Home News Marine Corps looking at phasing out sit ups from PT tests

Marine Corps looking at phasing out sit ups from PT tests

Top infantry Marines prepare to join elite sniper community replace sit-ups with plank Marine Corps
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kirstin Merrimarahajara/ released

Many fitness experts are calling for an end to sit-ups because of the high potential for back damage.

Military advisers are weighing into the argument as well, suggesting that military branches forgo sit-ups because of the pressure placed on the spine, according to Daily Mail. Instead, advisers are suggesting that the plank pose replace sit-ups in a revamped version of the PT test.

The Army recently conducted a pilot program where 10,000 soldiers completed an updated PT test where sit-ups were no longer used. One study found that 56% of all soldier’s injuries related to the former fitness test were due to sit-ups, as reported by Daily Mail.

They’re not alone in the argument to toss out the current test. A recent editorial in the Navy Times, called for a ban on sit-ups, calling them an ‘outdated exercise today viewed as a key cause of lower back injuries’.

Both the Navy and the Marine Corps are currently reviewing its physical fitness and body composition standards to protect service members while improving fitness and reducing injuries.

“At the end of the review, the end state is for a Marine Corps Physical Fitness Program that ensures the overall health and fitness of our Corps”, said USMC Commandant, General Neller.

Many universities and studies have shown that sit-ups are harmful to spines, placing pressure which results in pain and may sometimes lead to hernias.

The spokesman for the American Council on Exercise, Peter McCall, said in a Wall Street Journal interview, that sit-ups are ‘an antiquity of exercise best left in the dustbin of fitness history’.

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  1. Wow, the military has finally figured out what many of us have know for decades. I haven’t had my wrestlers perform military sit ups for nearly twenty years. Not only is it bad for the back but it has a significantly higher instance of getting pinched nerves in and around the neck. Crunches are better, with hands crossed over the chest BUT a study by UCSD clearly showed planking was better at improving the abdominals.

    Thanks military, for being so on top of things. Not.

  2. Robert is correct even the military has known this for decades why they did not change to another exercise is the question? Plank exercises help increase flexibility in posterior muscle groups throughout your body. Your shoulder girdle expands and stretches various muscles around your shoulders, collarbone and shoulder blades. Pressing the front of your thighs upward and lengthening your legs as much as possible stretches the hamstrings that form the back of your thighs. Plank exercises also stretch the arches of your feet as your toes hyper-extend to support your weight.

  3. I came up with a similar exercise to the plank pose that I found very effective. I stand straight and press my hands against my thighs then slide the hands down the thighs while maintaining force against the thighs. I’m using the muscles of a push up against the muscles of a sit up. I’m getting a little bit of an abdominal curl that the plank doesn’t provide and I’m not injuring my spine.


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