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Army postpones new fitness test because of coronavirus restrictions

A soldier from the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade deadlifts during the Army Combat Fitness Test Jan. 27, 2020 at Fort Bliss, Texas. The Army is postponing the transition to the ACFT over coronavirus concerns.

LASHAWNA CUSTOM/U.S. ARMY

By IMMANUEL JOHNSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 31, 2020

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The Army has halted its long-planned transition to the Army Combat Fitness Test, after on-base gym closures made it difficult for many soldiers to train with the strength equipment the test requires.

The ACFT, which was set to become the service standard beginning in October, includes deadlifts, a standing power throw, pushups, the sprint-drag-carry, leg tuck and a two-mile run.

“We [the Army] have not halted the transition but postponed it for now however, we are not sure when it will resume,” said Lt. Col. Robin Ochoa, a spokeswoman for the Army said. “There are still some details that are being worked out.”

The Army Physical Fitness Test, first introduced in 1980, will remain the service’s primary assessment for now. Leaders have long said that the test, which includes two minutes of pushups, two minutes of situps and a two-mile run, has failed to adequately predict which soldiers could accomplish physical tasks necessary in war.

The Army began field-testing the ACFT in late 2018 and introduced standards about a year later. In late January, the service began distributing ACFT gear to more than 1 million active duty, Reserve and National Guard soldiers, a Jan. 22 Army memo said.

Some soldiers said the equipment rollout left little time to train to the new standards and to get familiar with the equipment, which includes kettlebells, medicine balls, pullup bars, a deadlift bar, weights and an exercise sled.

Sgt. Awad Mohamed, a senior human resource sergeant with the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, N.C., welcomed the ACFT’s delay.

“Finally, the Army is using common sense,” he said in an online chat Tuesday. “Some soldiers barely got instructions on how the test will be.”

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Spc. Courtney Clyde, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, drags a sled during the sprint/drag/carry event for the Army Combat Fitness Test, Jan. 27, 2020 at Fort Bliss, Texas. The Army is postponing the transition to the ACFT over coronavirus concerns.
LASHAWNA CUSTOM/U.S. ARMY

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