Developing a job-related fitness test.

"How do we know if someone is fit enough to be a soldier?"

  • We developed a fitness test called the LCFT to ensure that troops are fit enough to perform the physical tasks of their roles.
  • The LCFT has four components which simulate current operational demands and the requirements of all soldiers regardless of age, gender or trade.
  • Army soldiers have found the LCFT to be more relevant than the previous test as it reflects what is expected of them in their roles.

The New Zealand Army needed a valid, reliable and legally defensible fitness test to assess whether deployed troops can perform the physical tasks required of them.

To help develop an appropriate test, the Defence Technology Agency (DTA), in partnership with Army subject matter experts, analysed the role of the All Arms soldier and identified the most physically demanding, essential and most commonly performed tasks. The physiological characteristics of these tasks were then determined.

Following international best-practice for the development of physical employment standards we developed and validated a preliminary series of task-related tests and trialled these with serving soldiers. The resulting test, the Land Combat Fitness Test (LCFT) ensures combat readiness by simulating current operational demands and the requirements of all soldiers regardless of age, gender or trade. The test consists of four components:

  1. Lift and place: Lift and place a 20 kg jerry can on the deck of a vehicle and repeat 10 times.
  2. Battlefield manoeuvre: Advance 150 metres in 15 x 10 metre bounds.
  3. Lift and carry: Lift and carry two 20 kg jerry cans over a distance of 200 metres, in 8 x 25 metre stages.
  4. Battlefield endurance: Complete a 4 km movement in less than 32 minutes.

Each test criteria and standard represent the minimum acceptable level for All Arms soldiers and it is either pass or fail. This is critical for creating a sense of dependability among soldiers and an appropriate baseline on which to start pre-deployment training. Following implementation in January 2015, most soldiers found the LCFT to be a much more relevant test and better than the previous one. Physical training now reflects the test and therefore the job, so the benefits are ongoing.