My workout routine (army prep)
I'm joining the army in November. I've been working out, but finally put together more of a set routine to work on two specific things: endurance when running and overall strength/flexibility. My friends have helped me put together this routine, and I think it's pretty good so far. Please let me know what you believe should added/fixed/removed, or any suggestions you have.
Obviously I won't stick to doing these workouts on each day of the week, but I set it like this just to provide visual help for myself. So, on Sundays, would it be best to just rotate my Tuesday routine with Friday every other week?
Right now I have it so I have 3 running days a week, and 3 lifting days. Is that best or should I spread the lifting out throughout the week?
- LSD (long slow distance run, start at 3 miles, add .25 each week).
warmup (light jog & stretch)
squat (4x5 - 80% of max weight)
box jumps (15 total jumps, high box)
pull ups/chin ups
- deadlift (5x2)
- CHI (constant high intensity run, 85% effort for 12 min, add 1 min each week)
warmup (light jog & stretch)
- overhead press (5x3)
- INT (intervals, .25 mi repeats, 8 times)
- warmup (light jog & stretch)
Thanks in advance for any help!
1. Get your running form down. Running injuries such as knee and shin problems are one of the main reasons people get injured during basic from what I remember.
2. What are you trying to get out of your high intensity run? How are you going to measure that 85%? I'm not saying it is a bad idea, I just don't see the point. It seems like a workout with limited benefits that is going to take a fair amount out of you. A minute per week is going to add up fast, and you may not be able to maintain it.
3. If you are in good enough shape to do 8x400m, that's awesome, but even the Army Physical Readiness Training Field Manual has people start off with 5 or 6 rounds of 30 seconds on, 60 seconds rest. You work your way up to 8 or 10 of those before moving on to doing 60/120, which should be about a 400m. When you start the 60/120 sprints, you again go back down to 4 or 6, and work up to 8.
All told, that may be too much for you. It would definitely be too much for me, but I'm older.
No matter what, unless you are in ridiculously good shape, basic training is going to hurt. If it's not the run or pushups or situps, it will be the ruck marches, or the mind games. They've done this before, and do it pretty often: take overweight, out-of-shape people and turn them into soldiers in 9 weeks. Trust the system.
If I were going to structure a plan for the military, it would be the following.
1. Heavy lifting. This is most important, do it probably 2-3x per week.
2. Sprints. This is also important. Once a week, after lifting, or on its own day with plenty of rest before lifting again.
3. Moving slowly. Add weight to your ruck one time, then add distance the next time. Start light and short.
4. I know I can run long distances so I don't feel the need to do it often, but if you really need to put them in you can do LSD once one week and the CHI the next. Work on learning how to pace yourself, so that your second half is just as fast as your first half. Too many people don't understand pace, and burn themselves out very quickly. If you have good form and can sprint well, there's no reason you can't learn the appropriate pace to max your run time, and spend your entire 2-mile test passing people. (Mostly this means starting slower than you think you should- about 1:40 per 400m for 8 laps will get you nearly a maximum score.)
About 8 weeks out, I'd cut back on the lifting to once per week, and start doing the HundredPushups.com program. There are similar ones for situps and pullups, I believe that can be done concurrently. The goal of these programs is to build up the volume that you can handle before muscle failure- i.e. improving your muscular endurance, which is what the Army tests for.
Anyways, if you have any questions, PM me. I've been in for a while, and I'm doing a lot of these things myself and with my soldiers, and getting decent results, I think. They test next month, so I'll find out for sure.
I've been in the military (Navy/Marine Corps) for over 10 years now and spent most of that time with infantry units. I would say that distance running - assuming your not in terrible shape - is the easy part because it really is mostly mental. If you tell yourself to run, especially formation runs which tend to be slower and tedious, than you will; take quite out of your vocabulary. Good suggestion from freakshow about rucking, you should definetely do some of that. With the Marines I have hiked with anywhere from 30 to 130 pounds on my back for up to twenty miles with stops scheduled at 10 minutes (gear adjustment), and every three miles after that. I would recomend getting a set of boots like those you will actually use in bootcamp and start rucking at a distance of 3-4 miles with 20-30 pounds in your pack and work yourself up to 15 miles in 1-2 mile increments. Standard speed with the Marines is about 3-4 mph and I would assume the Army is the same. Also, you should limit your "short" speed runs to around two miles since that is the length of your fitness test. Also, work on your pushups and crunches since those count for fitness test score as well. Don't forget to lift heavy things, deads, squats, kettlebells, etc. at least 2-3 times a week.
Get some dude and good on you for enlisting, what job did you sign up for?
Thanks for the responses, guys. I am actually joining the Israeli army. My friend sent me a Navy workout program, and I am probably going to follow that. The tryouts for the Israeli army are slightly different. The running portion (to get into the unit I want) is 2KM, which comes out to about 1.25 miles. Here is a picture of the routine I plan to follow. Let me know what you think.
I had some very specific points listed, but they were a little harsh. The short of it is that you have no recovery time and will very quickly burn yourself out.
You have six months to prepare. You can run through two cycles of most weightlifting plans in that timeframe. You will burn yourself out with this plan, and end up doing far less than you planned. Your plan looks like how my rough draft plan always looks, until I remember that I need to rest, and I need to plan for days off and I start slashing stuff out.
Rethink your goals. Make them very specific, such as:
Deadlift 2.5x bodyweight by October 15
Squat 1.5x bodyweight by October 15
Run 2km in 6 minutes? 7? by October 15
75 pushups in 2 minutes. by October 15
From your goals, break down the steps that you need to get there. Work backwards from there and break it down as small as you can, so you know what to do every day.
If you don't have a measurable goal to achieve, you can't plan to get to that point. If you don't have a plan, you're wasting your workout time and effort, because you won't know if you're getting better.
If you can't come up with a measurable goal, then the task is not important. If you can't explain specifically how your workout contributes to your goal, then it isn't focused enough.
So, starting from the beginning: What are your goals?
Last edited by jfreaksho; 03-20-2013 at 06:48 PM.
jfreaksho, thanks for the help. It really is greatly appreciated. I should have noted that I plan to use Sunday as my off day, but that every third sunday I will run 2K and do my max pushups, pullups, and situps to see where I am. My goal is to be able to run 1.25 miles in 7 minutes, do 86 sit-ups in 1 min, and 76 pushups in 1 min -- every third Sunday I will see where I stand in regard to these goals.
You might be in luck .... I was a Drill Sergeant in Fort Jackson SC for 3 years I could tell you exactly what you need to do. Push-ups and sit-ups specifically. And running. Pull-ups are not tested but they are conducted during regular days of physical training (PT). I always maxed my tests but i can tell you the 86 sit-ups and 76 pushups in 1 min... won't happen but its a goal non the less. By about the first minute your muscles will reach failure. Even the Army Ranger Iron man PT competitions would only see 115-120 push-ups sit-ups in 2 mins. You also have to pace yourself after push-ups are graded you transition to sit-ups, then to your 2-mile run. Not only are you trying for your best effort but you will be graded on your form. If you perform the repetition too fast or incorrectly.... well then it won't be counted. Oh and on top of that you won't be allowed to implement ANY supplements. You get good ole processed Army chow.. Yum!!
Originally Posted by jtuwiner
Actually just noticed you were joining the Israeli Army... not sure what the standards are .
Last edited by PrimalRanger; 03-21-2013 at 08:36 AM.
With only one day per week rest with that much training, I still think you're going to burn yourself out, or not make very good progress, or both. That's a lot of work for one week. All of the beginning strength routines are 3x per week, with pretty much nothing else- no running, no calisthenics. If you are lifting properly, you won't be able to do much of anything else. If you can still do all of that other stuff, your lifting plan is less than what it could be.
Originally Posted by jtuwiner
You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want. - Al Kavadlo
What changes would you suggest, then? This schedule is based off of the navy program my friend sent me, I just set it up to follow that.
Originally Posted by jfreaksho
1. Strength training- heavy lifting, no more than three times a week. If you are starting lifting, do a beginner program like Stronglifts or Starting Strength. If you've lifted before but never done a linear program like those, pick one of those and do it.
2. Sprint sessions, either after lifting, or on its own day, with its own recovery day. Not more than twice a week. Start with 4-6 sprints, as hard as you can, for as long as you feel you are putting out everything you've got. It should be about 20 seconds or so, and go down from there. Increase by a rep at a time, after a few weeks at one level.
3. Start rucking a couple of times each week. It'll help your run, too. Go light and short to start, then increase distance, then increase weight. I think. Or maybe vice-versa. I'd have to look it up again.
There isn't anything to be gained by focusing on the test just yet. You more than likely will benefit most from more strength. Since you have a lot of time, that should be your focus. It takes longest to build, but will stay with you the longest when you stop. Lifting heavy also negates the need for focused core work.
The ruck marching will help your cardiovascular system improve efficiency (which will help your run) without overtaxing your system for the lifting. It's also low impact, so as long as you build up the weight and distance slowly, you won't have joint/shin problems so common to runners. If you push hard enough, it's more than enough to stimulate you as much or more than a long-distance run, without the high-impact and recovery time drawbacks. It's also a very useful military skill that is severely undervalued and under-appreciated.
The sprints will make you faster, and increase your endurance. Read up on Tabata's research for more info.
About two-three months out, cut back on or cut out the lifting and start working endurance for your bodyweight stuff. hundredpushups.com has a great plan. It's basically a high-volume plan that avoids failure. There are similar ones for pullups and situps, I believe. These will bring up your endurance numbers.
Keep doing your intervals during this time, but you can also start doing pace work- breaking your goal time into chunks like a 400m or 200m and run intervals, but at your target pace- no faster and no slower. Break in between, and do it again. This will help you get the feel for how fast you should run. A lot of people without this kind of practice tend to start off way too fast and burn out way too fast. (This exercise is practice, not training. You are practicing running at a certain speed. It's not for trying to get faster.)
Flexibility stuff you can do every day, but after lifting, not before.
If you really feel like you have to test yourself, don't do it more than once a month. Max efforts on a mock test aren't going to help you get better, they only give you an indication of where you are at. Doing it too often is going to hamper recovery and detract from everything else.
If you doubt what I'm saying here, let me know. I'll try and provide references as I can. The Navy plan you have has all the right stuff in it except for recovery time. It makes sense, because the military I know is notorious for overtraining, while often leaving gaping holes in general fitness levels. My PT score got significantly better after I left basic training and no longer had to do 2+ workouts per day, and that's really common.
For those paying attention, this is basically a PBF plan, tweaked a little bit for the military.