Military Workout: Classic PT Week for PT Tests

Army PT Training
Army 2nd Lt. Kyle Cook (left) and 2nd Lt. Alec Aguilar (second from right) attempt to lift weighted, 40-pound ammunition boxes as many times as possible during the Marine Corps Combat Fitness Test. (Photo Credit: Joan Vasey)

Many people who start working out to get TO THE TRAINING by passing fitness tests tend to do a series of random workouts or perhaps the same workout over and over – even on back-to-back days.You may find intermittent workouts that lack specifics to your future fitness test not that helpful if you are pushing your limits to max the test or barely pass. Recently, the article on the PT Testing Progression (Five Part Series) was written to offer some options to prepare for the next fitness test.Arranging this five part series can be confusing as many people like to either pick a workout of the five and do it every other day. This is certainly a WAY to do it, but a different choreography of the exercises may help you break new boundaries on fitness tests.

Here is The Classic Week of PT Training:

Day 1 (Monday): PT Pyramid – Personally, for over 30 years, this has been a go-to work-out to improve on PT scores.Add ¼ mile, ½ mile, or mile distances every FIVE sets of the pyramid and you have a perfect program to build your muscle stamina and endurance for acing fitness tests.But you also need a variety – so mix in the following the rest of the week. *

Day 2 (Tuesday): Run – Leg PT – Focus on Goal Mile Pace for Intervals.For instance:Repeat 8-10 times – 400m runs at goal mile pace – then walk 1-2 minutes in between sets.Goal pace means to run these ¼ mile distances at the same pace you want for your timed run.If you want a 9 minute 1.5 mile run then you need a 90 seconds 400m run pace. You can also make these sets 800m for 4-5 sets at 3 minutes if 6-minute mile pace is your goal.

Day 3 – (Wednesday): PT Super Sets - This is another sub-​​max effort foundation workout to increase volume of your PT exercises. This workout can match your volume of PT that you did in the pyramid but with higher repetition sets. Typically, these rep counts are 25-50% of your current PT scores and shoot for 5-10 sets. Add in a 200m-400m run every round to get used to running after PT tests. This helps to train for the training – PFT Transition. *

Day 4 – (Thursday): Run / Sprint Intervals – Warmup with easy cardio options for 5-10 minutes, then start adding sprints, hill runs, and other full speed intervals to push your perceived limits.Tabata intervals (20 sec sprint / 10 sec easy for 5 minute sets), 1 min fast / 1 min easy, 400m sprint / 100m walk for 20-30 minutes is a good way to push your heart, lungs, and legs.

Day 5 – (Friday or Saturday):  – Max Rep Set Workouts – These are by far the toughest and are more designed for advanced level to push exceeding the competitive standards.Depending on how you feel after Day 1 and Day 3 workouts, you may want another day of recovery prior to the Max Rep Set Workout.Many who are stuck at 15 pullups, 80 pushups / 80 situps and are striving for 20+ / 100+ / 100+ can see big gains with this routine once a week.*

Day 6 – (Friday or Saturday): – Cardio or Recovery Day – Today can be steady cardio (run, swim, ruck or other) and goal pace running workout or take a recovery day and do some non-impact recovery options.You can place this day as Day 5 if you feel you need another day to recover for max rep efforts testing the following day.

This is how we arrange several different workout programs and recovery ideas into a week to best help people pursue their next level on PT tests. Whether it is your first time passing a fitness test or acing it to compete for Special Ops programs, this scalable week can help you grow in PT scores to reach any goal you have.

*You can also add a weight vest of 10-20lbs if these workouts get too easy for you.Or wear a weight vest for a portion of any of these workouts for more of a challenge.

Notice there are no daily pushups, pull-ups, sit-ups or doing weights one day and followed by the same muscle group with calisthenics the next.When doing this type of calisthenics volume, you need a day off to rest that muscle groups BUT you still need to train on something else the days in between. 

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Workouts Pushups and Pullups Stew Smith Running and Cardio