Working On Your Weakness Workouts


Many group training programs have different levels of fitness ability as well as athletic history among its participants. Here is a way to create a program where individuals in the group can do the same workout but slightly altered to focus on natural weakness they need to develop prior to joining the military, police, and firefighting programs.

For the overweight student – Whether overweight from playing power sports like football or previously sedentary or injured, here is a way to arrange a workout with options, to focus on weaknesses of running, cardio conditioning, and muscle stamina.

Repeat 5 times
Run or bike 5 minutes – Bike if overweight due to sedentary background until impact of running does not hurt knees, shins, feet, or back.
Pullups – max or if too heavy to do pullups, do TRX rows or assisted pullups.
Pushups 1 min – use knees if needed to complete pushups time of 1 minute.
Situps or crunches 1 min
Plank pose 1 min

*You can also mix in swimming as a cardio option if swimming is a part of future military training.

For the Endurance Athlete – Typically running athletes can easily run 5-7 minute mile pace without much effort, however, calisthenics and weights for upper body are the challenge. Spend more time under the pullup bar than running, until you break into the double digits of pullups. Typically, within 5-6 weeks, this athlete sees significant progress as they are usually light and pound for pound can get strong/muscle stamina quickly.

Repeat 5 times
Running 3 minute at goal mile pace (run goal timed run for competitive fitness test)
Pullups max plus negatives or TRX rows with weight vest
Bench press 5-10 then
Pushups 1 min
Situps or crunches 1 min
Plank pose 1 min

For the Strength / Power Athlete – Typically running anything over 100 meters is considered long distance. Spend more time running or non-impact (if needed due to impact injuries) than in the weight room. It is difficult to increase running speed for timed runs of 1.5 miles or more while lifting heavy weights at the same time (1 rep max). I personally found the most success by replacing heavy weights with calisthenics for a 12-24 week cycle and daily running and swimming.

Repeat 5 times
Run 1 mile fast
Pullups max
Pushups 1-2 minutes
Situps / crunches 1-2 minutes
Plank pose 1 min

Obviously, the workouts can last longer with more sets or move to part two of the workout with a longer run or intervals for the running weakness athlete. Move the endurance athlete into the weight room and work on strength, posterior chain lifts (squats, deadlifts, leg press, etc.).  And if any of the students require a challenging water component, hit the swimming pool to work on technique and water skills and general comfort.

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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's Fitness Center that focus on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.

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