Physical Fitness



As United States Marines, we thrive on physical challenges. With determination and confidence, we welcome the unexpected as an opportunity to test ourselves, continually improve and remain certain that whatever difficulties are in front of us, we have the physical toughness to overcome them together. Marines face these challenges willingly because when you train for everything, you are prepared for anything.


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Testing Fitness

Through the physical rigors of Marine Corps Recruit Training and Officer Candidates School, we will find out who has the willingness and determination to continue on when others quit. To ensure Marines maintain the physical endurance to outlast any challenge, obstacle or adversary, we administer the mandatory Physical Fitness Test (PFT) on an annual basis.



Many are willing and determined on an easy day. But what about when your breaths are so heavy it hurts to breathe? What about when your muscles ache and your pulse is racing? Without physical toughness, mental toughness caves and every good intention fades. For this reason, we push our aspiring Marines to the point of physical exhaustion, to see what they have left to give when there is nothing left in the tank. How you respond when conditions are toughest is the true measure of your willingness to fight and determination to defeat every adversary on behalf of the Nation that needs you.




Through physically taxing training, we turn the willing into the able, transforming purpose-driven young men and women into Marines who can make a positive difference. Only those who complete the most demanding training can prevail over the world's most demanding battles. If you seek our title, the path ahead will be one of great challenge. Prevail, and your most purposeful days will be realized.


No one can fully comprehend the physical difficulty of becoming a Marine without experiencing it firsthand. But there are ways to prepare. These tips will help you strengthen your mind, body and mettle for the Initial Strength Test, the first physical test that is required to begin Marine Corps Recruit Training.


Mount the bar with your hands facing towards you or away from you. Your legs can be held straight or in a bent position, but may not be raised above the waist. 

To successfully complete a repetition, raise your body by bending your arms at the elbows until your chin is above the bar, then lower your body until your arms are fully extended.

You may have an assistant extend an arm across the front of your body to help prevent swinging.

The minimum standard for passing this test during the IST is two pull-ups.


Lie on your back, knees flexed with your feet flat on the ground.

Fold your arms across your chest with no gap between your forearms and your chest when raising your upper body.

An assistant may hold your feet or legs below the knees in whatever manner is most comfortable.

Kneeling or sitting on the feet is permitted.

To successfully complete a repetition, raise your upper body from the starting position, touching your thighs with your elbows or forearms.

Return to the starting position with your shoulder blades touching the ground.

A rest in the down position may be taken at any time.

The minimum requirement for passing this test during the IST is 44 crunches in two minutes.


Male and female recruits run the same distances during the run portion of the IST but have different time requirements to complete it.

Males must complete the 1.5-mile run in 13:30, while females have 15 minutes to cross the finish line.

It is advised that individuals who aspire to become Marines report to training able to run much further distances at a faster pace, as the IST run is only half the distance of the 3-mile PFT test required of all recruits.

The run portion of the IST is normally administered last, and if an individual fails the pull-ups or crunches portion, he or she will be re-tested at the end of that same IST.

  1. Train five days on; two days off. Rest is a crucial component of performance.
  2. Complete five maximum effort sets per day. Rest 90 seconds between each set.
  3. Concentrate on doing perfect executions instead of the number of repetitions you complete.


  1. Try doing three maximum effort sets. Rest 60-90 seconds between each set. As soon as you stop, that set is complete.
  2. Do six 20-second sets. Do as many as you can in 20 seconds as if you were taking the PFT. Rest 25 seconds between each set.
  3. Do 50 repetitions as fast as possible. Rest for 60 seconds. Then do 30 repetitions as fast as possible. Rest for 45 seconds and then do 20 more as fast as possible.


Timed Run
  1. Try running with a partner who will help motivate you to continue.
  2. Start at a pace and distance you are comfortable with and build steadily.
  3. Look in the direction of where you are going—not down at the pavement.
  4. Run at least three times per week.






The Delayed Entry Program is a yearlong program for aspiring Marines to train and prepare for the rigors of recruit training. Your recruiter will train with you to increase your physical, mental, and moral being and prepare you to overcome any obstacle you may face.

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Gain direct access to a Marine Recruiter who has fought alongside Marines and is prepared to show you how to become one.


One doesn't consider an endeavor of this magnitude without having questions. Here are some of the most common.



Physical Requirements

Marines are regularly tested on physical fitness, with a focus on stamina and physical conditioning. Learn more about the Marine fitness tests, the PFT and CFT.

General Requirements

One of the initial requirements to join the Marines is the ASVAB test, which determines a recruit's strengths and potential for success in military training.

Life on Base

The bond built between Marines starts in the barracks and extends to the battle field. Learn more about life on base in the Marine Corps.