Physically fit

Marine Corps allowing heavier women to join ranks after guidelines update

Female Marine recruits prepare to fire on the rifle range during boot camp February 25, 2013 at MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The United States Marine Corps announced over the holiday weekend that it’s updating its physical fitness guidelines as the military moves to integrate women into all facets of infantry roles. The overhaul is dramatic and will see updates not only to weight limitations but to the rigorous fitness tests the Marine Corps requires recruits and service members to pass to become and remain a Marine. The biggest changes will affect women. According to the new guidelines, women Marines will now be allowed to weigh five to seven pounds more than they’ve previously been permitted for each inch of their height. For example, a 5-foot-6-inch woman was previously allowed to weigh no more than 155 pounds. She will now be allowed to weigh up to 161 pounds.

The decision comes due to the fact that many women, in order to meet the Corps’ strict strength guidelines, have turned to weight training to build muscle. Only once they’ve become strong enough to meet the requirements, many found that they’re overweight, General Robert B. Neller, the Corps’ top officer said. In addition, Neller said, the Corps will also ease restrictions on body-fat requirements for Marines — so long as they can still meet the physical fitness requirements.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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