Background of the Physical Fitness Test


When the 3-event Army Physical Fitness Test was developed in the 1970’s, many senior Army leaders thought that ground combat was no longer as important. This lead to a change, instead of rigorous physical training and assessment the physical test evaluated soldiers looking at overall fitness The 3-event test was developed to ensure appropriate body mass and a high level of health-related fitness. The lessons learned over the past decades have not only reinforced the need for ground combat power but also renewed our focus on the power and strength of the individual Soldier.


To meet the need for new standards the Army has conducted two major physical fitness assessment studies; HQDA EXORD 091:13 – Physical Demands Study (PDS) and HQDA EXORD 041-13 – Baseline Soldier Physical Readiness Requirements Study (BSPRRS) From 2012-15 the U.S. Army Research Institute for Environmental Medicine (USARIEM) conducted a major Army- wide fitness prediction study call the Physical Demands Study. The results of these studies identified five important (5) domains of combat physical fitness: muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiorespiratory endurance, explosive power, and speed/agility. The NEW Army Combat Fitness Test is designed to evaluate a soldier’s ability to perform in these specific areas.


The old Army Physical Fitness was not shown to be a good assessment of the 5 areas addressed in the study. These five domains were independently confirmed in the Baseline Soldier Physical Readiness Requirements or BSPRRS conducted by the United States Army Center for Initial Military Training. The second objective of the BSPRRS study was to determine common field-expedient physical fitness test events that predicted a Soldier’s success on the high physical demand Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills. These six (6) test events were validated by the performance of almost 1,000 Soldiers relative to their performance on a WTBD simulation test. In April 2017 these events were approved by the CG/TRADOC and in July 2017 the Chief of Staff, Army approved this battery of test events as the Army Combat Readiness Test (ACRT) and is the bases of the new Army Combat Fitness Test.

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