Female Marines See Results After Pull-Up Clinic

Female Marines See Results After Pull-Up Clinic

Marine Maj. Misty Posey is confident that she has a fitness training plan that can help everyone in the Corps master pullups.

The Marine Corps has released Posey's tips — coined "zero to 20-plus" — in a Thursday service-wide message.

"It does not take months and months and months to learn a pullup; it does not take a year or two to learn a pullup – it's nonsense," Posey said in a video posted on the Marine Corps' official website. "I haven't met someone yet that I haven't been able to train to do a pullup."

Posey developed the plan,   for doing pullups that were developed to show female Marines the right way to train for the upper-body exercise. It caught the attention of Commandant Gen. Robert Neller during a Feb. 12 town hall with Marines in at Henderson Hall, Virginia when a woman shared her pullups success story after trying the plan. 

Maj. Misty Posey created the approach, which Commandant Gen. Robert Neller first heard about while talking to Marines on Feb. 12 at Henderson Hall, Virginia.

Posey has written several how-to guides on pullup training that are now online: The secret to pull-ups: How to go from 0 to 20Pull-up training program novicePull-up Workouts; and Pull-up Training Guide.

"If you are struggling with either learning or improving your pullups, the main takeaway would be that you're stronger than you think," Posey said in the video. "You can absolutely learn and improve pullups in a relatively short period of time. You just need the right tools."

Posey advises both male and female Marines to practice doing pullups between three and five times per day, no less than three times each week. Rather than maxing out each set, Posey does "ladders," each of which are one-third of the maximum number of pullups she can do.

"The way you get good at pullups is to do a lot of pullups – you don’t have to tear your muscles down, make them sore and make them bigger to get pullups," Posey told Marine Corps Times after the commandant's town hall on Feb. 12. "You just have to train the motor patterns. Your central nervous system needs that constant repetition."

At 4 feet, 10 inches tall high, Posey learned how to do pullups so that she could hoist herself over obstacles while training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego as part of her university’s Reserve Officer Training Corps program, she said.

As things now stands, the Marine Corps expects that at least those women who want to train for the service’s most physically demanding military occupational specialties will be required to do pullups — first as poolees, then at during recruit training and beyond.

The Marine Corps expects Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to approve the service’s gender integration plan by April 1, said Lt. Col. Eric Dent, a spokesman for Gen. Neller.

Once that plan is approved, Marine Corps Recruiting Command is prepared to contract and ship women to boot camp for training in MOSs that had been restricted to men only, said MCRC spokesman Maj. Garron Garn.

Meanwhile, Neller has ordered a review of physical fitness and body composition standards that is due to be complete by July 1. The review will look at a wide variety of issues, including whether both male and female Marines are doing the right exercises and how body fat is measured.

The review was prompted in part by discussions Neller had with female Marines about height and weight standards, Neller told Marine Corps Times.

"They were saying, ‘Hey I have been working out and doing pullups and I am over my weight for my height; when are you going to make a decision on whether women do pullups or not?’ Or, ‘I can get this [physical fitness test]PFT score, but I am still above my weight for height,’" Neller said in a Jan. 20 interview.