This week, members of the mobile unit of the Army Combat Fitness Team (ACFT) from the Physical Fitness School at Fort Jackson, SC were at Fort Polk to train soldiers with the 519th MP BN on the new Army physical fitness test.
LTC Sonja Whitehead, 519th MP BN Commander and Director of Emergency Services explained that the 519th is apart of a pilot program in the holistic health and fitness initiative of the Army.
Her battalion is one of 62 across the reserve and active components of the Army who are trained and tested on the new fitness components.
“This new test tests more components of fitness than the old test did and they are more aligned with what we do in combat,” Whitehead said when asked what sets the new test apart from the old one.
Whitehead further explained that this test will make our soldiers more lethal in that they will be stronger both mentally and physically for what they may face in combat.
The new test is designed to focus on agility, strength and anaerobic capacity to better deal with the things they would encounter on the battlefield.
The pilot units are trained on how to perform each component and how to score them and will then disseminate the information to other units to prepare everyone to begin testing in October 2019.
Starting in October 2020 every soldier will begin official testing using the new requirements.
The current physical fitness test has been in use since 1980 and only tested sit-ups, push-up and a 2-mile run.
The new test is gender and age neutral and your MOS will determine the score needed to pass.
Soldiers assigned to combat maneuver units will be required to score higher than those not in combat units.
CPT Justin McCaw, an instructor with the ACFT, explained this new test has been in the works since 2012.
The Army examined common, warrior and battlefield tasks performed by soldiers to design the new test consisting of six primary and four secondary components that will test cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength and endurance.
“This test is a big culture change for the Army,” McCaw said. He went on to say, “the Army is now focusing on better fitness of the soldiers for what they will be doing every day and in combat. The battlefield is non-discriminatory and all soldiers need to be ready for anything.”
Components of the new physical fitness test include the following: