Marine Corps changes PFT, acknowledges injuries

One of the oldest modern traditions in the Marine Corps is the physical fitness test (PFT). However, that is about to change. The PFT consist of a timed 3 mile run, max set of pull-ups, and timed crunches. The Marine Corps has recently announced they are removing the crunches in favor of a timed plank event.

Additionally, they acknowledged that crunches put undue stress of hip flexors. Thus, leading to hip injuries in Marines. This came by the following announcement:

PFT Update for Calendar Year 2022

In 2020, the Marine Corps adopted the plank as an alternative to crunches for the annual Physical Fitness Test (PFT) as a means to measure core stability, strength, and endurance while reducing risk of injury. For PFTs conducted in 2022, Marines will still have the option to conduct the plank or the crunch just as in 2021, with slight scoring adjustments. The plank will be mandatory in 2023, replacing the crunches as an authorized PFT exercise.
For decades, the Marine Corps has used sit-ups and crunches to both improve and assess abdominal endurance. However, research has shown that sit-ups and crunches with the feet restrained require significant hip flexor activation. This has been linked to an increased risk of injury, including lower back pain due to increased lumbar lordosis.
The plank presents numerous advantages as an abdominal exercise. The plank’s isometric hold requires constant muscle activation, activates almost twice as many muscles as the crunch, and has been proven to be most reliable in measuring the true endurance required for daily activity function. With increased core strength, Marines are less likely to experience injury or fatigue during functional tasks like hiking, lifting and low crawling. [End of statement]
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3 thoughts on “Marine Corps changes PFT, acknowledges injuries”

  1. This is such pussy BS I can’t stand it. The PFT is just a down grade of the PRT or Physical Readiness Test.
    When I joined the Marines a very long time ago, the PRT consisted of a series of exercises that represented combat situations and it was done in full combat equipment and rifle.

    In full combat gear we had push ups, sit ups, a 20 or 30 foot rope climb, step ups on a bench about knee high, a 50 yard crawl to a simulated casualty with a 50 yard run with the “casualty” in a fireman’s carry. At the end was a 3 mile run with full combat gear and rifle for time over hills. I have one word for the old PRT: Brutal.

    The Marine Corps realized that the PRT couldn’t be standardized across the Marine Corps and so it invented the Physical Fitness Test which was 50 push ups, 80 sit ups, 20 pull ups, and a 3 mile run in running shoes, shorts, and a T-shirt. I have no idea how that measures fitness in combat conditions, but that was the way it was until I retired.

    Now, I understand that the Marines are making the PFT more demanding and closer to actual combat, but it isn’t as hard as the old PRT.

    My first full time job in the Marine Corps was as a platoon commander in Vietnam. That was a very hard year. Lost a lot of good Marines. But I was thankful for the physical and mental demands of the Marine Corps in training and peace.

    Like the PRT in training, in Vietnam I used that physical stress to keep going no matter how difficult the terrain, weather, enemy, or physical / mental the stress.

    1. Sadly the Marine Corps is more concerned with Annual Training and classes for this and that than actual Combat training. The actual training only accounts for about 20-25% of the Marines time. It should be flipped flopped and 75% training and 25%admin but bureaucracy has its hold on our old Corps.

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