US Army to Introduce New Combat-Based Fitness Test in 2020

(Photo by Thinkstock.) The new Army Combat Readiness Test (ACRT) is slated to be as minimally gender- and age-specific as possible.

The United States Army is preparing to overhaul its Army Combat Readiness Test (ACRT) in 2020.

Changes would require soldiers, regardless of age or gender, to perform barbell lifts, power throws and a new form of push-up. The Army’s current physical-fitness assessment does not use weights.

“The Army has been talking about doing this for a long time, but with an end date in mind, we know this is for sure coming up,” Command Sgt. Maj. Micheal Sutterfield, U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria, told Stars and Stripes. “[The combat readiness test] measures explosive power, strength and the kind of fitness a soldier would need in combat. ... This is going to be a tough test. It’s going to show you really quick who eats right, who got a good night’s sleep and who is taking care of themselves."

The six-event pilot test is expected to be as follows:

• Deadlift. Soldiers are scored on how much weight they can lift from the ground.

• Standing power throw. Soldiers are scored on how far they can lift and throw a weighted ball.

• T-push-up. Soldiers are scored on how effectively they can execute a push-up in which the arms are extended to make a T shape at the bottom of the movement.

• Leg tuck. Soldiers are scored on how effectively they can hang from a bar and raise their knees to their midsection.

• Spring/drag/carry. Soldiers simulate running into combat and dragging and carrying another solider out of the area.

• Two-mile run. This is unchanged but is expected to be more difficult after completing the previous events.

“The key is holistic fitness and focusing on preventing injuries," Sutterfield told Stars and Stripes.

He encouraged soldiers to begin preparing now for the future test.

"By doing these kinds of workouts safely, you train your body to avoid injuries in the future,’” he said.

The Marine Corps implemented a combat-oriented test in 2009 that will be comparable to the new ACRT, according to Stars and Stripes.

The Army also introduced a new Occupational Physical Assessment Test (OPAT) in January 2017 that placed a greater emphasis on Army applicants' physical strength and aerobic abilities.

Several recent reports—including a 2016 assessment from PHIT America and a 2015 assessment from Mission: Readiness—have suggested many American adults are not fit enough to serve in the military.

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