Get to the 'Next Level'

by Stew Smith

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 Pushup 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 my self "gently", and low 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 everyday for ten days. I took 4 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 workout - I can just show them how to do it to get stronger or faster. So, good job for being motivated to complete the workouts.

The Answers to Your Questions

To keep increasing your pace in the two mile run, all you have to do it 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 - 5:00 / Stretch

Repeat the following 4-6 times:

- Run 1/4 mile at goal pace
- Jog or walk 1/8 mile
- Rest / stretch 5:00
- Run 2 miles at goal pace - write down when you start to slip off the pace.

If your goal pace is to next run the two mile run in 12:00, then you need to work on a 6:00 mile pace or a 90 second quarter mile run. Learn to maintain that pace while being able to repeat it with little rest for 8-10 times. Once you are there, your two mile run will be very close to 12:00.

As for pushups - you do not want to keep doing pushups everyday. I only use that workout once in a while (6-8 months) to kick start growth. Now, focus on more pyramid workouts, supersets, and timed pushup test for 2:00 periods. If you do three workouts a week of pushups 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 pushups. If you are in the 50 or less pushup zone - make that goal only 100 reps of pushups in as few sets as possible. Rest for a few minutes by doing abs like sit-ups or crunches or 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. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Military.com Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at Military.com. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at stew@stewsmith.com.


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