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The Army PFT / CFT Overview  

 PT Tests

The Army Physical Fitness Test is a three-event physical performance test that is still used to assess muscle stamina / strength and cardio endurance. It is a simple way to measure your physical strengths, abilities, and cardio-respiratory fitness with little equipment and not a major time commitment. However, many will argue that it does not fully assess the fitness requirements of most jobs in the Army.  However, you may still see this test along your recruitment and introduction to military training journey. 

The three PFT events are two minutes of push-ups, two minutes of sit-ups, and a timed 2-mile run. Your results from each event are assigned a score. To pass you must Score 180 points or higher with at least 60 points in each event. Your age, gender and the amount of repetitions or time elapsed for each event determines your score. Unlike other military endurance tests the APFT is normally performed in normal workout gear.

Related Article on Still Using the Old - But IN with the New

The New Army Combat Fitness Test (CFT)

Well not so new anymore, but still in a transitional phase as more and more Army units build up their equipment needs to perform the test as there are multiple events that require large amounts of equipment to put large units through in a day.  Logistically, this ACRT is tough to manage, but in the end many will agree it is a better assessment of what a tactical athlete needs to perform his/her job in the military.  

In 2020 (minus some pandemic issues) the Army started rolling out and testing / evaluating the NEW Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT).  With the following exercises:

1 - Leg Tuck - hanging from a pullup bar (commando grip), bring your knees to your elbows. This is NOT easy to do unless you can already do pullups.  Practice pullups, but you can opt out and do plank pose if needed. 

2 - Power Throw - throw a 10lbs medicine ball as far as you can - over your head - behind  you.

3 - Trapbar Dead Lift - Lift three repetitions of the heaviest weight possible off the floor.

4 - Hand Release-Pushup - Pushup with Shoulder movement in between reps. Lift hands off the ground and extend arms to the side making a T with your body in between pushups. 

5 - Sprint Drag Carry: for 25m x 2 for each even: Sprint from prone position, Drag sled, carry 2 x 40lb KBs, Sprint again.

6 - 2 Mile Timed Run - Still have to do the 2 mile run. Fuel up as the above will deplete your energy stores and zap you during the run. 

Fun CFT Pyramid Workout

Tough CFT Prep Workout

Rucking Progression - Follow These Rules

Once in the Army, you will also have to take the OPAT :  Army Occupational Assessment Test (during Basic Combat Training)

Army Occupational Physical Assessment Test (OPAT) - The OPAT is considered the ASVAB test of physical conditioning as the score you receive on the exercises (long jump, seated power throw, dead lift, beep test shuttle run) will determine what job you are eligible for in the Army. The harder, more physical jobs like armor, artillery, and infantry require a higher score on the test. Army recruits in boot camp and if transitioning MOS will have to perform this test.

Prepare To Get TO And THROUGH The Army Special Forces / Ranger Training Pipeline With These Programs.

What makes this even more exciting is you can start off with the Army PFT / CFT Workout which will build you with basic training and rucking preparation. Then you can build upon that foundation and take your fitness to a new level and get selected for further Spec Ops training in some of the toughest jobs the Army has to offer.

Here is the one-two combo that will help you with this journey.

The Army PFT and CFT / Rucking Prep workout has been recently updated to help build your strength / power / speed for the new fitness test, while still keeping one foot on the Army PFT as you may see it during your initial testing to get into ROTC, and other programs within the Army.

The Ranger / SF Training program builds you up with calisthenics, weight training, and challenging runs and rucks in order to prepare you for 5 mile runs and 12 mile rucks, log PT, pullups, pushups, situps, and more.  These workouts are good ways to build a foundation of all the elements of tactical fitness for candidate preparation you will need. 

You should also consider the Army Ranger Flash Cards, there is a lot of information you are learn while you wait to attend schools – see them at Army Ranger Flashcards.   You should also check out the Ranger Handbook Audiobook on Audible, you can listen to the Ranger Handbook anywhere. 

More Options: Army Special Ops Training Pipeline


Running Plans - All books and ebooks will contain some form of progressive running plan and some with rucking depending on your goals.  But here are some links to running:

Special Ops Running / Rucking Plan (advanced)

Running Plan to Get TO and THROUGH Selection

Who Is The Tactical Fitness Coach / Author Stew Smith?

 I'm the former Navy SEAL that military recruits and special ops candidates go to for books, ebooks and online coaching to prepare themselves to get to and through intense tactical assessment and selection programs and qualify for service in their chosen tactical profession.  See More at

Check out the Complete List of Training Programs (Spec Ops, Military, Police, Fire)

We Have Answers For Beginners to Advanced Spec Ops Level Training Programs (see below)

Fitness for Beginners - Get Started for Free!

Most people who enter the recruiters' offices are seeking regular military jobs and on the beginner spectrum of fitness. Please consider the following before joining the military:

- Run - Learn how to run and get in shape to run 2-3 miles without stopping.  See beginner / intermediate running plan.  But, you may need to start off with just walking depending on your fitness level. If you played sports that had a little bit of running in it (football) or no running in it like swimming, you need to practice running regularly to get over the growing pains accompanied with impact cardio like running and rucking. To do well on timed runs, you need to practice that distance at a goal pace. Learn about GOAL PACE Running. 

- Calisthenics - You will be doing calisthenics not only throughout the day in basic training, but as a fitness test as well.  Get used to exercises like pushups, crunches, plank poses, pullups, squats, and lunges to work the entire body.  If you need some ideas, see the programs below that address all the physical fitness challenges you will see in preparation, testing, and basic training and beyond. The Boot camp, PFT, Bible, and Cals and Cardio are all encompassing workouts that will prepare you for the challenges of Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard basic training and fitness tests as well. The Army and Marine Corps will require more challenging workouts and fitness testing.  See links of the books below to see more details of the Combat Fitness Test you must be able to accomplish when you join. 


DO NOT RELY ON THE MILITARY TO GET YOU INTO SHAPE AT BASIC TRAINING.  You will get into better shape for sure during your training if you arrive in lower fitness form, but you need to arrive with a foundation of physical fitness that is specific to your future job in the military / fitness tests / training. If you show up out of shape, you could end up failing standards or injuring yourself causing longer delays or removal from training altogether. 

For You Special Candidates (Get in Shape LONG Before You Join) 

High Intermediate Military / Advanced Spec Ops
Building Programming:

Other EBOOKS (Special Ops– Most of my programs tend to focus on getting TO and THROUGH a specific tactical training program.  So you may see a mix of all the seasons in some of these books, but if you are training long term, you can take advantage of Seasonal Periodization and save yourself some of the over-use, long term pains that tend to follow many of the tactical preparations - especially on the spec ops level of training. 

Start training today with workouts that focus on the specifics of getting to and through tactical profession training from firefighter, police, swat, military to special ops. We have programs to help you get TO and THROUGH training. 


Lifting Cycle Programs For Those Who Need a Strength Focus

You may have seen my Winter Lift Cycle that I discuss in the Seasonal Tactical Fitness Periodization article as well as have our actual lift programs we have done over the years in the following books.


It is not all just calisthenics and cardio at Stew Smith Fitness

Tactical Fitness, Tactical Strength, Navy SEAL Weight Training Workout, Weight Vest Workout,  Stew Smith's Fall Winter Cycle, Warrior Workout #2Maximum Fitness

These programs as well as my online coaching programs have Winter Lift Cycles in them as part of our Seasonal Tactical Fitness Periodization System. But, do not get these lift cycles confused with ACTUAL strength / power lifting programs, these are strength / power programs that also have a focus on cardio fitness maintenance BECAUSE you need to be good at all the elements of fitness and develop into an all-round Tactical Athlete.  

Most Recent Spring / Summer & Fall Winter Programs:
(click to read more)
Or Do You Want my REAL TIME Seasonal Periodization Training - Delivered Weekly?


Get Weekly Unpublished Workouts Tested and Evaluated by local Stew Smith Training programs. 

Stew Smith Fitness Membership – You have access to years of workouts for both beginner / intermediate and advanced / special ops levels of fitness. Each week you will receive new and unpublished workouts being tested by Navy SEAL veteran / Stew Smith CSCS and his local group of future tactical professionals in both basic training and advanced spec ops training programming. The latest videos, articles, and other programming will be part of the weekly data feed to members as well. We go through the Seasonal Tactical Fitness Periodization program one week at a time.

Join the Online PT CLUB:
One On One Coaching with Stew Smith

If You Need a More Personalized Approach to Fit Your Needs, Goals, Time per Day, Days per week, Facilities, Abilities, etc...Try Online Coaching

Questions?  Just email me at

At - List of Products and Services

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  3. eBooks
  4. Books and eBooks in PRINT
  5. Stew Smith Fitness Club membership site
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