Physical fitness is an essential and mandatory aspect of military training. Building a strong and functional physique is key in developing an able Soldier, Airman, Sailor or Marine. But if you’re interested in military-style training, as a former Navy SEAL, I can give you a few of the common workouts I encountered during my time on the beaches and asphalt Physical Training areas in Coronado.
So below are some helpful tips on how to train like you’re in the military.
Ditch the Weights
Well, not entirely and not for good. But the first several months of SEAL training don’t involve traditional weight training at all. Aside from Log PT and boat crew workout sessions with a small boat you hold over your head, the majority of training involves body weight exercises. Classic calisthenics like push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, flutter-kicks laying on your back (and seated), dips and running consist of the majority of the basic exercises I’ve encountered. Doing massive amounts of those exercises will certainly get you lean and you’d be surprised the amount of muscle you build as well.
However, the addition of multi-joint exercises (kettlebell swings, squats, deadlifts, bench and overhead press, etc.) as well as explosive calisthenics are a great way to add additional strength and build a great lean physique. Incorporating these movements into circuits or HIIT workouts are a phenomenal way to burn calories and get your body to a metabolic state.
Don’t Cut Cardio
Cardio is something that many people often neglect. Even people who are actively engaged in weightlifting can often forget the importance of their cardiovascular health. But the truth is, cardio is absolutely crucial to military fitness. In the service, you want to build a physique that allows you to trek long distances while still carrying heavy weight. You want to make sure you can run inclines without collapsing, and climb obstacles like walls and fences while carrying that same weight. But more than that, you want to make sure that your heart is healthy.
The truth is, cardiovascular health is more important than how you look in the outside and hitting the weights while neglecting the sometimes tedious and always exhausting nature if cardio may get you out of the gym early, but it also may get you out of this life early.
Quality over Quantity
It’s really not that impressive to bang out half-squats with heavy weight. I’d rather see folks complete full squats with a manageable and difficult weight for them than watch as they barely lower themselves a few inches before they grunt and groan and count that as a successful rep. This same statement applies to every exercise. Instead of going for an ‘impressive’ number of reps or a certain amount of weight, try to focus on getting the most out of each motion. Having a nice and controlled eccentric and concentric movement will not only help you build muscle more effectively, but it will also help build better form and stronger muscles.
Military-style workouts are a great way to push yourself both physically and mentally. If you employ some of the steps above, you’ll find yourself looking and feeling better.