The MTI SAFT (Soldier-Athlete Fitness Test)

Marines at USMC Base on Oahu complete the 3-mile ruck of the SAFT

By Rob Shaul, Founder

The Soldier-Athlete Fitness Test is MTI’s proposed replacement for the Army’s APFT, and the Marine Corps’ USMC PFT.

We updated this assessment in January 2021. 

Specifically, we eliminated the Pull Up Bar Heel Tap event and changed the Hand Release Push Ups to Arms Extended Hand Release Push Ups.

The benefits of SAFT

Limited Equipment
All that is needed is

  • Pull up bar
  • Issued body armor
  • 45-pound ruck

Fitness Attributes Assessed

  • Upper body strength and strength endurance (Pull Ups and Hand Release Push Ups)
  • Anaerobic power, speed and agility (MTI Tactical Athlete Work Capacity Assessment)
  • Mission-Direct strength and cardiorespiratory endurance (3-mile Ruck for Time)

Easy to Administer and Score
Time limits for the Hand Release Push Ups and Pull Up Bar Heel Taps will move things along. The MTI Tactical Athlete Work Capacity Assessment takes 11 minutes to administer. The 3-mile Ruck at the end will be the longest event – but most athletes should finish within 45 minutes (15 min/miles). Several units, courses, and selections include a 12-mile Ruck Assessment – so a 3-mile assessment is not unreasonable as part of the SAFT.



Fitness Attribute


Upper Body Pull Strength

Max Reps Bodyweight Pull Ups in 2 Minutes

Strict Pull Ups – no kipping – full elbow lockout to chin above pull up bar. No time limit. Athlete can “rest” in the down position – hanging from the pull up bar. Both hands must remain on the bar at all times.

**Note – Pull Ups are completed with the palms pointed away from the face. No kipping, bucking, swinging or other excess movement allowed.

Upper Body Press Strength

Max Rep Hand Release Push Ups in 60 Seconds 

Hands up to elbows locked out. Body must come up stiff (no midsection sag) – Athlete can “rest” in the down position (laying on the ground) 

** Note: The head, chest, butt and calves must raise together for each rep. The body must remain as stiff as a board – no sagging or bending at all allowed at the waist. Some athletes will raise only or mostly their upper bodies. This is not allowed and the rep won’t count. Be strict!

Mission-Direct Work Capacity

MTI Tactical Athlete Work Capacity Fitness Assessment

Mission-Direct Endurance

3-Mile Ruck Run for Time at 45# Ruck.

Many schools and selections (Ranger, Airborne, SFAS, Expert Infantryman Badge, etc.) use a 10 or 12 mile ruck as part of their initial “gate” assessment or another scored event. For this reason I’ve always wondered why a ruck event was not part of the APFT. The 3-Mile event here will address this. Three miles is shorter than the commonly assessed 10 or 12 miles, and is long enough to separate performances.

**Note: Ruck weight must be at least 45#, but no more than 50#. Make athletes prepare their rucks the day before  the event. Verify ruck weights just before the ruck run and adjust as necessary.



Warm Up:

3 Rounds

1) Max Rep Bodyweight Pull Ups in 2 Minutes

2) Max Rep Arms Extended Hand Release Push Ups in 60 Seconds

3) MTI Tactical Athlete Work Capacity Fitness Assessment (All Athletes Run This together – Entire Event Takes 11 Minutes)

Rest 10 Minutes Before Starting Ruck Run

4) 3 Mile Ruck Run for Time @ 45# ruck (All Athletes Run This together)



40 Points Total (see chart below)

General Score    Total Points
Poor                      0-10
Good                    11-25
Excellent             26-40

Points Pull Up Reps Hand Release Push Up Reps Work Capacity Assessment Reps 3-Mile Ruck Finish Time
1 0-3 23-25 46 45:00 +
2 4-5 26-28 47 43:00-44:59
3 6-7 29-31 48 41:00-42:59
4 8-9 32-34 49 39:00-40:59
5 10-11 35-37 50 37:00-38:59
6 12-13 38-40 51 35:00-36:59
7 14-15 41-43 52 33:00-34:59
8 16-17 44-46 53 31:00-32:59
9 18-19 47-49 54 29:00-30:59
10 20 50 55 <27:00-28:59

Questions, Comments, Feedback? Email


Original Article: 7 Major Problems With the Proposed Army Combat Readiness Test


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