Readiness is critical if you’re a soldier. As a result, physical fitness is regularly assessed by the Army as a means of ensuring readiness.
Currently, the evaluation of physical readiness is primarily conducted with the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), which is part of the Army’s Holistic Health and Fitness (H2F) System.
Whether you’re currently a soldier or are considering joining the Army, understanding the ACFT standards is beneficial. It allows you to prepare for the assessment to ensure you achieve a passing score, as well as know what it takes to ensure physical readiness.
Here’s an overview of the ACFT, including what it is, the included events, the ACFT standards scoring scale, and more.
What Is the ACFT?
The ACFT is a physical fitness assessment designed to assess muscular strength, endurance, power, agility, coordination, flexibility, speed, and similar critical factors. Additionally, it ensures mental readiness, including toughness, diligence, and stamina.
The ACFT replaced the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), which had been in place for 40 years. In October 2020, the ACFT functionally became the standard. However, the ACFT has undergone several iterations, with the most recent version representing ACFT 4.0.
Currently, the ACFT features six events, each designed to assess a different aspect of physical readiness and capability. For example, some evaluate muscular strength, while others are endurance-focused.
However, they all usually require several fitness-related abilities and rely on multiple muscle groups to complete successfully.
What Are the ACFT Events?
3 Repetition Maximum Deadlift (MDL)
During the MDL, soldiers must deadlift the highest amount of weight they can manage for three repetitions.
Soldiers choose the amount of weight they’ll attempt to lift, so some experience with deadlifting is helpful. It allows soldiers to choose the proper plates the first time around, ensuring they work with a total weight that represents their personal maximum.
Assessed Fitness Components
- Muscular Strength
- 60-Pound Hex Bar
- Weight Plates
The MDL is divided into three movement-based phases. During the preparatory phase, when instructed, the soldier steps inside the hex bar.
Place the feet shoulder-width apart and visually identify the mid-point of the integrated handles. Bend the knees and hinge the hips backward, ensuring the knees don’t extend beyond the toes.
Lower down until it’s possible to grip the handles comfortably and firmly, keeping the back flat, arms fully extended, and head aligned with the spine. Also, make sure that the heels of the feet remain on the ground.
The upward movement phase is next. When instructed, lift the bar by straightening the knees, and maintain the feet in the same position throughout.
Keep the back straight and ensure that the hips aren’t rising before or above the shoulders. Achieve a straddle stance, ensuring the weight remains under control and appropriately balanced throughout the entire movement.
Then, soldiers complete the downward movement phase. After achieving a straddle stance, maintain a straight back and lower the ground to the floor, bending the knees and hips as the weight descends.
It’s critical to ensure that the weight plates contact the floor, but the weight must be set on the ground, not dropped. Once contact is made, the repetition is complete.
After the first repetition, the soldier must immediately begin the upward movement phase again, followed by the downward movement phase to complete the second repetition. Then, both stages are repeated once more to finish the third repetition.
If that doesn’t occur, the solider can retest once with less weight. If all three repetitions are completed with suitable control and without pauses to rest, the assessment is complete.
However, soldiers can choose to attempt the MDL one more time with more weight in an attempt to improve their score.
Standing Power Throw (SPT)
The SPT involves taking a medicine ball and heaving it backward and over the soldier’s head. During this event, the weight of the medicine ball is fixed.
The goal is to achieve the maximum throwing distance possible, as the score is based on the distance achieved.
Assessed Fitness Components
- 10-Pound Medicine Ball
The SPT involves two phases. First, soldiers get into the starting position.
Begin by picking up the medicine ball, holding it with both hands – and standing with both heels at – but not on or beyond – the starting line on the floor.
Place the feet hip-width apart and keep both hands at hip level. Make sure to hold the ball firmly and broaden the grip as much as possible.
Once instructed, the soldier can begin the movement phase. Before starting the throw, specific preparatory movements are allowed, such as knee and hip lowering and positioning the ball between their legs.
During the throw, keep the arms straight and move the ball in an arc while simultaneously pushing up through the legs and hips. As the ball reaches the directly overhead point, arch the back to propel the ball backward.
The ball will arc over the soldier’s head before release to achieve the right trajectory. The goal is to throw it behind toward the measuring lane, striving to achieve the longest possible throwing distance.
Soldiers are allowed to jump when throwing the ball backward. However, if they fall or step onto or cross the starting line when landing, it’s considered a zero score.
If the throw is successful – either with or without jumping – the distance is measured and recorded.
After completing the first throw, soldiers repeat the SPT for a second throw measurement. If both of the initial two throws result in faults, a third throw is permitted, with the new score replacing the score associated with the second attempt.
While two scores are recorded, only the longest of them is used for scoring purposes.
Hand-Release Push-Up (HRP)
Soldiers are given two minutes to complete as many HRPs as possible, with higher numbers leading to better scores.
Assessed Fitness Components
- Muscular Endurance
- Level Surface
For the HRP, the technique is relatively straightforward. Soldiers get into a plank position with their hands flat on the ground, keeping the index fingers within the outer edge of the shoulder on each side.
The feet should be no more than a boot’s width apart, with the ankles flexed and the toes on the ground. Make sure that the head, neck, and spine are aligned, and keep the hips lowered to create a relatively flat plane across the legs and torso.
Bend the elbows to lower the body toward the ground, maintaining the aligned plank position. A lack of straight alignment will prevent a repetition from counting, so it’s critical to remain mindful of body positioning.
Continue lowering until the body (chest, hips, and thighs) reaches the ground.
When instructed, soldiers begin pressing back up to the original plank position with the elbows fully extended, reaching the up position. Then, they repeat the lowering movement back to the ground, ensuring the chest, hips, and thighs make contact with the floor simultaneously.
Once contact is made, the head, body, and legs remain in their position, and the soldier picks up both arms to create a T-position with the arms extended out to the sides. Touching the ground during this movement is allowed.
Then, the soldier brings the arms and hands back in, placing them back on the ground in the starting position, completing the repetition. The goal is to finish as many repetitions as possible in two minutes.
The SDC involves five 50-meter shuttles while managing heavy items in a particular fashion or using specific movements to complete the shuttle. During this event, the weight of equipment and the distance that must be covered are fixed.
The goal is to complete the required distance in the shortest time possible using the proper technique.
Assessed Fitness Components
- Muscular Strength
- Muscular Endurance
- Reaction Time
- Anaerobic Endurance
- Anaerobic Power
- Two 40-Pound Kettlebells
- 90-Pound Sled
The SDC is a multi-phase event divided into five 50-meter shuttles. Once at the starting line and instructed to begin, the soldier sprints down to a line 25 meters away, ensuring to make contact with the line with the foot or hand before turning around and sprinting back.
Next, there’s the drag shuttle. Soldiers grip a pair of handles attached to a 90-pound sled and begin pulling the sled backward.
Once the entire sled crosses the 25-meter line, they turn the sled around and go back to the starting point, making sure that the sled entirely crosses that line.
The third phase is the lateral, going down the 25-meter lane and touching that line before doing the same movement back to the start. For the fourth segment, soldiers pick up two 40-lb kettlebells, one in each hand.
With the kettlebells, they run the 25-meter path, touch the line with a foot, then run to return to the starting point and put the kettlebells down. The final phase is a repeat of the first, involving sprints.
The goal is to complete the entire series of shuttles in rapid succession and achieve the lowest possible total time. Instruction to begin is only provided at the start of the first phase, so the soldier should continue through each stage without further direction until completion.
The PLK is a time-based event where soldiers must maintain a plank position. The goal is to keep the position for the longest amount of time possible, as longer times lead to higher scores.
Assessed Fitness Components
- Muscular Endurance
- Level Surface
When instructed, soldiers get into the starting position. They should position their body on the ground, ensuring the toes and knees are making contact.
The hands are placed on the ground in one of three accepted positions. They can be in fists, on the side (pinky-side down), or flat, ensuring that the hands are no more than a fist-width apart regardless of position.
Keep the elbow bent, aligning the elbows with the shoulder while the forearms are on the ground, creating a triangle.
When instructed, soldiers lift their knees off the ground to create an even plane from the legs through the shoulders and head, with eyes facing the floor. The ankles remain flexed, ensuring the toes are holding the weight.
When instructed, soldiers then shift into the plank position. The straight-line positioning must be maintained from heels to head, and the hands, forearms, and feet must keep contact with the ground.
The goal is to maintain the plank position for as long as possible, as longer times lead to higher scores.
Only one warning of improper positioning is given, and failure to return to the right position will end the assessment and determine the score. Trembling or shaking is allowed as long as the overall positioning is kept.
Two-Mile Run (2MR)
The 2MR is an endurance event where soldiers must run a set course. The goal is to complete the two miles in the shorted possible time, as quicker times receive better scores.
Assessed Fitness Components
- Aerobic Endurance
- Two-Mile Route (level field, track, or similar running surface)
The two-mile run can be completed using any running technique. Sprinting, running, and jogging are all permitted, and walking is technically allowed, but it’s discouraged.
Switching between running methods is also allowed, giving soldiers the ability to adapt their approach throughout the assessment.
Soldiers begin at the starting line and finish once they’ve completed the entire path, the required number of laps, or another marker that notes completion. The goal is to achieve the shortest possible time, as quicker times lead to higher scores.
ACFT Scoring Scale
The ACFT scoring scale outlines the minimum required performance to pass the assessment. The comprehensive breakdown of the ACFT scoring scale is available through the Army website.
The tables show all of the scoring guidelines based on age and gender for every exercise.
Additionally, the scoring scale outlines the precise number of points awarded based on performance. For example, it lets you know exactly how many points are earned by deadlifting a specific amount of weight three times successfully.
However, a simplified version is also helpful. Along with showing what’s required to achieve a maximum score for each exercise (based on gender and age), it shows what’s needed to secure a minimum passing score – the 60-point requirement – in each event.
The lowest possible cumulative passing score is a total of 360 points. However, that is based on a soldier achieving at least a 60-point score in every event.
If any individual event score is below 60, that event isn’t successfully passed, regardless of the point total.
The highest possible cumulative score is 600. That involves meeting or exceeding the maximum performance standard in every event.
For example, for a 25-year-old male, that would comprise of an MDL with 340+ pounds, an SPT of 13+ meters, an HRP with 61+ reps, an SDC no longer than 1.5 minutes, a PLK of 3 minutes and 25 seconds or longer, and a 2MR in 13 minutes and 27seconds or less.
ACFT Body Fat Assessment Exemption
In March 2023, the US Army released a directive regarding exemptions from body fat assessments based on ACFT performance. Soldiers that secure a score of 540 or above and have a minimum score of 80 in each event are no longer required to undergo a body fat assessment.
That exemption applies regardless of the soldier’s gender, height, and weight.
The change was instituted after a study concluded that soldiers with high volumes of lean muscle mass could fail a body fat assessment that’s outlined in Army Regulation 600-9. In order to combat erroneous flagging of those soldiers, those who score exceptionally well on the ACFT – which essentially proves an appropriate degree of physical fitness – the exemption was created.
Any soldier who doesn’t meet the parameters above is not automatically exempt from a body fat assessment based on their ACFT performance. As a result, they should assume that one is required unless they qualify for one based on the exception to policy.
FAQs About the ACFT
What’s Changed Since ACFT 3.0?
The current version of the ACFT went into effect on April 1, 2022, and it adjusted the scorecard to feature scaled scoring based on gender and age. The move back to a gender and age-based scoring scale is the result of an analysis of collected data and feedback from soldiers, with the scoring developed to ensure that all soldiers meet necessary standards.
The age and gender-based strategy was also the preferred approach to ensure force readiness while ensuring fairness. Age and gender-neutral scoring don’t account for physiological differences that occur when soldiers are of different ages or genders, so those approaches were deemed unideal.
Additionally, the ACFT transitioned to a single core-strength event – the plank – eliminating the leg tuck, which was deemed an inaccurate assessment of core strength. Finally, a 2.5-mile walk can serve as an alternative to the aerobic event – standing in for the 2-mile run – for soldiers whose medical profiles prevent running.
How Was the New Scoring Scale Developed?
The new scoring scale is the result of an analysis of approximately 630,000 ACFT scores, APFT historical data, and scoring tables in use within other military branches.
The 100-point maximum score is designed to represent the 96th percentile in regard to performance, while the 60-point mark represents the 5th percentile. Everything in between is an even distribution that was observed in past performance records.
The only exception is the 2-mile run, where the minimum score required was selected to ensure it didn’t mandate a faster time than outlined in the APFT run standards.
Are Pregnant or Postpartum Soldiers Required to Take the ACFT?
Soldiers are exempt from taking the ACFT while pregnant. Additionally, postpartum soldiers are exempt for 365 days after the conclusion of a pregnancy, whether that involves birth or perinatal loss.
However, soldiers can volunteer to participate in physical fitness activities and assessments without any risk of ending the exemption period early.
Why Do Soldiers in a Non-Combat MOS Need to Take a “Combat” Fitness Test?
Physical fitness ensures individual and unit readiness. Regardless of a soldier’s MOS, ensuring that they’re physically capable of deploying and engaging in combat successfully is critical, as it increases their ability to return home safely.
By requiring all soldiers to adhere to the ACFT standards, the Army is ensuring that soldiers have the necessary tools – including strength, endurance, power, agility, speed, balance, coordination, aerobic capacity, and reaction time – to maximize their potential and handle responsibilities effectively.
Will the ACFT Change Again?
The ACFT is undergoing rigorous assessment on a continuous basis. As analysis of scores, pass rates, and other factors is conducted, changes may occur as needed to optimize the ACFT to ensure readiness.
About Post Author
Tamila McDonald is a U.S. Army veteran with 20 years of service, including five years as a military financial advisor. After retiring from the Army, she spent eight years as an AFCPE-certified personal financial advisor for wounded warriors and their families. Now, MacDonald is a freelance personal finance writer covering everything from bankruptcy to taxes.
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A score of 70 is the minimum for soldiers in "heavy" physically demanding units or jobs; a 65 is for soldiers in "significant" physically demanding units or jobs; and a score of 60 is for soldiers in "moderate" physically demanding units or jobs. A 60 is also the overall Army minimum standard for passing the ACFT.What are the ACFT guidelines for 2023? ›
Soldiers will take a diagnostic ACFT (to standard) during 1 April 2022–31 March 2023. In any instance where the Soldier passes the diagnostic ACFT prior to 1 April 2023, the Soldier may elect to have the test re-characterized as a record ACFT and uploaded to the DTMS at any time after 1 April 2023.What is the max 2 mile run for ACFT? ›
The standard to max the test is actually 30 seconds slower overall: 13:30. There are grading changes compared to the old APFT. There are no age groups, nor are there separate male/female standards. Your scores also depend on your military occupational specialty as to what you need to achieve.Is 540 a good ACFT score? ›
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army has released a directive exempting all Soldiers scoring 540 points or more on the Army Combat Fitness Test from the body fat assessment, regardless of their height and weight. Soldiers must score 80 points or more in each event.What are the specifics of the ACFT? ›
The ACFT is a six-event physical fitness test; the test events are administered in the following order: 3 Repetition Maximum Deadlift (MDL), Standing Power Throw (SPT), Hand-Release Push-up (HRP), Sprint- Drag-Carry (SDC), Leg Tuck (LTK), and 2 Mile Run (2MR).What are the new changes to the ACFT? ›
Army ACFT Changes 2022
The ACFT replaced the Army Physical Fitness Test in order to be more gender-neutral, but only about 50% of women had a passing rate compared to the 90% passing rate for men.
2MR tips and techniques
Like any Army run, walking is authorized but highly discouraged. You have to stay on the running course, and you have to complete the run with no physical help from anyone.
Strength deadlift: You must perform a three-repetition deadlift with the weight increased with each repetition. The weight range of the deadlift is 120 to 420 pounds.How far apart are ACFT lanes? ›
20 fully equipped, 60m lanes. Each 3m wide.Has anyone scored a 600 on the ACFT? ›
Recently, a female soldier from the District of Columbia Army National Guard made history by becoming the first woman in the DCARNG to score a 600 on the ACFT. Officer Candidate Kenyatta Sears of the 276th Military Police Company, DCARNG, is humble and focused on motivating others to achieve their own fitness goals.
TRADOC data reports the male fail rate in 2019 was 28%, compared to 16% in February 2020. Last week, Military.com reported 44% of women are still failing the ACFT, compared to just 7% of men, based on Army data from April 2021 -- a slight increase from last year's TRADOC numbers.What is the bare minimum ACFT score? ›
A score of 70 is the minimum for soldiers in "heavy" physically demanding units or jobs; a 65 is for soldiers in "significant" physically demanding units or jobs; and a score of 60 is for soldiers in "moderate" physically demanding units or jobs. A 60 is also the overall Army minimum standard for passing the ACFT.What is a perfect score on the ACFT? ›
The Passing score is 60 points for each test, with a maximum of 100 points, for minimum overall score of 360 and perfect score of 600. The very thorough ACFT website includes detailed instructions as to how the exercise is performed, and videos showing how to train for the test.Is the ACFT hard to pass? ›
The ACFT score chart shows that a perfect score is 600, and while this mark is difficult, it's possible. A score of 60 on each test will provide you with a passing score equating to a total minimum score of 360 needed to pass. A total of 66 female Soldiers scored 500 points or higher, compared to 31,978 male Soldiers.How long does it take to complete ACFT? ›
The ACFT is intended to be completed in 70 minutes or less. The ACFT requires a testing site with a two-mile running course and a flat, 40x40-meter space of well-maintained grass. If testing is done indoors, the sprint-drag-carry event must be conducted on artificial turf.What is the most failed ACFT event? ›
The test moving forward will include hand-release pushups, a two-mile run — which Grinston said is the most-failed event — the sprint-drag-carry, overhead power throw, and deadlift, and the plank which is permanently replacing the leg tuck.Can you fail an ACFT event? ›
How long do Soldiers have to retake the ACFT if they fail? Regular Army and Active Guard Reserve Soldiers will retest no less than 120 days and no more than 180 days from the test failure. Reserve Component Soldiers will retest no less than 180 days and no more than 240 days from the test failure.Do you fail the ACFT if you fail one event? ›
If you fail the ACFT, you can be chaptered out of the Army. They're taking it seriously, just like the APFT. Remember, a failure in one event is a failure of the whole test. You can't fail one and max out the other five and expect to get a passing score – it just doesn't work that way.What is failing on the ACFT? ›
By failing to achieve a score of at least 60 points in the SDC you are considered a test failure. As a result, you may be flagged and have all favorable actions suspended. Per Army Directive 2022-05, "Soldiers who fail a record ACFT will retest no less than 120 days and no more than 180 days from the test failure.Is ACFT graded by MOS or unit? ›
Previously, your gender and age were significant for the ACFT scoring, but now it's ACFT Scoring by MOS, and the only thing that is taken into consideration is your MOS.
The chart also highlights the minimum scores soldiers must meet for three categories: Black for soldiers in "heavy" physically demanding units or jobs; Gray for soldiers in "significant" physically demanding units or jobs; and Gold for soldiers in "moderate" physically demanding units or jobs.Is there a time limit on ACFT pushups? ›
This test forms part of the new Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT). It is a measure of the maximum number of pushups completed in two minutes. This test differs from the standard push-up as the soldier must take the weight off their hands when in the lowest position. This test replaces the APFT 2-min push-up test in 2020.Can you take the ACFT the same day as height and weight? ›
Body Composition Testing will NOT be conducted on the same day as the ACFT. To avoid illness and injury, height and weight should be recorded at least 7 days before or at least 7 days after the ACFT when feasible.Can you take an ACFT in the rain? ›
The ACFT must be taken on a dry grass field, NO rocks, NO rain, NO snow, NO early morning dew -- which will be perfect if your unit trains under a covered dome field.What is the heaviest verified lift? ›
The Current Guinness Record for most weight lifted by a human is now held by the two-time Canada's Strongest Man winner Gregg Ernst. Having already been watched by over 1,000 people lifting two grown oxen, in July 1993, Ernst lifted 2,422.2kg (5340lb), making this officially the world's heaviest lift.How many people have maxed the ACFT? ›
Out of all formations the Army has across the world, only one can claim an enlisted Soldier who has maxed the test: 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI), the "Frozen Chosin." All Army units have that "one" Soldier.How heavy is the bar for the ACFT? ›
ACFT-specific test equipment requirements (See Appendix D). 16 hexagon/trap bars (60 pounds), each with a set of locking collars. While all national stock number (NSN)-approved hexagon bars must weigh 60 pounds, there is always a small manufacturer's production tolerance.How far is the bike in ACFT? ›
No particular brand is recommended or endorsed by the U.S. Army. You may pause and rest during the test; however, you may not get off the bike. To pass, you must complete 12,000 meters in 25 minutes or less.How hard is it to get a 600 on the ACFT? ›
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.Did the army accidentally reveal possible ACFT changes? ›
An Army contractor accidentally published “pre-decisional” information to the internet about potential changes to the Army Combat Fitness Test as April 1 — the date previously set for record fitness test implementation — draws nearer.
While taking the ACFT is challenging, the real benefit for the Army comes in preparing for the ACFT. The ACFT sets the mark much higher than the APFT because Soldiers now must train across a wider spectrum of events, which will build increased overall strength and athleticism in our Soldiers.Is the ACFT gender neutral? ›
“The ACFT will remain gender neutral to pass. Every soldier must do the same amount of each exercise to be a soldier. The intent is to have only one scoring table. But that data is crucial to helping us inform policy moving forward.”What is the time limit for sprint drag carry? ›
Scoring: Participants are to complete all three tasks in the quickest time possible, with three-minutes scoring 60 points and one minute thirty-three seconds scoring 100 points.
The Marines have arguably the most difficult fitness test as it requires Marines to run an additional mile and do pull-ups. The USMC physical fitness test (PFT) requirements include crunches for two minutes, pull-ups to the maximum repetition, and a three-mile run.Can you walk on the ACFT? ›
ACFT Walk is an alternative cardio event in the new army combat fitness test; it is a 2.5 Mile walk that measures aerobic and leg muscle endurance. ACFT walk standards refer to the minimum requirements to pass the 2.5 Mile walk that's part of the alternate events.Is the ACFT going back to gender neutral? ›
The ACFT was originally intended to be gender-neutral, but the Army reversed course after early test data, first reported by Military.com in 2021, showed that nearly half of all female soldiers were failing the test.Is the new ACFT official? ›
In October 2022, the Army officially replaced the 40-year-old 3-Event physical fitness test with the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT). Now, the ACFT, which had been in development since 2018 is changing.Is new ACFT based on MOS? ›
The first thing you need to know is that now the ACFT scoring is based only on your MOS. Previously, your gender and age were significant for the ACFT scoring, but now it's ACFT Scoring by MOS, and the only thing that is taken into consideration is your MOS.What is the minimum requirements for the ACFT? ›
- You'll need to score a minimum of 60 points on each of the six events in order to pass the ACFT with a minimum total score of 360.
- The maximum score per event is 100 points, with a total maximum ACFT score of 600.
During the test phase, passing rates ranged from 41% to 52% for enlisted women, versus 83% to 92% for men, depending upon component. Pass rates among officers were higher, ranging from 49% to 72% for women, versus 86% to 96% for men.
The Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) is a rigorous physical fitness test designed to assess the strength and endurance of soldiers in the United States Army. Recently, a female soldier from the District of Columbia Army National Guard made history by becoming the first woman in the DCARNG to score a 600 on the ACFT.Did the Army accidentally reveal possible ACFT changes? ›
An Army contractor accidentally published “pre-decisional” information to the internet about potential changes to the Army Combat Fitness Test as April 1 — the date previously set for record fitness test implementation — draws nearer.What is a good score on the new ACFT? ›
The Passing score is 60 points for each test, with a maximum of 100 points, for minimum overall score of 360 and perfect score of 600. The very thorough ACFT website includes detailed instructions as to how the exercise is performed, and videos showing how to train for the test.What is the failure rate for the ACFT? ›
A total of 48% of active duty enlisted women and 28% of active duty female officers could not pass the test. Nearly 60% of enlisted Reserve and Guard women failed the ACFT, as did 51% of female Reserve officers and 43% of female Guard officers.