Marketing Opportunity: The New U.S. Army Fitness Test

A row of soldiers perform push-ups under the supervision of a military fitness evaluator.

The U.S. Army is likely about to get fitter—and that’s great news for American gym owners.

In 2022, the army is rolling out a new version of the Army Combat Fitness Test—and it’s no longer just push-ups, sit-ups and running.

The test now includes six elements:

  • 3 rep-max deadlift (trap/hex bar).
  • Standing power throw (essentially hip extension).
  • Hand-release push-ups.
  • Sprint-drag-carry (90-lb. sled, two 40-lb. kettlebells).
  • Plank.
  • 2-mile run.

If you run a microgym, you can instantly see that you’re hyper equipped to prepare someone to ace this test.

A head shot of writer Mike Warkentin and the column name "Pressing It Out."

While gym owners and some soldiers might view the new test as a better evaluation of combat fitness, reported on May 25 that the revised Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) isn’t an overwhelming success. Among the concerns:

  • High failure rates for females (44 percent in March 2022).
  • Struggles by reservists.
  • Increased equipment is required for training.
  • An advantage might be given to younger males who already work out.

I’ll let you form your own opinions about whether the test and its scoring are appropriate. (Click here for a downloadable scoring table.)

For my part, I know that a good coach can get a client through the test. Sure, some very deconditioned people might have to train longer and harder to pass, but I didn’t see any minimum numbers that looked way out of reach if a motivated client trained with a good coach.

Example: The minimum passing number for the 3RM deadlift is 140 lb. for men and 120 lb. for women. These numbers are warm-up weight for anyone who’s done any proper weight training, and they are very achievable by others if a trainer provides the correct plan for building strength.

And that’s the point for gym owners and fitness coaches: Some current and aspiring soldiers might need help passing the new test. You can provide it. That’s a marketing opportunity.

Offer to Help

As of Oct. 1 2022, the new test will be standard, so now’s the perfect time to help people prepare for it. You’ve got four months, and a person can accomplish a lot in that period with the right fitness and nutrition coach.

To get your marketing efforts started, here’s a simple plan:

1. Write a blog explaining how you can help people pass the ACFT.

2. Talk about your ACFT training plan in your newsletter and ask people to send it to military personnel they know or anyone who might be thinking about enlisting.

3. Post about services related to the ACFT on social media.

4. Ask any current soldiers in your membership if they need help or know anyone who does.

I’m sure you can think of all sorts of other things you could do, such as group training options, strength or running programs tailored to people who struggle in just one area of the test, dry runs of the ACFT with feedback and technique tips, nutrition plans for ACFT success and so on.

Whatever you do, don’t miss out on this opportunity to help people in uniform. While some soldiers will score a perfect 600 without much effort, others will wake up in a cold sweat worried about failing.

Make sure people know you can help, then get them ready to ace the ACFT.


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.