Fusion’s ACFT Experiment: Using a Data-driven Approach to Improve Results

 

For the uninitiated, the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) is used to assess a soldier’s physical readiness for combat. It’s a gender- and age-neutral test that involves six events designed to simulate common physical demands encountered on the battlefield. The ACFT replaces the four-decade-old Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) and promises to deliver a more healthy and fit fighting force.

The initial roll-out of the new ACFT saw a high failure rate of female soldiers, sparking debate regarding its fairness. Because we love being a part of a good debate, Fusion Sport rallied eight brave civilian women in our office, ranging in age and fitness levels, to take the challenging ACFT. This (admittedly unscientific) experiment of ours aimed to accomplish a few different objectives.

First, we wanted to see if Smartabase, our Human Performance Platform used by elite sport and tactical performance teams, could help the participants prepare for and pass the ACFT.

Second, we wanted to show how Smartabase could be used to efficiently and accurately administer the test, centralize the data, and provide real-time visual feedback to participants and staff.

 

WHAT DID THE EXPERIMENT INVOLVE?

Participants included eight civilian women employed at Fusion Sport

  • Ages: 26 – 52
  • Body Weight: 121 – 170
  • Body Fat: 25% – 33%
  • No prior experience with the ACFT
  • Varying fitness levels

ACFT #1

To get a baseline, the participants completed the ACFT for the first time without any special preparation or training. Smartabase Kiosk app was used to capture the results from the test. The events included in the ACFT include:

  • Three Repetition Maximum Deadlift (MDL)
  • Standing Power Throw (SPT)
  • Hand Release Push-up with Arm Extension (HRP)
  • Sprint-Drag-Carry (SDC)
  • Leg Tuck (LTK) or Plank (PLK)
  • Two-mile Run (2MR)

 

SIX-WEEK TRAINING

Based on the results, personalized six-week training programs were developed. Using the Smartabase Tactical app, participants tracked their training and completed wellness questionnaires. Coaches were able to monitor participants using Smartabase’s visual dashboards to see who was on track and who needed more support.

Tactical app

ACFT #2

Seven of our eight women completed the ACFT for a second and final time, with one having to sit out due to COVID complications. Our goal was to have all participants pass and see significant improvement compared to the baseline test.

 

THE RESULTS

All seven participants in the final ACFT passed and realized significant improvement in specific events.

  • +130% for Leg Tuck
  • +35% for Hand Release Pushup
  • +15% for Sprint-Drag-Carry

Participants were able to view their individual results in the Athlete App, while administrators viewed aggregate and individual results in the Smartabase dashboard.

ACFT Results Overview

ACFT Individual Analysis

ACFT Participants

 

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