Tactical Fitness: Combining Personal Workouts with Recruit PT

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Recent Marine enlistees run to get into platoon formation.
Recent Marine Corps enlistees, or Poolees, part of Recruiting Station Albany, N.Y., run to get in platoon formation during RS Albany’s Combined Pool Function at the Watervliet Civic Center, April 29, 2011. (Sgt. T.T. Parish/U.S. Marine Corps photo)

Hello, Stew,

I have been combing over all your articles looking for ways to improve my USMC IST (initial strength test)/PFT/CFT's, and there are a lot of great methods. What I'm wondering, however, is if you have any advice on balancing all these training regimens and PT, such as doing 200 push-ups a day for two weeks, then going to PT and doing the exercises my recruiters give me. I'm just curious if I can do both or if that's too strenuous on the body. I'm aiming to be a top recruit at boot camp as I plan to apply for PLC (platoon leaders course) next year. I'm trying extremely hard to do anything to get to top-tier levels of performance.

Great job with your training so far. It's a great start to have high expectations of yourself going into training. Too many think that it is boot camp's job to get you in shape. Thinking that way will cause a lot of pain and injury, but so will pushing too hard before boot camp.

Be smart about designing your own program for pre-military training. When mixing several different plans, arrange them in a way where you actively pursue recovery. You still can rest, even though you work out six days a week. You do this by resting body sections. 

Like on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, do your upper-body workouts mixed with running and swimming for skill. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, mix in running and leg PT. Consider making one or two days a weighted leg day. Add in rucking one to two times a week with a leg mobility day to loosen the hips, legs and back by treading water with no hands and doing dynamic warmup stretches in the water.

Take Sunday off. Relax and recover.

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 start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to stew@stewsmith.com.

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