MARADMIN 330/19 just blasted the Marine Corps in the face with a major change to the PFT. The crazy part is that it has nothing to do with pull-ups for once.
On Jan. 1, 2020 Marines will now have the option to do a plank instead of crunches for the "ab portion" of the PFT.
I already know what you're wondering. How do you get 100 points?
I guess SgtMaj Cheech came up with that.
I'll be the first to tell you, that time is no joke. I decided to take a whack at the new test based on the parameters. Check out how it went below.
Is a 4:20 plank doable? Yes.
Is it preferable? Probably not.
The real question you need to ask yourself is, do you conduct the PFT to actually show how combat-ready you are or do you conduct the PFT to get a 300 and hopefully put yourself "in zone" for promotion?
I think we all know the answer to that.
I do foresee some commanders making this portion of the test "highly encouraged" if not blatantly recommended.
Peep that date. I'm like the Nostradamus of PT tests or something.
(Credit goes to me, for seeing the future.)
The actual test
At the beginning of this year I wrote Those 'core' exercises in military PT tests don't actually prove anything about your fitness.
It seems like either my timing was perfect or someone was listening.
Apparently, all of the services are revamping their fitness standards. I'm a fan. I don't even care about all the haters that think the Army is going to go bankrupt buying equipment for the new ACFT and treating low back injuries from sh*tty deadlift form.Soldiers, just read 5 Steps to Deadlift Perfection and you'll be fine. Also, don't listen to any senior enlisted that all of the sudden became deadlift experts after a two-day course. There are thousands of people who have been teaching the deadlifts for decades. Talk to them please.
Back to the plank!
If the actual purpose of the ab portion of the test is to test overall core strength, the plank does a much better job than the hip-flexor fatiguing crunch.
I like it. Of course, I'm wondering how Marines will figure out how to cheat this portion. But, that's part of the fun, isn't it?
How to train for it
Perform the plank by flexing and "holding your weight" in various muscle groups. I went calves, quads, abs, shoulders and seemed to hold form relatively well.
The best way to prep for this exercise is obviously to do it. Finish your workouts with a few submax planks.
Take it a step further by performing the RKC plank like shown in the above video. Suffice it to say that if the test was to perform the RKC plank for 4:20, no one would get 100 points. Check it out.
By the way, RKC stands for "Russian Kettlebell Club." Obviously, that isn't okay so if anyone asks it now stands for the "Roosevelt Kennedy Coolidge" plank. America!