When you’ve made the decision that your going to go to marines boot camp you have to begin to focus on getting in shape. I have personally been through marine boot camp, and have seen first hand what happens to the recruits that are out of shape. Often they are the ones getting punished more just because they are out of shape. The drill instructors feel as if they need to get these recruits in shape because it will make them look bad if they haven’t.
Marine corps workouts are often different than what people think are normal workouts. In the marine corps you are tested on three primary workouts. These three parts of your physical fitness test (PFT) are added together to get your total score. They include timed crunches or sit ups, a timed three mile run, and pull ups.
To attain a perfect score in crunches you need to get 100 or more crunches in two minutes. This is perceived as the easiest of the three tests. It is usually a free 100 points for everyone by the time they are doing their final PFT test during the third phase of boot camp. In my platoon of 76 recruits we had just one marine not get 100 crunches. The drill instructors are also much more lenient on this part of the test because all of the recruits are doing crunches at once, and frankly it’s tough for them to monitor so many of them at one time. I would recommend timing yourself doing crunches by a couple times a week just to get a feel for where you are. If you begin doing this a few months out you should have no problem at all. The minimum requirement for a poolee to enter boot camp is 50 crunches for both males and females that are between the ages of 17-26.
When preparing for marines boot camp your number one physical aspect to focus on should be running. As a poolee you are required to only run 1.5 miles in 13:30. However, when you actually go to boot camp you must be able to run 3 miles in no less than 28 minutes. For a maximum score in the three mile run you must be able to run three miles in just 18 minutes or faster. This is obviously very hard for most people. In my boot camp platoon we only had several guys run this fast. I personally took my own time from my initial boot camp PFT from 24 minutes down to about 19 minutes. This probably is because we were running often, and I lost a lot of weight while there. I would recommend running three miles at least twice a week for a few months prior to going to marines boot camp to truly prepare yourself. The last thing you want is to be known as a turtle to the drill instructors and constantly feel their wrath every time you go out for a run.
Last, but certainly not least is pull ups. Pull ups are important because every pull up counts. To get the maximum score for males you must do 20 pull ups. For females you must do fixed armed hang instead of pull ups. The pull ups are heavily weighted because for a score of 100 you need 20, which makes each pull up worth 5 points. So, if you do 15 pull ups for example you drop 25 potential points off your overall score. This is a lot considering a 1st class score for a male between the ages of 17-26 is total score of 225 points or higher. I would recommend practicing pull ups at least 3 or more times per week. If you are unable to do pull ups I would recommend doing assisted pull ups where a friend holds your legs or going to a gym and using the lat pull down machine until you build up enough strength to be able to do pull ups unassisted. You must be able to do at least two pull ups for males and a 12 second arm hang for females prior to being able to go to marines boot camp.
I suggest that you also do a weekly test or update on your physical fitness progress prior to going to boot camp. It would be ideal that you make a track your results and see what your score would be if you took the test today. Please use the chart with PFT scores to help calculate your total score. If your scores are low don’t be discouraged, because everyone improves their scores throughout their time at boot camp. I personally went from averaging around 210 before going to about 275 by the time I was done with marines boot camp.