ACFT Army Combat Fitness Test For Dummies
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If you’re on a permanent profile, the new events on the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) don’t have to spell an end to your illustrious career. You may be eligible for the modified ACFT—called the ACFT MOD—if you have clearance from your medical provider.

Soldiers are required to participate in all the events they’re not profiled against, but at minimum, a permanently profiled soldier has to pass the following, regardless of his or her job’s physical demand category:
  • MDL: In the 3 Repetition Maximum Deadlift, you have to lift a minimum of 140 pounds, which nets you a score of 60 points.
  • SDC: Every permanently profiled soldier has to complete the Sprint-Drag-Carry in under three minutes (that’s the 60-point score again).
  • An aerobic event: Depending on your profile, you may be required to participate in the Two-Mile-Run, the 5,000-Meter Row, the 15,000-Meter Bike, or the 1,000-Meter Swim. You must complete your alternate aerobic event within 25 minutes. (The 2MR rules are exactly the same as they are on the standard ACFT, but you must complete the course in 21 minutes.)
You still take the ACFT MOD with your unit, but you’re the last in line for each event, and you take only the events your profile allows. You begin your alternate events 10 minutes after you complete your last standard event (unless you’re taking the swim event, in which case you leave right away for the pool). Unlike the other ACFT events, the test supervisor reads instructions before each of these events.

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The ACFT MOD is only available to soldiers who are on permanent profiles. If you have a temporary profile, the Army expects you to recondition, retrain, and pass the full six-event ACFT. The requirements for the ACFT MOD are subject to change. The Army is serious when it says that the rules governing this test are “living documents.” Call your grader over when you’re getting close to the end of your required distance on the bike or row event. He or she has to watch your odometer and clock the exact moment you cross the “finish line” to record your point score.


The 15,000-Meter Bike event is another way the Army can measure your cardiovascular fitness. The bike event requires a stationary bike with an adjustable seat and handlebars so it can accommodate soldiers of different heights. The bike has to be equipped with an odometer and a stationary cycle ergometer.

You get a short warm-up period and time to adjust the seat and handlebars. Your event supervisor reads you these instructions:

The 15,000-Meter Bike measures your level of aerobic fitness. On the command “Go,” the clock will start and you will begin pedaling at your own pace. You must complete the 15,000-meter distance in 25 minutes or less. You will be scored on your time. What are your questions about this event?Then, on the command of “Get set,” grab your handlebars and get ready for the “Go” command. Your time starts on the “Go” command, and your test timer calls out the time remaining every 30 seconds during the last two minutes of allowable time. You must cover 12,000 meters within 25 minutes. Take some time to adjust the bike to your body before your event starts. You don’t want to stop during the test to tweak it because that cuts into your time.


If you’re participating in the row event, your unit has to provide you with a stationary rowing machine. It must have mechanically adjustable resistance, and the seat, handles, and foot straps have to be adjustable, too. The rowing machine must be equipped with an odometer, and it has to be calibrated before the test.

You get a short warm-up period and some time to adjust the machine to your body size. Then, your event supervisor reads you these instructions:

The 5,000-Meter Row measures your level of aerobic fitness. On the command “Go,” the clock will start and you will begin rowing at your own pace. You must complete the 5,000-meter distance. You will be scored on your time. To pass, you must complete 5,000 meters in 25 minutes. What are your questions about this event?On the command of “Get set,” position yourself comfortably. The clock begins when your grader says “Go.” Like the bike event, your grader calls out the remaining time every 30 seconds during the last two minutes of the test. You have 25 minutes to complete 5,000 meters. Do a complete stroke each time you row. The rowing machine measures your distance, so don’t stop yourself shy—extend your arms all the way forward (until you’re almost touching the machine) and lean all the way back so that your body is almost parallel to the ground. Pull the handles to your chest, not your bellybutton.


The 1,000-Meter Swim is the third option available on the ACFT MOD. The swim event has to take place in a pool with a 25-meter lane and a minimum depth of 1 meter. This one requires a lot of personnel: You need an event supervisor, one scorer for every three soldiers, a timer and a backup timer, and support personnel who are there to ensure safety. The event supervisor can’t be a scorer, either.

You get a few minutes in the pool to acclimate and warm up before your event supervisor reads these instructions:The 1,000-Meter Swim measures your level of aerobic fitness. You will begin in the water; no diving is allowed. At the start, your body must be in contact with the wall of the pool. On the command “Go,” the clock will start. You should then begin swimming at your own pace, using any stroke or combination of strokes you wish. You must swim [appropriate number based on lap length] laps to complete this distance. You must touch the wall of the pool at each end of the pool as you turn. Any type of turn is authorized. You must complete the 1,000-meter distance in 25 minutes. You will be scored on time. Walking on the bottom to recuperate is authorized. Swimming goggles, swim caps, and civilian swimming attire are permitted, but no other equipment is authorized. What are your questions about this event?When you hear the command “Get set,” you have to position yourself in the pool holding the wall, with your body in contact with the wall—that’s the start position for this event. On the command of “Go,” you can start swimming. You can use any stroke you want (including a combination of strokes). At the end of each 25-meter lap, you have to touch the pool’s wall as you turn around. Pace yourself and work with your best strokes (the ones that allow you to cover the most distance with the least effort on your part). Your grader tells you how many laps you need to do to reach 1,000 meters and keeps track of how many you’ve done, but keeping track yourself is a good idea. You have 25 minutes to swim 1,000 meters, which in a 25-meter lane is 40 laps. Your scorer is supposed to watch you and count your laps, but counting them yourself doesn’t hurt. During the event, you can walk on the bottom of the pool to recuperate if you need to.

You don’t have to wear your Army Physical Fitness Uniform during this alternate event. You can wear civilian swimming attire (read: your favorite trunks or bathing suit), swimming goggles, and a swim cap if you want to. Just make sure you’re sporting something that would be appropriate for you to wear in front of your sergeant major.

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