability to move rapidly across uneven terrain;
— Hand release pushups where Soldiers do a traditional pushup but release their hands and arms from contact with the ground when in the down position, reset and do another, allowing additional upper body muscles to be worked;
— Sprint/drag/carry complete 25 meters five times, up and down a lane, performing sprints, dragging a 90-pound sled and finally carrying two 40-pound kettlebell weights to simulate pulling another Soldier out of danger, moving to take cover, or quickly carrying ammunition;
— Leg tuck which is similar to a pullup, only Soldiers lift their legs up and down touching their knees/thighs to their elbows as many times as they can to help strengthen core muscles;
— 2-mile run as the final event and officials say they expect run times to be slower due to prior strenuous activity.
While the current test measures muscular and aerobic endurance, the ACFT will test Soldiers on physical fitness, muscular strength and endurance, power, speed, agility, aerobic endurance, balance, flexibility, coordination and reaction time.
“It requires a different training approach to prepare for the ACFT versus the APFT,” McGunegle said. “Even the small change with the pushup going to hand release works different muscles and requires training to prepare.”
Smock said he now knows the expectations for the future test and what he personally needs to work on.
“The event minimums were all very attainable, however, the max score will take some work,” Smock said.
Thielemier summed it up by adding, “It’s time to get in the gym.”