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26th Marine Expeditionary Unit

A Certain Force in an Uncertain World

Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
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Females pull ahead with pull ups

By Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels | July 03, 2013

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U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Ashley Vallera, a signals intelligence analyst assigned to the 26th MEU, demonstrates a barbell curl during a period of professional military education in the gym of the USS Kearsarge, at sea, June 7, 2013.  The 26th MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force forward-deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility aboard the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group serving as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious operations across the full  range of military operations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels/Released)

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Ashley Vallera, a signals intelligence analyst assigned to the 26th MEU, demonstrates a barbell curl during a period of professional military education in the gym of the USS Kearsarge, at sea, June 7, 2013. The 26th MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force forward-deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility aboard the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group serving as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious operations across the full range of military operations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels/Released) (Photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels)


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U.S. Marine Sgt. James Vincent, explosive ordnance disposal technician assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), explains the proper form for a seated row as Lance Cpl. Ashley Vallera, a signals intelligence analyst assigned to the 26th MEU, demonstrates the exercise during a period of professional military education in the gym of the USS Kearsarge, at sea, June 7, 2013.  The 26th MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force forward-deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility aboard the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group serving as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious operations across the full  range of military operations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels/Released)

U.S. Marine Sgt. James Vincent, explosive ordnance disposal technician assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), explains the proper form for a seated row as Lance Cpl. Ashley Vallera, a signals intelligence analyst assigned to the 26th MEU, demonstrates the exercise during a period of professional military education in the gym of the USS Kearsarge, at sea, June 7, 2013. The 26th MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force forward-deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility aboard the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group serving as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious operations across the full range of military operations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels/Released) (Photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels)


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U.S. Marine Sgt. James Vincent, explosive ordnance disposal technician assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), explains the various muscle groups used while performing pull ups as Lance Cpl. Ashley Vallera, a signals intelligence analyst assigned to the 26th MEU, demonstrates the exercise during a period of professional military education in the gym of the USS Kearsarge, at sea, June 7, 2013.  The 26th MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force forward-deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility aboard the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group serving as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious operations across the full  range of military operations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels/Released)

U.S. Marine Sgt. James Vincent, explosive ordnance disposal technician assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), explains the various muscle groups used while performing pull ups as Lance Cpl. Ashley Vallera, a signals intelligence analyst assigned to the 26th MEU, demonstrates the exercise during a period of professional military education in the gym of the USS Kearsarge, at sea, June 7, 2013. The 26th MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force forward-deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility aboard the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group serving as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious operations across the full range of military operations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels/Released) (Photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels)


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U.S. Marine Sgt. James Vincent, explosive ordnance disposal technician assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), explains the proper form for forearm curl as Lance Cpl. Ashley Vallera, a signals intelligence analyst assigned to the 26th MEU, demonstrates the exercise during a period of professional military education in the gym of the USS Kearsarge, at sea, June 7, 2013.  The 26th MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force forward-deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility aboard the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group serving as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious operations across the full  range of military operations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels/Released)

U.S. Marine Sgt. James Vincent, explosive ordnance disposal technician assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), explains the proper form for forearm curl as Lance Cpl. Ashley Vallera, a signals intelligence analyst assigned to the 26th MEU, demonstrates the exercise during a period of professional military education in the gym of the USS Kearsarge, at sea, June 7, 2013. The 26th MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force forward-deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility aboard the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group serving as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious operations across the full range of military operations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels/Released) (Photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels)


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USS KEARSARGE, At sea --

According to ALMAR 046/12, female Marines will be required to conduct pull ups as part of their annual physical fitness test starting January 1, 2014.

Sgt. James Vincent, an explosive ordnance disposal specialist assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Griffin, Ga., native, is as a certified personal trainer as well as a womens’ fitness specialist. He shared his expertise to the females during a class in the gym aboard the USS Kearsarge to prepare them for the next annual PFT.

“I wanted to provide a class explaining how to do correct pull ups, what muscles are used, and how to exercise and train those muscles,” said Vincent. “I also gave them a pull up program to help them reach their goals.”

Even though the new standard does not go into effect for another five months, it is important to start training now.

“You can never be too prepared or start training too early,” said Vincent. “A lot of females have trouble with pull ups so it will take some time to build their strength to obtain the max amount of pull ups possible on the PFT.”

According to ALMAR 046/12 the new scoring standard will be as follows:

            8 pull ups – 100 points

            7 pull ups – 95 points

            6 pull ups – 85 points

            5 pull ups – 75 points

            4 pull ups – 65 points

            3 pull ups – 40 points

With a lot of potentially hard work ahead, Vincent wanted to make sure the Marines were not wasting their efforts by working the wrong muscle groups.

He said, “The best way to get better at pull ups is to practice pull ups. If you can’t do a pull up on your own there are different techniques to help aid you, whether it’s a band, a spotter, kipping or jumping pull ups, just practice them and the ability to do more pull ups will come.”

Lance Cpl. Ashley Vallera, a signals intelligence analyst assigned to the 26th MEU from New Bern, N.C. helped Vincent demonstrate proper techniques in pull ups and various other exercises that engage the same muscle groups.

 “When I first came on ship, I couldn’t do any pull ups overhand, but I could do a few chin ups. Since the message came out saying we had to do 8 pull ups to earn all 100 points, I started lifting weights to get stronger and I started working on pull ups every day which eventually led me to getting better,” said Vallera. “I went from not being able to do any pull ups to being able to do 10 in just a few months.”

She wanted to make sure female Marines don’t get discouraged if they are not inclined to do well when it comes to pull ups. She said if you stick with it and you are determined to do it you will have no problem.



1 Comments


  • Kim 1 years 21 days ago
    ...that would be 40 points for me...

    I can only do 3 full pullups as of yet.

    Intend to increase to 100 points of course.

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