LONE TREE, Colo. (CBS4) – The Marine Corps has delayed a training requirement in its efforts to open up combat roles for women. That’s after more than half of female Marines in boot camp couldn’t do three pull-ups, which is the minimum standard.

The pull-up problem has rekindled the debate to open up combat jobs for women.

Starting at the beginning of the year all female Marines are required to do at least three pull-ups on their physical fitness test and eight for a perfect score, but that has now been pushed back.

At Lone Tree Crossfit pull-ups are a fitness benchmark for everyday women like Victoria Trout and Julie.

“It takes time but girls can do it,” Trout said.

It took Trout six months of training to become proficient at pull-ups. For Julie it took nine months. So is it surprising that only 45 percent of female Marines in boot camp can meet the minimum requirement of three pull-ups? Roger Vankuren, a former Marine and now Crossfit gym owner, says it’s sad.

“Because when you chose to go into the military one of the first things you should have done was prepare yourself physically,” Vankuren said.

The Marines have now delayed the pull-up requirement, part of the process to equalize physical standards to integrate women into combat jobs in 2016. And it rekindles the debate if women have the physical strength for those roles.

“I think they should be able to do it for what they’re going to be asked to do,” Julie said.

The Marines hoped to institute pull-ups because they require muscular strength necessary to perform common military tasks.

“You’re going to be doing a lot of lifting, humping rug sacks, carrying your weapon, carrying gear, climbing over things,” Vankuren said. “If your fellow Marine isn’t physically up to par or ready for the demands of the job, that puts you at risk as well.”

Experts say training for a pull-up will dramatically change strength.


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