Home News Marine Corps raises the bar for boot camp initial strength test

Marine Corps raises the bar for boot camp initial strength test

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)
The initial strength test is the recruits’ opportunity to prove themselves physically capable to withstand the demands of Marine boot camp. Photo by Cpl. Octavia Davis

Before they can ship out to boot camp, Marine Corps poolees who are interested in the most demanding MOS’s, will now be required to take a new initial strength test.

In order to pass the test, they must be able to do the following: 3 pull-ups, a 1.5-mile run within 13 minutes and 30 seconds, 44 crunches within two minutes, and 45 ammo-can lifts within two minutes.

The tougher initial strength test, which went into effect Jan 1,  applies to those who will eventually move into fields like infantry, recon and combat engineering.

Some poolees are given the test within 48 hours of joining the Marine Corps. Recruiting station commanders have the authority to require poolees to meet standards even higher than the new initial strength test, says Master Sgt. Bryce Piper, with Marine Corps Recruiting Command.

In case where a poolee has a bad day when arriving at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island or San Diego, a recruiting station commander can require them to do four pull-ups before leaving for recruit training.

“When newly arrived recruits take their Initial Strength Test at recruit training, they are in a state of culture shock and often still tired from travel,” Piper said. “Knowing a recruit can do at least four pull ups helps ensure he or she gets the three required. Commanders cannot lower the standards below the minimum.”

After passing the 13 weeks of recruit training, recruits must go to Marine Corps Combat Training, School of Infantry before they can actually get a job assigned to them.

“We have to make sure that they are physically and mentally prepared,” says Staff Sgt. Diana Wallace, the staff NCO at Recruiting Substation Waldorf, Maryland. Wallace told Marine Corps Times that she makes sure all her male and female poolees assigned to an MOS that requires pullups can “exceed the new initial strength training test’s pullup requirement.”

“We train them before they leave the recruiting substation to get at least five to six pullups – male or female,” Wallace said. “We train them to push for 100 crunches within a two-minute timeframe and we train them to get below a 13 minute run time.”

One of Marine Corps Recruiting Command’s tasks is to make sure “all poolees improve their overall body strength while they are in the delayed entry program, regardless of the MOS for which they ultimately train,” said Major Garron Garn,  a spokesman for Marine Corps Recruiting Command.

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