By Jonah Bennett
The Marine Corps has proposed a new fitness plan for females that does not require them to do any pullups to meet physical standards.
While female Marines will strongly be incentivized to do those pullups to achieve a high score, they can opt for the “flexed-arm hang” instead. For example, females can’t score higher than 50 points for a flexed-arm hang, but just one pullup will net them 51 points, Marine Corps Times reports.
“I think this is a great way to implement the change as it gives an incentive to increase a score without the fear of failing the PFT,” Col. Robin Gallant told Marine Corps Times. “As women work on them to increase their score, they can be confident that they won’t fail a PFT. I think this is a huge benefit and I’m glad it might become a reality.”
Allowing females to skip out on pullups kills a plan from former Commandant Gen. James Amos back in November 2012, which stated females had all of calendar year 2013 to prepare for a future requirement of a minimum of three pullups. During 2013, females were still allowed to rely on the flexed-arm hang. The plan stated that in 2014, pullups for females will be mandatory.
The Marine Corps in 2013 studied how proficient females were at pullups. The results were embarrassing. A total of 55 percent of females couldn’t meet the standard of three pullups. In fact, out of 318 female Marines, the average pullups they could complete was 1.63. And 20 percent of the total who could actually achieve three pullups did so by cheating with an extra lower body motion, called “kipping.”
But all of a sudden, the Marine Corps decided to give females yet another year to get their act together. They were allowed the entirety of 2014, as well, to prepare themselves for the pullup requirement.
Then 2015 hit and for some reason females were still allowed to skip pullouts.
At the very least, however, high physical fitness scores are tied in to promotion, so at least women who refuse to do pullups won’t be promoted as often as their male counterparts who actually do complete pullups.
Gallant told Marine Corps Times she believes women will surprise everyone with how many pullups they’ll be able to do with training.
“It is very doable for women to do pullups,” Gallant said. “Most women can get their first pullup after about two weeks of being on the program. I worked on them for about half an hour in the morning and about 10 to 15 minutes in the evening. Once I got my first one, they came pretty quick after that. Once they get up to 10, it’s a piece of cake to maintain it.”
This new plan that allows women to skip out on pullups is not yet finalized. A final copy of the plan will be delivered to Commandant Marine Gen. Robert Neller no later than July 1.