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American Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) is a new fitness test methodology of the United States Army. The given approach is planned to be fully implemented in October 2020, and it will replace the traditional American Physical Fitness Test (APFT) (“Army Combat Fitness Test,” 2019). Both of these evaluation systems are designed to test and measure one’s cardiovascular fitness, endurance, and muscular strength.
There is complex and dynamic nature of the modern military and combat activity of the army and navy, the use of the latest information technologies, weapons and military equipment, and the country’s security interests. They put forward an objective need for a radical qualitative improvement of the entire system of training of military specialists.
The solution to this important and complex state problem in the traditional way, that is, directly within the framework of the existing military education system, is not possible due to the contradictions and problems that have developed in it. Internal reserves of this system were exhausted. Its maximum capabilities in terms of the training of soldiers provide for the replenishment of the personnel resources of the country’s military organization. Thus, ACFT is a more practical testing system compared to APFT with a more efficient and flexible scoring approach.
By what parameters and criteria it is possible to evaluate their professional readiness in the performance of their official duties, by which programs to further develop them. These are just some of the questions that arise, unfortunately, cannot be answered by accelerated training. The APFT testing system is composed of three events, which are push-ups, sit-ups, and a two-mile run (“The new Army Combat Fitness Test,” 2019).
However, there are six events in ACFT, which are strength deadlift, standing power throw, hand-release, push-up, sprint/drag/carry, leg tuck, and a two-mile run. In addition, the accelerated training of soldiers creates a whole range of additional problems associated with their subsequent military service and raising the level of education. Indeed, the training of such soldiers in military academies that implement their educational programs on the basis of higher military professional education is not possible. Obtaining a basic higher education under any circumstances should provide for the passage of a full course of study at a military or civilian unit in the relevant specialty.
Deadlift and Standing Power Throw
First, the deadlift event is designed to test one’s muscular strength in a much more practical way. The event is completed by performing a three-repetition deadlift with a weight range of 120 to 420 pounds (“The new Army Combat Fitness Test,” 2019). The given exercise simulates a person’s ability to pick things or people up, such as wounded soldiers, ammunition boxes, or equipment. Second, the standing power throw event measures one’s explosive muscular strength.
The latter can be critical in combat situations, where either a wounded soldier or heavy object requires tossing over a certain type of obstacle or uneven terrain. The event is completed by tossing a 10-pound ball backward from a standing position (“The new Army Combat Fitness Test,” 2019). Among the promising measures to solve this problem can be considered the organization of multilevel training of qualified military specialists in the general system of vocational education.
This should be a multifunctional system, which is a network of educational institutions, including successive military-professional educational programs in the structure of their curricula and programs determined by state standards. In the post-war educational institutions of primary and secondary vocational education, training was carried out in the military specialties of ordinary, sergeant and sergeant-staff.
However, the fragmented participation of the vocational education system in military development and military-patriotic education of society did not allow to fully reveal and use the colossal capabilities of this system. The lack of use can be described in terms of the scientific, pedagogical, and intellectual potential accumulated in it, and the enrollment of large groups of young people through organized training.
Hand-Release Push-Up and Sprint/Drag/Carry
Third, the hand-release push-ups event is highly similar to APFT’s push-up event, where a person is asked to perform as many push-ups as possible. However, the main difference lies in the fact that an individual performing hand-release pushup lifts his or her hands and legs at the down position (“The new Army Combat Fitness Test,” 2019). This is designed to make pushup exercises more complex and it involves additional muscles to proceed with release action.
Fourth, the sprint/drag/carry event is composed of five run-ups and run-downs across a 25-meter lane. In addition, a person is asked to consecutively spring, drag a 90-pound sled, and carry two 40-pound kettlebell weights (“The new Army Combat Fitness Test,” 2019). This exercise tests one’s endurance and fitness of quickly escaping dangerous locations or carry some sort of ammunition to the target position.
In accordance with the concept of multilevel military training in all educational components of unit complexes, its structural and functional components are formed. The organization of the training process for military training at unit complexes may include continuous or discrete training using the following main educational routes. With continuous training with the completion of the development of the military-applied component of the main educational program at this level, the student goes to one of the following levels in the established order. This educational route is characterized by an upward movement.
Leg Tuck and Two-Mile Run
Fifth, the leg tuck event is designed to test one’s core muscle strength and endurance. In order to successfully complete the given event, a person is asked to perform a leg tuck (“The new Army Combat Fitness Test,” 2019). In other words, similarly to pull-ups, an individual must lift his or her legs in such a manner, where his or her knees touch the corresponding elbows. Sixth, the two-mile run measures one’s cardiovascular fitness and endurance.
It is highly similar to the two-mile run event in APFT (“Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) score chart,” 2019). With discrete training, the development of the program of military-applied training at this level of education ends with the exit of some of the students from the educational field of the unit complex into the field of subsequent labor or military-professional activity.
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This is an educational route which means a horizontal movement pattern. For military specialists trained in the unit complex along this route, it is possible to return to the unit complex to undergo military professional education at a higher level after a certain period of labor or military professional activity. The organization of multilevel military training in the national education system does not pose a threat or tendency to the subsequent militarization of the educational space, since it does not contradict the current legislation and the course of democratic transformations implemented by the country’s political leadership. It is consistent with the practice of field training of military specialists that has become widespread in most developed countries.
Reason for Change and Advantages
The main reason for the army changing APFT to ACFT is the lack of practicality of the exercises performed in the former one. It is evident that most of the physical activities performed on the battlefield or combat situations are not identical or similar to pushup and sit-up exercises. In addition, the standardization of the results is not based on one’s gender or age, which makes the overall testing process highly inclusive and non-discriminatory (“The new Army Combat Fitness Test,” 2019). The primary advantage of ACFT over APFT is the fact that the former only requires 50 minutes to complete, whereas the latter needs two hours (“The new Army Combat Fitness Test,” 2019).
In addition, ACFT tests and measures a wider range of practical movements and endurance metrics in a shorter span of time compared to APFT. The overall standards are solely based on the job requirements of the specific unit, which makes the given fitness test highly flexible and adjustable. Lastly, there are no minimum requirements to pass the test, thus, it allows highly skilled candidates to take on sedentary positions.
Nevertheless, the main disadvantage is the lack of simplicity and universality of APFT, which acted as a strong filter for newcomers. The absence of a passing score will not effectively reduce the high number of applicants, which can potentially put additional pressure on the selected units. In addition, the fact that each job requirement will set its own requirements might result in serious misestimates of the standards (“The new Army Combat Fitness Test,” 2019). Thus, a unit might end up hiring incompetent individuals, which can lead to severe consequences during combat situations.
In conclusion, ACFT is a newly designed fitness testing system with a number of advantages over APFT. It consists of six events, which are standing power throw, sprint/drag/carry, strength deadlift, hand-release, push-up, two-mile run, and leg tuck. Each of these exercises is highly practical in its nature and activities performed during real combat situations. In addition, ACFT takes less time for a person to complete, which is 50 minutes, whereas APFT takes two full hours. Lastly, ACFT offers outstanding flexibility by allowing each job unit to assign its own requirements, thus eliminating passing scores.
Army Combat Fitness Test. (2019). Web.
Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) score chart. (2019). Web.
The new Army Combat Fitness Test. (2019). Web.