It’s been a couple of years since the Corps has overhauled its Physical Fitness Test, or PFT.
Now, after poring over the latest fitness data, the Corps is about to make the PFT and Combat Fitness Test a little more difficult for every Marine.
Changes include a reduced rest time between CFT events, higher minimums and maximums for pullups on the female PFT, and a new minimum score of 150 to pass either fitness test.
The changes were posted in a forcewide message on Monday.
Female Marines will now be expected to rip out more pullups on the PFT.
One of the biggest changes was the maximum and minimum numbers for female Marines in the 26 to 30-year-old age bracket. Those female Marines will soon be required to do a minimum of four pullups and a max of 12.
The Corps decided to make the pullups event for female Marines more challenging in light of recent data that showed females were crushing pullups.
Female Marines are “doing a tremendous job on their pullups,” Col. Stephen Armes, the director of the Force Fitness Division, said in an interview with Marine Corps Times.
During this year’s PFT season roughly 71 percent, or 10,018 women, opted to do pullups on the PFT over pushups. And those women averaged seven pullups, which is the max for the 17 to 20-year-old age group.
The data supported a change in the minimum and maximum number requirements for the female pullup event on the PFT, according to Armes.
However, activists groups have often criticized the Corps for what they perceive as a lack of gender-neutral standards.
“Time and again women continue to prove that when given the opportunity, they will rise to the occasion,” Service Women’s Action Network, or SWAN, told Marine Corps Times about the recent PFT changes. “However, the Marine Corps must ensure that it is setting valid standards based on actual combat requirements, and that it is not arbitrarily shifting the goalposts.”
The Corps is also going to require a minimum score of 150 to pass the PFT or CFT. That means Marines can no longer expect to pass either fitness test by just performing the minimum on all events.
Marines will have to exceed the minimum on at least one event to pass.
This change simply reverts to the way the Corps used to do business. Several years ago Marines also had to push themselves beyond the minimum on at least one event.
Rest breaks in between CFT events are also about to get a lot shorter. Marines used to have a five-minute rest break before the start of the next fitness event; now they’ll get only three minutes.
The change was made to make the CFT a little harder and aligns with Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller’s goal to ensure the CFT remains reasonable, fair and challenging, according to Armes.
The changes for the PFT will go into effect January 2019. The CFT changes will not take effect until July 2019, or the start of the next CFT season.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.