The U.S. Marine Corps is making some of the biggest changes to its physical fitness test in 44 years, including adjusting scoring tables and allowing for distinction between Marines of different fitness levels and age groups.
These Marine recruits at Parris Island, South Carolina, who just completed a physical fitness test will see changes to the test starting in January 2017. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
The physical fitness test (PFT), combat fitness test (CFT) and body composition program (BCP) for the U.S. Marine Corps are changing, according to an announcement made Friday by U.S. Marine Corps General Robert B. Neller, commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.
The PFT changes are the biggest since 1972, and the CFT changes are the biggest since 2009, according to the announcement. Most of the changes are effective Jan. 1, 2017.
The alterations are meant to ensure that "standards are relevant, challenging and allow for greater distinction between Marines of different fitness levels and age groups," according to the general's announcement.
Included in the changes are adjustments to the scoring tables for the PFT and CFT that require most Marines to demonstrate greater performance to meet new minimum and maximum standards.
The PFT now eliminates the flexed arm hang for women. All Marines, recruits and officer candidates now have a choice of doing a push-up or pull-up event in the PFT. Push-ups are an option, but pull-ups are incentivized because they are a "better test of functional, dynamic upper body strength and correlate stronger to physically demanding tasks," according to the announcement.
Performance on the PFT and CFT will be a consideration in BCP decisions, the announcement noted. Individuals with scores of 250 or higher on both the PFT and CFT will receive an additional 1 percent BF, while Marines scoring 285 and higher on the PFT and CFT will be exempt from weight and body fat limits.
Some changes are effective immediately, including a modification to the maximum allowable weight limit for female Marines, use of more precise tape measuring devices and de-centralizing BCP waiver granting authority so it now falls under the first general officer in a Marine's chain of command.
The Marine Corps Times details more of the changes in this article.
The Marines will monitor the effects of these changes for two years, adjusting if required. The changes came after Neller ordered a review of the physical fitness and body composition standards to ensure they were relevant. The review, which started in November 2015, was conducted by fitness experts and Marines.