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Guide to the Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test

Dec 22, 2009

If you are trying to gauge your level of physical fitness, taking the US Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test is a great way to start. This strength and cardio test is an easy way to measure your ability at a regular interval to determine if you are increasing your strength or not.

What Does the Marine Corps PFT Consist Of?

For all active Marines and reservists, the physical fitness test is meant to ensure that they in shape and ready for combat. Administered annually, this test consists of pull-ups, crunches and a 3 mile run for men, while women are required to do a flexed arm hang, crunches and 3 mile run. Additionally, as of 2008, a supplemental Combat Fitness Test was added to the requirements to be sure that Marines were capable of handling the demands of a war zone.

Requirements of Physical Fitness Test

  • Pull Ups: A Marine Corps pull-up is done without a lot of motion and requires pulling your body up from a "dead hang" until your chin is above the bar, and then lowering again. 
  • Flexed Arm Hang: Designed for female Marines, the flexed arm hang requires a starting position with the chin located above the pull-up bar. Yours arms must then be extended without allowing your feet to touch the ground or the bar at any time. 
  • Crunches: For Marine crunches, you must place your feet flat on the ground with knees bent and place your arms in the crossed position on your chest. To be a complete crunch, both of your arms must touch your thighs before lowering your shoulder blades to the floor. Two minutes are allotted for this exercise and your buttocks must remain on the floor at all times, as well as your arms on your chest. 
  • 3 Mile Run: The run is conducted on relatively flat and even ground. You are to complete the run as quickly as possible and it is timed.

Scoring Your Marine Physical Fitness Results

Scoring of the test varies by gender. Men receive 5 points per pull-up, 1 point per crunch and 1 point deducted from 100 per every 10 seconds slower than 18 minutes on the run. Females receive 1.5 points per second on the flexed arm hang and lose 1 point from 100 for every 10 seconds beyond 21 minutes for the run. Crunches receive the same scores for both male and female.

A perfect score is 300, and requires both men and women to do 100 crunches and complete the run in the allotted time, as well as do either 20 pull-ups for men or 70 seconds on the flexed arm hang for women.

Using the Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test

You can use this test at home to get an idea of your overall fitness level. Start with the crunches, then either the pull ups or flexed arm hang, and finish with the run. The crunches are often the easiest to complete, a good warm up and can help build confidence and give you the push you need to complete the other elements.

Try completing the Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test once a year or even every six months, to see if your fitness levels are improving as you work out and get in better shape.

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