2-Minute Plank

Army Makes 2-Minute Plank a Permanent Leg Tuck Alternative for ACFT

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Army combat fitness test
A soldier receives instruction on proper form for the Army Combat Fitness Test during the ACFT Trainers Course at the 7th Army Noncommissioned Officers Academy at Grafenwoehr, Germany, July 14, 2020. (Spc. Zachary Stahlberg/U.S. Army)

The Army has unveiled an updated version of the Army Combat Fitness Test today that sets one standard to be a soldier, but includes specific evaluation categories for men and women when they're assessed for promotion.

ACFT 3.0 also makes the two-minute plank a permanent alternative to the leg tuck event.

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Beginning April 1, the ACFT 3.0 will require all soldiers to meet a minimum standard of 60 points for each of the six events, for a total of 360 to remain in the Army. The scores do not begin counting against soldiers until April 1, 2022, Sgt. Major of the Army Michael Grinston told defense reporters today.

"There is a one standard baseline to stay in the Army," Grinston said, stressing that all soldiers must meet the same standard. "It is still age and gender-neutral."

The leg tuck event has proven the most challenging for many soldiers, particularly women. Early data showed men could perform an average of 8.3 leg tucks, compared to 1.9 for women. As of late 2020, more than half of female soldiers were failing the ACFT, prompting the Army to offer a two-minute plank last July as what was initially billed a temporary alternative.

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The new version of the ACFT will, however, take into account physiological differences between men and women. In early testing, women have scored an average of 100 points lower than men.

ACFT 3.0 will create separate percentile bands for men and women that would be used in gender-blind promotion boards.

"So, what is nice about this is, a [score of] 420 is a 420 for men and women," Maj. Gen. Lonnie Hibbard, commander of the Army's Center for Initial Military Training said.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.