Does It Matter What Way You Do Pull-ups on the Marine Corps PFT?

Senior man doing a chin-up

The Marine Corps physical fitness test measures a service member's overall level of cardiovascular and muscular health. One of the three components of the PFT is the pull-up which comprises one-third of the total score. But not just any pull-up counts; marine pull-ups must follow the proper form as laid out by Marine Corps Order P6100.12.

Hand Positions

During the Marine Corps PFT, Marines are allowed to grasp the pull-up bar with their hands either facing forward or in a reverse grip. According to Marine Corps regulations, your arms can be as far apart or as close together as necessary to pull your chin above the bar. Once a you drop from the bar, the pull-up portion of the test ends and you cannot try again.

Arm Extension

Marine Corps pull-ups begin from a dead hang; that means the you must grip the pull-up bar and hang by your hands alone. When a you are hanging motionless from the pull-up bar, this portion of the test can begin. Using upper body strength, you must pull your chin above the pull-up bar by bending your arms at the elbow. A repetition is only counted when you lower your body and return to the dead-hang position.

Leg Positions

While you are performing pull-ups, your legs can be bent at any angle or they can hang straight down. As long as you do not raise your legs above your waist, your pull-up repetitions will count toward your score. However, if your feet touch the ground this portion of the test will be terminated.

Counting Proper Pull-Ups

A complete Marine Corps pull-up for the purposes of the PFT starts from, and ends with, the dead-hang position. Your chin must be raised above the pull-up bar. If necessary, the you can tilt your head to raise your chin in order for a repetition to count. In order for a repetition to be counted, you cannot rest your chin on the bar at any point.