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How Good is Good Enough with Your USMC Physical Preparation?

stew smith 3 mile run cft crunches infantry marines pft pullups rucking usmc

If you are considering joining the Marine Corps, you may ask yourself, Am I ready? If this is you, the new GOOD ENOUGH series is designed to answer those questions for you as you journey through the process of getting TO and THROUGH challenging selection programs. 

To get TO the training - Ace the PFT plus other related events:

Scoring well on the PFT and other related / common exercises seen in training is a must.  The following scores are borderline maximum or close to the maximum scores.  If you want to know what GOOD ENOUGH is - it is that - competitive scores that place you in the top 25% of all Marines.  That should be your goal.  If you have any scores that are much slower or less than, then that is your weakness and you need to work on that - EVEN IF YOU DO NOT LIKE IT.  Most of us like to work on what we are good at doing - our strength, but it takes a mature tactical professional to assess his/her weaknesses.  Take this seriously and have a goal to strive for during your training and learn what you SHOULD focus on if you fail to meet these standards.

By the way, these standards are strictly my opinion and not necessarily the USMC or Navy's standards. 

Good Enough = Optimal Plus Scores

Testing Event

Reps / Time


80-100+ / 2 minutes


100+ / 2 minutes



3 mile run (USMC)

18-19 minutes window

Running Miles Per Week


Rucking Miles Per Week


*Build up to the level above over time and maintain it as a base for a few months prior to training (Boot Camp, OCS, TBS, School of Infantry)
** Running and Rucking are separate events. As you progress, you should count running and rucking separate from weekly mile totals. 

Rucking is a MUST (See Rules for Rucking)

For Marines as well as special ops programs, rucking and running go hand in hand. Consider rucking a more difficult way to walk and when you need to pick up the pace, you can adjust your cadence and increase your speed that resembles running.  Building up from the minimum standards of 15 minute mile pace (typical military) to competitive programs that require closer to 10-12 minute mile pace or faster with heavier weight and longer distances takes time as with any cardio activity.  Rucking is definitely a more difficult way to run / shuffle.  Be prepared for that difficulty or failure to perform and injury could prevent you from advancing in your military training programs.

You Need to Be Strong When Rucking / Load Bearing - Strength Events

Strength / Power Exercises (good enough)

Weighted Pullup (25 lbs)


Bodyweight Bench


Dead Lift

1.75 -2x bodyweight – 1-5 reps


1-1.5x bodyweight – 5 reps


Chest carry lunges 400m (40lb)

More Options: USMC Prep


Tactical Fitness or Tactical Strength training are good ways to build a foundation of all the elements of tactical fitness for candidate preparation you will need. Tactical Fitness Series - Tactical Fitness, Tactical Strength, and Tactical Mobility is an ALL-encompassing program that focuses on lifting, calisthenics, run, ruck, swim, speed, agility, and flexibility / mobility. Many people focusing on USMC (OCS, RECON, MarSOC) have done very well focusing on the Tactical Fitness Series and developing themselves into an all-round Tactical Athlete

Tactical Fitness - At the core of this program is the Tactical Fitness Test which measures 12 standards for your physical capacity, including: cardiovascular conditioning, strength, muscle coordination, and stamina. Tactical fitness means having the skills needed to save lives and extend the limits of your endurance whether you are in the military, police, firefighting professions, or just an everyday hero. Also featured in the Tactical Fitness Test called the Dirty Dozen.

Tactical Strength - Tactical Strength is the lifting program used by Stew Smith and his Military, Police, Fire Fighter fitness program called the Heroes of Tomorrow. It is designed to build strength in the upper body, legs, and core to prepare you better for any load bearing activity (rucking, boat carry, log PT, etc). The program also does not neglect cardiovascular activity and will end workouts with rucking or swimming (or other non impact options (row, bike, elliptical) if needed. The cardio workouts will be quick and fast focusing more on speed and agility than long slow distance. We also use the Tactical Strength Test to test elements of speed, agility, and strength / power.

Tactical Mobility is a comprehensive fitness guide for greater mobility, flexibility, and performance—designed for the men and women serving in military, special ops, law enforcement, emergency services. Tactical Mobility is a perfect fit for any fitness program as a stand alone "Mobility day" supplemented into your regular routine and will help you reach the pain free level of fitness. Gaining flexibility and mobility is the goal of the program and it will help with performance and help reduce injuries.

The Warrior Workout Series - If you are solid with making your own workouts, but need some ideas.  This three part series has 300 workouts (100 / book) to pick from focusing on all the elements of fitness and training programs. Each book is organized with periodization cycles in mind along with calisthenics only, weights / calisthenics mix, cardio options and more. Warrior Workout 1   -  Warrior Workout 2  -   Warrior Workout 3. 

Personalized Training Programs
There are many more options as well as personalized training programs member's only program and the new :

Questions?  Just email me at

More info:

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