Tactical Fitness: PT Tests and Muscle/Cardio Endurance

Army training.

Good morning Stew,

I am looking for some workouts to improve muscular endurance in order to improve my performance all sections of the Army PT Test.  I ship to basic training in August, so I have some time to train and get ready. I go to the gym each day at lunch, but have no real workout plan. I play basketball, softball and tennis throughout the week as well.  I have a very good foundation and core strength, I just need some guidance on how to get to the next level.  Long distance running is my major weakness.  I'm a ball of fast-twitch muscle (5'8, 195) and have never been a strong runner.  Anything you could send me would be greatly appreciated.

Great question and thanks for choosing to serve this country of ours. I used to think anything over 100yds was long distance. You can quickly get your 1.5 – 2 mile timed runs to acceptable levels with some combination of intervals and paced runs (not sprints) and longer distance as well

For PT Muscle Endurance (stamina), lay off the weights for a little while and focus specifically on the pushups, situps, (add in pullups for upper body balance of push and pull muscles) and start off with PT Pyramids, Super Sets, and Max Rep sets.  See this PT Progression series; it walks you through the evolution of becoming a PT animal.

Situps: All About That Pace – Too many people start off way too fast in a 2 minute test for situps. Pace yourself and shoot for 20 in the first 30 seconds. Keep that pace and you will have 80 in 2 minutes. Where people go wrong is when they get 30-40 situps in the first 30 seconds and fail to match that in the next 1:30. Do not start off too fast, and let gravity take you down. Exert on the up.

Running Paced Runs (not sprints) – Learn your goal pace in the 2 mile run by mastering the pace of your goal in shorter distances. So instead of sprinting a quarter mile, run your quarter mile intervals at 1:45 which will get you a 7 minute mile or a 14 minute 2 mile run. See more ideas on how to drop your run times here.

I would do PT for the upper body every other day. Maybe mix in some squats and lunges (no weight) into the run intervals to work muscle stamina in the legs as well. With running, there are two things that get you:  lungs and legs. Make sure you work them just like you do the pushups.

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