The Marine Corps announced big changes to its physical fitness standards in a July 1, 2016 administrative message. The message, signed by Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller, unveiled the elimination of the flexed arm hang as the upper body strength test for female Marines in the annual physical fitness test. All Marines and recruits, male and female, will be subjected to a new test that will involve a “hybrid” of pull-ups and push ups, the announcement revealed.

According to the Marine Corps Times, the flexed arm hang will be “phased out” in January 2017.

The Marines’ deputy director of fitness at its training and education command told the Marine Corps Times that the flexed arm hang was an inadequate test of upper body strength, and that the pull-up requires Marines to lift their entire body weight. Push ups were included, the deputy director, Brian McGuire, told the Times, because the Corps didn’t “want to create a manpower problem by having some female Marines failing.”

In addition to the upper-body test changes, Marines who score higher than a 285 on both the physical fitness test and the combat fitness test, will be “exempt from weight and body fat limits,” according to the administrative message.

“America expects its Marine Corps to be the most ready when the Nation is least ready,” Neller said in the message. “Collectively, these are the biggest changes to the PFT since 1972 and CFT since 2009.”

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