3 Repetition Maximum Deadlift (MDL)

You’ll deadlift the maximum weight possible three times.

The MDL assesses the Muscular Strength component of fitness by measuring your lower body, grip, and core strength. It requires well-conditioned back and leg muscles which helps Soldiers avoid hip, knee, and lower back injuries. Flexibility and balance are other aspects of fitness that are assessed by the MDL.

Proper technique


On the command of “GET SET,” you will step inside the hex bar at the center of the handles, with feet shoulder width apart. You’ll bend at the knees and hips, reach down, and grasp the center of the handles using a closed grip. Arms are fully extended, back is flat, head aligns with the spine or is slightly extended, and heels are in contact with the ground. Each repetition begins from this position.

Upward movement

On the command of “GO,” you will lift the bar by straightening your hips and knees in order to reach the Straddle Stance. Your hips should not rise before or above your shoulders. Your back should remain straight, not rounded out or flexed. Your feet will remain in the same position. You and the weight must remain balanced and controlled throughout the movement.

Downward movement

After reaching the Straddle Stance position, you'll lower the bar back to the ground under control while maintaining a straight back. The bar must be placed on the ground and not dropped. The weight plates must touch the ground to complete a repetition.

Additional information

Fitness components

  • Muscular strength
  • Balance
  • Flexibility


  • 60-pound hex bar and plates

Safety tips

  • Prevent excessive rounding of the shoulders
  • Keep knees from collapsing inward 
  • Do not drop the weights

More to consider

  • One retest is allowed at a lower weight if you’re not able to complete three continuous repetitions under control
  • The maximum number of attempts on the MDL is two 

Scoring the deadlift

You will lift the maximum weight possible three times using a 60-pound hex bar and plates. Download the scoring scale to see what’s expected.

Min. points (60) 140 lbs.
Max. points (100) 340 lbs.
For ages 17 – 21
  • You’ll need to score a minimum of 60 points on each event to pass the ACFT with a total score of 360
  • The maximum score you can receive per event is 100 points for a total score of 600
  • The requirement for each event varies according to gender and age


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