If you’ve been slacking on those deadlifts and knee tucks, coronavirus just bought you some time.
Army leadership has suspended its plan to start using the new Army Combat Fitness Test as its test of record this October, confirmed Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Robin Ochoa.
All ACFT diagnostic tests, which the entire force was supposed to take before it officially rolled out in the fall, are also suspended. The timeline for when the new test will officially arrive has not yet been issued.
Gym closures across installations, squad-level PT and strict adherence to social distancing guidelines make large gatherings for even the current Army Physical Fitness Test impractical, explained Ochoa. All current passing APFT scores will be extended until further notice, she said.
“In order for people to be in compliance with promotion boards and the fact that training is limited, they’ve extended the APFT," Ochoa said. "So if I took the APFT this past October ... then my scores are valid until further notice.”
The Army planned to transition fully to the ACFT at the start of fiscal year 2021. It is intended to better measure the physical fitness attributes soldiers need for combat, but the new six-event test required far more equipment than the older APFT.
Soldiers taking the ACFT need hexagon bars and bumper plates for deadlifts, weighted sleds, medicine balls, kettlebells and measuring tape. The old test, by comparison, just required repetition counters, a stopwatch and a running path.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter whose investigations have covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.