The Marine Corps was found to be the thinnest ­military branch, but the Corps has no plans to rest on its fitness laurels next year.

Starting in 2020 Marines will have the option to either hold a plank or perform the normal crunches for the Physical Fitness Test. All Marines who chose to do the planks will be graded the same, regardless of gender or age, according to the MARADMIN announcing the change.

For a perfect score, Marines must hold a plank for four minutes and 20 seconds, while the minimum passing score requires Marines to hold the plank for one minute and three seconds.

In 2019 the Corps released the first phase of a ­web-based program to help individual Marines and whole units improve fitness, Col. Stephen Armes, the director of the Force Fitness Division, told Marine Corps Times.

The next phase of the app currently being ­developed will allow Marines to upload biometric data and information on individual workouts by Marines, Armes said.

The Corps also plans to add 54 athletic trainers to the fleet in 2020. The Corps currently has experienced athletic trainers at its entry level training schools, five infantry regiments and Marine Air Group 14.

The trainers work with Marines experiencing pain or discomfort to treat the root cause before it turns into a major injury. They also work with Marines on ­limited or light duty to help them return to duty quicker and reduce the chance of re-injury, the Corps said.

The new athletic trainers will be sent to the fleet in three waves, with 5th Marines, 6th Marines, 8th Marines, 10th Marines and 12th Marines all receiving athletic trainers first.

Logistic units will receive trainers in the second wave while units with the Corps’ Air Combat Element will see the trainers in 2020’s third wave.

This is an excerpt from “17 Things Marines Need To Know For 2020,” in the 12-23 print edition of Marine Corps Times.

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