Archive for the ‘Physical Fitness Testing’ Category

Favorite Workout# 10: Last Week

pullupupOk — this workout is no joke and not for beginners.  This is one of our favorite combo circuits where we focus on the following type of exercise groups:  Upper body PUSH, Upper body PULL, Legs, Abs, and Full body Movements.  This one is a mix of a circuit and a max rep set of the pull, push, leg and the full body and abs are done to your wishes.

Pull, Push, Legs, Abs, Fullbody Max Reps Sets exercise circuit:

Max Reps sets of first 3 (Murph Workout*) — then “rest” with abs /​ full body each set:
Pull = pullups 100 reps
Push = pushups 200 rep
Legs = air squats 300 reps
Abs of choice 50
Fullbody exercise of choice:  options dead lift, hang clean, power clean, push press, KB swings, etc…Heavy or light moderate reps sets.  5–10 reps of these fullbody exercises.

Get Fit by Making it Fit

Military-Fitness-Training

Here is a smart article from military veteran and fitness company owner Kit Dumph:

Staying in Shape While You Are in the Military or at Work

 It’s strange to think that military members would have problems finding time to exercise. They are in the military after all, and that’s part of the job. The truth is that even when commands set aside specific times for fitness, it is often times the first thing axed when other tasks are on the whiteboard.  This same pressure on time and tasks happens in the civilian worldalso, and all to frequently exercise time is the first to go.

So the obvious question is how do you take your fitness back when tasks and time dictate otherwise? The best solution is to make fitness a priority and set aside specific blocks of time to accomplish this. When that isn’t possible, you can go to Plan B.

Plan B

“Get fit by making it fit”

This means adding physical activities in between your normal activities throughout the day.  A perfect example of this is a wakeup pushup regime as follows.

Wake Up: 10 warm up pushups

Activity: Such as turning on the coffee machine

Exercise: 20 Pushups

Activity: Make the bed

Exercise 20 Pushups

Activity: Start Breakfast

Exercise 20 pushups

This can be modified and edited a million different ways to present a challenge and adapt to your goals.

If you are in a military setting, the “Get fit by making it fit” attitude will be even easier. There is even a good chance that your co-​​workers will join in on the fun.  In fact, I have seen many commands and schools adopt this attitude. Such as requiring 10 pull-​​ups before entering the chow hall, rowing 1000 meters before lunch or an end of the day pushup requirement.  All of which can be adapted and used to your advantage when you are too busy to block off time solely for PT.


Kit Dumph is the Founder of Force Fitnesfitkits Kits.. He spent 7 years in Special Operations with deployments around the globe. The Force Fitness Kit team believes that fitness should be easy, accessible and go where you go.   sells a complete workout kit that is designed to allow the user to stay in shape wherever life may lead them.  Mail Questions & Comments

Ask the MD — Becoming a Stronger Runner

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Angela Duff, 62nd Aerial Port Squadron

Military​.com Fitness is starting a new section where we reach out to various medical and science professionals to get advice on fitness, injury prevention, injury rehabilitation, nutrition, and many other topics that will help our readers. Many emails ask our writing team about running faster, running injuries, and how to prevent them.  I am pleased to introduce Dr. Michael Cassatt who is a former Navy corpsman and now a doctor of Sports Medicine .  Dr Cassatt answers our “How to prevent running injuries” question with the following explanation: Injuries in runners are common.  Injuries from the waist down can range from 1 in 4 runners, to 2 in 3 runners depending on training volume. Most of these injuries are preventable given a good training plan, quality running form, and a few specific exercises to help supporting muscle groups. There are a number of injuries that can occur from running including:

  •  Hip– Hip flexor tendinopathy, impingement, and bursitis.
  • Knee– IT band syndrome, runners knee (Patellar tendinopathy), and meniscal tears.
  • Tibia– Shin splints, compartment syndrome, and stress fractures.
  • Foot and ankle– Achilles tendinopathy, peroneal tendinopathy, plantar fasciitis.

Favorite Workout #9: Last Week

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Name:  Five Minutes ON — Five Minutes OFF

This workout will have you doing a hard 5 minute cardio followed by a hard 5 minute circuit usually of 4–5 exercises with minimal rest in between.  The 5 minutes of cardio are often Tabata Intervals or increasing resistance each minute sets where you make each minute harder than the previous minute for a total of 5 minutes.  Repeat this 5 times for a 50–60 minute cardio /​ resistance combo workout.

For instance, the workout we created is explained below, but it is one of those that you can create your own using the following protocol:

Pick exercises from the following categories:   Push /​ Pull /​ Full /​ Legs /​ Abs

Repeat 5 times
5 Minutes ON Cardio:  *5 minutes of Tabata Intervals (bike, elliptical, or row machines)

5 Minutes OFF Cardio:  Full Body Circuit (no rest in between)

PUSH — Bench press 135# — max reps for 1 minute

PULL — Pullups (weighted or not) — max reps for 1 minute — change grips, shake it out, keep pulling for 1 minute

FULL — Hang Cleans /​ Push Press complex — do hang cleans into push press for 1 minute (light weight).  Some opted for KbdnKettlebell swings /​ snatches as well.

LEGS — Squats (weighted or non-​​weighted) /​ Box Jumps /​ Step Ups for 1 minute

ABS — Situps 1 minute or your choice of flutterkicks, TRX rollouts, etc…

TRXrollout2

*Tabata interval is a challenging cardio interval where you do 20 seconds fast as you can followed by 10 seconds easy /​ slow to try to catch your breath.  It is a nice thought but you really don’t catch your breath.

Favorite Workout of the Week # 1–8 for previous weeks.

Women Fight Fire with Fitness

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Former Marine Instructs Program That Aims to Move Number of Women in FDNY from Worst to Best in the Nation

While most New York Sports Club (NYSC) members are training to lose weight and look better, a group of brave women are hitting the gym with a bigger goal: to save lives and hopefully join the elite Fire Department of New York City (FDNY). NYSC is partnering with the United Women Firefighters Association by offering free training classes three times a week to women who are preparing their bodies for the FDNY Academy’s grueling physical exam.

United We Stand

HonorGuard

I come from a family of patriots.  We all support our Veterans, our military service men and women and our country regardless of the date on the calendar or the status of world events. My grandfather is part of the Greatest Generation as a WWII Veteran. My uncles are Veterans of the Vietnam War.  I am a the spouse of a GWOT Veteran who served our country valiantly during a career that saw both peace and conflict. So, during a time when we celebrate our Nation’s birth, it seems fitting to also thank those who graciously and unselfishly support our troops, respect our flag, and serve our Veterans.  This week, while we’re spending time with family and friends,  I want to introduce you to a couple of patriots & patriotic organizations that have inspired me. 

Favorite Workout #8: Last Week

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Spec Ops Triathlon Build Up with Leg PT

As we prepare for an upcoming Special Ops Triathlon - Night Mission (Swim, Run, Ruck), we are adding in a few combo workouts mixed with leg PT to prepare for the extra mileage and weight of the event.  This favorite workout of the week is called:

Run /​ Ruck /​ Swim and Leg PT — We will be adding mileage to this workout every week as we progress to the 5 mile run /​ 4 mile ruck /​ 1 mile swim of the Spec Ops Triathlon Workout:

Run 2 miles -  stop every 1/​2 mile and do 20 lunges

Ruck 2 miles — stop every half mile and do squats (ruck with 30–40#)

Swim /​ LEG PT:  Swim with fins 1000m

Buddy tow and Lunges on pool deck — see video link

Repeat 5 times
Buddy tow 25m
Walking lunges 25m

*if no buddy to tow — swim with sweat shirt in each hand

Lose Weight /​ Get Fit to Serve

2012 Obesity

As the Military Gets Pickier With Recruiting, showing up to see your local recruiter out of shape, overweight, and/​or with less than average ASVAB scores will quickly crush your dreams of serving.  During the past 15 years of writing about military fitness, this is not a new problem (overweight /​ out of shape recruits), however in a period of downsizing, the military has the ability to select only those who are ready to go and fully qualified.  Here is a very common email from a young man seeking to serve his country but knows he has a journey to get there:

I want to lose weight to join the Navy however, I barely workout now, and I’m over 300 pounds. Any advice? — Rob

Favorite Workout #6: Last Week

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Over the years, we have created workout plans for various fitness tests, but one thing holds true:  Practice taking the test you have to pass on a regular basis.  And if you want to crush it — do it twice.  That is right do a Double PFT.  One of our favorite Navy SEAL /​ EOD /​ Diver PST prep workouts is the Double PST arranged in the following manner:

Favorite Workout #5: Last Week

usmcpull-up

Here is the fifth week of the Favorite Workout of the Week series.  We did this workout with more than 30 delayed entry program SpecWar candidates, ROTC, and OCS students.  This is one of those classic workouts that you can do once a week and know you are getting a tough workout in as well as mark your progress because everyone fails at this one at some point.  This one is also a great way to simulate obstacle courses if you do not have one to train on.  The running to/​from the pullup bar, doing burpees or pushing exercises, add in some crawling and you have a simulated obstacle course workout.

Favorite Workout #4: Last Week

1swimpt3

This week, we did an all-​​time favorite workout that we have been doing for decades.  It truly is a classic workout and if you are ever in the area where we train, you can join us.  Especially now, as we are cycling out of the weight /​ strength cycle and merging into the running, swimming, higher rep PT cycle to prepare for crushing any fitness test.

Fitness is Relative /​ Energy Systems Are Not…

Why Bodyweight Exercises Rule!

After a challenging workout on Memorial Day this year, I posted it in the Weekly Favorite Series and received a few comments from, “this is a crazy workout and too hard to think about doing,”  to “it was not that bad if you paced yourself.”  This led me to think about how fitness is ALL RELATIVE, meaning, depending on your fitness level, workouts can easily be accomplished or not.

Favorite Workout #3: Last Week

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This Memorial Day Workout — will easily be the favorite workout of the week for many weeks to come.  In the past few years, the CrossFit world has been naming workouts after American Heroes (Hero WOD).  This particular workout is called the Memorial Day Murph and was one of SDV Team 1 SEAL, LT Michael Murphy’s (CMH recipient) workouts he did prior to SEAL training.  It just so happens to be one of my long time favorites done with situps vs squats to help prepare for the PST exercises (pullup, pushups, situps)

Favorite Workout #1 — Last Week

trxsqtrowUp

“Stew — What was your best workout you did last week?” asks an Army ROTC cadet.  “Anything new? Something classic?  I would love to hear what you come up with in your Spec Ops Team sessions.”

Many readers have been asking to post some of my favorite workouts we come up with each week with my pre-​​Military /​ Spec Ops PT groups.  Sounds like a plan.  I will post my favorite workouts of the previous week here on Monday’s each week.

This workout will vary each week as I tend to pick favorites that are a combination of upper body /​ lower body weights /​ calisthenics, or swim or run PT mix, or mix it all together for a challenging full-​​body /​ cardio burnout day. So without over-​​talking it — here it is:   “The Modified Murph with TRX and Kettlebells”

If you are into these type of workouts, you may have heard of the “Murph”?  It is a workout in honor of Navy SEAL officer Michael Murphy (MOH recipient) used often as a “Memorial Day Murph” workout in the CrossFit world.  It is actually a classic workout done my future Special Ops guys for decades.

Top Ten List: Mental Toughness

buds seal training 3

After this article, a friend of mine asked about what I thought the Top Ten List of traits for mental toughness would be.  After some thought and discussions with some successful, mentally tough people, we came up with this.

Mental Toughness – How do we obtain it?  Make it stronger?  Many young people ask these questions of me each day and I wish it was a simple answer.  I wish you could be mentally tough by figuring out a magic solution of phrases or training programs.  But it is not that simple.  Being mentally tough requires you to keep competing when your mind wants you to quit.  Humans have a “safety switch” in our brain that tells us to stop in order to prevent us from hurting ourselves.  We are natural born survivors built to conserve our energy, store food, and just simply live to survive another day.  There are times you can actually shut that part of your brain off.  When you do this, you realize your body is ten times stronger than your brain will let it be. Training programs in the Special Operations world helps you tap into this mindset, but often your life experiences and habits can build a mental toughness and resilience that no one can beat.

Pull-​​ups: Part Three — Going from 10 to 20+ Pull-​​ups

womenpullup

This article is part THREE of the three part series on Twenty Pull-​​ups for Women:

1) HOW to get your first pull-​​up,

2) Getting the USMC women’s maximum on the Pull-​​up Test,

3) Getting the USMC maximum on the Pull-​​up Test (20 reps) – this article.

From Major Posey:  “A fellow Marine once told me that I couldn’t learn to do 20 pull-​​ups.  In that instant I decided to make 20 pull-​​ups my goal.  At the time, I had been doing pull-​​ups for 7 years or so and had worked my way up to 12 without much deliberate effort.  I simply did a few straight/​max sets a few times a week.  As such, I was surprised to hear my buddy claim with the upmost confidence that 20 pull-​​ups were beyond the upper limit of my pull-​​up potential.  It did not make sense to me.  I could do 12, so why not 20?  Was there a proprietary limit on how many pull-​​ups a person could learn to do?  Surely he was kidding.  He wasn’t.  He pointed out that I had been doing pull-​​ups for 8 years, so if I were physically capable of performing 20 pull-​​ups, I would have already done so.  I countered that I had not yet reached 20 pull-​​ups because I had never tried.  He retorted by throwing his hands up, shrugging his shoulders, and stating that women simply could not do 20 pull-ups—it was impossible.  I assured him it was not only possible for a woman to do 20, but more than 20.  So we made a bet that each of us would out perform the other on the next PFT.  The plan was we would each do as many pull-​​ups as we could, neither one of us stopping at 20 repetitions. Since the PFT was less than a couple months away, and since he was already performing 18 or 19 pull-​​ups, I decided to get serious about my training.”

Pull-​​ups: Part Two — Going from 1 to 10 Pull-​​ups

Little Known Hardgainer Supplement To Build Muscle

This article is part two of the three part series on Twenty Pull-​​ups for Women:

1) HOW to get your first pull-​​up,

2) Getting the USMC women’s maximum (8 reps; this article)

3) Getting the USMC male maximum (20 reps).

Adding Pull-​​up Repetitions — Turning Pull-​​ups into an Endurance Exercise (AKA: adding repetitions)

After you have reached the first and toughest hurdle of this journey—the first pull-up–this step is easy comparatively.  The basic training principles for how to succeed at pull-​​ups are the same as in the How to Get Your First Pull-​​up article—practice pull-​​ups often—but now we add another step to the equation to help you build up your endurance (muscle stamina).

Pull-​​ups: Three Part Series — From Zero to Twenty Reps

Why Bodyweight Exercises Rule!

I received one of the best email responses in over a decade of writing articles on tactical fitness and fitness testing this week.  In fact, it was such a good introduction to Major Posey (USMC) that I wanted to share the story of this Marine going from zero pull-​​ups to 20 pull-​​ups!

Major Posey writes:  I read your article where you spoke about young girls not being educated physically like they should and about how this is a societal issue.  I couldn’t agree more.  I stumbled across the same information in my research for my pull-​​up paper (Duped by The Frailty Myth).  So, I definitely agree it is a socialization and educational issue.

After I wrote a basic news /​ opinion piece on the USMC delaying the pull-​​up portion of the PFT for women, I realized I needed to focus more on education and TEACH methods to improve on pull-​​ups not just argue that women can do pull-​​ups if they just do them.  With the assistance of Major Misty Posey, we are creating a three part series on

1) HOW to get your first pull-​​up, (this article)

2) Getting the USMC women’s maximum pull-​​up (8 reps), 

3) Getting the USMC maximum pull-​​ups (20 reps). 

Are You a Captain America?

Captain America1

I consider my sister-​​in-​​law, Dana, a real sister to me.  She is kind, compassionate, fun, wonderfully opinionated and loves me unconditionally.  I always welcome her advice and recommendations and she has never steered me wrongly.  Last summer she said I must watch The Avengers movie.  What a fun ride!  It was cool to see so many of my favorite characters like Thor, Ironman, and the Hulk joining forces to fight evil.  The only challenge was that I knew nothing about Captain America.  Friday night, I finally watched the first Captain America movie and can’t wait to see the sequel that apparently was a blockbuster at this past weekend’s opener. What caught my attention was the desire this scrawny little guy had to serve his country and sacrifice for the greater good of mankind.  Fortunately, you don’t have to look too far to find those willing to raise their shields to protect our country.  From our incredible service men and women to every day difference-​​makers, we all have a little bit of Captain America in us.

Plyometrics and Vertical Jumps

Plyometrics became popular for Olympic-​​bound athletes. And many professional and elite athletes are familiar with workouts that include vertical jump training to improve their performance on the track or on the court. But you’re a soldier. Is it possible that plyometric training can provide some value for the military?

The short answer is yes. Let’s talk about what plyometrics is, and isn’t, and how you can use it to improve your performance on the battle field.