Integrating More Workouts After Daily Group PT

Situp competition.

Integrating More Workouts After Daily Group PT

Command, mandatory group PT is something we all have had to endure while serving in the military. Some commands have challenging daily workouts that sufficiently help a unit stay fit for duty, and some do not.

I recently received a request to help a group of NROTC midshipmen preparing for USMC officer training. While the group PT and command runs are good at this particular unit, many officer candidates need to add more challenging workouts to their day via a second workout session in order to prepare for programs such as Leatherneck, PLC, and OCS.

The question is: how do you safely and effectively add more reps of calisthenics and weights and miles of running and rucking to max out the PFT/CFT and prepare for the daily grind of summer training? Below is a typical week in the unit's fitness schedule:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday Mornings:

Monday: Quick pace Wednesday: Sprints Friday: Recovery pace

  • 30 min run on flat pavement/incline/trail type terrain
  • Core: 10 min per exercise (flutter kicks, leg levers, bicycles, planks, twists, etc.), 10 min total time

Tuesday Afternoons:

A varied schedule including:

  • Boots and utilities run up a mountain trail at a steady incline
  • Endurance runs with rifles and LBVs on the trail
  • Six 9 mile hikes with a 50lb pack (Two hikes total per semester.)
  • Obstacle course practice 
  • PFT/CFT
  • Circuit PT (any combination of the following, done in 3 rounds, 2min-1.5min-1min lengths)
  • Sit-ups, incline push-ups, tricep dips, mountain climbers, pull-ups, battle rope slings, box jumps, plate press, bicep curls, buddy drag/carry, ammo can press/sprints, low/high crawl

Thursday Afternoons:

Squad runs around campus may include pavement, mountain trails and circuit stations at checkpoints

  • Circuit stations: buddy drag/carry, low/high crawl, sprints, pull-ups, squats, flutter kicks, crunches
  • PRT/CFT

The above are scheduled workouts that should not change.

Saturdays:

Either do a boots run on a trail or squat and deadlift at the gym or go on a hike.

In addition, try to do cardio at least two to three more times that week. Keep in mind that this may leave you feeling fatigued.

This schedule is a great, above average group PT program. Well done to whoever runs this. Getting a second workout several times a week is smart, especially if you are seeing plateaus in testing performance. You can add workouts as needed to help drop mile pace in the three mile test, get good and comfortable under the ruck, and maximize your PT performance. 

Supplementing the Workout Plan

The plans below are semi-rigid and should be done, for the most part, to correspond to that day's activities and arranged to provide recovery for growth the next day.

The difficulty in adding supplemental training to a group training program is that you have to be at a level of conditioning where the group PT is too easy before you add more exercises and a second workout to the day.

This is only for those who need to take their fitness to the next level to prepare for long days of training and selection programs. 

Monday:

Since you will work your upper body more rigorously on Tuesday, focus on legs and cardio. Focus on a goal mile pace. Cardio / Leg Day & AbsRepeat 6-8 times:

  • Quarter mile at goal mile pace (1:30-1:45 for a 6-7 minute mile zone.)
  • 20 squats
  • 10 lunges (Do not add weight.)

Note: If you know you are doing a big leg day on Tuesday, then skip the leg workout today and focus on running speed and endurance.

Lower back plan: Foam roller hips, thighs, hams, ITB

Walk/run 10 minute mix, or 10 minute bike warmup.

Teusday:

Since you did a Circuit this afternoon, focus on recovery and try a few more sets to build up your total volume. Add in weights today.

CIRCUIT: Upper Body

Repeat two times:

  • Cardio 7 minutes, 1 mile zone goal
  • Bench press, 5-10 reps
  • Pullups, max reps
  • Pushups, max
  • Pulldown, 10-15
  • Dips, max reps
  • DB rows, 10 arm plank pose for 1 minute
  • MJDB#2 – 10
  • Shoulder Workout

Run Intervals: 10 minute mix of fast run easy jog mix, 1 minute each. See how quickly you can burn 100 calories on bike or elliptical. Enter weight and max out resistance, push hard.

Lower Body

If you missed leg day yesterday – mix in some squats, lunges, even dead lifts, hang cleans and push press to prepare the leg / core for rucks, body carries, etc and make the above upperbody circuit a fullbody plan.

Wednesday:

Since today is speed and sprint day with the group, add in more paced, shorter runs in your second workout. Also, add in non-impact options if you are starting to feel the strain of running more than normal.Cardio Test Day:Pick one or more of the options below for intense cardio options: 1.5 mile run timed run, shoot for goal 3 mile pace.

Non-impact cardio – Add one or more non-impact options below

  • Elliptical or Bike pyramid: Increase levels of resistance by two until failure to maintain 50-60 rpm, then return in reverse order to where you started. Start at level 10 on elliptical (10,11,12,13…etc).
  • Elliptical or bike tabata: 5 minutes of 20 second sprint, 10 second easy, rest 2 minutes, easy. Repeat tabata three times.

Swimming is a great option if you have that available on campus. Build up to 1500m of swimming for a workout.

Lower back plan: Foam roller hips, thighs, hams, ITB

Thursday:

Since these days are runs mixed with full body combat related movements, if you feel you need more reps then add in a straight PT circuit and either a run or non-impact cardio option to warm up or cool down.

Run 1 mile warmup / stretch

PT Super Set: Repeat 5 times:

  • Jumping jacks, 10
  • Pushups, 10

Repeat 5 times

  • Pullups, max
  • MJDB #1 - 10
  • Pushups, 10
  • Situps, 10
  • Wide pushups, 10
  • Crunches, 10
  • Tricep pushups, 5-10
  • Double crunches, 10
  • Run 1 mile or bike 10 minutes, easy pace

Hard Intense 6-8 min: See how quickly you can burn 100 calories on elliptical or bike; enter weight and max out resistance. Push as hard as you can.

Friday:

Day off from extra PT and running OR. Add in more run, ruck, and leg PT lifts if you are feeling well recovered.

Non-impact Leg PT.

Bike or elliptical 30 minutes, every 10 minutes stop and do:

  • Squats, 20
  • Lunges, 10 per leg
  • Weighted squats, 5
  • Dead lifts, 5

Lower back plan: Foam roller hips, thighs, hams, ITB

If you take today off from #2 workout, you can move the leg PT to Saturday and mix it in with the PT and run workouts for a longer, more challenging Sat AM workout.

Weekend:

Take stock of how you feel here. If you are recovered for the week of group and extra PT sessions, then do another. If not, rest over the weekend, eat and hydrate well, sleep well, foam roll.

Run 1.5 -3 mile run Pullup / Burpee Pyramid – Do this each week. See how you progress in the next four weeks. Go up til you fail at pullups, then keep going til you fail to get the reps in 1 min. Other Progressive PT Workouts that are great for Saturday workouts.

Run 1.5 -3 mile run

Lower back plan: Foam roller hips, thighs, hams, ITB

Absolutely rest on Sunday if you are working out Saturday.

As you can see, this is a tough workout supplement. Pick and choose wisely what you need and what you are ready to undertake each day. Listen to your body and know when you are over-training.

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.

Latest Fitness Books: Navy SEAL Weight Training and Tactical Fitness

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Contributor

Stew Smith works as a presenter and editorial board member with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He has also written hundreds of articles on Military.com's Fitness Center that focus on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.

Latest Fitness Books: Navy SEAL Weight Training and Tactical Fitness