How These Workouts Pushed an Army Soldier and Recruit to the Next Level

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A soldier completes a hand-release push-up during the Army combat fitness test.
Staff Sgt. Denton Rone with C Co., 1-163rd CAB completes a hand-release push-up during the Army combat fitness test as part of the Montana Army National Guard Best Warrior competition at Fort Harrison, Sept. 17, 2021. (Spc. Emily Simonson/U.S. Army National Guard photo)

I received two great emails from an Army soldier and an Army recruit. Both utilized my free workouts offered through my "article archive" page at the Military.com Fitness Center -- the Push-up Push Workout and the Free Six-Week Running Plan. The following emails explain how these workouts helped improve their performance on the PFT.

Here are their emails:

"Before starting the workout, my APFT 2-mile run was 17:38. I started this run workout in January 06; here it is 12 weeks later and I ran a 13:10 - 2 mile. I just about exploded, but I did it. I found the workout very easy to do. I pushed myself "gently," and lo and behold, it works. By training smarter and taking a slow, gentle, smart approach to physical training, I increased my PT score from 244 to 320 in only 3 months. Can I get even faster?"

Try the "Six-Week Running Program" (PDF).

And ...

"I wanted to let you know I did your Push-up Push Workout, and I did 150 push-ups every day for 10 days. I took four days off from doing any push-ups and actually doubled my push-up score. I went from 45 to 93 in 15 days! Wow! How do I maintain this?"

Read the "Push-up Push Workout" for the full scoop.

First of all, congrats and thanks for crediting me for your success, but you are the ones who took a method and applied it to your workout programs. I cannot make people work out; I can just show them how to do it to get stronger or faster. So, good job for being motivated to complete the workouts.

Answering Your Questions

To keep increasing your pace in the two-mile run, all you have to do is to apply the same workouts you have been doing, but increase your mile pace slightly when running quarter-miles, half-miles and mile repeats. For instance, one workout asks you to do the following:

Warmup: Jog five minutes, then stretch.

Repeat 4-6 times:

  • Run a quarter-mile at goal pace
  • Jog or walk an eighth of a mile
  • Rest/stretch for five minutes
  • Run two miles at goal pace. Write down when you start to slip off the pace.

If your goal pace is to complete the two-mile run in 12 minutes, then you need to work on a six-minute mile pace or a 90-second, quarter-mile run. Learn to maintain that pace while repeating it with little rest 8-10 times. Once you are there, your two-mile run will be very close to 12 minutes.

As for push-ups, you do not want to keep doing push-ups every day. I only use that workout once in a while (6-8 months) to kick-start growth. Now focus on more pyramid workoutssupersets and timed push-up tests for two-minute periods. If you do three workouts a week of push-ups, try to do one of each of the above.

Max-set workout: One of my favorite workouts is to pick a number like 300 or 400 and see how few sets it takes me to get that many push-ups. If you are in the 50 or less push-up zone, make that goal 100 reps of push-ups in as few sets as possible. Rest for a few minutes by doing abs exercises, such as sit-ups or crunches; pull-ups; and stretching. See "Resting with Crunches" for a fun "rest" routine.

Good luck with your fitness journey. Thanks for the feedback. Keep those emails coming.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to stew@stewsmith.com.

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