We’ve been on a bit of a military fitness kick here lately and although there has been a slight U.S. Army bias, I can assure you that the fitness content is relevant across the board.
Today, we’re looking at one of the most CrossFit-esque “WODs” of the more general tests that the United States Armed Forces puts its servicemembers through.
The Sprint Drag Carry event.
One of the events of the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), the elements of the Sprint Drag Carry are a far cry from the push-ups, sit-ups, and long run events that constituted the old school Physical Training (PT) Tests.
(which the Army might be going back to, btw…)
You wanna max out the Sprint Drag Carry? Be ready to put your speed, agility, and strength to the test!
Table of Contents
What is the Sprint Drag Carry?
As we just mentioned, the Sprint Drag Carry is one of the scored events of the ACFT (the fourth event tested, to be more specific). Like the other events, a total of 100 points can be earned towards a soldier’s total ACFT score while a 60-point score is the required threshold for passing.
The test is broken down into 5, 25-meter (up and back…so…a total of 50 meters for each segment) segments, each involving a different movement variation.
- Sprint back and forth
- Drag a 90-pound weight sled back and forth
- Run in a horizontal, “shuffle” position back and forth
- Run with a 40-pound kettlebell in each hand back and forth
- Sprint back and forth
Some additional caveats
- The test starts with soldiers in a prone position, lying on their stomachs on the ground directly in front of the starting line.
- During the first and last sprint portions, the soldier must cross the designated lines on each end and touch across the line with a hand.
- During the second and fourth portions, only the feet must cross the line, but the implements (sled, kettlebells) need to be placed over the line.
- During the third portion, only the feet must cross the line.
So, overall, you have to run roughly 250 meters, of which 100 meters is either dragging or carrying items.
We’ll get to some of the…other times in a moment, but everyone reading this needs to be shooting for a 100.
No excuses…100 on the Sprint Drag Carry and 600 overall on the ACFT or bust!
However…just in case…for some crazy reason, you’re a little…off on the day of testing, you might find yourself scoring a little bit lower than expected. Below are the points awarded for various completion times, broken down by age and gender:
Additionally, it is possible that you might be perfectly capable of maxing out your Sprint Drag Carry time, but might get hit by your “grader” (judge) with a penalty. Such penalties can be applied for any of the following common faults:
- Not touching a line with either a hand or a foot (when required)
- Crossing over with the feet (“grapevining”) during the lateral shuffle
- Throwing the kettlebells upon completion with their portion of the event
Now, you are definitely not going to get hit with any of these penalties because you’re going to perform the Sprint Drag Carry event perfectly…right?
(of course you are!)
Just remember that more than pride is on the line here; if you don’t score at least 60 points on the Sprint Drag Carry event, you’ll not only fail the event…you’ll fail the entire ACFT…
…and will have to retest the entire ACFT again.
As…”fun” as these events are, I’m sure you have other things to do than repeated attempts at the Sprint Drag Carry/ACFT.
Like my old position coach (running backs, of course) John Thornton used to say “Do it right, do it light. Do it wrong, do it long.”
It’s hard to find the top times on the Sprint Drag Carry and even videos including it normally discuss all of the tests, scores, etc. However, you can get a gauge of where some of the top performers are at by checking out how those who score ~585+ on ACFT do on the Sprint Drag Carry.
1:45 for “MegSquats” (some powerlifting chick who can squat a lot…I think)
1:28 for Christopher Kellum (I assume this man is a really fit soldier)
So…under 1:30 for elite men and, if you’re a woman and breaking 1:45 with your Sprint Drag Carry time…you’re doing pretty well.
Get in Shape for it
So…you’re not quite sure you’re up for hitting 100 points on your first Sprint Drag Carry attempt.
Let’s discuss why you probably are in reasonable enough shape to score high and what to do if you’re not.
What You’re Already Doing
The Sprint Drag Carry event is unique as it combines degrees of anaerobic and aerobic elements in a manner that is unlike any of the other ACFT events. As such, it is more difficult to train specifically for the event as practicing each individual movement would not be the most efficient use of your time (unlike practicing your deadlift form, throwing form, planking, distance running).
This is the bad news.
The good news? All of the training that you are doing (you are training…right?) to improve your strength and cardiovascular capacities is likely sufficient to “carry” (ha!) you through the Sprint Drag Carry. The kettlebells aren’t heavy enough to cause you too much trouble and the strength you have acquired training for the deadlift should be more than sufficient to help with the sled drag.
As the name implies, the workout is more of a “sprint” than a steady, cardio event (like the 2-mile run). However, the base you have developed to secure a good score in the run will be more than sufficient to ensure you’re not gassed during the Sprint Drag Carry.
It should come as no surprise that the top scores from above are put up by elite CrossFit athletes. Although most metcons are a bit longer than 2 minutes (elite Fran, Diane, and Grace, excluded) the mixture of a number of different movements performed at maximum intensity is a lot like…a CrossFit workout.
That being said, if you’re not interested in CrossFit you don’t have to join a “box” to prep for Sprint Drag Carry (although if you do, after a few months of training, I doubt you’ll have any problems passing the ACFT). However, working a few WODs into your weekly training regimen will prepare your body for the very unique stimulus that this type of event creates.
Being unprepared for this stimulus (as most people who are only lifters or only runners) is the biggest reason for failing the Sprint Drag Carry.
Check out these WODs and think about working 2 or 3 of them into your workout routine each week for 3 to 4 weeks leading up to the ACFT. Do this and you won’t have any problems.
This one obviously has a much longer time domain than the ~1:30 you’re shooting for in the Sprint Drag Carry. However, the mixture of familiar movements performed at a decently-high intensity should be a good introduction to the kind of stimulus you’ll experience during the event.
You may as well get used to holding a kettlebell and with this one, you have the added benefit of practicing a more difficult movement (swing) with a heavier weight (54 pounds) than what you’ll use in the Sprint Drag Carry.
The intensity is high with this one and you’re expected to maintain a near-sprinting pace. Feel free to switch out single-unders if you don’t have the time or inclination to learn double-unders (no shame here…you’ll be able to move even faster during the swings and burpees!)
Another high-intensity workout in a relatively small time domain. The movements here are completely different than those in the Sprint Drag Carry, but the point of this isn’t to replicate the event.
It’s to get you really smoked really fast.
Getting accustomed to moving at a near-sprinting pace after quickly accumulating fatigue and lactic buildup will make the event a piece of cake.
Okay, so this one is a bit…ridiculous. However, if you can Farmer’s Carry a couple of heavy dumbbells down a football field and back, I doubt you’ll have any problems with the kettlebell portion of the Sprint Drag Carry.
Scale this one…excessively…if you wish.
We mentioned Fran above because the best really can break two minutes on it (well…mostly).
We also mentioned Fran because she is notorious for her ability to inflict “Fran Lung” on new and experienced athletes alike.
Do Fran. Catch “Fran Lung”. Be aware that Sprint Drag Carry isn’t going to feel that bad.
Now, you’re ready!
Sprint Drag Carry…100 Points or Bust!
At this point, you know what the test involves, know how its scored, know what the top times are, and know how to train for it.
Sooo…no excuse not to max this one out!
As the outlier in the battery of events comprising the ACFT, it can be difficult to put your on how exactly to max out your Sprint Drag Carry score. However, as we’ve discussed above, being consistent in other areas of your training with a little bit of CrossFit thrown in should be more than enough to help you rule the day.
Worst case scenario: you get really serious with your training, throw up a really good score, and get featured in an article by the Army Times or something similar.
I can certainly think of worse things!
So you’ve seen the light and are convinced that doing CrossFit is the key to posting your best Sprint Drag Carry time. Great! Now, get your feet properly equipped to handle those WODs above; check out our list of the best CrossFit shoes for beginners!