Reduced rest breaks between Combat Fitness Test, or CFT, events, announced by the Corps in September, are not going into effect quite yet.

In an administrative message to the force posted in January, the Corps said the change to reduce the rest intervals from five minutes to three would not go into effect this Jan. 1 as previously stated.

“Until otherwise directed, the time interval between CFT events will remain no less than five minutes,” the message stated.

Marine Corps Training and Education Command told Marine Corps Times in an emailed statement that the commandant wants more research into the change “to gain additional insights on CFT results.”

In September, the Corps announced sweeping changes to the Physical Fitness Test, or PFT, and the CFT, which would make both tests a little harder for male and female Marines.

Changes included higher minimum and maximum pullups for women, and a new required minimum 150 score to pass either test. The new score means Marines must perform above the minimum threshold on at least one event to pass either fitness test.

The changes were implemented to make the Corps’ fitness tests a little more challenging, and in light of new data that showed women were successfully ripping out pullups.

However, PFT scores were down across the Corps in 2018, according to data provided to Marine Corps Times in September.

About 70 percent of Marines earned a top first class PFT score in 2018, which is slightly down from the 72 percent who achieved a first class in 2017.

The Force Fitness Division, led by former Marine Athlete of the Year Col. Stephen Armes, said he suspected the slight dip was a result of the nearly 600 Force Fitness Instructors fielded across the Corps.

Those instructors are enforcing standards and removing a lot of the slop out the fitness tests by not counting crunches or pullups performed incorrectly during the test.

Other changes to the Corps’ fitness test may be around the corner. The fitness division is already amid a study on the use of planks as an alternative to crunches on the PFT.

Marines have long complained that crunches are administratively burdensome to count and judge, and are easy for Marines to cheat on.

Some experts say planks, done properly, may help reduce the possibility of injuries.

Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.

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