How can I get the kind of fitness training used by the Marines?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Some people fantasize about being as fit as a Marine. Watch this video as Dr. Oz learns how battle-ready fitness can be accomplished at home with instructor Alex Fell.


Having gone through this personally, I went into the Marine Corps right after high school, I know first hand how Marines train. I can tell you that, on paper, its really simple. You got your body? There you go, that’s all you need. 

During Boot camp and after Boot camp, 90% of the time we did NOT train in a gym, did NOT use dumbbells, barbells, medicine balls, stability balls, etc.

What we did use was far more accessible and harder. We used our bodies. Pushups, cherry pickers, lunges, sprints, a “jog” for miles, a “hike” for miles with full gear on.

We really only used equipment for pull-ups and the hang (for females), some rope to climb up, and some obstacle equipment that was primarily used for boot camp.

If you want to test yourself why don’t use a PFT test score? See how you stack up. Google “PFT Marines” and you should get the breakdown on how the Marines do their test. Roughly its:

3 mile run- under 30 minutes

at least 3 pushups but a perfect score is 20 pushups (female is 70 sec arm hang)

and 100 crunches in under 2 minutes.

Do all of these in under one hour ideally. No more than two hours to finish it.

Also, the Marine have recently implemented an additional test called the “Marine Corps Combat Fitness Test”, which you should Google.

Basically, its in combat attire with boots

Run 880 yards

30 pound Ammo can lift as many times as possible

Maneuver through a 300 yard obstacle course

If you want to get into Marine Corps shape, I highly suggest using rope climbs, plyometric exercising, pull-up bar, and interval training. One of the main goals of Marine training is to get you into physical shape that if you are ever in a combat situation you can count on your body to be in peak shape to help you get out.

Hope this helps!

The fitness level of the Marine Corps Marines is legendary for being tough and strong and able to handle anything thrown their way. Fortunately, many of these brave men and women retire from the Marine Corps and then offer up their knowledge and training to the public in fitness, personal training and boot camp businesses. To achieve a level of fitness comparable to these amazing warriors find a locally based fitness class or company run by a former Marine. 

As a former combat soldier, I want to be the first to tell you that there is a difference between elite physical fitness and elite combat fitness. The number of pull-ups, pushups, and how fast you can run three miles are benchmarks for physical fitness. The x-factor for attaining combat fitness readiness like the Marines is by applying external stress to not just your workout but your workout environment. 

Boot camp style fitness classes will offer you the dynamic group experience, and if the instructor is any good he or she should interject some form of competition to keep everyone on their toes invoking some sense of jeopardy if someone fails to complete a drill or exercise.

Cross fit is a decent system of training and for preparing you to physically overcome many strength and endurance challenges, just make sure you are free of major joint pain or injuries before undertaking Cross fit.

Remember your training experience will only be as good as your instructor is a delivering a session.

As the Chief Instructor for Battle Tested Fitness, I take on projects for developing the fitness requirements for "tactical operators and first responders such as elite military, police, security officers, and fire fighters. 

Feel free to inquire about my training programs.

Greg Schneider

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