AIT Workouts

Victor Dioguino assists Matthew McLaughlin while lifting weights at the Warrior Fitness Center June 17, 2013, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. (U.S. Air Force/Caitlin Kenney)
(U.S. Air Force/Caitlin Kenney)

We train and prepare for basic training programs, but often find that, after the basic training, we are actually in worse shape than when we started. This happens especially to those seeking more advanced Special Ops level of fitness and, in this soldier's case, the Army Rangers. Sometimes you can find extra time to train to get back to where you were — sometimes you have to use your free time on the weekends to play catch up. Here is a very common response to basic training for those Special Ops candidates seeking Rangers / Special Forces in the Army.

Hi Stew,

I finished my army basic training and am currently having my AIT training now. I am disappointed with the physical training and PT. Frankly, I think their PT is a joke compared to how I prepared to get here. I lost significant fitness and my run time got worse.

The bad thing is I can't go out to do my own workout every day like I used to. I'm only allowed to go to the gym on weekends with my four hours pass. What should I do to improve my fitness level?


Jim – This happens all the time. Use your AIT training and a progressive build up when you do PT, runs, and rucks through the week, and then spend an extra hour to lift or PT more on the weekends for the first week or two. Then add an hour on the weekends, mixing in longer runs and rucks for a few weeks. By the time you are done with AIT, you can build up for combination workouts on the weekends that incorporate all that you are missing during the week. Remember, you need to be running, rucking, lifting (core lifts / legs), and doing higher repetition calisthenics for both upper body and the legs (pullups, pushups, situps, squats, lunges). Your 5 mile timed run needs to be under 40 minutes, so make sure you are building back up to that distance with this two-week progression increase.

After months of decreased activity, you do not just want to start back where you left off before basic training. Your body is not ready for it. Basic is stressful on you, as you have to learn your job, stay up for long hours, be away from home for the first time (for most), and receive constant negative feedback from instructors, so take time to recover from that. Build back up smartly and over the time of your AIT.

Hope that helps. Check out the article of some of my favorite GO-TO workouts when short on time.

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