Fitness Test Changes Likely in Store for USMC Men and Women

Marine Corps Fitness Test

The Marines are proposing a big change to their fitness test and standards - which will make scoring the maximum on your fitness test a bit harder in the coming years for both male and female Marines.

The Proposed USMC Fitness Test Updates - More Relevant, More Achievable

The new fitness standards, which was the result of a mandate by Commandant Gen. Robert Neller, state that the Marine Corps fitness tests and standards be relevant, challenging, and attainable, and that means that scoring the maximum number of points will now be just a bit more difficult for some, but not all, events.

This new fitness test would increase the number of repetitions for certain events that have traditionally had large numbers of recruits "max out", or attain the maximum score. Such events include the ammo can lift, pull-ups, and the movement-to-contact drill.

Not everything is getting tougher, though. Data shows that only about 4% of the 3,500 male recruits that were evaluated were able to attain the maximum possible time of 18:00 on the 3-mile run - an indicator that the current standard is "not attainable". If this proposed fitness plan is adopted, in the future Marines could take up to 19:30 and still receive the highest possible score.

This doesn't mean that passing will necessarily be easier, however, since this proposal would also change scoring guidelines. According to the current draft, first-class PFT scores would require at least 230 points, while a second-class score would require 195 points. The proposal does drop the minimum passing score to 120, however. Similarly, the CFT would likely see increases in the minimum scores for first- and second-class scoring, since around 93% of soldiers score a first-class CFT score, with 20% aceing all the events.

Fitness Guidelines for Women

These new plans aren't just for males, however. With the new directive requiring all military jobs be open to any man or woman capable of passing the requirements, this plan would also encourage women to work toward pull-ups - an exercise that has historically been a challenging one for many women in the military.

Currently, females in the USMC are allowed to either do pull-ups or a flex-arm hang. Under these new rules, the flex-arm hang would still be allowed, but the points scored for the hang would max out at 50, while a single completed pull-up would net 51 points. The thought is that this scoring system would allow women to pass the PFT without being able to do a pull-up, but simultaneously encourage them to work towards the goal of being able to perform pull-ups.

There are even programs designed to help female Marines learn how to do a pull-up, such as "Zero-to-20-Plus" a program developed by Maj. Misty Posey , a 55-year-old Marine who went from 0 to 17 pull-ups in less than a year.

This fitness plan review is being led by Training and Education Command officials, and final recommendations are due to the commandant by July 1, although a decision may be made by as early as May 1, in order to give the Marine Corps time to modify training routines ahead of the summer.

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