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Physical Preparation

Getting in Marine shape

Marines have a reputation as being physically fit, clean cut, and generally being squared away.

The Marines have strict height and weight standards you'll need to meet.

You must also be able to pass an Initial Strength Test, or IST, in order to ship to Recruit Training.

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Height and Weight Standards

Do I have to gain or lose weight to join?

The height and weight tables referenced here are the allowable weight ranges for different heights and genders. 

Throughout your career, you'll be held to these standards.

There is some wiggle room for shipping to boot camp, but you'll leave within standards.


If you're overweight, prepare to get slayed.


If you're underweight, you'll be on "double rats" eating extra rations until you make weight.

The percentage body fat is determined by using a tape measure to determine the circumference of the neck and waist, known as the Navy tape test.

Physical Fitness

You Must Pass an IST to Ship to Boot Camp

The Initial Strength Test, or IST, is composed of abdominal crunches, pullups, and a 1.5 mile run.  Poolees and Recruits have the option of completing push-ups in lieu of the pullup portion.  

IST Minimum Requirements:

  • Males  

    • Crunch:  44

    • Pullup:    3 or Push-up:  34

    • Run:       13:30

  • Females

    • Crunch:  44

    • Pullup:   1 or Push-up:  15

    • Run:      15:00


If you need help preparing, check out some of our workout guides in the Shop.

Key Training Events
Sergeant Instructors
Pre-OCS Checklist
Basic Daily Routine
Eating at OCS
Living in the Squadbay
5 Paragraph Order
Getting Ready
What Can I Bring with Me?
Staying in Touch
PT Plans
OCS Knowledge
Knowledge Check
Family Day
Pro Tips
The Rumor Mill
Counseling Call
Honor Grad Principles
Reading Materials
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