Short Female Candidate Question: Obstacle Course

Female Candidate Question:

I will be applying for the OCS class who will enter in June of this year. This is a silly concern- but I’m 5’0 tall-even. I know that everything will be exceptionally more challenging for me considering my size but watching Obstacle Course videos online makes me feel like it will be impossible for me to pass the O course in time as well as any other challenges – any advice to help me feel less anxious about it?


Many females get through OCS who are less than 5′. I even know two short males who were top candidates in my OCS platoon about 5′ tall and about 130 pounds and 120 pounds. They excelled!

You will need to modify your training

Start yesterday doing heavy, heavy deadlifts. Conventional or Romanian will build the strong foundation for humps. Do plyometrics several times a week. It would be great to get your vertical leap higher, because the O Course can be challenging for shorter candidates. And lastly, do lots of those pullups and learn how to climb a rope fast–using your *legs* since that will be a challenge as well.
Can you succeed? Of course! It’s been done before. If you want to become a Marine Officer so badly that you’ll ram your head through a wall, then nothing need stop you. But the above training suggestions can really set you up for success.
Sound good?
Semper Fi and good luck. You’ll do great.

This is the standard Marine Corps obstacle course layout for OCS and beyond

5 thoughts on “Short Female Candidate Question: Obstacle Course

  1. I went through Juniors this summer. I’m 5’8 and the shorter girls did better than me. While height certainly helps, I quickly found out that it’s all strength and technique. I was lacking upper body strength and I paid for that. So my advice is the same as above…work on your upper body and core strength. Do pull ups! Be able to do at least 10 before OCS. With hard work and determination you will make it.
    GET SOME!!

  2. I can tell you right now. I’m a 5’0″ female, and I was fine on the obstacle course. The only obstacles that gave me trouble were #4 from the picture (the high log after the declining poles) and #10, the series of high logs. As the author stated, get your vertical leap and be able to do at least 10 pull ups, and you’ll be fine.

  3. Any advice on the land navigation and field exercises? Anything I could be now that could help with that?

  4. I just completed PLC- Juniors 1st increment (India Company 1st Platoon) and I promise you, if you have the confidence to know you can jump and make it, you’ll be fine on the obstacle course. About 20 or more of the females in my platoon were between 5’0 – 5’4 and we all also had the fastest times. Its about either technique or when it comes down to it, they’ll allow you to maneuver the obstacles the best way you can. Just have some guts to know you won’t land on your face and be confident…some upper body strength would hurt either.

    1. Oh Hey Candidate Lee, Candidate Compton here, have you locked yourself out of your footlocker any since OCS?

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