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Archive for the ‘Warrior Athlete’ Category

Secretary Approves Implementation of Revised Army Combat Fitness Test

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022

WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Army Christine E. Wormuth issued an Army Directive today outlining a time-phased implementation of a revised ACFT as the Army’s general physical fitness test.

Changes made to the ACFT incorporate feedback from Soldiers and independent analysis of test performance.

Among the key changes announced by the Army are new age-and-gender-performance normed scoring scales; the replacement of the leg tuck with the plank for the core-strength assessment; and the addition of the 2.5-mile walk as an alternate aerobic event.

“The ACFT is an essential part of maintaining the readiness of the Army as we transform into the Army of 2030,” Wormuth said.

“The revisions to the ACFT are based on data and analysis, including an independent assessment required by Congress. We will continue to assess our implementation of the test to ensure it is fair and achieves our goal of strengthening the Army’s fitness culture.”

A common concern identified by the Army’s independent analysis and the RAND study was that a gender-neutral test might not accurately measure all Soldiers’ general physical fitness levels. One example was using the leg tuck as the assessment of core strength.

RAND concluded that Soldiers might have the core strength that is not accurately measured if they lack the upper body strength required to perform a leg tuck. Now, the plank will be the sole exercise to assess core strength, using recognized standards from sister services as a baseline, and modifying the scales based on Army requirements.

The revised ACFT will utilize scoring scales that are age and gender normed, similar to the APFT. The Army designed the new scoring scales from nearly 630,000 ACFT performance scores, historical performance rates from the APFT, and scoring scales used by other military services.

The Army will continue to assess performance data and has established an ACFT governance body to provide oversight of the full implementation of the new test. This structure will assess ACFT scores, pass rates, injuries and environmental considerations, and report those findings along with any recommended changes to Army Senior Leaders. The first comprehensive assessment will be in April 2023.

Unlike the APFT, which went largely unchanged for 40 years, Army leaders believe the ACFT must be adaptable.

“Since 2018 we’ve said this test would evolve, and it has,” said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston.

Grinston noted the governance structure will continue to advance the ACFT to maximize the physical fitness of the force.

The six-event ACFT now provides commanders and Soldiers an accurate assessment of a Soldier’s physical fitness level and sustains the Army’s efforts to maintain a physically fit force capable of a wide range of missions.

Implementing the ACFT

Beginning April 1, units will start diagnostic testing under the new structure. Record testing begins for Regular Army and Active Guard Reserve Soldiers on October 1, 2022, to allow Soldiers six-months to train. Also on October 1, a passing ACFT score will be used for retention, graduation of initial military training, professional military education, and evaluation reports for Regular Army and Active Guard Reserve Soldiers. Implementation of separation actions may begin in April 2023 for Regular Army and Active Guard Reserve Soldiers.

The Army also approved similar, but longer, timelines for Army Reserve and Army National Guard Soldiers, with April 2023 marking the start point for most personnel policies, and the implementation of separation actions beginning in April 2024.

“During this transition, we want to make sure all Soldiers have the proper time to succeed,” Grinston explained. “Put the test on the calendar and make sure your Soldiers have a solid training plan.”

Grinston said while Regular Army Soldiers can be flagged beginning October 1, 2022 for failing the ACFT, no Regular Army Soldier will be separated solely for ACFT failure until April 2023.

The policy also directed a change to extend retesting periods from 90 days under the APFT to 180 days for Regular Army and Active Guard Reserve Soldiers, and 240 days for Reserve Soldiers for the ACFT. Grinston noted that the extended reconditioning timelines will guarantee that Soldiers who are willing to put in the time and training are provided an opportunity to pass the test.

Chain Teach throughout the Force

To help inform the force of all the policies and procedures of the test, the Sergeant Major of the Army is initiating a chain teach throughout the force – and personally gave Army Command, Army Service Component Command, and direct reporting unit command sergeants major a class on changes to the ACFT.

“They will turn around and give that class to the NCOs who report to them as well as the [command sergeants major] for their subordinate units,” Grinston said.

The chain teach will continue throughout the Army to ensure all noncommissioned officers and Soldiers are directly informed of the policy.

“This is an opportunity for leaders to get engaged and understand their Soldiers’ questions and concerns about the test,” Grinston said. “Know where they are struggling and develop a plan to help them succeed. Leaders need to address more than just physical training and focus on the Soldier’s overall fitness.”

To ensure Soldiers throughout the Total Army have comparable training opportunities, the Army procured and distributed more than 40,000 sets of equipment, 60% of which were designated for Soldiers in the Army Reserve and National Guard.

Grinston encouraged Leaders to use their equipment for physical readiness training, including on drill weekends for the Reserve Component, to help Soldiers familiarize themselves with the events before testing.

There are also a number of resources available on the ACFT website to help Soldiers train, including workout program examples and videos of exercises – many of which require no equipment.

Holistic Approach

Army leaders expect units to incorporate principles of all the Holistic Health and Fitness (H2F) System domains into their training. In addition to the physical domain, Leaders should include proper nutrition, sleep, and spiritual and mental fitness to improve overall Soldier readiness. Unit master fitness trainers are the subject-matter experts and are trained to advise in all domains of fitness.

“H2F is an incredible system that looks at training in ways the Army has never done before,” said Brig. Gen. John Kline, commanding general of the Center for Initial Military Training – the Army’s lead proponent for the H2F system.

“Incorporating things like mindfulness training, proper nutrition counseling, and better sleep techniques are proven methods to improve mental and physical readiness,” Kline said.

“If you really want to improve your ACFT score,” Grinston agreed, “start with those other four domains of fitness.”

For the full details on the implementation of the ACFT, visit

By SFC Will Reinier

Natick Holds Optimizing the Human Weapon System Study

Saturday, October 23rd, 2021

The US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center’s Optimizing the Human Weapon System (OHWS) recently participated in a sensor-based study relating physiological status to health stressors with 560 Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division.

Leveraging the CCDC SC’s Measuring and Advancing Soldier Tactical Readiness and Effectiveness Program they took physiological data from commercially available sensors to monitor Soldier health and develop algorithms for detection of presymptomatic or asymptomatic signatures of infection and illness.

Sensors included the Oura ring for sleep and recovery data, Polar Grit X watch to quantify physical exertion and Smartabase athletic management software.

Purple Orange Media Event

Wednesday, August 18th, 2021

The evening before Outdoor Retailer Summer Market kicked off, PR company Purple Orange held a private media event at a local venue for the various brands the represent*.

It was very well attended and I didn’t get to speak with every company there because the lines were too long. So instead, I’m going to mention just a few brands and products.

Sea to Summit

Sea to Summit makes some great lightweight camping gear with welcome news that we’ll start to see more subdued colors as they begin to push into the hunting market. Their Stretch-Loc TPU straps are 12mm wide come in multiple lengths from 300mm to 750mm. The straps function like a belt with a bit of inherent stretch so you can crank down a bit for a snug fit. They are offered in Grey, Black and Yellow.


The big new from BioLite is that they are introducing the Basecharge 600 and 1500. They incorporate ISB ports and DC sockets. The Basecharge can be recharged via shore power or solar panel.?

SomeWear Labs

SomeWear Pabs was the most interesting conversation I had at this event and it’s not just because they had heard of SSD. The company which specializes in satellite data services via this puck which connects your end user device to the web. It weighs just 4 oz and has been approved for DoD use with ATAK.

Gnarly Sports Nutrition

Fuel2O is like a powdered version of the gummies so many endurance athletes use so that the nutrients can be drunk while rehydrating. You’ll also get dextrose and sucrose (100 cal per 12 oz) as well as HMB (280 mg).

*Purple Orange represents the following companies:
Peak Design
Sea to Summit
Jack Wolfskin
Somewear Labs
Swiftwick Socks

Ibex Wear
Gnarly Nutrition
Oru Kayak
Climate Neutral

USMC PFT Update for Calendar Year 2022

Friday, August 6th, 2021

In 2020, the Marine Corps adopted the plank as an alternative to crunches for the annual Physical Fitness Test (PFT) as a means to measure core stability, strength, and endurance while reducing risk of injury. For PFTs conducted in 2022, Marines will still have the option to conduct the plank or the crunch just as in 2021, with slight scoring adjustments. The plank will be mandatory in 2023, replacing the crunches as an authorized PFT exercise.

For decades, the Marine Corps has used sit-ups and crunches to both improve and assess abdominal endurance. However, research has shown that sit-ups and crunches with the feet restrained require significant hip flexor activation. This has been linked to an increased risk of injury, including lower back pain due to increased lumbar lordosis.

The plank presents numerous advantages as an abdominal exercise. The plank’s isometric hold requires constant muscle activation, activates almost twice as many muscles as the crunch, and has been proven to be most reliable in measuring the true endurance required for daily activity function. With increased core strength, Marines are less likely to experience injury or fatigue during functional tasks like hiking, lifting and low crawling.

The new time for the maximum score will 3:45, reduced from 4:20. The time for the minimum score has also been adjusted, increasing from 1:03 to 1:10.

For more information and resources, including a four-week core strength training plan, visit and reference MARADMIN 404/21 at

Direct link to the Plank Progression Program:

UK Veteran Establishes Talisman Triathlon To Raise Awareness of Physical Resilience, Mental Health and Suicide

Thursday, August 5th, 2021

Former Royal Marines Commando and current RAF Physical Training Instructor Frankie Tinsley is setting out to do something extraordinary; establish the “Talisman Triathlon” which is the 1st Great British Triathlon. It is achieved by cycling Lands End to John O’Groats, linking swimming the longest lakes and climbing the highest peaks in Wales, England and Scotland in 14 days.

Tinsley’s motivation is two mates from the RAF, Andrew Shepherd from Ballachulish – Scotland who took his own life in 2016 and Andrew Morris, originally from Falmouth – Cornwall, who took his own life in 2017.

As Tinsley undertakes this amazing feat, he will be supporting the charity CALM in the movement against suicide

You can follow his progress on INSTAGRAM – @talismantriathlon or Twitter – TalismanTri

To donate, go here.

Tinsley is supported in his effort by CALM, HUUB, Ribble and ThruDark.

Warrior East 21 – Momentous Supplements

Wednesday, August 4th, 2021

Amp Human recently merged with Momentous, adding supplements to the offering of PR lotion.

As military and law enforcement begin to treat their personnel as athletes, there is an interest in modeling collegiate and pro sports physical training regimens. This includes nutrition.

Used by world-class athletes, Momentous supplements are clean and don’t contain additives which are prohibited for use by athletic organizations such as NSF.

Units and agencies can procure Amp Human products by contacting Atlantic Diving Supply.

Air Force Special Warfare Training Wing’s Human Performance Squadron Reaches Milestone

Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-CHAPMAN TRAINING ANNEX, Texas—The Special Warfare Human Performance Squadron, SWHPS, recently marked its second anniversary.

The SWHPS is the first squadron of its kind in the Department of Defense, and its sole purpose is to provide Special Warfare Airmen and cadre embedded/holistic Human Performance, HP support.

“We reached our two-year milestone as a squadron and I cannot tell you how immensely proud I am of the team,” said Lt. Col. Shawnee A. Williams, SWHPS, commander. “With all of the hard work done to stand up the SWHPS, I am excited to see this capability propel forward every day!”

The SWHPS mission statement is to optimize the performance, durability, and sustainability of the Special Warfare human weapon system by taking an interdisciplinary approach toward the advancement of science and technology throughout the SW operator’s lifespan.

The organizational structure is made up of five geographically separated units, GSU, across the United States coast-to-coast. Within this construct are nine human performance flights supporting 80 Special Warfare cadre, 500 support staff, and 1,100 Special Warfare students annually.

“Our team sets the foundation for building physically superior, mentally sharper, and spiritually stronger warriors who will go into harm’s way to tackle our nation’s most dangerous and difficult tasks,” said Col. George Buse, Special Warfare Human Performance Support Group, commander. “To this end, SWHPS focuses on being brilliant at instilling HP principles in SW Airmen. We also leverage technological advances, research capabilities, and a holistic approach for the sake of further integrating and professionalizing the SW training enterprise,” said Buse. 

Some key accomplishments of the SWHPS include standing up the first SW Human Performance purpose-built facility and hence named the Airman 1st Class Baker Combat Conditioning Center at the Panama City Dive School, Panama City, Florida. This facility occupies 13K square feet, $1.3 million in performance equipment, and serves a joint population of cadre and students with over 700K annual course hours.

At GSU location Yuma, Arizona, the first-ever embedded physical therapist for Army and Air Force personnel position has been established to increase access to care for evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and injury prevention services for trainees and support staff members at Military Free Fall Courses.

Educationally, SWHPS has established a location at the U.S. Air Force Academy and took on their USAF Physical Therapy Fellowship Program for the Air Force Medical Service, and propelled it forward (was not under the old Battle Field Airmen Model). The Fellowship program has since graduated eight fellows with three more due to graduate in 2021 and has secured national accreditation.

Additionally, SWHPS has established a human performance footprint, across the training pipeline that employs integrated wearable technology, along with HP technician support. This footprint enables SWHPS to track parasympathetic/sympathetic system output, sleep, musculoskeletal health, velocity-based training, and water-based event metrics to include heart rate and physiological data points.

“Another first of its kind is the HP portfolio integration with the Learning Management System/database. The integration will soon provide continuity between training and operational units,” Williams said. “This allows for a human performance portfolio to travel with each member throughout their Special Warfare career.”

The Squadron’s Nutrition SMEs created the first stand-alone performance dining facility and now oversee all menus in support of the Special Warfare Preparatory Program. “It provides a much-needed ‘learning lab for trainees when they first enter Special Warfare,” said Maj. Miriam Seville, the lead dietitian for the Special Warfare Training Wing. “The trainees get to practice the sports nutrition principles that they learn in class and experiment with a wide variety of healthful foods and beverages that fuel and sustain optimal performance.

“This dining facility introduces trainees to what fueling the Human Weapon System can and should look like, and enables them to build habits here that will support them throughout their training and into operational status,” she said.

In November of 2020, the SWHPS graduated the first Air Force Institute of Technology Performance Nutrition Fellow, who now brings world-class nutrition capability, guidance, and knowledge to Special Warfare programming.

Williams added a final thought on the accomplishments of the program, “Over the past two years, SWHPS has set the foundation for an integrated approach to building and maintaining a human weapon system. We have taken a purposeful and tailored approach to embedded HP and coupled it with real-time physiological feedback to the trainees and are also expanding care to the cadre,” she said.

“The future of this organization will be to shape not only Air Force, but DOD policy to enable a lifecycle platform for the SW operator. The SW Airmen will not just experience high-level/holistic HP support in the training pipeline, but rather, they will see it woven into their career field education and training plans, and expanded services offered in their operational units,” she said. “This then lends itself to the creation or standup of a human weapon system program office just like we have for our hardware.

“We are truly on the cusp of a cohesive training environment where physiological, cognitive, and resiliency elements are assessed weekly, if not daily, to propel the individual to their highest potential versus a binary reactive environment,” Williams concluded.

Members of the Special Warfare Training Wing provide initial training for all U.S. Air Force Special Warfare training AFSCs, to include, Combat Controllers, Pararescue, Special Reconnaissance, and Tactical Air Control Party Airmen.

To learn more about SR Airmen or other U.S. Air Force Special Warfare career opportunities, go to:

By Andrew C. Patterson, Special Warfare Training Wing/ Public Affairs

SOC-F Ice Climbing Experience

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

Late last month I had the opportunity to participate in an extraordinary event near Bozeman, Montana.

With the help of Arc’teryx LEAF, Special Operations Care Fund gathered together veterans from each of the US military’s special operations components for a weekend of ice climbing.

Before we go any further, I’ve got give a plug for SOC-F and the wonderful work they do day-in and day-out for our warriors and their families. This non-profit is fighting way above its weight. They do so much…Medical/TBI (Magnetic Electro Resonance Therapy- MeRT) and Other Cutting-Edge Medical Treatments, Intensive Marriage Counseling, Gold Star Kids Camp and so much more. Not a one of the founders is a military veteran, but they have recently added a Veteran to their board to help round out the team. They’re just great Americans who saw a need and banded together to fill it.

The LEAF division of Arc’teryx is well known for making gear built for the most demanding Mil / LE endusers operating and training, in the harshest of environments. Inspired by the incredible work accomplished by SOC-F, Arc’teryx has seen the support they bring to the selfless individuals who need it, but often don’t ask for it.

SOC-F and Arc’teryx LEAF had been discussing ways to provide some outdoor therapy and The Station Foundation came up which provides specialized services to current and former SOF members as well as their families. Programs include:

-Family Foundation
-Spouse Performance
-Transition Azimuth Check (TrAC)

The Station’s works with SOC-F to provide the summer program for Gold Star children, those young people who’ve lost a loved one in combat, to find themselves and flourish in the face of life’s challenges. A most worthy pursuit.

These connections led to the creation of the SOC-F Ice Climbing Experience.

We all arrived Friday afternoon courtesy of Arc’teryx and their able planner, Rebecca Faherty who also organizes the annual SOF Select pavilion at Special Operations Forces Industry Conference. While many of us came from across the country, it was amazing how many SOF veterans have settled in Montana.

Accommodations, local transportation, meals and activity planning were provided by The Station Foundation.

The meals were fantastic with hot breakfast and dinner each day at The Inn on the Gallitin. Home cooking and lots of it. I was always stuffed.

Between veterans and members of industry, there were 17 of us on the expedition. Some of us knew each other, but we were provided ample time to get to know one another during meals, free time in the evenings, and out on the ice. Turns out, we all had a lot of common friends and experiences. Naturally, we were also all Arc’teryx customers. In fact, they have each of us a LEAF Cold CW LT Jacket to use during the event. Magpul also provided us with their new eyewear to protect our site while climbing.

Some of the climbing equipment such as helmets and ice tools was provided by Petzl, while other items were supplied by the very capable guide service for this event, Montana Alpine Guides like boots and crampons. The MAG team was friendly, knowledgeable and provided training at both the basic and advanced level. Everyone came out of there a better climber.

The crew brought a mixture of experience from first time ice climbers to very experienced climbers who brought a lifetime of alpine know-how. We had a blast.

The most amazing thing I witnessed all weekend was the indomitable spirit of a Marine Veteran I’ll refer to as CT. He served as an inspiration to all of us.

A bear of a man who lost both legs last year during a battle in the Middle East, CT had never ice climbed before in his life. No matter, he was going to give it a go. But first, he had to get to the ice ,which was located a kilometer or so from the parking area. As you can imagine, it was icy. He strapped crampons to his shoes and off he went, supported as many of us were, with trekking poles to help negotiate deep pockets of snow encountered occasionally along the trail.

He made it about three quarters of the way, but one of the things CT realized was that the cold and his particular prosthetics weren’t well suited for hiking up snowy trails.

A plan was quickly set into motion to fetch a sled to bring him the rest of the way to the climbing site. The crew immediately built a fire to keep him warm while we waited for the sled. Others headed the rest of the way to the site to begin climbing. About an hour later, CT and the team who helped him up that last bit of trail, linked up with the rest of us.

We spent the day climbing a couple of different faces and then made our way back down the trail, CT at the lead atop his sled, accompanied by his new teammates.

We repeated the event the next day with even more ice faces to negotiate. Once again, CT assaulted the ice and came out on top.

There were several guys out there with various wounds, but seeing CT go at it with everything he had, working through the pain he obviously felt, no one was going to complain. He was an inspiration to us all.

I had a great time chatting with him. Aside from some great was stories, he is very in tune with the latest in prosthetic technology and is working to bring newer designs out of the lab and unto those who need them. CT tells me he is going to keep ice climbing and already has some ideas about how to build a better prosthetic for climbing. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with.

On Monday morning we returned to the airport to make our way home, but all of us left with some new friends and some great memories.

Once again, this event wouldn’t have been possible without SOC-F and Arc’teryx LEAF. While this was the first event of its kind for Arc’teryx, they plan to hold more of these outdoor-oriented events around the world for other allied veterans.