Are you preparing to enter the U.S. Army?
If so, you’ll need to pass basic training first, and as any soldier can tell you, it’s no walk in the park.
Designed to prepare you physically and mentally for the realities of military battle, basic training is a test of emotional and bodily strength. Recruits spend 10 weeks learning tactical skills and survival readiness and also undergo weapons training and other Army practices.
To succeed, you’ll need to be able to keep up. Wondering how to get in shape for the Army? Your usual gym training program might not cut it.
Today, we’re discussing a few ways you can supercharge your workout routine to focus on the core areas you’ll be targeting during basic training. That way, when it’s time to prove your prowess, you’ll know just what to do.
Ready to learn more? Let’s go
1. Start a Split Schedule
Now isn’t the time to stick to your once-a-day, mediocre workout. If you’re wondering how to get in shape for the Army, the answer lies in doubling up but doing so smartly.
Experts recommend implementing a split schedule workout, meaning you’ll work out both in the morning and in the afternoon. Choose one time to do aerobic and cardiovascular exercises, and another focused on strength training and resistance.
For best results, isolate your resistance training to a single time interval, and stick with that setup. The reason? Your muscles need time to recover and repair themselves, so you’ll need that buffer of rest in between.
Aim for between 30 and 45 minutes of cardio each day, and vary the intensity to avoid burnout. Then, switch between weight training and resistance-based workouts to appropriately vary the workout.
2. Run, Run, Run
During basic training, you’ll be required to complete a timed run that spans two miles. While that might not sound like a lot, consider that you’ll already be pushing your body to its limits during those 10 weeks, so any form of long-term cardio can take its toll.
You don’t want to complete the other portions of the training and collapse from exhaustion when it’s time to pound the pavement.
To get ready, start going on runs before the training begins. Aim to run between four and five miles per day. These runs can complete the cardio portion of your split schedule workout described above.
As you run, pay attention to your form. Aim for a short stride and make sure your foot hits the ground under your knee, keeping your elbows at a 90-degree angle.
3. Build Your Upper Body
You’ll be doing plenty of pushups during basic training, and you don’t want to take a knee to do so. Keep up with the other recruits by doing up to a hundred push-ups a day, focusing on your form and technique. When determining how to get in shape for the Army, this is one step you can’t afford to miss.
To pass the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), males will need to complete 35 pushups in two minutes. Women should complete 13 in two minutes. These will be required alongside 47 situps and that two-mile run.
Start with what you’re comfortable doing, and then work your way up to the hundreds. You can also do other exercises, such as chest presses, that target your upper body to mix the workout up.
4. Ramp Up Your Sit-Ups
When researching how to get in shape for the Army, you’ll likely find plenty of data on strengthening your abdominal muscles, and for good reason. To pass the sit-up portion of the APFT, you’ll need a super strong core.
The best way to get that strength, stat? Incorporate a weight into your sit-ups. Hold a weight plate in front of you, or clutch it behind your neck while you perform the full sit-up as normal.
Add more repetitions and variations as you get comfortable with the technique. Try leg lifts or core twists to engage and activate all those important muscles.
5. Stretch to Improve Flexibility
All the cardio and strength training in the world could be rendered useless if you pull a muscle on Day 1 of basic training. To stay limber and improve your flexibility, be sure to incorporate plenty of stretching into your workout regime.
Not only will you get your body ready for exercise, but you’ll also fine-tune your form and prevent injury. Stretching is also proven to reduce stress and anxiety, making it a perfect precursor to your training demands.
From hamstring holds to hip flexor lunges, get your body ready for the exertion it’s about to undergo by lengthening and strengthening your muscles in preparation. Around 10-15 minutes of intensive stretching per day is a great way to begin.
Learn How to Get in Shape for the Army and More
The months and weeks leading up to Army basic training can be a whirlwind of packing bags, prepping family, and getting everything ready to go. Working out might not be top of mind, but it should be.
To stand out as a recruit and pass all your required fitness tests, you’ll need to be able to keep up with the required exercises and complete them within the required timeframes. There’s no better way to get there than to start today and keep pressing forward until the day comes to put your practice into action.
For more tips and advice on how to prepare for basic training, be sure to check out our blog. We’ve got the information you need to enter this new journey with confidence.