The physical training (PT) that soldiers in the Army and Marines undergo is designed to make them strong, fit, and able to perform their duties in the field. Many people who want to get in shape believe that this type of training is only for those who are looking to enlist in the military, but the truth is that anyone can do it. Doing the same PT as the soldiers is an effective and inexpensive way to get fit and remain healthy, and it doesn’t require a lot of equipment. In this article, we will explore the exercises that soldiers do and how they can benefit you.
The Benefits of Military-Style PT
The exercises that soldiers do during PT are designed to improve their strength, endurance, and overall fitness. These benefits are not limited to soldiers, however. Anyone who performs these exercises can experience the same benefits. In addition to physical fitness, military-style PT can also help to improve mental health. The sense of camaraderie that comes from working out in a group setting can help to reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
The Cost of Military-Style PT
One of the best things about military-style PT is that it is inexpensive. Most of the exercises require little to no equipment, and the exercises that do require equipment can usually be done with items that are easily accessible, such as a set of dumbbells or resistance bands. This makes it a great option for those who are looking to get in shape without spending a lot of money.
Exercises to Get Strong and Remain Fit
- Push-ups – The push-up is a classic exercise that soldiers use to build upper body strength. To perform a push-up, start in a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart. Lower your body until your chest touches the ground, then push yourself back up to the starting position.
Alternative: Modified push-ups can be done by lowering your knees to the ground.
Benefits: Push-ups work the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core.
- Sit-ups – Sit-ups are another classic exercise that soldiers use to build core strength. To perform a sit-up, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Place your hands behind your head, then lift your upper body off the ground and towards your knees.
Alternative: Crunches can be done by keeping your feet on the ground and only lifting your shoulders off the ground.
Benefits: Sit-ups work the abs and core muscles.
- Squats – Squats are a lower body exercise that soldiers use to build leg strength. To perform a squat, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, then lower your body as if you are sitting in a chair. Keep your knees behind your toes and your back straight.
Alternative: Wall sits can be done by leaning against a wall and lowering your body until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
Benefits: Squats work the quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
- Lunges – Lunges are another lower body exercise that soldiers use to build leg strength. To perform a lunge, take a large step forward with one foot, then lower your body until your back knee is just above the ground. Keep your front knee behind your toes and your back straight.
Alternative: Reverse lunges can be done by taking a step back instead of forward.
Benefits: Lunges work the quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
- Burpees – Burpees are a full-body exercise that soldiers use to build endurance. To perform a burpee, start in a standing position, then drop down to a plank position. Do a push-up, then jump back up to a standing position.
Alternative: Half burpees can be done by skipping the push-up and just jumping back up to a standing position.
Benefits: Burpees work the chest, shoulders, triceps, quads, hamstrings, and core, making it a great full-body exercise for building endurance.
- Mountain climbers – Mountain climbers are another full-body exercise that soldiers use to build endurance. To perform mountain climbers, start in a plank position, then bring one knee up towards your chest, then alternate to the other knee.
Alternative: Slow mountain climbers can be done by bringing one knee up towards your chest and holding it for a few seconds before alternating to the other knee.
Benefits: Mountain climbers work the abs, hips, quads, hamstrings, and shoulders.
- Jumping jacks – Jumping jacks are a full-body exercise that soldiers use to warm up and get the heart pumping. To perform a jumping jack, start in a standing position with your feet together and your arms at your sides, then jump and spread your feet apart while raising your arms above your head.
Alternative: Modified jumping jacks can be done by stepping to the side instead of jumping.
Benefits: Jumping jacks work the entire body and can help to get your heart rate up.
- Plank – The plank is a core exercise that soldiers use to build endurance. To perform a plank, start in a push-up position, then lower yourself onto your forearms. Keep your body straight and hold the position for as long as you can.
Alternative: Modified planks can be done by lowering your knees to the ground.
Benefits: Planks work the abs, back, and core muscles.
Bootcamp and Group Classes
If you are looking for a more structured way to do military-style PT, consider joining a bootcamp or group class. These classes are often inspired by military-style PT and can provide a great workout in a group setting. Trainers will guide you through the exercises and provide modifications and alternatives as needed.
Running is an essential part of military-style PT, and soldiers are known for their slow double-time running and long-distance running. The benefits of running are well-known, but running like a soldier can be particularly effective for building endurance and overall fitness.
Soldiers typically run in a slow double-time, which is a marching pace that is slower than a run but faster than a walk. This type of running is sustainable, healthful, accessible, and doable for most people, and it is a low-impact exercise that is much gentler on the joints than high-impact activities like jumping or running at a fast pace.
In addition to the slow double-time running, soldiers also do long-distance running as part of their training. This type of running can help to build endurance, increase lung capacity, and improve cardiovascular health. Running for an hour like a soldier can be a great workout and can provide a low-impact, moderate intensity exercise that is suitable for most people.
The key to running like a soldier is to start slow and gradually increase your pace and distance over time. This will allow your body to adapt to the increased demands of running and reduce the risk of injury. It is also important to wear proper footwear and to stretch before and after running to reduce the risk of muscle strains or other injuries.
Running like a soldier is a great way to get in shape and stay healthy, but it is not the only way to incorporate running into your workout routine. You can also try interval training, which involves alternating between periods of high-intensity running and periods of low-intensity recovery, or incorporate hill sprints or other forms of resistance training into your running routine to build strength and endurance.
Running like a soldier is an effective and sustainable way to build endurance and improve overall fitness. By starting slow, increasing your pace and distance over time, and taking the necessary precautions to prevent injury, you can reap the many health benefits of running and improve your overall health and well-being.
Military-style PT is an effective and inexpensive way to get fit and remain healthy. The exercises are simple and require little to no equipment, making it accessible to anyone. By incorporating these exercises into your workout routine, you can build strength, endurance, and overall fitness. So next time you want to get in shape, try doing the same PT as the soldiers and see the results for yourself.