Should Women be Allowed to be Marines if They Can't Do Pull-ups?
January 04, 20142 min read
In the United States Marine Corps, both men and women (enlisted and officers) are required to perform a PFT (physical fitness test) semi annually in order to maintain the level of physical fitness that is required by the Marines. The test is composed of three parts although the first of which varies for men and women.
Men, in order to get a perfect score of 300, are required to do 20 pullups, 100 crunches, and run 3 miles in 18 minutes. For a perfect score, women are required to do a flexed arm hang on a pullup bar for 70 seconds, perform 100 crunches, and run three miles in 21 minutes. The scores go down in succession for how many of each exercise you complete and whether your run time was slower. The test hasn't changed much and for many of the "normal" jobs in the Marine Corps the test is the same. When my parents passed through the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Sand Diego and Paris Island they were faced with the same test.
The Marine Corps, however, is composed of many other elite units which have different fitness standards because of the demands placed upon them in their jobs. For instance, MARSOC (Marine Special Operations) which is the Marine's Special Forces places much higher demands on its Marines. It's the same with the Marine Corps Infantry Training Battalion. In order to graduate the school there is a final fitness test. The test is composed of a grueling 12.5 mile march carrying 90 lb packs as well as completing 3 pullups (for the women). Of the fifteen women that started the 59 Day course, 3 passed. According to the Marine Corps Times, "...the women who graduate from infantry training on Thursday will not be assigned to infantry units, nor will they earn an infantry occupational specialty. They will report to their originally slated schoolhouses to earn a non-combat MOS.
The Commandant of the Marine Corps issued a directive in 2012 for the 3 pullups for women and quietly backed out of it after only 3 of the women graduated the infantry school. With the US slowly moving towards having women in combat it has sparked a great deal of controversy. After worrying that the new standards would cost them both current Marines and recruits the new standards were dropped. Robert Maginnis, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, told NPR that 'young women, in spite of all the training and all the best intentions, are not going to be the equal of young men in terms of upper body strength.' Maginnis goes onto state that combat readiness is being sacrificed on the altar of political readiness.
So while female Marines not serving in the infantry are not required to perform pullups, the question still hangs in the air...should female Marines be allowed to serve in combat if they cannot maintain the proper fitness standards demanded of men? Certainly being able to perform pullups isn't strictly necessary for a desk job...but being in peak physical condition for combat is.
Sign up to get articles like these delivered right to your inbox.
Become a Bodyrocker
Be the first to know about free workouts, promotions, fitness and health advice!
Thank you for signing up!
Shipping & Delivery
Fast, 2 Day Shipping. We want you to start your fitness journey with us as quickly as possible, that’s why we send every package to the USA via 2 day expedited shipping with our partners at FEDEX. Once your order is received and processed, it’s just 2 days to get to you once it leaves our warehouse. That’s our commitment and we stand by it.
We ship within Canada and the United States via FedEx with expedited 2-Day shipping.
For locations outside of the US and Canada, we ship using FedEx International, which is usually in transit for 5-7 business days, depending on location.
We ship all of our physical products with FedEx, from our warehouse location in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Signatures are required on all orders.
Returns & Exchanges
We offer a 30-day return policy, as long as: it is not more than 30 days past the date of delivery; and your item is in its original condition and packaging with the original order number. Refunds will be issued when the equipment is received back to the BodyRock warehouse, minus the original cost of shipping, and the customer is responsible for the costs of return shipping. To request a refund on physical product purchases, please contact us.
We cannot issue refunds on digital goods such as e-books or videos, as these are non-tangible goods that are irrevocable once the order is placed.
All of the BodyRock clothing is made to order and so is final sale. If you have any questions about sizing prior to placing your order, please contact us.