Anyone who has ever attempted to complete the Marine Corps PFT will tell you that it is no easy task. Completing the test is challenging enough by itself, let alone attempting to earn a perfect 300 PFT score.
To earn a perfect score, a Marine must execute 20 dead hang pull-ups/chin-ups, 100 crunches in 2 minutes or less, and a 3-mile run in 18 minutes or less. Anyone that could achieve 300 points on this test is a true warrior-athlete. It is a balance between upper body strength and cardiovascular strength.
The Army PFT is different and challenging as well. The APFT consists of push-ups, sit-ups, and a 2-mile run. A Soldier maxes it by executing 75 push-ups in 2 minutes or less, 80 sit-ups in 2 minutes or less, and a 2-mile run in 13:00 minutes or less.
These standards are relative to the age group they belong in, in this case 21-26 year olds.
Now that we have a basic overview of each PFT, let’s take a look at how well they stack up against each other. As you read on I want to pose the following questions. Which PFT is more challenging? If you earn a 300 on one, would you able to earn the same score on the other? Which one produces the better warrior-athlete?
If you’ve wondered that, then you’re not alone. In my graduating class, less than 20% of females were remaining. Most of these went immediately to a delay at TBS due to injury. Scary figures, right?
If you are intimidated or discouraged by these facts, STOP! The odds are tough but just let that be motivation. The 1 female in 5 who graduated with us was probably the best prepared and most dedicated. Just determine to be that one and you will become an officer in the Marines. Do not let doubt creep into your mind. You can be the best prepared, and you can do it. Thousands have before you.
I will use this post to answer questions that females have asked before. I did not have females in my company, but the “neighboring” company did, and obviously I’ve had plenty of female friends successfully complete OCS. I will only answer questions that I think I can do justice to.
Q: What advice do you have for females going in?
A: Overall, it’s no different from my advice for men. Know the most knowledge you can, memorizing all the general orders perfectly and studying all the pubs I have on the site. Study! Work out hard! If you can keep up with the sample workout on this site, you will be in good shape. Get all the sleep you can before OCS. You’ll lose a ton there.
Q: I am working right now on my upper body strength and I have printed out information to study ahead of time. How many miles a day/week should I be running? Is there a max of miles I should be running at a time? What other upper body exercises should I do to prepare?
A: I recommend working on upper body and core especially, as your loads will be similar to the heavy loads carried by the males. Working in heavy squats and lunges will help develop core and lower body strength ahead of time. I said heavy, no 5 lb Jillian Michaels dumbbells here. For running, aim for 15% increase in mileage per week. If you develop shin splints, run on a softer surface, ease back a little, and do stretching and mobility work. Try foam rollers, for example. For upper body exercises, do push ups, pull ups, bent arm hang, and something to work your shoulders like military pressing dumbbells. They’ll make you hold your rifle out or up for extended periods of time, definitely a good idea to build some deltoid strength.
Q: I see that the attrition rate for females is high of dropping out. How many females typically go to OCS? And how many actually pass? What would be a good PFT to aim for to prepare for OCS? Any other information you have for females and to prepare for OCS this June would be nice.
The female candidates who read this blog will hopefully forgive me for my lack of knowledge concerning the female-specific aspects of OCS.
What can I say? I’m a male.
We didn’t even have a female platoon in our company. But one of the things I can straighten out is that all pull-ups in my PFT discussions now apply to males and females. Women now do Pullups, not the flexed arm hang.
Notice that scores are calculated differently for men and women for both the Pullups and run.
The following is a word-for-word excerpt from the USMC order detailing female PFTs:
Sequence of Events. The sequence of PFT events will be left to the discretion of the CO. All PFT events will be conducted in a single session, not to exceed 2 hours in duration. Movement of Marines from one event to the next should allow adequate time to recover, stretch, and drink water.
Before each PT workout begins, the “form for PT” chaos must go down. The platoons must form themselves in perfect ranks to do robotically operated stretches to yelled commands with proper shouted responses. No infractions are allowed–for example, wearing a watch to PT, bringing a pen in your pocket, or not being loud enough. For most all of OCS, if everything operates perfectly smoothly, somehow … Continue reading Push-ups and Flutterkicks: Prepare for Pain