Initial PFT Results Are In. Here’s How Marines Between Ages 17 And 39 Are Faring

Health & Fitness

This year, some significant changes to the Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test went into effect — tougher standards, new exercises, a revamped sliding grade scale based on age, and more stringent requirements for a top score. As Task & Purpose previously reported, the aim was to make the test more challenging — and the data, as well as feedback from Marines who recently ran the test, indicate that the service may have succeeded.


This year saw a slight decrease in first-class scores, and a significant bump in second and third-class PFTs. But even as top scores dropped, average scores and overall performance on individual events increased.

The preliminary data cited here, obtained by Task & Purpose through a Freedom of Information Act Request, is limited to Marines ages 17 to 39 — while a full age range was supplied to T&P;, the sample sizes for Marines over 40 were too small to be a reliable indicator of emerging trends. The 2017 data is a partial set based on the scores of 46,668 male and 2,990 female Marines between the ages of 17 and 26, plus 12,561 male and 648 female Marines between 27 and 39, who took the annual test between January and April this year.

Here’s what the initial data show:

Marines ages 1726

For younger Marines, the preliminary data shows similar trend lines for men and women. Female Marines 1726 earned 15% fewer first class scores than they did in 2016. Second-class scores shot up 60% and third-class scores more than tripled. For male Marines in the same age bracket, the trends went in the same direction, but the numbers were less dramatic: First-class PFTs dropped slightly, second-class scores rose slightly, and third-class earners more than doubled.

Marines ages 2739

Female Marines between 2739 saw a significant drop in top scores. First-class scores shrank by 10%, while second-class scores nearly tripled and third-class scores more than quintupled over the previous year. Male Marines saw similar trends: 10% fewer first-class scores, more than double the number of second-class scores, and 10 times as many third-class scores.

Despite seeing a drop in top scores, fewer Marines are failing their physical fitness tests. Failures for Marines between 1739 have decreased each year for the past five years, indicating that overall fitness in the Fleet Marine Force is on the rise, even if being the best is just a little harder than it used to be.

Overall, average PFT scores have increased in each of the last five years for Marines 2739, and officials say there’s a reason for that.

“The fact of the matter is, full physical maturation doesn’t happen until the mid to late 20s, in the strength and cardiovascular component,” Brian McGuire, the deputy director for the Marine Corps Force Fitness Division, told Task & Purpose in June.

“We do know Marines are not the strongest in the earlier part of their career, but they get stronger as the years go by,” McGuire said. “Cardiovascular fitness has a more certain decline, but the Marines from 26 to 32, that’s where we’ve seen the highest PFT scores. Not necessarily in the youngest age group.”

Related: Here’s What Marines Have To Say About The New PFT Standards »

Individual event scores are on the rise for Marines in their late 20s and early 30s, as well: For men, pull-ups increased to an average of 20 trips over the bar this year, compared to 17 for the two previous years; run times for both men and women have decreased, and the number of crunches averaged has shot up for both groups. Among female Marines between 27 and 39, they averaged eight pull-ups this year, after seeing a slight decrease in average flexed arm-hang time for the previous years.

This trend — more crunches, more pull-ups, and faster run times — continues with the youngest devil dogs, as well.

Male Marines 1726 also knocked out more pull-ups this year than in the past five years. Female Marines, who officially switched to pull-ups in January, averaged seven. Men who opted for push-ups averaged 64, while women averaged 41.

In the coming weeks, Task & Purpose will be supplying a more in-depth review of this year’s PFT data and how Marines have adjusted to the new test.

WATCH NEXT:

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jesus Sepulveda Torres
Photo: Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Porch/U.S. Army

Army Staff Sgt. Albert Leon Mampre, who served during World War II with the famed Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division depicted in the HBO series 'Band of Brothers,' was laid to rest on June 15th, the Army announced

Mampre, who died on May 31 at 97 years old, was the last living medic from Easy Company, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. A number of soldiers assigned to his unit provided an honor guard for his funeral service.

Read More Show Less
(Reuters/Maxim Zmeyev)

NIEUWEGEIN, Netherlands (Reuters) - Three Russians and a Ukrainian will face murder charges for the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine which killed 298 people, in a trial to start in the Netherlands next March, an investigation team said on Wednesday.

The suspects are likely to be tried in absentia, however, as the Netherlands has said Russia has not cooperated with the investigation and is not expected to hand anyone over.

"These suspects are seen to have played an important role in the death of 298 innocent civilians", said Dutch Chief Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke.

"Although they did not push the button themselves, we suspect them of close cooperation to get the (missile launcher) where it was, with the aim to shoot down an airplane."

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Army photo)

A Navy SEAL sentenced to one year in prison for the death of Army Special Forces Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar is under investigation for allegedly flirting with Melgar's widow while using a false name and trying to persuade her that he and another SEAL accused of killing her husband were "really good guys," according to the Washington Post.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Navy/Cameron Pinske)

Editor's Note: This article by Patricia Kime originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

A senator has taken up the cause to negate a controversial court ruling that bars service members from suing the federal government in cases of medical malpractice by military doctors.

Read More Show Less
Paul Szoldra/Task & Purpose

NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — The trial of Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher officially kicked off on Tuesday with the completion of jury selection, opening statements, and witness testimony indicating that drinking alcohol on the front lines of Mosul, Iraq in 2017 seemed to be a common occurrence for members of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon.

Government prosecutors characterized Gallagher as a knife-wielding murderer who not only killed a wounded ISIS fighter but shot indiscriminately at innocent civilians, while the defense argued that those allegations were falsehoods spread by Gallagher's angry subordinates, with attorney Tim Parlatore telling the jury that "this trial is not about murder. It's about mutiny."

Read More Show Less