Tactical Fitness: Strengthening Your Quads
I have noticed that when I do my Navy PFT, during the situp portion my quads tire quickly. This greatly affects my run. It's a somewhat recent problem. Last summer I could ace the test with over 80 sit ups and score a 8.45 or less run. Now my quads have been tiring and my runs have been in the mid 9s. Is there anything I can do to solve this issue?
Sure – there are a few solutions that range from simply using a different position during situps to doing more situps and running. Regardless, here are a few ways to get better scores.
- Back your butt about 12-18 inches away from your heel while doing situps. The closer your feet are to your butt, the more you have to use the hip flexor group muscles which makes your stomach muscles do less work.
- Do more hip exercises. Flutterkicks, leg levers, high knee running in place, and knee up while hanging on a pullup bar are great ways to get your hip flexors stronger.
- Focus on pace for both the situp and run portions of the test. Too many people start out too fast and start to fail in situps or fall off their pace in the run. Here are some set/rep workouts to help your muscle memory your goal pace.
For 80+ situps in 2 minutes, you need to make sure that for each 30 second period you are at 20 situps. This will help you maintain pace at 20 reps at 30 second time periods. Soon that pace will become muscle memory and you can hit 20 or 30 seconds for multiple sets and eventually 80 in 2 minutes again.
For running, if you want to get back in the low to mid 9 minute time for the 1.5 mile run, you need to learn the pace of 95 seconds per quarter mile. This will set you up by not starting out too fast or burning out, and keep you at a 9:30 pace for the 1.5 mile run. Do 6-8 sets of 1/4 mile runs at 95 seconds to muscle memory this pace as well. Then build up to 1/2 mile and 3/4 mile runs at the same pace.
Figure from www.pixgood.com
Keep these muscles flexible by stretching before / after situps and running workouts and tests. Your standard thigh stretch (heel to butt) will get most of these but pushing your hips forward / squeezing your glutes together while stretching will really get deep into the hip / thigh muscles.
Stew Smith works as a presenter / editorial board with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). There are also over 800 articles on Military.com Fitness Forum focusing on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.