SIG MMG 338 Program Series

Corps Strength – Pull Your Weight

In the US military each branch of the service has its own physical fitness test and even within each branch there are different PT tests for special duties (such as Special Forces). While they are all different the purpose is basically the same; to measure a service members level of physical conditioning. Running, pushups, crunches, swimming, etc. are just some of the different methods used to accomplish this. However in my opinion the absolutely best way (and the simplest) to test strength is by the pull-up. There is no way to fake a pull-up, either you can pull your weight up, or you can’t. It’s a pure and honest way to gauge your strength, and it’s not only a way to measure your fitness, but should be a staple of any workout routine. I have been doing them for over 30 years and have made them apart of every training plan I put together for Marines and International students alike. In my book Corps Strength I outline several different ways to effectively incorporate pull-ups into PT. I also outline how to improve your pull up ability. Yes they are a hard exercise, hard to do and hard to improve, but in the end worth it. Try it.

Be safe


3 Responses to “Corps Strength – Pull Your Weight”

  1. Tierlieb says:

    If you’ve done them for 30 years, you should know several ways to fake them: Every inch you cut from the range of motion helps, either from the bottom (where’s the real dead-hang position for a trainee?) or from the top (chin just over the bar or maximum possible extension?).
    Even the width of the grip shortens the ROM, although depending on the relation of upper and lower arm length, the biomechanical sweet spot for grip width varies.
    Kipping helps, too, even if the crossfit folks don’t like to hear it.

    For me, those tricks allow for a variation from 15 to 25 repetitions.

    But I agree: The pull-up is one of the best upper body pull exercises there is.

    • Mike says:

      But the Marine administering the PFT or SEAL administering the PST won’t let you get away with any of that except for the width. Interestingly enough, the new PST standard is that you need to be facing forward during the pull up, no chin extension.

  2. Paul Roarke says:

    Mike is right. No kipping, no swinging, all the way up and all the way down. The point is to either honestly measure your fitness or improve it, not just hit a number.