Are you fit enough to be a US Marine?

Say the words US Marine and the image of a tough, muscled soldier who eats nails for breakfast comes to mind.

Owing to countless Hollywood cinematic portrayals along with news coverage extolling their heroism, a member of the United States Marine Corps is seen by the world at large as an iconic character who typifies machismo and physical fitness, among other things.

Think of professional wrestling superstar John Cena decked out in military camouflage uniform.  Cropped hair, bulging biceps, prominently chiseled jawbones and you have the US Marine stereotype.  These guys and gals for that matter, a key component of the United States Armed Forces, are a vital cog their country’s military operations, to say the least.

So what fitness levels would one need to make it as a Marine?  Apart, of course,  from the usual eligibilities, height requirements and other physical must-haves, there are minimum fitness requirements to be hurdled before you can make the grade.  These requirements are based on Marine Corpse Order (MCO) P6100-12.  Do you have what it takes?  Here are three of them:

  • Pull-ups—Males aspiring to be a Marine from the age of 17 years old upward must be able to do at least three repetitions of a pull-up. This exercise is done by hanging from a horizontal bar with arms fully stretched out. Starting from a dead-hang position, one must pull up until the chin goes over the bar and go down again. This makes for one repetition.  Strict adherence to form is observed such that the arms must be fully stretched out, with the knees not allowed to go above the waist while performing the exercise.  Quite understandable considering that hoisting oneself above the edge of a precipice or scaling an enemy fortress is a situation a marine is quite likely to encounter.
  • Running—To see if you can run fast enough across enemy lines to execute a daring rescue mission, male Marines aged 17 to 26 years old must be able to run 3 miles—that’s around 5 kilometers—in at least 28 minutes. Those aged 27 to 39 must do no more than 29 minutes. The time limit is 30 minutes for those in the 40 to 45 bracket and 33 minutes for those aged 46 and above.  Go ahead, hop on a treadmill or scoot to a  track oval to see if you can run as fast as a Marine.  Fireworks and gunshots in the back ground are optional.
  • Sit-ups—If you are in the 17 to 26-year-old bracket, you must be able to perform 50 sit-ups. The number goes down to 45 for those in the 27 to 45 age bracket and 40 repetitions for Marines age 46 up.  Core strength is essential for most physical activities a Marine may have to perform, like say, lugging around high-powered weaponry for hours on end, or picking up a wounded compatriot from the ground.

Remember these are minimum requirements and chances are, most Marine Corps members can probably go over and above the prescribed minimum.  Failing to achieve any of the three tasks outlined above will disqualify a Marine aspirant. So whether you’re as fit as a Marine, close to it or not quite, this can perhaps serve as a guide to help you reach  your ideal level of fitness.

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