The Postpartum Physical Fitness Test.

I was reading about the Space Force’s idea of holistic fitness as a new model for the seemingly outdated once- or twice-a-year physical fitness test. It got me to thinking…

The Marine Corps PFT currently consists of the following exercises:

1. Pull-ups.

2. The plank.

3. 3-mile run.

Don’t get me wrong. I think this model does a pretty good job evaluating the overall fitness of Marines. And certainly since ditching the flexed-arm hang for women in favor of pull-ups, and now switching to the plank from crunches (come 1 January 2023), the test refines what the Marine Corps finds physically important in their force. As such, we tailor our workouts to improve these fitness areas in our life. But as a female Marine who has subjected her battle-hardened body to incubate, nurture, and birth two future Marines over the past four years, does this physical fitness test really showcase my true overall fitness? I submit it does not.

Here’s what I propose:

1. Timed baby changes.

Want to see how strong your momceps (or dadceps) are? In a five-minute period, undress, change your baby’s diaper (including wrestling him to the change mat so he doesn’t wriggle off), and redress him as many times as possible. Partial score if socks are kicked off at the last second.

2. Max toddler press.

Parents, you know. Lay on your back with your toddler (between 25-35 pounds) held above your chest in a horizontal position. Lower your arms until at least a 90 degree bend is obtained and then raise them until locked out. Complete as many reps as possible until fatigue. Style points if your toddler laughs during this exercise.

3. 1-mile stroller speed walk.

One foot must always be in contact with the ground. Bonus points if you avoid running into parked cars, hitting the display items in the grocery store, and keeping the baby dry in the rain.

I know, I know. I may be taking the piss (as the Brits say) with you, but think about it. The Space Force is onto something. The data is there showing that warriors of the future are increasingly hard to come by, especially given the rigid physical fitness requirements. By embracing wearable technology and thinking about fitness as a holistic concept (including proper sleep habits) instead of an exercise-specific test, the Space Force is leading the future of military readiness.

And they sure got one thing bang-on: “The human weapon system is the most important weapons system of the force.”

Semper Gumby.

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