3 Tips Every Military Athlete Should Know For The ACFT

"Our country, and our army, need people that embrace struggle and fight for improvement. That’s what makes organizations move forward." ~ Laura Hanshaw

Laura Hanshaw is a member of the Montana State University ROTC Program, a regular at the MTNTOUGH Lab, and certified badass. She recently crushed the newly released Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), scoring in the top 1% among females and 10% overall. Earlier this week we caught up with Laura to chat about the ACFT, and she gave us a few tips to help people prepare for the test.
Here’s her top 3 tips to dominating the ACFT.

Go do it. When you’re done, look at your score in points and identify weaknesses. Everyone can deadlift 300 pounds until it’s actually time to deadlift 300 pounds.
Armycombatfitnesstest.com is a great website to easily identify what a specific ACFT event measures and how to build that capacity. Do your own research and plan out how to fix that deficiency. Then, stick to your training plan until your weaknesses become your strengths. 


Break your big goals down into manageable
chunks and plan for success. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Focus on the basics and the results will come. For example, I struggled with the SPT (Standing Power Throw) in my first ACFT. To remedy my deficiency of power, I added in just one extra power- focused workout or accessories movement per week. That looked like extra box jumps, wall balls, Olympic lifts, or just practicing the actual SPT. I carefully adjusted the training system I was already doing to  incorporate this new element, and over a couple months I reached to my goal. Along the way, I learned the importance of power as a tactical athlete. 


This test is challenging, and it’s an amazing opportunity to develop as a functional, well-rounded athlete. Whatever policy decisions may change, you and I don’t make those choices. Focus on what you can control, which is your level of fitness and preparedness. MTNTOUGH is constantly humbling me not only with brutal workouts, but the mental toughness aspect that pushes me in all facets to achieve more. I’m very optimistic about the excellent results of this improved fitness test, and how much better of an athlete I will become in the pursuit of it. Our country, and our army, need people that embrace struggle and fight for improvement. That’s what makes organizations move forward.

The idea, Laura explains, is to train so that when it comes time to test on the ACFT, it’s just another day. Train hard enough, and with enough purpose, that when it comes time to take the test, you can crush it and keep on cruising. The goal is not to meet the minimum requirements, no. The goal is to demolish the minimum requirements and keep moving forward.


MTNTOUGH believes that mental toughness is just as important as physical strength and that the strongest muscle in the human body is the one between your ears. With a coaching staff comprised of former Navy SEALs, Army Rangers, and renowned physical trainers—the workouts aren’t easy. The goal is to prepare clients for both the unthinkable and the everyday—to have the mental capacity and physical stamina to self-rescue in an emergency, or grind through a 12-hour workday and still play with the kids after dinner. Ara Megerdichian, MTNTOUGH coach and former U.S. Army officer and Ranger, believes the best way to harden the mind is by reaching and exceeding physical boundaries, by taking challenges once considered impossible and making them attainable and repeatable.