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Marines are putting an "extreme emphasis" on the number of pull-ups leathernecks can do, a recently published internal study found. And that, some fear, could result in other important qualities that are vital to the Corps' mission being overlooked.
Participants in a study on Marine Corps culture were often focused on pull-ups as a best measure of a person's value and worth, researchers found. Marines' ability to lift their own body weight on a pull-up bar was "routinely what Marines referenced when discussing physical standards, a Marine's value, and physical readiness," the report's authors wrote.
One officer interviewed for the study recalled seeing a bunch of cyberwarfare Marines — a specialty the service struggles to retain — leave the Marine Corps because they "ran 26-minute three miles and only did five pull-ups."
"So we told them they were bad Marines," the captain said. "But now they make six figures for Microsoft ... and we don't have any of them for our future cyber fight."
This year, the Marine Corps set out to make Marines stronger, faster and generally more fit by raising the service’s physical fitness test standards, and it appears that they succeeded.
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.
EXCLUSIVE: Preliminary Results For The PFT Are In. Here’s What They Say About The Corps’ Youngest Marines
The U.S. Marine Corps set out to make its Physical Fitness Test more challenging this year, and initial records obtained by Task & Purpose suggest they’ve succeeded.
A lot of changes hit the Marine Corps’ annual physical fitness test this year: a sliding point scale based on age; pull-ups for female Marines; a rowing option for those over 46; swap push-ups for pull-ups; and the chance to take the test more than once. Task & Purpose reached out to some of the devil dogs who recently took the PFT to find out how the changes are impacting their performances.
When it comes to crushing the Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test, it’s all about the pull-ups. Sure, if you can lope along like a gazelle and snag an 18-minute three-mile-run, you’re well on your way to a perfect score, but you still need to max out on pull-ups. With the Marine Corps’ new PFT changes, men between 21 and 35 will need 23 pull-ups for a perfect score, while women of the same age will need between nine or 10.