A Little Bit of Everything: Friday Workout of the Week

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U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Desmond Burgess, a U.S. Army Reserve IT professional for the 200th Military Police Command's headquarters, completes a set of push-ups during the Army Physical Fitness Test. (U.S. Army photo by Michel Sauret)

If you have time, here is a good workout that has a little bit of everything: short fast runs, calisthenics superset, pyramids, moderately heavy weights, PT reset exercises, and workout ending cardio events. This workout can take over 90 minutes even if you move fast, so feel free to break it up into different workouts of the day if needed. I would recommend breaking the cardio events of running and swimming into a later workout in the day if needed.

Here is a challenging upper body workout that starts off “warming up” with short runs and calisthenics. You can do this 10 round superset as fast or as slow as you prefer. You can also adjust the pushups to range between 10-20. We prefer to do this workout on a track or football field to easily mark the 200m runs.

Repeat 10 times

  • Run 200m
  • Pushups 20

After the Warmup, it is time to mix in the two “heavyweight” calisthenics together in a half pyramid fashion. This is set up to start easy and build up to 10 sets, but multiply by two each set. The rest is a short bit of core activity for a minute or more if you need it. If you cannot handle 2,4,6,8,10…up to 20 reps of the pullup/dip pyramid – reduce to single digits (1,2,3,4,5,…up to 10) Here is how it looks:

Pullup / Dip Pyramid 1-10 (110 total reps of each)

  • (stop at 10)
  • Pullups x 2
  • Dips x 2
  • - rest with plank or abs of choice 1 min when needed

2 pullup, 2 dips, 4 pullups, 4 dips, 6 pullups, 6 dips (rest with abs / plank when needed)…keep going up to 20 pullups / 20 dips if you can.

If you have anything left, try a heavy bench press and weighted pullup set. Rest as needed in between exercises as this one requires a bit more recovery time. Try moderately heavy weights for the bench press and a weighted pullup if possible. If you cannot do pullups, replace with a heavier pulldown or row exercise.

Repeat 3 times

  • Bench Press 5 (heavy)
  • Weighted Pullups 5-10
  • Plank or Situps 1 min – If you have to take a situp test (or plank pose) add this exercise as an active rest.

Dumbbell and PT Reset exercises – The next three sets focus on a few isolation exercises for biceps and shoulders as well as the rear deltoids, upper back, and smaller muscles of the shoulder. The two dumbbell exercises at first are bicep curls than move into the military press. Two exercises blended into one smooth movement. Then the shoulder shrugs are simply lifting the shoulders up and down while holding the dumbbells by your side.

Repeat 3 times

Lightweight Shoulders – This is a light weight (no more than 5lbs needed) shoulder workout to help with isolating smaller rotator cuff muscles safely. It is a good cooldown workout as you get ready to leave the weight room and start the cardio phase.

Cardio Section – Running and Swimming (or another form of non-impact cardio activity) are great ways to complete a tactical fitness workout. These two workouts are not particularly long individually, but it depends on the rest / recovery time in between sets needed for the individual.

Run 1.5 mile timed or you can opt to work on 6 x 400m sets of goal paced running. If your next running goal is a 9 minute 1.5 mile timed run, shoot for 6 x 90 second 400m runs with a short 1 minute walk in between sets. \

Swim – This workout is a classic for getting better for military swim tests in the 500m range.

Swim 500m Warmup – Warming up with the distance that you will be tested in your future is a great way to turn a test “into just a warmup”. This will also mentally help you frame this test and reduce anxiety that typically occurs with these tests.

Repeat 10 times

  • 50m free fast
  • 50m CSS goal pace

The CSS – Combat Swimmer Stroke is a stroke used by many groups in the military. It is actually a side stroke that is slightly modified from the elementary side stroke taught by many YMCA lifeguard courses. This workout of mixing in freestyle so you can really winded *(sprint or skip breathing) and trying to catch your breath with an efficient CSS will quickly get you into competitive swimming scores. Just do it several times a week so you master technique as well as get into swimming shape.

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