The Navy has released new plank standards for the physical readiness test for men and women, and is also reducing the max out standards for both groups after evaluating records from last year’s assessment.

Whereas the plank standards the Navy originally released in 2020 were gender neutral for all age groups, the new standards are slightly different for men and women, according to the Navy. The shift stems from analysis done on 26,000 forearm plank records from the 2021 PRT, which found there was a “minor gender performance differential,” the Navy said in a new naval administrative message.

As a result, there is now a 10 second difference between the maximum scores for men and women in the plank event.

That means 17 to 19 year old male sailors will max out holding the plank for 3:24 minutes to receive an outstanding score, while 17 to 19 year old female sailors will max out at 3:14 minutes. The requirements to reach the maximum score of 100 declines by four seconds through each age group.

These standards are not as strict as those released in 2020.

Both men and women between the ages of 17 and 19 had to hold the forearm plank for 3:40 minutes to receive the maximum score under that guidance. The max out time was reduced five seconds for each subsequent age bracket.

Sailors are permitted to shake from involuntary muscle spasms while holding the forearm plank if they maintain their form. The event will stop for several reasons, such as the sailor lowering his or her head to hands, failing to maintain a 90-degree angle at the elbows, or receiving more than two corrections on form.

The Navy is poised to kick off a single PRT cycle in 2022, a departure from the standard two cycles conducted annually. The single cycle will run from April 1 to Sept. 30, and will mark the first time that the forearm planks are scored.

Although forearm planks were included in the 2021 PRT, that was for recording purposes only and they were not factored into the overall score. Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. John Nowell Jr. announced that the scores for the 2021 PRT would instead be used to guarantee the scoring tables were correct.

“We’re not going to count that one against you this first cycle because we want to make sure we get it right,” Nowell said during a Facebook Live townhall event in June 2021.

The Navy, which also completed a single PRT cycle in 2021, is eyeing a single PRT cycle in 2023 as well, Nowell said this month.

“It may be as we look at the scores that come out of ‘22, we satisfy ourselves that we can maintain the kind of physical fitness, the health, the wellness that we’re looking for to make you resilient with once a year,” Nowell said Feb. 15 during a Facebook Live townhall event.

“Maybe we do some other things there,” Nowell said. “But more than anything what I’ll ask you to do though is, please focus on your physical fitness.”

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