In coming months, as many as 40,000 U.S. Army soldiers will be tested for strength and explosiveness as part of the branch's new Army Combat Readiness Test (ACRT), which launched in pilot form in October. This is the first time the Army's fitness training standards have been updated in 38 years, according to Michael McGurk, director of Research & Analysis at the U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training (CIMT).
The ACRT will go into full-effect in October 2020, when all Army applicants and soldiers will be required to complete the age- and gender-neutral test.
"The Army's changing things," McGurk told Club Industry in March 2018. "It's no longer, 'I'm going to join the Army and get in shape.' It's, 'I'm going to get in shape so I can join the Army.'"
The six-event pilot test is influenced by trends in strength and HIIT training and evaluates deadlifts, leg tucks, T-push-ups, a two-mile run, standing power throws and a sprint/drag/carry drill.
Each active Army battalion will complete two rounds of the ACRT through 2019, after which the CIMT will compile and assess the results prior to the test's official 2020 launch. The pilot data will help determine the difficulty and point system behind the test's final iteration, according to Army Times.
Several prominet military figures have endorsed the ACRT's components and neutrality toward participants, including Army Secretary Mark Esper and Marine Lt. Col. Kate Germano, who trained female recruits at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina.
The ACRT and the Army's Occupational Physical Assessment Test (OPAT) (introduced in January 2017) are both part of a multi-year program aimed at dramatically overhauling the culture of health and wellness within the branch, McGurk told Club Industry.
A video demonstration of the ACRT can be viewed here.