If you have ever looked into what it takes to pass the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), you have likely come across a couple of events or fitness tests that you haven’t heard of.
One of the toughest ACFT requirements is the sprint drag carry exercise.
But what is the sprint drag carry test? What is the sprint drag carry distance for the ACFT?
In this workout guide, we will discuss what the sprint drag carry test involves, how to do the sprint drag carry ACFT test, the ACFT sprint drag carry distance, and workouts to improve your sprint drag carry Army Combat Fitness Test performance.
We will cover:
- What Is the Sprint Drag Carry Exercise Test?
- Why Does the ACFT Have the Sprint-Drag-Carry Exercise?
- How To Do the Sprint Drag Carry Test
- What Is the Sprint Drag Carry Distance?
- How Do You Get Better At the Sprint Drag Carry Exercise?
Let’s get started!
What Is the Sprint Drag Carry Exercise Test?
The sprint drag carry (SDC), also called the sprint/drag/carry, is the fourth of six events in the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT).
The ACFT sprint drag carry assessment is used to evaluate your strength and endurance as well as your anaerobic capacity, so it is a pretty grueling fitness test for most ACFT candidates.
One thing that makes the sprint drag carry army test particularly challenging is that it is a multi-part exercise, with all of the movements being considered combat-related (from a functional standpoint) and physically challenging.
For the sprint drag carry exercise, you use kettlebells and a weighted sled, which end up combining strength, speed, and power.In this way, in order to do well in the sprint drag carry test, you have to have not only a good amount of upper and lower-body strength and power but also strength endurance or the ability to sustain a high level of explosive power output for the full sprint drag carry distance without fatiguing.
Why Does the ACFT Have the Sprint-Drag-Carry Exercise?
Of all of the six components in the Army Combat Fitness Test, most fitness professionals agree that the sprint drag carry exercise is probably the most functional assessment or functional exercise in the ACFT battery.
Not only does the Army sprint drag carry workout or test have functional implications for everyday movement patterns and exercises, but it also translates to real-life physical demands of potential combat situations for Army recruits.
For example, the sprint drag carry sprint kicks off the exercise.
Essentially, this ACFT component begins with getting up and sprinting at the start of the exercise.
This replicates getting up and doing 3 to 5 second rushes on the field or around camp in offensive or defensive situations and/or rushing in combat.
Then, the sprint drag carry sled drag portion is like dragging a casualty or comrade to safety or out of harm’s way.
Finally, the sprint drag carry kettlebell carry (moving the kettlebells) is like needing to quickly move heavy Army equipment or artillery from one place to another.
How To Do the Sprint Drag Carry Test
Here is how to perform the sprint drag carry exercise:
- Set up the sprint drag carry kettlebells and sled in the position that you want.
- Lie on your stomach with your head behind the starting line.
- On the command “go,” sprint to the 25 m mark as fast as possible. Make sure that at least one of your feet and one of your hands touch the ground at or beyond the sprint drag carry distance line at that 25-meter mark.
- Turn around and sprint back to the starting line as fast as possible.
- Grab each strap handle on the weighted sled and drag it backward over the 25 m line on the sprint drag carry course. Make sure that the entire sled has crossed over the line.
- Turn around and drag the sled all the way back to the starting line.
- Let go of the sled and turn your body 90° so that one shoulder is facing the 25 m line.
- Then, begin a 25-meter lateral shuffle as fast as possible. During this lateral dash, your feet cannot cross over one another or touch one another, so you really want to think about side shuffling while sprinting.
- As with the forward sprint, at the beginning of the sprint drag carry exercise, at least one hand and foot have to cross the 25 m line (and your hand has to touch the ground at or beyond the sprint-drag-carry 25m line) before you can return to the starting line.
- Lateral dash shuffle (sideways sprint) to the starting line as fast as possible, again clearing at least one of your feet and one hand over the line. Your hand has to reach down and touch the ground at or beyond the line. Again, make sure that your feet do not touch one another and that your feet or legs do not cross over one another during the sprint drag carry sideways sprint.
- After the lateral dash portion of the sprint drag carry sprinting components, the sprint drag carry kettlebell carry begins. The carry exercise involves grabbing a 40-pound kettlebell in each hand (80 pounds total) and then running to the 25-meter line.
- You have to step on or over the line with one foot and then turn around and sprint back to the starting line, still carrying the two 40-pound kettlebells.
- Place the kettlebells back on the ground, making sure not to throw the weights. They must be placed down deliberately.
- Finally, there is one last sprint to the 25 m line and back, again with the requirement that you must touch the ground with at least one foot and one hand at or beyond the 25-meter mark before turning around and sprinting back.
- The sprint drag carry test time is stopped when you have finally cleared the starting line on the return trip from the final sprint.
It would be shortsighted to say that the Army sprint drag carry test is easy; in fact, most recruits or candidates find it to be one of the most grueling components of the Army Combat Fitness Test.
However, there are some sprint drag carry workouts you can do to prepare for the test, and understanding that the sprint drag carry distance is actually only 250 meters total (just over half of one lap of a running track) can provide some comfort if you feel anxious.
One of the most common mistakes when performing the sprint drag carry test for the ACFT is failing to touch the ground with your hand and foot on or above the 25-meter line.
In order to pass the sprint drag carry test and take off from the line again, you have to touch your hand and foot on the line first.
Failing to do so can really compromise your sprint drag carry time because you will be called back in so that you actually touch the line, costing you valuable seconds and taking it out of the focused headspace you were in.
What Is the Sprint Drag Carry Distance?
The sprint drag carry exercise involves several 25m sprints, two of which are performed like regular all-out sprinting, and one is a lateral dash or a side sprint down and back.
Because each sprint involves a sprint drag carry distance of 25 meters to the halfway point before turning back, the total sprinting distance is 100 meters for regular sprinting and 50 meters for lateral sprinting, or 150 meters altogether.
Then, the sprint drag carry weighted sled drag involves dragging a weighted sled loaded with 90 pounds for 25 meters down and back, for a total of 50m.
The sprint drag carry kettlebell carry involves sprinting with two 40-pound kettlebells for the 25m down and back, for a total of 50m.
Thus, the total sprint drag carry distance for the entire exercise is 150m + 50m + 50m equals 250 meters.
It takes most soldiers somewhere between 70 to 180 seconds to complete the sprint drag carry exercise, but you can find the sprint/drag/carry standards here.
How Do You Get Better At the Sprint Drag Carry Exercise?
Of course, training can improve your sprint drag carry time.
Sprint drag carry training workouts should involve:
- Sled drags
- Shuttle runs
- Resisted sprints
- Lateral sprints
- Get up and go from the prone position to sprinting
- Kettlebell carries and sprints
- General strength training
- Power training
- Rehearsing how to do the sprint drag carry test
- Hill training
- Anaerobic workouts with weights and sprinting intervals
Since the SDC is the fourth of six exercises in the ACFT, you should also train for the sprint-drag-carry when you are already tired.
You can learn about what it takes to pass the Navy Seals Test here.