“Good test,” huffed Aiton, who will soon turn 50. “I’m smoked.”

Army leaders are touting the test, which is gender- and age-neutral, as a generational change in how soldiers approach physical fitness.

Instead of situps, pushups and a 2-mile run — the standard yardstick since 1980 — the Army Combat Fitness Test includes exercises to improve how soldiers perform on the battlefield.

For example, dragging that 90-pound sled isn’t just good exercise that builds muscle. It can simulate pulling a comrade to safety.

All soldiers will be required to take the test by October 2020. Field-testing is set to begin this fall, initially with 40,000 soldiers.

Senior leaders are already sweating it out, but in a productive way.

On Wednesday around 6:30 a.m., two-star generals, colonels and command sergeants major clad in workout gear gathered on a field at Fort Eustis. They’re under the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, headquartered at Eustis, and were already here for a commander’s forum.

TRADOC operates schools around the country. So if TRADOC is considered the Army’s university, these men and women represented its senior faculty.

At the top of the organization is Gen. Stephen Townsend, TRADOC commander, who wasn’t wearing his four stars Wednesday. Looking fit in a T-shirt and shorts, he was ready to take the test along with his subordinates. He’d already taken it once.

“I think it’s far superior to what I’ve been doing for the past 36 years,” he said. “The day I took it, I knew this is exactly what the Army needs.”

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