Conquering the Marine Corps Initial Strength Test (IST)

Updated Marine Corps Initial Strength (IST) qualifications. Sandboxx is here to help you begin your journey to earning the title of United States Marine. One of the first battles you will face shortly after stepping onto the yellow footprints at Marine Corps Recruit Training is the Initial Strength Test (IST). Through out Marine Corps boot camp recruits will be required to complete many physically demanding activities that will push recruits past their limits and reveal who has the will and fight in them to keep going.

Learn what the current IST qualifications are in order to continue on with Marine Corps boot camp at either MCRD Parris Island or MCRD San Diego and how to pass the IST.

Marine Corps  Male Initial Strength Test Requirements:

Pull-Ups Crunches Push-Ups Run
3 Pull-Ups 44 crunches 34 Push-Ups  1.5 mile run in 13:30

Marine Corps  Female Initial Strength Test Requirements:

Pull-Ups Crunches Push-Ups Run
1 Pull-Up 44 crunches 15 Push-Ups  1.5 mile run in 15:00

Now that you know the requirements to successfully pass the Marine Corps Initial Strength Test (IST) here are our Sandboxx Tips on how to successfully train for the IST.

Sandboxx Tips:

1. Starting running now

Incorporate running into your weekly routine, aim for 3-4 times a week. You will run a lot through out your Marine Corps career, training your body to run now will at least make it a little easier when you arrive at boot camp.

Some running apps you can download on your phone to help you run are:

Map My Run

Nike Run Club

Couch to 5k

2. Pace yourself

Although the run is a timed run, you will most likely achieve a faster run time if you pace yourself through out, instead of burning out in the beginning and struggling towards the end.

3. Do crunches daily

Whether in the morning when you wake up or right before you go to bed knock out some crunches. Start off with a number comfortable for you, everyday day add on 10 more to that number and continue to do so till you hit 200.

Once you hit 200 crunches start timing yourself. Use your phone to time yourself and attempt your max number of crunches for two minutes. Continue to do this daily till you leave for boot camp.

4. Learn how to do pull-ups

When required, simply pick any bicep curl type exercises (barbell, dumbbell, alternating, exercise tube, kettlebells) or row exercise (machine row, barbell row, single arm bicep curl, etc). Whichever exercise your ability and equipment availability allows will work, just stick with only one or two exercises per requirement and ensure you continually challenge yourself with the weights and repetitions.

Pull-up substitutes

This workout makes use of pull-up substitutes. Based on your own ability and the availability of equipment, consider any (or a combination) of the following exercises:

Exercise Tube Pull-downs

Exercise tubes are some of the most versatile of all workout equipment
Loop an exercise tube over your indoor pull-up bar, door, or tall piece of furniture. Kneel down or back up to increase resistance. Simulate the pull-up movement as much as possible.

Lat pulldown machine

Most gyms will have some sort of pull-down machine. The closer the movement is to a pullup, the better.

Negative pull-ups

Hop or step up to the top of the pullup position, and lower yourself to a hanging position as slowly as your strength will allow. This is the full downward “half” of the pullup.

Assisted pull-ups

Use a partner, a chair, an assisted pull-up machine–it doesn’t matter. Taking off a little weight will often make the difference for beginners who struggle with full dead-hang pull-ups.

Grip Hangs

While not a complete pull-up substitute, grip hangs are extremely useful and an important part of this workout. Simply hang from the bar with a nice tight grip for as long as possible. Building grip strength can be the difference between 18 pull-ups and the perfect score of 20 pull-ups.

5. Repetition

The most important tip and key to success for running, crunches and pull-ups is to stay consistent and keep working at it. Get together with other poolees and friends that you can run with together. Working out with others who have the same goal as you will keep both of you accountable and motivated to keep pushing beyond exhaustion.

 

Download the Sandboxx app to continue to get more pre-boot camp tips to help you prepare and be successful for Marine Corps boot camp or read here to learn what you need to know before you go to boot camp.

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Author: Nicole at Sandboxx

The daughter of a United States Marine, I grew up with a passion and love for our troops, which led me to pursue a career in a field where I could give back to the military community. In my free time you can find me spending time with my significant other who is currently an Officer in the Marine Corps.

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