Workout of the Week: Build Your Own Devil's Mile

Lance Cpl. Rigoberto Rodriguez carries Lance Cpl. Davey Villalobos toward the finish line during the fireman carry event at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. (Photo By: J. R. Heins).

The Devil's Mile is challenging fitness training packed into a single, grueling mile. The specific types of Devil's Mile workouts often depend on the training program (police, fire, explosive ordnance disposal, special ops, etc.).

To make up a Devil's Mile, you select four exercises and perform them for a quarter mile each. One of our favorites consists of a 400m bear crawl, 400m walking lunges, 400m fireman carry (200m each partner), and 400m burpee broad jump.

Note: We like to add in a ¼-mile run in between each set as a transition exercise so you will actually move two miles with varying types of options.

Here are several ideas on challenges through which you can emphasize elements such as load bearing, equipment carry, person carry, crawling and other calisthenics done for distance:

The Classic Devil's Mile. This is the one we created a few years ago. Mix it with cardio events such as running or rucking.

Quarter-mile bear crawl. This event is common for both athletes (football) and in special ops selections.

Quarter-mile walking lunge. Lunges for long distances are common for special-ops selections. Add a sandbag or log and make it even more realistic to what you may see in your future specops selection training.

Quarter-mile burpee/broad jumps. This is a sadistic way to move a quarter mile, but dropping down and standing up quickly is a very functional movement that should be practiced. It is best not to do this on concrete; turf or grass is OK, but sand is better.

Quarter-mile fireman carry (partners split 1/4 mile). You never know when you will have to carry someone, even for longer distances. If this is too difficult for you at the beginning, try to do the ¼ mile using a sandbag over your shoulder, or replace with the farmer's walk for the distance.

The Sandbag Mile. How fast can you run while carrying a 50-to-100-lb. sandbag for one mile? Many have advanced this to the 5km distances as well.

The Fireman Carry Mile. How quickly can you and a buddy fireman-carry each other for one mile? This is not for the weak back or those with back injuries. Pick someone of similar bodyweight.

The EOD Bomb Suit Mile. This is a very popular event within the Explosive Ordnance Disposal world (military and law enforcement). How quickly can you run a mile wearing your EOD bomb suit? The world record running a mile while wearing the 80-lb. bomb suit is under 8 minutes.

Other quarter-mile distance moving options that offer grip strengthening and log PT/boat carry prep include:

Quarter-mile, two-handed farmer's walk. Carry dumbbells or kettlebells in both hands (equipment carry event).

Quarter-mile, single-handed farmer's walk. Carry a dumbbell or kettle in ONE hand. Change when grip gives out.

Quarter-mile sandbag shoulder carry. Carry sandbag over the shoulder (simulate log PT event).

Quarter-mile sandbag chest carry. Chest-carry the sandbag (simulate log PT event).

Quarter-mile sandbag head carry. Head carry (simulate boat carry on heads).

Quarter-mile 45-lb. plate carry. Pinch the plate and walk fast until grip gives out (grip).

Why do these? It's not necessary to do these often, but they're good for occasional gut checks to test your grip, load bearing, crawling and carrying ability for distances that will make you question your desire to prepare to serve in challenging military, police and firefighting programs.

Your training can incorporate these exercises in much smaller sets of 50 to 100 meters as warm-ups, rest exercises, grip workouts and transitions to other exercises during a workout.

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