Friday Favorite Workout – Leg Day with Army CFT in Mind


If you are thinking of ways to slowly but steadily implement some of the new tactical fitness tests into your normal workouts, consider some of the following options.

This is a lower body workout (Leg Day) with some old and new exercises mixed into a Leg Day routine to help you continue to do the things you are used to doing, but also by adding in the new exercises that will be tested in your tactical future.

After all, if you are already doing a Leg Day, why not add in some of the elements of your future Tactical Fitness Test (also known as the Army Combat Fitness Test)?

Squat Pyramid 1-10 with 100 meter run in between each set (weight vest optional) – 1 squat – run 100 meters, 2 squats – run 100 meters, 3 squats – run 100 meters… up to 10 squats. Stop at 10 and start workout.

About this Warmup: This is a classic leg day warmup that mixes in progressively speedier runs each set along with a total of 55 squats.

If you do the math from a 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 squat half pyramid, you get 55 squats and 1000 meters of running during your warmup. You can mix in some dynamic stretches during the 100 meter travel sections to fully prepare for the lifts, load bearing and other running events included in the workout below.

Lift Plus Added CFT Exercises

Repeat 3 times Deadlift 5 5 min cardio – mix of run, bike or sled pull (as desired)

Repeat 3-5 times Squats 10: Use barbells or dumbbells for this exercise with moderately heavy weight. Hanging knee-up 15 (aka leg tucks): This is going to replace sit-ups in the Army. Get used to adding them into your workouts regularly. These will be good for the grip as well as the abdominal and hip muscles.

Farmer walks 25 meters x 4 fast: You can do these two ways: with 1 heavy weight in one hand or with 2 moderately heavy weights in both hands. When carrying just one weight, the exercise forces you to flex the entire core to stay upright and straight as you fight leaning with the weight.

The farmer walk test in the Sprint – Carry – Drag part of the test will require carrying weight in both hands. Walk fast for 25 meters – change directions and return back to the start. Accumulate 100 meters with 4 x 25 meter walks with weight.

Calisthenics and Running: This step is for endurance and muscle stamina in the legs. Keep this one focused on completing as many reps as possible in 1 minute for squats and lunges, then hold an isometric flex leaning against the wall with knees bent at 90 degree angle.

Repeat 4 times Run 400 meters at goal mile pace - squats 1 min - lunges 1 min - wall sit 1 min

Cooldown Cardio: Run, Ruck or Swim (pick one for 30 minutes)

Pick one of the following moderately easy-paced cardio options for 30 minutes. Running and rucking should be a go-to option, but if you need a break from the impact of running or preparing for Army Dive School, you should also practice swimming.

Note the distances:

Run, Ruck with 40-50lbs, Swim with fins. Shoot for 3-4 miles running, 2-3 miles rucking and 1500 meters swimming with fins. That puts the paces at 7-10 minutes per mile pace on running, 10-15 minutes per mile on rucking and 50 meters per 1 minute pace with fins for swimming.

Regardless of how you start to implement the new exercises that will be tested by the Army in 2020, figure a way to make them fun and how to fit them into normal workouts that you enjoy. This way, you can make the transition easily and learn to enjoy the new testing exercises.

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. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

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