July 11 (UPI) — The U.S. Army is introducing an extensive overhaul of its physical fitness test that, with minor changes, has mostly been the same since 1980.
The new test, announced this week, changes the name from the Army Physical Fitness Test to the Army Combat Fitness Test and is planned to become gender and age neutral. It will include a series of physical events, while the APFT was a series of pushups, situps and a 2-mile run.
The new standards call for deadlift tests, throwing ten-pound balls for distance backwards, and hand-relaese pushups that require hands to be taken off the ground for greater muscle tension. It also includes sled drags to simulate casualties, sprints with 40-pound kettle bells, hanging from a pull-up bar with legs up and the standard 2-mile run.
“Throughout that research and testing, the goal was to provide our leaders with a tough, realistic, field-expedient assessment of the physical component of their soldiers’ individual readiness,” Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey said in a press release. “The ACFT is scientifically validated and will help better prepare our soldiers to deploy, fight and win on any future battlefield.”
The current APFT has been in place with minor changes since 1980. It is currently divided along gender and age differences.
The new test will undergo a one-year field trial with around 60 battalions starting in October. There have been several plans to change the test for decades, and plans for the new version of the have been in progress for the last six years.
More than 2,000 soldiers have already taken the AFCT under testing the Army Training and Doctrine Command and the Forces Command.
According to the Army, the scoring would be similar to the old test, with 100 points per event and a maximum score of 600. Soldiers will also get more time between events to rest.
Soldiers are supposed to receive adequate time to recover from injuries, but new “deploy-or-be-removed” standards recently implemented will remain in effect.
As part of an effort to produce fitter soldiers, the Army is developing a Holistic Health and Fitness System, of which the APFT is one part.
“This is a generational, cultural change in fitness for the United States Army, and will be a cornerstone of individual soldier combat readiness,” Army Maj. Gen. Malcolm Frost, commander of the Army’s Center of Initial Military Training, told the Military Times. “That’s how big this is for the Army.”