How to Do a Marine Pushup

Soldier doing push-ups

Push-up requirements vary between the different branches of military service. The Marine Corps has its own version of a push-up that recruits learn during boot camp. The basic push-up requirements are similar -- it's still a push-up, after all -- but the slight variations are strictly enforced during training.


Although the Marines don't use push-ups as part of the physical fitness test, push-ups are used during training to help recruits learn the importance of physical fitness. The Marines believe self-discipline and physical fitness go together, so being fit is important part of leadership in the Corps.

Proper Form

Marine push-ups begin with the proper form. While on the ground on your stomach, your legs and feet must be together and your hand should be directly under your shoulders. In the raised position, your head is neutral, looking down at the floor, while the rest of your body makes a straight line between your head and your toes.


Unlike other branches of service, Marines start their push-ups with their bodies touching the floor. They lift their bodies together with a shout of "Marine Corps!" To perform the move, your arms must be fully extended and your muscles tight in your abdominals, gluteus and thighs to hold your body straight. Each push-up uses a count of four: lower, lift, lower and lift equals one push-up for the Marines. Your chest must barely and briefly touch the floor with each downward motion for the move to count.


In addition to the standard Marine push-up, the Corps often uses variations on the exercise to increase its intensity and improve recruits' physical fitness. Try the same Marine push-up but change your hands to fists with your palms facing inward. Or, use the same form but put one hand behind your back while keeping your body straight.