In a bit of good news for any sailors who let their core get a bit “unsat” during the pandemic, Big Navy will not count a sailor’s forearm plank score in the upcoming round of physical fitness assessments.

Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. John Nowell confirmed the policy change during a Facebook townhall event Wednesday.

“We do understand, gang, that we have not done the (physical readiness test) since 2019,” Nowell said.

Gyms were closed and “we got out of our routine,” he said.

“For me personally, I was running up and down the stairs in my empty headquarters building to try and stay in shape,” Nowell added.

So, as PRT season gets underway next month, sailors will be expected to plank — it’s replacing the sit-up—but that score won’t count as part of their PRT score, Nowell explained.

Instead, Big Navy will collect the plank scores for this round to help ensure their scoring tables are accurate.

“We’re not going to count that one against you this first cycle because we want to make sure we get it right,” he said.

This is the first time that planks will be used instead of sit-ups.

Push-ups and aerobic scores will be counted on the upcoming PRT.

A Nov. 18, 2020, naval administrative message first notified sailors of the temporary plank exception.

“Service Members who do not meet the minimum passing score for the forearm plank modality will not receive a *fail* for the 2021 cycle PRT only,” according to the NAVADMIN. “However, Service Members must still pass the [body composition assessment], the push-up and cardio modalities of the PRT. Failure to do so will result in a *fail* for PFA cycle 2021.”

Fleet Master Chief Wes Koshoffer encouraged commands to do what they can as the six-month PRT season commences, including “courtesy measurements,” mock tests or command PT, “just to help sailors get moving again.”

Geoff is the editor of Navy Times, but he still loves writing stories. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at

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