The U.S. military requires its service members to be physically fit. That’s why it tests each Marine, regardless of age, rank or military occupational specialty, to ensure a mission-ready force.
Marines must take the physical fitness and combat fitness tests annually. Know what the test requires and get prepared.
Physical fitness test requirements
This test assesses the strength and endurance of the upper, middle and lower sections of the body, as well as the cardiovascular system. It includes:
- A three-mile run, timed
- Pull-ups, untimed for men; flexed-arm hang, timed, for women
- Crunches, two minutes, timed
Combat fitness test requirements
This test assesses the strength, stamina, agility and coordination as well as overall anaerobic capacity. It includes:
- Movement to contact, 880-yard sprint
- Ammunition lift, 30 pounds overhead, two minutes timed
- Movement under fire, a 300-yard shuttle run that incorporates combat-related tasks
Preparing for the physical fitness test
Here are some ways to prepare for the test:
- Take advantage of Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs, fitness centers and swimming pools to improve physical endurance.
- Set up and start a physical fitness and training plan at least six to eight weeks before the test. Track your progress in writing, noting where you need to improve.
- Develop a backup plan for temporary duty or other interruptions of your program.
- Train with a buddy for support and encouragement.
- Pre-test yourself once a week. Time yourself on each of the tests you'll undergo. Use these results to work on improving your score.
- Cut down on fast food, stay hydrated and get enough sleep.
These tips can help you prepare for test day:
- Relax up to two days before the test, or up to five days if you're older than 40. Tired, sore muscles will do nothing to improve your score.
- Drink water, eat fruits, vegetables and lean proteins the night before the test.
- Eat one light meal on the day of your test. If you need immediate energy, try an apple, banana or carrots.
- Wear green-on-green PT gear for the physical fitness test; your combat utility uniform for the combat fitness test.
- Drink two to three cups of water two to three hours before the test, then another cup just before. Drink small amounts of water slowly during breaks. Drink another two to three cups of water during the first two hours following the test.
- Warm up by doing a lighter version of your exercise activity, such as jogging, before running. Afterward, do cool-down exercises so your heart rate and breathing return to their resting rates.
Your physical fitness test results will be scored according to your gender while your combat fitness test will be scored according to your age and your gender. If you have to retake either test, reassess your fitness routine and work your way back into top condition.