New Marine Corps PFT Rules Start Soon. Here's Who Will Face Them First

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U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Joshua Davis, left, and Lance Cpl. Zachary Ballesteros, both with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, hold planks during a squadron physical training event at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, on July 26, 2019. (U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Lauren Brune)
U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Joshua Davis, left, and Lance Cpl. Zachary Ballesteros, both with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, hold planks during a squadron physical training event at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, on July 26, 2019. (U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Lauren Brune)

Marines will soon get the option to swap crunches on their physical fitness test with a plank. Officer candidates reporting to training in January will be the first to see the change.

The Marine Corps updated its graduation requirements Friday for candidates reporting to Officer Candidates School in 2020. Members of Officer Candidate Course No. 233 will be the first to have the option to perform a plank on their PFT.

Candidates will have to hold a plank for at least a minute and three seconds to get the minimum score required on that portion of the PFT to be admitted to and graduate from OCS.

The requirement is the same for men and women, regardless of age. Marine recruits who ship to boot camp after Jan. 1 will also have the options of doing a plank in place of crunches.

Related: Marines Will Be Allowed to Choose Between Planks, Crunches on PFT

Marine officials announced in June that a plank would be allowed on the abdominal strength section of the PFT. The exercise must be held for four minutes and 20 seconds to receive the full 100 points.

In September, the Force Fitness Division and Force Fitness Readiness Center put out a video detailing the proper form. Marines must be in a push-up position with feet hip-width apart, with arms bent at a 90-degree angle at the elbow so the forearms rest flat on the ground. The Marine's hips must be raised off the floor, and hands must touch the ground either lying flat or in fists.

Officer candidates can opt for the plank in place of completing 70 crunches within two minutes.

All candidates need at least a 220 on their PFT to be accepted into OCS and then a 235 or higher to graduate.

The new rules will apply not only to candidates reporting to OCS in January, but all future classes, according to a Marine Corps administrative message announcing the new requirements.

Sailors will replace sit-ups with a plank on the Navy Readiness Test sometime this year. That service is currently gathering data from about 600 sailors before setting new scoring requirements.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

Read more: Navy's Fitness Test Overhaul Enters Next Phase

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