Tactical Fitness: Time Is of the Essence when Working Out

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Finding time to work out twice a day.
Senior Airman Michael Brockett, 56th Contracting Squadron contracting specialist, performs a squat while holding a weight during the Trojan Warrior Workout at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., Nov. 27, 2017. (Staff Sgt. Jensen Stidham/U.S. Air Force)

Stew,

I get through most of my preparation routine for the Marines, but sometimes find I have to stop due to time. Do you recommend breaking workouts into two-a-days if you do not have time, or do you have a quick way to get reps of calisthenics in so at least I can match the rep requirement for that particular workout? 

From a future Marine Raider (I hope!)

Maxing pull-ups in the USMC should be a goal for every poolee. Since you are in the mid-teens in your pull-ups, here are some advanced pull-up/second-workout options for you. Here are some options:

Quick 100 Pull-ups

I actually did this one this morning. The goal is to try to get 100 pull-ups in less than 10 minutes. Every 20-30 seconds, do 5 pull-ups until you completed 20 sets, which is 100 pull-ups. If you go every 20 seconds, you can finish in 7:30-8:00. Every 30 seconds will get you done in a perfect 10 minutes. 

This is not hard for the first 10 sets and not an overly horrible workout if you are in the high teens or 20s already, but, it is a very fast way to get your reps in. It is pretty fun, too. You can do the same for push-ups and sit-ups, too. But it is good to do larger rep sets so you still have the muscle stamina to push your maxes in these exercises.

Two-a-Days

Yes, a second workout of the day always works to get all the workouts into one day. It also will make for a better second hour of training intensity, as opposed to doing two back-to-back hours of training. You may find your reps, times and strength a little better after a break and some food during your second workout. I usually will break it up so I do the PT and cardio in the morning and maybe the weights and longer cardio (rucking/swimming) in the afternoon or evening.

Good luck with quick fixes to your workout plan. In the end, it is all about quality and volume. You can get the reps required in a day, even if that is spread into two different workouts.

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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