USMC postpones rule for women doing pull-ups

Women just took another hit in their effort to serve in infantry units in the Marine Corps.

The Marine Corps quietly cancelled its new rule that required women to be able to do three pull ups instead of a flexed arm hang, which meant holding one’s chin above the pull-up bar for at least 15 seconds.

Here’s the full story: Marines: Most Female Recruits Don’t Meet New Pullup Standard.

Go read the story and come back and share your thoughts. I’d love to know what you all think, both about the pull-up requirement postponement, and women serving in the infantry.

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. Believe me… You really want to follow me. And, please, leave a comment. It helps build our community, plus I love hearing from you guys. Best of all, I try to answer each and every comment and remember, you don’t have to sign in or use your name.

16 thoughts on “USMC postpones rule for women doing pull-ups

  1. Stan, hitting 60 next August. Still doing three sets of ten at the local gym – and that’s just pull-ups! I only do it for preventive maintenance. Cheers, Dan


    1. Hey Dan,

      Thanks for chiming in. Ten at 60? I’m impressed. Lot of guys in their 30s can’t do that.

      I’m at 13 from a complete deadhang — all the way up, all the way down, nice and slow. But, I’m trying to work back up. Eighteen is my personal record, but that’s doing them right, which almost no one does IMO. (Pull ups have always been especially challenging since I blew my shoulder out in a fight and had it surgically repaired.)

      I’m also trying to remotivate myself following one of the most challenging years in my life. But, I’ll be posting about that news soon, and I’m looking forward to getting fired back up and back in the peak condition that I typically maintain.


  2. Hi Stan,
    I usually get in a mess of trouble when I comment on this subject, so I’ll try to tone my reply down. First, I have known many women with athletic ability, toughness, and fighting strength to equal most men. But I just don’t believe they should be in combat, or even billeted with men. My twenty years were up in November 1978, though I retired in 1979. I could have stayed in, but by 1978 the Army couldn’t fight its way out of a paper sack. Training had dropped to almost zero. In fact, though the danger was coming from the Middle East, we were still training in Vietnam situations. Our training was behind times. One big problem we, as NCOs were faced with was a huge drug problem with the young men, and suddenly we become an all volunteer military, and the WACs were disbanded and assigned to units with the men. Good officers started retiring as 0-4 and 0-5s, good NCOs were putting in for their retirement. I understand we have a good Army now, and everything is working, but in 1978 we were having problems. Should women be in the Infantry? IMHO, no.


    1. Hey Tom,

      I think you said it in as respectful a way as possible. I actually at one point believed small guys shouldn’t be in the infantry, given how hard we struggle with forced marches and tasks like fireman’s carry (of like a 220 pound dude).

      But over time, I started to realize just how mentally tough little guys are. I mean, let’s face it, we’re crazy. I know I certainly was. And history is replete with similar examples like Audie Murphy and others.

      Where I stand now is “standards,” period. If a man (or woman) can’t keep up or hit a shot or carry a wounded comrade, then they shouldn’t be there.

      Let’s set standards — high standards — and allow Marines and Soldiers to compete for them.

      Thanks for the comment, Tom. Hope you’re doing well!


  3. ‘Lance Cpl. Ally Beiswanger explained that the pullup test had been put off until sometime next year, to gather more data and “ensure all female Marines are given the best opportunity to succeed.”‘. Oh yeah? The “best opportunity” that I was given was the threat of a Drill Instructor’s or a Platoon Sergeant’s foot up my rear. God save the Marine Corps. SF.


    1. Well, Mike, you know I love our Corps. I’ll just say — to keep it all in a positive light — that this IS a rule change, not an initial standard. AND, it’s a step up in standards.

      Rule changes are never easy, and since PFTs affect promotions, in some ways, changing the rules in midstream is unfair.

      So, I’m going to withhold judgement until I see what they do next year. Semper Fi, my friend. Always great to hear from you, adn I’m hoping your life has slowed down with teh Christmas rush no longer affecting all your deliveries.


  4. I think the PFT requirements should be more even between men and women. I don’t know if the standards need to be identical, just like we currently have different standards for first class depending on a Marines age, but the flexed arm hang is too easy and for any self respecting female Marine it’s pretty much a guaranteed 100 points on the pft if they have put any effort into training. There is no reason that a woman can’t do a minimum requirement of three pullups if she trains to do them but the bare minimum of PT three days a week isn’t going to get the job done. Women do have to train harder to gain the upper body strength needed. I was doing about 5-7 pullups easy when I was doing regular PT and practicing for pullups, not the hang, training for my brown MCMAP belt on the other two days with a lot of practice throwing and grappling with the bigger guys in my unit and getting beat up in “bull in the ring” exercises, and lifting weights for a half hour a day in my off time.

    I didn’t do it because I wanted to be a grunt, I did it because I had pride in my physical abilities as a Marine. The Marine Corps is going to have to evolve to meet new challenges and anyone who wants to stay in is going to have to meet the new standards.


    1. Hey Cortney,

      Thanks so much for that excellent comment. And thanks for your service.

      Let me ask you a question, if I may. It’s my belief, and most of the infantry guys I know, that most Marines (including females) who have gone through MCT — Marine Combat Training for the non-Marines out there — would not in their right mind want to be in the infantry.

      (In hindsight, had I listend to my recruiter, I know I wouldn’t have. I remember him telling me that I’d get all the infantry “fun” I’d want in MCT, and therefore should pick a different MOS and get some decent training out of it that would translate into employment opportunities as a civilian. In hindsight, I completely think he was right.)

      So, my question is this” I know some women see the unfairness of not having the option of serving in the infantry, but in your opinion, how many women would actually want to serve in the infantry after they realize just how bad it sucks?

      Semper Fi,


      1. I think that there are plenty of women that serve that would still want to be in the infantry. The infantry is what the Marine Corps is all about and nobody ever goes to work in the morning thinking “Oh yeah, time to be a killer and slay this unit diary!” Marines want to blow things up and have people think that they eat babies. If any of us wanted to go have a soft job we would have joined the Army.

        It’s not just the fact that we can’t do certain jobs that is unfair or frustrating to a lot of women. It’s the fact that you can go to work everyday looking like you walked out of a recruiting poster, do well at your job, shoot expert and score great on your PFT and some terminal Lance motor T guy on weight control will tell you that you only got promoted because the SgtMaj thinks you are hot. That kind of stuff can get to you and bring you down.

        I personally never wanted to be a grunt because they run so much. I hate running and all that running with packs in boots and utes looked miserable. I would have signed up for a job where I could throw some weights around and shoot machine guns all day.


        1. Hey Cortney,

          Thanks so much for this incredible reply!!! I must say, it helps correct some of my wrongly conceived conceptions.

          If you don’t mind, since many miss these comments, would you allow me to quote from parts of this in a future blog post? I fear there are a lot of male Marines like me who are wrong about some of this, and I’d be honored to quote a Marine of the opposite sex! : )



          1. Oh wow, I’m honored that you would want to use my comments! Of course it’s only my opinion, but I’m happy to share things from a female Marine’s point of view anytime!


                1. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be a woman in the Corps, well because I’m a guy, and when I was in, WM’s were something that I had very, very little contact with, being a grunt comm guy. Yet, I see enough stuff on social media to have a very small clue what you have to deal with, that damn wookie page on FB not withstanding. Myself, I never wanted to be a grunt, especially one that had to carry the radio and crap that went with it. Though, I did get a .45 as my issue weapon. That was pretty cool. And you’re not the only one that was looking for the throw some weights and shoot machine guns job all day, either. We must of had the same recruiter. Looking forward to hearing from you again. SF.


                  1. Thanks Mike! Social media is such a mixed bag. I love opportunities like this to become engaged in topics in an open-minded and intelligent discussion. I also love that it has kept me in touch with a lot of great people from my past and helped me to meet new people. On the other hand, I know what you mean about the pages like F’n Wookies and some of the others. It’s got to make things tough for leaders in the Marine Corps today. Semper Fi brother!


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