US MARINES branch tape and dog tags on woodland camouflage uniform

Be Marine Corps Fit: The Marine Corps Fitness Test

Becoming a United States Marine demands hard work, unwavering commitment, and a structured exercise plan. The Marine Corps sets strict physical fitness standards that anyone can use as a fitness benchmark.

Marine Corps Fitness Tests

Initial Strength Test (IST)

Before recruit training, the Initial Strength Test (IST) sets the bar:

  • Men: 3 pull-ups or 34 push-ups in under 2 minutes
  • Women: 1 pull-up or 15 push-ups in under 2 minutes

Plank: 40 seconds or 44 crunches in under 2 minutes


  • Men: 1.5 miles in 13.5 minutes or less
  • Women: 1.5 miles in 15 minutes or less

Physical Fitness Test (PFT)

The Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test (PFT) assesses stamina and conditioning. Males aim for a 3-mile run in under 28 minutes, while females target 31 minutes. Other components vary by sex, age, and weight.

Combat Fitness Test (CFT)

The Combat Fitness Test (CFT) is the ultimate test of well-rounded strength. It includes:

Movement to Contact: An 880-yard sprint

Ammunition Lift: Lifting a 30-pound can overhead

Maneuver Under Fire: A 300-yard course with battle-like challenges

Creating Your Workout Plan

Discipline is crucial. Plan a structured workout routine:

Focus on 2-3 exercises daily in a circuit.

Rest no more than one minute between exercises.

Progress gradually; you don't need to start with the toughest variations.

Sample Workout Routine


  • Pull-ups or flexed arm hang
  • Push-ups
  • Crunches


  • 1.5-mile run


  • Pull-ups on the V-bar or flexed arm hang
  • Close grip push-ups
  • Decline crunches


  • Running and sprinting


  • Wide hand position push-ups
  • Crunches
  • Chin-ups or flexed arm hang


  • Long-distance run with challenges


  • Push-ups with feet elevated
  • Pull-ups or flexed arm hang
  • Decline reverse crunches

Additional Exercises

Mix things up with exercises like squats, sandbag deadlifts, sit-ups, lunges, running with weights, and running with a sandbag.

Tips for Training and Recovery

  • Don't obsess over reps; consistency is key.
  • Prioritize 8 hours of quality sleep.
  • Eat clean, focusing on protein and low-fat foods. Fuel with carbs before workouts and stay hydrated.

Ready for a Challenge?

Try these Marine challenges:

Challenge #1:

  • 44 crunches
  • 34 push-ups in 20 minutes

Challenge #2:

  • 3 pull-ups
  • Quarter-mile run
  • 25 squats
  • Quarter-mile run
  • Plank
  • Quarter-mile run


Whether you're aiming for recruit training or just want to build strength, military-inspired fitness can help. Pull-ups, crunches, and sprints prepare you for the Marines' Physical Fitness Test.

Remember, supplements, clean eating, and quality sleep top off Marines-level strength.

James Freeman


Liam Marshall, the friendly fitness coach, has spent 14 years sharing his love for sports and fitness. With degrees in sports science, he crafts workouts that fit like your favorite jeans. Beyond the gym, he organizes sports clinics and tech-savvy fitness apps that motivate people worldwide. He's all about making fitness doable for everyone, and it's not just about bodies – it's boosting confidence. In 2019, he scored the "Virginia Fitness Coach of the Year" award. Outside the fitness world, he loves family time and hikes in Shenandoah National Park. Liam's journey from a small-town fitness fan to a big-time coach is all about passion, inspiring people to see fitness as a body-and-mind thing. Catch him on Instagram to stay in the loop!