The United States Marine Corps requires that all Marines perform a Physical Fitness Test (PFT) and a Combat Fitness Test (CFT) once per calendar year. Each test must be held at an interval of six months. The same standards apply for reservists. The PFT ensures that Marines are keeping physically fit and in a state of physical readiness. It consists of pull-ups or push-ups, crunches or planks, and a 3-mile run.
On 1 October 2008, the Marine Corps introduced the additional pass/fail CFT to the fitness requirements. The CFT is designed to measure abilities demanded of Marines in a war zone. Effective 1 January 2017, the PFT and CFT requirements have been updated to be somewhat more competitive. Up to date scoring charts can be found at the Marines website.
Pull-ups or push-ups
For this test, Marines choose to either perform pull-ups or push-ups. However, the maximum score is only attainable if pull-ups are chosen.
The pull-ups may be done with either an overhand (pronated) grip or an underhand (supinated) "chin-up" grip. Changes in grip are allowed as long as the feet do not touch the ground and only the hands come in contact with the pull-up bar. The pull-up begins at the "dead-hang" with arms extended and the body hanging motionless. A successful pull-up is performed without excess motion, the body rising until the chin is above the bar, and body lowered back to the "dead-hang" position. There is no time limit.
Until 2017, male Marines were required to perform pull-ups, and female Marines performed the flexed hang instead of the pull-up. The flexed hang was started with the chin above the pull-up bar. The timer was started and did not stop until the arms became fully extended. The feet could not touch the ground or any part of the pull-up bar at any time. The Marine Corps had originally indicated that, as of January 1, 2014, female Marines would be required to perform a minimum of three pull-ups in order to pass the PFT. However, when more than half of female recruits were unable to meet this standard, the change was delayed. In 2017, the flexed-arm hang event was eliminated, and both male and female Marines were given the choice to do either push-ups or pull-ups for this event.
Crunches are executed while lying on the back with the feet flat on the ground together or 12 inches apart (whichever is more comfortable), knees bent at a 90 degree angle, and arms on the rib cage or chest. One crunch is completed when the upper body is lifted until both arms touch the thighs and then lowered until the shoulder blades touch the ground. The arms must be in constant contact with the chest or rib cage; the buttocks must be in constant contact with the ground. The exercise is performed with the heels of the feet kept in constant contact with the ground. The Marine is given two minutes to complete as many crunches as possible.
The Marine runs three miles on reasonably flat ground. (Actual distance may vary slightly.) The 3.1 miles is approximately 5 kilometers.
The scoring for each part of the test is dependent upon a Marine's sex and age group.
- "CHANGES TO THE MARINE CORPS PHYSICAL FITNESS PROGRAM". 2008-08-08. Retrieved 2013-03-19.
- "Marine Corp Physical Fitness Program" (PDF). 2021-01-28. Retrieved 2021-01-28.
- "CHANGE TO THE PHYSICAL FITNESS TEST". 2012-11-27. Retrieved 2013-03-19.
- Guha, Amita. "USMC Pullups and Women".
- "11 things Marines need to know about the new PFT, CFT and body composition rules". Marine Corps Times.