Twenty-four soldiers from around the Cowboy State met with Master Fitness Instructor Staff Sgt. Kari Brafford recently to certify for grading the Army Combat Fitness Test, the new way for evaluating the physical readiness of troops.
“The days of getting off the couch a month before the PT test are over,” Brafford said about the more demanding test. “It’s time to get physically fit.”
A fitness guru in private life, Brafford once was unable to hang on a bar and touch her knees to her elbows, which she can now demonstrate in the leg tuck event. She said that it took her three months. Her body wasn’t used to that kind of motion. It was about consistency.
“All of these workouts that the Army recommends are going to help,” she said.
Brafford is the only master fitness trainer in the state at level three, and has the authority to train soldiers for level two. Five other master fitness trainers in the state sit at level two.
For now, only those who are certified at level two or higher can run the ACFT event. Units from around the state can send a sergeant or a more senior soldier to be certified to help that unit meet the demands of grading.
Anyone at the rank of specialist can be certified at level one, which allows them to grade events at the ACFT. They also can be certified by anyone at level two or higher.
“The ACFT is a better test to assess the readiness of a unit,” Brafford said. “The APFT was 30 to 60% predictive of a soldier’s physical readiness for combat. The ACFT is 80% predictive of what we’re going to be doing in a combat zone. We’re not going to be doing push-ups and sit-ups in combat.”
Brafford said that the exercises chosen for the ACFT incorporate more areas of physical stress, such as climbing, lifting, throwing, dragging, and fighting. Though chosen for combat, she said that the preparation for the ACFT will demand a higher level of fitness throughout, because soldiers will have to regularly exercise to pass.
Wyoming’s soldiers will take the ACFT as a diagnostic in fiscal year 2020, and for record the following year.
Brafford recommended soldiers look at the Army’s website for the ACFT and try the recommended workouts. She added that soldiers must focus on practice and heed the warnings about injury.
“All these workouts are going to help,” she said.