Home News Lowering the bar: USMC to relax running times, arm hang

Lowering the bar: USMC to relax running times, arm hang

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Rct. Spencer Daniels, Platoon 1042, Bravo Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, struggles to perform his last pullup during an initial strength test March 28, 2014, on Parris Island, S.C. The recruits had to do at least two pullups to pass this portion of the test. The initial strength test is the recruits' opportunity to prove themselves physically capable to withstand the demands of Marine boot camp. Daniels, a 21-year-old from Madison, Miss., is scheduled to graduate June 20, 2014. Parris Island has been the site of Marine Corps recruit training since Nov. 1, 1915. Today, approximately 20,000 recruits come to Parris Island annually for the chance to become United States Marines by enduring 13 weeks of rigorous, transformative training. Parris Island is home to entry-level enlisted training for 50 percent of males and 100 percent of females in the Marine Corps. (Photo by Cpl. Octavia Davis)
(Photo by Cpl. Octavia Davis)

The US Marine Corps is proposing to mesh the requirements of a mixed-gender force with physical fitness standards by lowering run times and reworking the PT score criteria.

According to Military.com, the possible changes would offer women a solution to the physical inequality gap that separates them from their male counterparts, allowing hybrid fitness options that could be accomplished across the board without total sacrifice to standards.

The outline of the proposed changes was presented in a briefing among three and four-star generals last week during a conference in the D.C. area.

According to the outline, male Marines aged 17-26 are finding that the minimum time of 28 minutes for a three-mile run is not challenging enough, while only four percent of Marines can max out past the maximum 18-minute mark. Under revised plans, the run times would be changed to 17:30 and 19:30, respectively.

“Some current standards are either not relevant, not challenging, or not attainable,” the brief stated.

By changing the numbers, roughly ninety-three percent of the age group could max out their scores.

The overhaul of the evaluations would also give way to a standardized scoring system, one that would provide a minimum score of 40 and maximum of 300 for each event with a top score of 300. In addition, the current four age groups would expand to eight, bringing them in line with the rest of the armed services.

With women now being forced into all occupational specialties, the issue of a gender-neutral pull-up has resulted in a headache for the Corps. During a test evaluation in 2014, fewer than half of the female Marines could complete three pull-ups during testing.

As a proposed solution, the flexed-arm hang currently used in place of pull-ups for women would provide females with decent scores but would require women to do pull-ups if they want to max their score. This comes as a double-edged sword since some occupational specialties require pull-ups in order to qualify.

Officials say that the new proposal would not only prove to be gender-neutral but would make maxing out one’s PT score an elite accomplishment. As of this time, data collection is still ongoing and may affect the final proposal.

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