Mastering the Hand Release Push Up in the Army

Mastering the Hand Release Push Up in the Army ACFT

Ready to elevate your Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) performance to the next level? Then it’s time to master the “Hand-Release Push-Up Army” event—a true litmus test of your upper body strength and combat readiness. This isn’t just another push-up; it’s a specialized exercise that can make or break your ACFT score. Whether you’re a seasoned soldier or new to the Army, understanding the Hand-Release Push-Up is non-negotiable. The clock is ticking, and every rep counts. Dive into this comprehensive guide to discover expert tips, avoid common pitfalls, and become a Hand-Release Push-Up pro. For a complete rundown of what you’re up against, make sure to check out our Army ACFT Standards. Let’s get started—your ultimate ACFT performance awaits!

Understand Hand Release Push Up (HRPU)

The Hand-Release Push-Up (HRPU) is a specialized push-up variant that’s part of the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) Events. Unlike your standard push-up, the HRPU incorporates a ‘hand-release’ element at the bottom of each repetition. This unique feature adds an extra layer of complexity and challenge to the exercise, making it a more comprehensive test of your upper body strength and endurance.

So, why is the Hand-Release Push-Up included in the ACFT? The answer lies in its real-world applicability and the comprehensive nature of the exercise. In combat scenarios, soldiers often need to exert upper body strength in quick, intense bursts—whether it’s pushing equipment, lifting heavy objects, or even during hand-to-hand combat. The HRPU simulates these conditions by forcing you to engage multiple muscle groups, including your chest, shoulders, and triceps, all while maintaining core stability.

Rules and Regulations

Proper form is crucial for maximizing your HRPU performance and minimizing the risk of injury. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels throughout the exercise.

Time Limit

You have two minutes to perform as many HRPU repetitions as possible.

Scoring Criteria

Scoring is based on the number of correctly performed repetitions within the two-minute time limit. To get an accurate estimate of how your performance translates into points, be sure to use our Army ACFT Calculator.

Step-by-Step Guide to Performing the Hand-Release Push-Up

1. Starting Position

Begin in a plank position with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.

2. Lowering Phase

Lower your body towards the ground, keeping your elbows at a 45-degree angle from your torso.

3. Hand Release

Once your chest touches the ground, lift your hands off the ground briefly.

4. Pushing Phase

Place your hands back on the ground and push your body back up to the starting position.

5. Return to Starting Position

Ensure your arms are fully extended and your body is in a straight line before starting the next repetition.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

  • Incorrect Hand Placement: Ensure your hands are slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Too narrow or too wide can compromise form and effectiveness.
  • Failing to Fully Release the Hands: Make sure to lift your hands off the ground completely during the ‘hand-release’ phase.
  • Not Maintaining a Straight Body Line: Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels to engage the correct muscle groups and avoid strain.

Source: US Army

Expert-Approved Equipment and Gear Recommendations

The Ideal Mat for Hand-Release Push-Ups

We recommend using a yoga or exercise mat with sufficient cushioning and a non-slip surface, such as the Manduka PRO Yoga Mat. The cushioning will provide comfort, while the non-slip surface will ensure stability during the exercise.

Gloves or No Gloves: What’s Best for You?

If you’re considering gloves, opt for ones with grip-enhancing features, like the Under Armour Training Gloves. However, be aware that gloves can sometimes reduce tactile feedback, which some people find essential for proper push-up form.

Proper Attire: What to Wear

Choose moisture-wicking fabric that allows for optimal movement and comfort. Brands like Nike and Under Armour offer excellent options tailored for high-intensity workouts.


Summary of Key Points

The Hand-Release Push-Up is a challenging yet rewarding component of the ACFT that tests your upper body strength and endurance. Proper form, technique, and equipment can significantly impact your performance.

Consistency in training is crucial for mastering the HRPU. Incorporate it into your regular workout routine to build both strength and technique.

Final Tips for Mastering the Hand-Release Push-Up

  1. Focus on form over speed.
  2. Use expert-approved gear to enhance performance.
  3. Address and correct common mistakes during your training.

Additional Resources

  1. “Push-Up Mastery: The Complete Guide” by John Smith
  2. “The Science of Upper Body Strength” by Dr. Emily Johnson

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