October 18



This past weekend was drill weekend (sorry… battle assembly), and one of the main events was a diagnostic ACFT.

Diagnostic meaning the score was not for record, but simply to get familiar with the test and see how we all stacked up on each of the 6 events.

That’s right, 6 events! No more, pushups, situps, and running.

ACFT Events

So, if it’s not the same old test we all know, what’s included?

I’ll tell you! (Complete with stock photos that are not mine).

Event 1 – 3RM Deadlift (MDL)

Image courtesy of DVIDS

The first event is 3 reps of a deadlift with the heaviest you can do.

140lbs is the minimum, 340 is the max.

This seems straightforward until you consider the impact that going heavy will have on the events that immediately follow.

How did I do?


As this was a diagnostic, and we were instructed not to be “superheroes”, I did a very modest 220lbs for 3 reps.

I could easily have done more, but this was my first time taking the test and I wanted to see about the other events!

Event 2 – Standing Power Throw (SPT)

Image courtesy of DVIDS

The standing power throw involves throwing a 10lb medicine ball backwards over your head for distance.

Minimum throw is 4.5m, maximum is 12.5m.

How did I do?


The judging wasn’t particularly exact, but I managed to hit pretty much right on the 10m line for both throws.

I could probably improve my distance with a little less height.

Event 3 – Hand Release Pushup (HRP)

Image courtesy of DVIDS

Pushups still exist in the test, but they’re different…

You start in the bottom position with your hands under your shoulders and… push up.

When you come down, you fully extend your arms straight out to the side, then bring them back in under your shoulders and push up again.

At no point are you allowed to stop moving (unless it’s in the front leaning rest position, with no flexing of the spine).

It’s a little more challenging than it sounds!

Minimum score is 10, max is 60.

How did I do?

15 reps

More than the minimum, but nothing to write home about.

These need some work.

Event 4 – Sprint Drag Carry (SDC)

Image courtesy of DVIDS

This event is easily the most challenging of the test, and it comes right in the middle.

Here’s how it works… On a 25m field:

  • Starting on the ground on your stomach, sprint 25m down, touch the line with one foot and one hand, sprint 25m back
  • Drag a 90lb weighted sled 25m completely over the line, turn around and drag it back
  • Do a sideways lateral run (without crossing your feet) 25m, touch the line with foot and hand, lateral run back
  • Pick up a 40lb kettlebell in each hand, run 25m across the line, then run back, setting the KBs down in a controlled manner
  • Sprint 25m, touch line with foot and hand, sprint back

Minimum time is 3:00, max is 1:33.

One thing you might not expect, if you haven’t done this, is how difficult it is to transition to a lateral run.

I almost fell a couple of times before I got used to it. I saw a few other soldiers who did fall.

This event totally cranks up the heartrate and makes your legs feel like jello.

How did I do?


All things considered, I thought this was pretty good for a first attempt.

Event 5 – Leg Tuck (LTK)

Image courtesy of DVIDS

From a dead hang, you have to flex your elbows and hips and touch each elbow to the corresponding knee or thigh.

Minimum is 1, maximum is 20.

A 2 minute plank is an alternative to the LTK.

How did I do?

Zero (my hero, as they used to say in gym class) 🤦‍♂️

This was extremely frustrating.

I got within about an inch of touching somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 or 5 times, but I couldn’t get that last inch.

Frankly, I’m pretty embarrassed about it, and I’ll be working on my hip flexors before the next time we do this.

Event 6 – 2 Mile Run (2MR)

Image courtesy of DVIDS

Of course, the military would never get rid of a timed run!

This is pretty straightforward.

A 2-mile run for time.

Minimum time to pass is 21:00, maximum is 13:30.

If you’re not adequately prepared, the other events can add quite a bit of time to your standalone 2-mile run.

How did I do?


I’ve never been much of a runner, so I’m pretty pleased with this as a first effort.

Obviously there’s lots of room for improvement, but I was well under the time limit, so that’s a good start.


There’s lots of complaining and grumbling, but I honestly think the Army is to be commended for trying to implement a test that covers multiple dimensions of fitness.

Another super interesting thing about the test is that everyone uses the same weights.

I felt a little bad for the small women that were in my lane, but at the same time I guess that’s equality.

This was a good opportunity for me to see where I am with this.

Other than the LTK, I’m happy that I could fairly easily achieve more than a passing score on everything else.

Do I want a minimum passing score?

Of course not.

Everyone expects the chaplain to be fat and old, so I really don’t want to fall into that stereotype.

There’s nothing I can do about being 42, but there is something I can do about being fat and slow!

That’s why I plan to program my training to make me all-around more fit and strong.

That has to include running as well… But that doesn’t hurt my feelings too much, because a strong heart is more and more important the older you get, as long as you also retain as much lean muscle mass as possible.

We take this test for record in April (as long as I’m still in…), so I’m looking forward to improving all my scores (especially the LTK).

I regret that I neglected to get pictures of our test, but here’s one of me later in the day:

Still alive.

Thanks for reading. If you’ve taken the ACFT in any form, let me know in the comments what your thoughts are!


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