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A recruit does pull ups as part of the Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test

Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test (PFT) | Fitness Fundamentals

Physical fitness is essential to the combat effectiveness of the Marine Corps. Every Marine is required to maintain a high level of fitness regardless of age, gender, or Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). The Marine Corps also considers physical fitness an important part of leadership. As the saying goes “lead from the front.”

The most basic level of physical fitness is measured by the Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test, or as Marines call it, the PFT.

Marines who are lacking in physical fitness are a detriment to themselves and their unit and will impact combat efficiency. While there are Marines who let their physical fitness lapse, these Marines are typically passed over from promotion and pushed out of the Corps at the end of their enlistment.

The Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test is administered to Marines annually and scores are used to calculate promotion points. PFT scores are calculated to a maximum of 300 points, 100 for each exercise: pull ups, abdominal crunches, and the run.

The Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test is a foundation of fitness, but it is not the complete standard. There is still the Combat Fitness Test, as well as an entire battery of schools, MOS effectiveness measurements, and martial arts to consider for overall combat effectiveness.

Let’s dig into the standards.

Recruits conduct a Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test
Recruits of Fox Company perform two sets of 30 pull-ups followed up by sets of push-ups and crunches during a physical fitness session at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. Photo by Lance Cpl. Jericho W. Crutcher.

Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test Standards

The Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test consists of dead-hang pull ups or pushups, abdominal crunches (or plank), and a timed 3-mile run. Each event is worth 100 total points which are used to score the PFT, and also used for promotion. When on a promotion board with all things being equal, the more physically fit Marine will be chosen over the less fit Marine.

Female Marines used to be able to do the flexed-arm hang instead of pull ups, but that has been phased out. Marines can now substitute pushups instead of pull ups, but be aware you will not be able to max out your score on the PFT. Pushups can only get a max score of 70 points out of 100.

Marine Corps Pull Up Standards: Males

Age Group

17-20
21-25
26-30
31-35
36-40
41-45
46-50
51+

Minimum

4
5
5
5
5
5
5
4

Maximum

20
23
23
23
21
20
19
19

Marine Corps Pull Up Standards: Females

Age Group

17-20
21-25
26-30
31-35
36-40
41-45
46-50
51+

Minimum

1
3
4
3
3
2
2
2

Maximum

7
11
12
11
10
8
6
4


Marine Corps Push Up Standards: Males

Keep in mind that if you substitute push ups for pull ups, you will not get 100 points for this event, there is a maximum of only 70 points given. You have chosen the lower standard!

Age Group

17-20
21-25
26-30
31-35
36-40
41-45
46-50
51+

Minimum

42
40
39
36
34
30
25
20

Maximum

82
87
84
80
76
72
68
64

Marine Corps Push Up Standards: Females

Age Group

17-20
21-25
26-30
31-35
36-40
41-45
46-50
51+

Minimum

19
18
18
16
14
12
11
10

Maximum

42
48
50
46
43
41
40
38

Marine Corps Crunches Standards: Males

Crunches are performed by laying on your back with knees bent. A fellow recruit or Marine will hold your feet down (the best method is to place your hands on the ankles and your knees on their feet). Grabbing your biceps, you will crunch up until your elbows touch your thighs.

Points are not given for half reps, so make sure the elbows touch the thighs.

Age Group

17-20
21-25
26-30
31-35
36-40
41-45
46-50
51+

Minimum

70
70
70
70
70
65
50
40

Maximum

105
110
115
115
110
105
100
100

Marine Corps Crunches Standards: Females

Age Group

17-20
21-25
26-30
31-35
36-40
41-45
46-50
51+

Minimum

50
55
60
60
60
55
50
40

Maximum

100
105
110
105
105
100
100
100


Marine Corps 3-Mile Run Standards: Males

Age Group

17-20
21-25
26-30
31-35
36-40
41-45
46-50
51+

Minimum

27:40
27:40
28:00
28:20
28:40
29:20
30:00
33:00

Maximum

18:00
18:00
18:00
18:00
18:00
18:30
19:00
19:30

Marine Corps 3-Mile Run Standards: Females

Age Group

17-20
21-25
26-30
31-35
36-40
41-45
46-50
51+

Minimum

30:50
30:50
31:10
31:30
31:50
32:30
33:30
36:00

Maximum

21:00
21:00
21:00
21:00
21:00
21:30
22:00
22:30

Scores are calculate using a progressive scale for ages as well as the number of crunches and run time. Each pull up is worth 5 points, and each crunch is roughly worth 1 point. Generally, every 6 seconds shaved off your run time (from the minimum standard) is worth another point. You won’t have to worry about the score calculation, however. Just train to the highest standard.

You should be looking to max out your PFT score, as it makes life easier in the Corps, especially if you have a physical job like being in the infantry. It also means 300 points toward your next promotion, which can be huge.

If you’re looking to join special capability communities like becoming a Scout/Sniper you will be asked to run a 1st class PFT (score of at least 235 points) as part of the indoc, or indoctrination screening. When I was a Marine, this was done after the pool portion of the indoc, meaning you have done an underwater swim and treaded water for 30 minutes while taking on and off your boots, holding a brick over your head, etc. So just keep in mind that a mere 235 point score will probably not be enough. You should aim to max out your score as much as possible before attempting a sniper or recon indoc.

In addition to the Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test, Marines are required to take the Combat Fitness Test, a combination of 880-meter run, ammo can lift, and maneuver under fire obstacle course.