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The Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test (PFT) is a test given to Marines to ensure that they remain in pristine physical shape. Involvement in the Marines requires being physically strong and capable of handling any situation that may arise, so the Marine Corps requires that all active Marines and reservists take and successfully complete this test at least once per year. Those who fail to pass it are forwarded to a Remedial Conditioning Program where they are provided with tailored fitness training.
Male Marines who undertake the Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test must complete 20 pull-ups starting from a "dead hang" position. The next portion of the test requires completing up to 100 crunches within two minutes. Marines must start with their backs flat and then complete the crunch with their arms folded across their chest. The last portion of the test involves completing a 3-mile run as quickly as possible.
Female Marines must also complete 100 crunches and a three mile (4.83 km) run, but are not required to do pull-ups. They must instead perform a flexed-arm hang, in which the goal is to hang from a pull-up bar with both hands for as long as possible. Getting in the starting position requires that they flex their arms until their chin rests above the bar.
Successfully passing the Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test entails performing adequately enough on each fitness test. Males must perform at least 3 pull-ups, 40 to 50 crunches, and run a 33-minute or shorter mile (1.61 km). Females must complete a 36-minute or shorter mile (1.61 km), 40 to 50 crunches, and a flexed-arm hang for 15 seconds.
The Marine's composite score must add up to a minimum total based on age. For men and women between 17 and 26, the minimum is 135. Between 27 and 39 the minimum is 110, between 40 and 45 it is 88, and for Marines 46 or older the minimum is 65. A Marine who obtained the minimum scores would be classified as 3rd class. Ideally, a soldier should be considered at least 2nd class, if not 1st.
Training hard year round is the most important aspect to taking the Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test. Many soldiers train briefly before the test and then return to a vegetative and unhealthy lifestyle afterward. To deter such behavior, in 2008 the Marines supplemented the PFT with a Combat Fitness Test (CFT) designed to further separate the fit from the unfit.
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