Posts tagged “usmc fitness


For info, tips and advice on the physical fitness aspect of preparing for boot camp, click on the below image to visit the fitness section on our website.

You will find info on your IST, PFT, running, push-ups, crunches, pull-ups and much more.

This fitness site is no longer being maintained, so visit the new site by clicking the pic below.



Decades ago, Major Charles L. Armstrong devised a workout routine which enabled him to set a world record in pullups. Since then, tens of thousands of Marines have used his program to get to 20 pullups and beyond.
The Armstrong Pullup is the newest site in the USMC OCS Blog’s constellation of websites including Becoming an and It serves as your one-stop shop for the famous Marine Corps pullup workout. 
Additionally, you can find customized pullup workouts for Beginners, Advanced, and Women
Good luck and Semper Fi!


The following post is from

I wanted to join the Marines, but I knew if I failed boot camp. I would let my brothers down… It’s not an easy choice to join the Marines. Your friends look at you differently, they’ll say things like, “are you sure that’s what you want to do?” Your family might be skeptical, but inside, you always knew that it was your calling in life. You want the brotherhood, you want the respect of the people around you and you want to know that you can endure the most dangerous and punishing environments on earth, and not only make it, but thrive. To others it would be intimidating, it would be nerve wrecking… To you, it is the challenge of a lifetime. But there’s a problem. When you enlist in the Marines… You have to survive boot camp, and in particular, pass the PFT. (physical fitness test) The PFT is a physically demanding challenge that only the Marines face. Your strength and stamina will be tested under the pressure of drill instructors yelling in your face. Imagine waking up in the middle of night, crawling through mud, and being yelled at during live fire exercises. What would it feel like to know that you gave everything… Only to make it to the last pull up and realize, at the most important moment, that you simply did not have the strength or mental fortitude to pull yourself up one more time. You had let your brothers down, worst of all you let yourself down. I’m not gonna let that happen to you. My name is Manny, I’m a Marine, and I passed my PFT with a perfect score. I’ve helped others just like you pass their test. In fact, my average student passes with a score above 285. I’ve designed the most comprehensive workout program ever developed specifically for the PFT. The very same routine I used to earn a perfect score. Using my workout program, I guarantee that you will pass with a first class score in just 8 weeks of training. I include the exact 8 week workout plan I used to achieve a perfect score. I’ve added exercise videos that will demonstrate how to do the exercises. I include nutrition guidelines to help support and accelerate your growth. I also include a printable calendar to schedule your workouts, fitness logs to help track your progress and most importantly secret techniques that will increase your performance. If you need it, I also added an extra option for you to contact me. This package includes the book and additional customized support. I will check in with you weekly and I will devise a customized milestone plan exactly for your fitness level. I’m passionate about helping fellow Marines, my goal is to see more Marines join who are physically prepared and able to support their brothers. It takes a special type of person to want to go through the hardships of becoming a Marine. You know that you will be challenged in ways you can’t even imagine. Would you give 8 weeks right now, to change the rest of your life?

WORKOUT GUIDE: To get a 50 percent discount at checkout, enter code 300PFTFJ on the 300 PFT guide and personal training service.


50 percent discount july 2015


poolees runningAs a poolee you are going to be doing many IST’s, but during boot camp and throughout your USMC career, you will be doing PFT’s which your score goes on your permanent record and is factored into your promotions. IST’s are not used in the real Marine Corps.

The main difference between the two is that an IST has a 1.5 mile run while the PFT has a 3 mile run. The pull-ups and crunches remain the same. No matter how much IST’s are stressed prior to boot camp by your recruiters, it is in each of yours best interest to bang out a few PFT’s to see where you stand and to build your confidence prior to shipping to boot camp.

–Do not make the mistake of doubling your 1.5 mile run time and then assume this is what your 3 mile run time will be. You need to time your 3 mile run to get an accurate run time.

–Do not rely on your recruiter to get you to take an IST or PFT. You can do this on your own and you don’t need to be enlisted to do these simple things.

–If you only run when forced to such as during poolee functions, then you may want to think about the tone you are setting for your future. It is very important you try to run on your own.

–If running comes easy for you, then you have no business doing IST’s unless forced to, so step up your game.

–You will have to pass an IST your first week of boot camp to advance in your training.

–Don’t rely on boot camp or the Marines to get you into shape. You are setting yourself up for disaster when you do this, plus it doesn’t speak well of your mindset.

–If you cannot pass a simple IST within a month of you shipping out, then hopefully your recruiter does the right thing and moves your ship date back or kicks your ass out of the DEP.

–Average run time for Marines for a 3 mile run time is between 20-22 minutes. 18 minutes is perfect and 28 is barely passing. Your 1.5 mile run time needs to be between 10-11 minutes and you have no reason to not be able to run this 1.5 mile run in under 13+ minutes.

–If you suck at running and if it doesn’t come easy for you, then don’t worry about trying to be an 18 minute three miler and don’t worry about running longer distances then three miles. You have to master the basics before moving on to the next phase.

The “30” minute run time is a perfect way to prepare yourself if you are a beginner runner and this is the concept used in boot camp. This means you want to be able to run for 30 non stop minutes at any pace and the distance you run doesn’t matter. Once you can do this with ease, then you shoot for set distances and or more controlled pace and you get your times and go from there.

If you are a good or elite runner, then you should know how to go about in your training as far as running goes. Good or bad runner, just remember that during boot camp you run very little as in maybe 7-8 times during the three months and your runs begin at 1.5 miles and work up to 3 miles. You do not run fast or uphill or anything crazy like that, so make sure you clearly understand that running during boot camp is not something to be feared.

Be sure to read the “Running” page in this site for more info and advice about running.


Women-Attend-Marine-Boot-Camp-At-Parris-Island-South-Carolina-Swimming is one of those things that is often misunderstood by many future Marines. You do not have to be a “swimmer” to be able to pass swim week during boot camp or as a Marine. Passing swim week isn’t so much about being a proficient swimmer. It is more about being confident in the water and being able to move from point A to point B in a pool and this includes in the deeper water and while wearing boots and some gear.

You are not taught how to swim during boot camp, but the instructors will help you and show you the basics so you can pass your swim qual. You are not forced into the water or underwater or any crazy crap like that. Like anything in the USMC including boot camp, your safety is their number one concern which is why certified USMC swim experts are there watching very closely as you enter the pool. And you will be given a period of instruction prior to entering the pool.

If you can swim now at any level or can jump in a pool or ocean and float around without freaking out, you will pass your swim qual. If you do not know how to swim and can learn now, then it only makes sense to learn. If you have a fear of swimming, then what can I tell you. The only way to conquer your fear of the water is to get into the water.

You do not need to know how to do the backstroke or butterfly or any crazy crap like that. This is a very basic water survival course and it is not preparing you to be an Olympic class swimmer. At the very least you want to know how to “doggy paddle” in the water and you want to know how to use your legs to move you around in the water. << That is what you want to know. As long as you are somewhat confident in the water, you will pass your swim qual regardless of your swim level.

The following info is from the Marine Corps website (2013) : “In an Olympic-sized pool, recruits are required to complete the course of qualification, which includes a 25-meter swim in both the shallow and deep water, four minutes of treading water, utilizing a waterproof pack to swim 25 meters and perform a 10-second gear strip while submerged. All of this is done while wearing a full combat utility uniform and a pair of combat boots.” <<< That is what you need to do during boot camp to pass the lowest level of your swim qualification. *** It is unclear whether recruits still have to jump off a platform and maneuver to safety during swim qual.  The USMC did not mention the platform jump in their official statement, but new Marines are saying that they had to do the platform jump.


chopping woodNatural workouts are a great way to toughen your ass up from the inside out and they are a great way to gain power and strength in many key areas that will help you excel as a Marine.

I have noticed that many who are obsessed with going to the gym are not always interested in working out in a manner that is most beneficial to them. They seem to be more concerned with their appearance and image which is why they hit the gym. If you are into that crap, that is fine. Just understand if you are looking to gain true raw power and strength, and if you are interested in also gaining mental toughness, then you may want to look into more natural workouts.

I want to give you an example and how natural workouts benefited me as a Marine. Growing up I would often tag along with friend who was a career mason. His work specialized in building block walls, tearing out concrete or asphalt driveways, pouring driveways, building brick or cement patios and things of this nature. This work was not done with machinery. Shovels, picks, sledge hammers and wheelbarrows were the trick of the trade. The constant bending over and lifting heavy objects and the constant digging or moving wheelbarrows filled with concrete or dirt ended up being the best mental and physical preparation I could of asked for.

This type of work naturally built my arms, forearms, hands, legs, feet, and back muscles. Without ever stepping foot in a gym and without ever playing high school sports, because of these natural workouts I was often able to out perform many recruits and Marines who were visibly muscular when it came to things such as hikes, obstacle courses, circuit courses, rope climbing, and events of this nature.

It’s no secret that boot camp and most combat jobs such as infantry require a lot of mental strength and toughness and they will often measure your strength in areas such as, pulling, pushing, lifting, carrying, dragging, and grasping. Working out in a natural manner will often make a huge impact in these key areas., so do not be afraid to give these types of workouts a shot.

So how can you work out in a more natural manner? Here are some examples and some tips about natural workouts:

  • Shoveling snow is an excellent natural workout, especially when you move the same snow from one place to the other for long periods of time. This duty will build your mental toughness and it will build your strength and power in the obvious locations throughout your body. Going for a nice long walk in deep snow will also work wonders for you.
  • Digging ditches or trenches and then filling them back up over and over is an outstanding natural workout. Or if you have a large pile of dirt or sand, shoveling it from one place to the other will work wonders for you. Filling and moving sandbags is also good to do.
  • Hikes of any distance will help you in many ways. Read the Hikes/Humps page of this blog for more info about this method.
  • Climbing walls, trees, ropes, monkey bars and things of this nature will work wonders for you.
  • Flipping large tires or dragging weighted smaller tires is a great natural workout. If you don’t have access to a large tire to flip over and over, try to find a regular car tire and fill it with something solid. Tie a rope to it and try dragging it around for a while. You don’t even need a tire. You can use a sled or a piece of flat wood. The point is you want to drag something for set distances back and forth.
  • Chopping/splitting firewood is a great natural workout. If you use steel wedges, a sledge hammer and an axe to split your logs, this will accomplish a lot both mentally and physically.
  • Swimming, and cycling are great natural workouts.

Just get creative and do things that are done without having to go to a gym or are done without the aid of any fitness equipment. Use the environment you live in to create natural workouts. There are hundreds of things you can do to make you tough from the inside out. Remember, natural toughness is much better for you while in the Marines than being able to bench press 225 pounds, as an example. No one in the USMC really cares how much you can bench press or squat. What they do care about is how long can you drag a heavy load for, or how much weight can you pull up and over a wall or some other obstacle.

I know many of you have this image of a huge muscular Marine who is a bad ass. Just understand that this type of physique is not required to perform well as a Marine and in some cases being this way can slow you down. Think about it: If being huge and muscular made you a better Marine, don’t you think the USMC would stress this during boot camp and all throughout your USMC career?

There is a reason the Marine Corps added the Combat Fitness Test (CFT) to its requirements and natural workouts are a great way to prepare for this. It’s not always about how fast you can run or how many pull-ups you can do, so remember this when preparing for the Marine Corps, especially those of you who wish to serve in the combat side of the USMC.



At least that’s what I like to call it. I hadn’t even heard of a kettlebell until I saw them at the gym at the college I go to. Since I’ve started working out with them I have pretty much stopped all other weight training. Kettlebell workouts are great for working your core and for cardio as well. Overall strength is what kettlebells excel at. Getting a feel for how kettlebells are properly used is hard to discern by reading it off a website page so this video should help you understand how they are used. I do not own this video.

Now that you know understand how they are used, lets get to a good workout. The weight of the kettlebell you should use will depend on your weight and your fitness level. I am 6’1” 195 lbs and I use a 50lb kettlebell. I do not recommend using one this heavy right off the bat. Familiarize yourself with them first and move your way up as you feel comfortable. Keep in mind with the kettlebell, the options are endless for the workouts you can do. Experiment. Be creative and find what fits your style and helps improves your PFT numbers the fastest.
Here is an example of a kettlebell exercise I do.

50 sit ups
50 kettlebell snatches
25 push ups
50 kettlebell burpees
50 mountain climbers
50 kettlebell swings

I like to alternate “normal” exercises (situps, pushps, and mountain climbers) with the kettlebell exercises, but that is just my preference. Again, what I love so much about these balls of iron is that there is no one way you have to use them. My exercise above is simply an example of the endless ways they can be used. If you have access to a gym that has these then I recommend you go and try them out. If they don’t have them at the gym then adapt, achieve and overcome! Find a way! They are that worth it!