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Other/Mixed ETK+ for ACFT

Other strength modalities (e.g., Clubs), mixed strength modalities (e.g., combined kettlebell and barbell), other goals (flexibility)

Marty

Level 6 Valued Member
I took my spring Army Combat Fitness Test recently and used 3 cycles of a modified ETK+ template as my training program. Here are some observations and results:

1. It worked wonders. I felt stronger in every event, and was able to score higher than any previous ACFT.
2. The schedule and dice roll made it a perfect setup for my busy schedule. Some days I split the training into micro sessions similar to @Geoff Neupert Strength Shortcuts. I was able to work from home (all the equipment I needed) or at work (only a few lighter kettlebells).
3. Double snatches and double jerks made the standing power throw a non issue. I increased my throw by a meter and a half.
4. The forced “light” days were a game changer for me. When I try to create my own program, I tend to push too hard too much, and this template helped me recover while still progressing.

I modified the template by substituting in the low handle Trap Bar Deadlift for some of the squats. I used a fixed light (60%), medium (70%) and heavy weight (80%), and completed the prescribed ladders within the given time period. Some days I would roll goblet squats or double front squats but the majority of the practices were TBDL for specificity’s sake.

I also substituted hand release push ups for one of the press modules. I would complete either double Cl & Pr or single Cl & Pr first, then move to TBDL/squats, then Hand release push ups, then pull ups/rows. Some days (via dice roll), I used a 30lb ruck to add weight to the push-ups. The ladders I used were 5, 10, 15, 20 for unweighted and 2, 4, 6, 8 ,10 weighted. The carryover to the push-up event was noticeable, my kettlebell presses began to feel stronger, and I think I put on a little muscle in the process.

When time allowed, I substituted sprints/tempo runs into the medium ballistic day for running practice. These days, I would use an idea similar to what this article lays out:


That way I still got some snatches into the mix.

My Wednesdays were usually LSS days where I would do things like light sled pulls (another amazing exercise), row, jog, swing a mace or club, or ruck. They were perfect for recovery, and my ACFT run time surprised me after not just running.

I highly recommend using this template to train for your ACFT. Honestly, I liked it so much that I’m gonna stick with it for a good long while to see what other improvements I can make.
 
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Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@Marty, could you or someone else explain the logic behind the "hand release pushup?" It's not a thing I've ever seen before.

Thanks very much.

-S-
 

Adam R Mundorf

Level 6 Valued Member
@Marty, could you or someone else explain the logic behind the "hand release pushup?" It's not a thing I've ever seen before.

Thanks very much.

-S-
It's supposed to eliminate momentum and ensure that you're doing quality reps. There really isn't cheating with hand release pushups since you're starting each rep from a dead stop with your chest on the floor.
 

John K

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
@Marty, could you or someone else explain the logic behind the "hand release pushup?" It's not a thing I've ever seen before.

Thanks very much.

-S-
1. It is supposed to be harder, so you'll do less reps. Similar to doing a deadstop swing.
2. It is easier to judge depth.
3. Supposedly it also trains/assesses strength in your back since you have that retraction.
 

Conor

Level 2 Valued Member
I love the hand release push-up. I was the squadron fitness manager back in my AF days and counting quality push-up reps for the testing days was always a challenge. Especially for the guys who were in shape and really liked to crank them out. After I got out I would regularly tell the kids at my gym who getting ready for the military that they hadn’t done a single rep that I would have counted.
 

Conor

Level 2 Valued Member
I took my spring Army Combat Fitness Test recently and used 3 cycles of a modified ETK+ template as my training program. Here are some observations and results:

1. It worked wonders. I felt stronger in every event, and was able to score higher than any previous ACFT.
2. The schedule and dice roll made it a perfect setup for my busy schedule. Some days I split the training into micro sessions similar to @Geoff Neupert Strength Shortcuts. I was able to work from home (all the equipment I needed) or at work (only a few lighter kettlebells).
3. Double snatches and double jerks made the standing power throw a non issue. I increased my throw by a meter and a half.
4. The forced “light” days were a game changer for me. When I try to create my own program, I tend to push too hard too much, and this template helped me recover while still progressing.

I modified the template by substituting in the low handle Trap Bar Deadlift for some of the squats. I used a fixed light (60%), medium (70%) and heavy weight (80%), and completed the prescribed ladders within the given time period. Some days I would roll goblet squats or double front squats but the majority of the practices were TBDL for specificity’s sake.

I also substituted hand release push ups for one of the press modules. I would complete either double Cl & Pr or single Cl & Pr first, then move to TBDL/squats, then Hand release push ups, then pull ups/rows. Some days (via dice roll), I used a 30lb ruck to add weight to the push-ups. The ladders I used were 5, 10, 15, 20 for unweighted and 2, 4, 6, 8 ,10 weighted. The carryover to the push-up event was noticeable, my kettlebell presses began to feel stronger, and I think I put on a little muscle in the process.

When time allowed, I substituted sprints/tempo runs into the medium ballistic day for running practice. These days, I would use an idea similar to what this article lays out:


That way I still got some snatches into the mix.

My Wednesdays were usually LSS days where I would do things like light sled pulls (another amazing exercise), row, jog, swing a mace or club, or ruck. They were perfect for recovery, and my ACFT run time surprised me after not just running.

I highly recommend using this template to train for your ACFT. Honestly, I liked it so much that I’m gonna stick with it for a good long while to see what other improvements I can make.
I love how you used this @Marty, solid programming!
 

John K

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I love the hand release push-up. I was the squadron fitness manager back in my AF days and counting quality push-up reps for the testing days was always a challenge. Especially for the guys who were in shape and really liked to crank them out. After I got out I would regularly tell the kids at my gym who getting ready for the military that they hadn’t done a single rep that I would have counted.
I recently had a PT test (outside the military) and the guy was demoing the pushup standard and said that the top of the tricep had to break the plane of the back and then followed it up by saying its a lot lower than a regular pushup, it was a low pushup. ROFL
 

Conor

Level 2 Valued Member
I recently had a PT test (outside the military) and the guy was demoing the pushup standard and said that the top of the tricep had to break the plane of the back and then followed it up by saying its a lot lower than a regular pushup, it was a low pushup. ROFL
That got a nice chuckle, thanks @John K
 

SamHelsloot

Level 4 Valued Member
I took my spring Army Combat Fitness Test recently and used 3 cycles of a modified ETK+ template as my training program. Here are some observations and results:

1. It worked wonders. I felt stronger in every event, and was able to score higher than any previous ACFT.
2. The schedule and dice roll made it a perfect setup for my busy schedule. Some days I split the training into micro sessions similar to @Geoff Neupert Strength Shortcuts. I was able to work from home (all the equipment I needed) or at work (only a few lighter kettlebells).
3. Double snatches and double jerks made the standing power throw a non issue. I increased my throw by a meter and a half.
4. The forced “light” days were a game changer for me. When I try to create my own program, I tend to push too hard too much, and this template helped me recover while still progressing.

I modified the template by substituting in the low handle Trap Bar Deadlift for some of the squats. I used a fixed light (60%), medium (70%) and heavy weight (80%), and completed the prescribed ladders within the given time period. Some days I would roll goblet squats or double front squats but the majority of the practices were TBDL for specificity’s sake.

I also substituted hand release push ups for one of the press modules. I would complete either double Cl & Pr or single Cl & Pr first, then move to TBDL/squats, then Hand release push ups, then pull ups/rows. Some days (via dice roll), I used a 30lb ruck to add weight to the push-ups. The ladders I used were 5, 10, 15, 20 for unweighted and 2, 4, 6, 8 ,10 weighted. The carryover to the push-up event was noticeable, my kettlebell presses began to feel stronger, and I think I put on a little muscle in the process.

When time allowed, I substituted sprints/tempo runs into the medium ballistic day for running practice. These days, I would use an idea similar to what this article lays out:


That way I still got some snatches into the mix.

My Wednesdays were usually LSS days where I would do things like light sled pulls (another amazing exercise), row, jog, swing a mace or club, or ruck. They were perfect for recovery, and my ACFT run time surprised me after not just running.

I highly recommend using this template to train for your ACFT. Honestly, I liked it so much that I’m gonna stick with it for a good long while to see what other improvements I can make.
Score if you don’t mind my asking?
 

ShawnM

Level 8 Valued Member
@Marty, could you or someone else explain the logic behind the "hand release pushup?" It's not a thing I've ever seen before.

Thanks very much.

-S-
It’s impossible to not go down to a complete depth. One of the issues with push ups during my career was sailors not going to a proper depth on push ups. With the hand release push ups you go all the way down and take your hands off the ground. Impossible to not hit depth if you are temporarily laying on your chest.
 

SamHelsloot

Level 4 Valued Member
Sure! 567/600. My goal was 90% in every event. Mission accomplished except for the run. Missed it by :09. *sigh*
Nice! Solid score. SDC is my weaknesses- and the ball throw is the bane of my existence haha… max everything else comfortably. My 2 mile is around 11:40. Prepping for SFAS later this year…
 

Marty

Level 6 Valued Member
Nice! Solid score. SDC is my weaknesses- and the ball throw is the bane of my existence haha… max everything else comfortably. My 2 mile is around 11:40. Prepping for SFAS later this year…
That’s impressive! I’m always blown away by people who can score that high. I’m not quite at maxing things just yet. The busy life of a 38 year old father of three leaves a little to be desired in terms of training intensity. I’m just happy to keep my band job for another 6 months. Haha!!! But man…I really DO miss those leg tucks. That plank following the SDC is a miserable experience.
 
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Jacobcutt

Level 4 Valued Member
Just took the ACFT this morning! 3RM Deadlift @ 240, Ball toss @ 7.3m, and the quad burn on the drag are the points I want to focus on. As a smaller-framed gentleman, 143lbs and 5'8", the plank was too easy and the run was pretty good a 14:30.

I might add in some double kettlebell work to hopefully build up the raw power to increase my overhead ball yeet. I strained my back when my form broke in training earlier this week, so I took it easy on the DL. I could go up 20 lbs confidently there. The only other thing I'm going to look at is quad work; I would really like to have an easier time with the drag.

Thanks for the thread! Some good stuff here.
 

Marty

Level 6 Valued Member
Just took the ACFT this morning! 3RM Deadlift @ 240, Ball toss @ 7.3m, and the quad burn on the drag are the points I want to focus on. As a smaller-framed gentleman, 143lbs and 5'8", the plank was too easy and the run was pretty good a 14:30.

I might add in some double kettlebell work to hopefully build up the raw power to increase my overhead ball yeet. I strained my back when my form broke in training earlier this week, so I took it easy on the DL. I could go up 20 lbs confidently there. The only other thing I'm going to look at is quad work; I would really like to have an easier time with the drag.

Thanks for the thread! Some good stuff here.
Great work! Sorry for the back strain. That’s happened to me so many times when life stress is high and recovery is low.

I highly recommend Kettlebell STRONG! for doubles instruction if you’re inexperienced. The videos cover all you need to know and are worth their weight in gold.

Just before my ball throw, I took the 2 40lb kettlebells in my lane and snatched them a couple times to prime the pump a bit. I also found that rolling the ball off my fingers similar to a fast ball in baseball seemed to pick up some distance. I got up to 11.1 meters. My previous best was about 9.5.

The sled sucks…it just does. I’m guessing getting stronger will help a bit, but the pain/pump will still be there. Knees over toes guy (Ben Patrick) talks about the burn with backwards sled drags, and seems to chase it for knee health. I actually almost fell down after my sled drag because my legs gave out. Haha! When I grade the test, I always scream “knees up” as a cue because most people can’t pick their feet up anymore.
 
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