Workout of the Week: When You Only Have a Field

Recruits of Company H, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, are taught different ways to transport a wounded comrade during battle. The buddy bear crawl allows one to keep a low silhouette while dragging the injured to a safe environment (photo by Bridget M. Keane).

This week’s favorite workout requires no equipment and will exercise the entire body, heart and lungs. Sometimes when you want to train and everything is closed or you are not at your normal training facility, you have to improvise.

Here are a few workout options you can try to work on running speed, endurance, leg stamina, upper body physical testing exercises, full body movements, and even explosive power. All you need is a place to run, preferably a football field, but that is not necessary.

The Bear Crawl / Leg PT with Suicide Drills

Suicide Drills, if you are not familiar, are typically sprinting shuttle runs with increasing distances every lap.  For instance, if done on a football field, you may run to the 10 yard line, do a quick turnaround, and run back to the end zone.  Then run to the 20 yard line and back. Increasing the distance each set.  In fact, if you want to do that, try it. We do a 10-20-30-40-50-40-30-20-10 yard shuttle run for time.  It is a good mix of speed, leg stamina, and cardio speed/endurance.

Now take your normal suicide drill and make it tougher by adding sets of leg exercises and crawling to the mix. The bear crawl and back peddle shuttle run (suicide drill) is a great way to mix in a full body workout.  Here is how it looks: Set 1: Bear crawl to the 10 yard line / back peddle back / do 20 squats Set 2: Bear crawl to the 20 yard line / back pedal back / do 10 lunges / leg Set 3: Bear crawl to the 30 yard line / back pedal back / do 20 squats Set 4: Bear crawl to the 40 yard line / back pedal back / do 10 lunges / leg

Set 5: Bear crawl to the 50 yard line / back pedal back / do 20 squats Set 6: Bear crawl to the 60 yard line / back pedal back / do 10 lunges / leg…keep going until you reach the full 100 yards of a football field.

This equals 550 yards of bear crawls and back pedal, 100 squats, and 50 lunges per leg. Obviously, you can scale this down and stop at the 50 yard line for 150 total yards, 60 squats and 20 lunges per leg.  If you prefer to do this on an upper body day, replace the squats with pushups and the lunges with situps or crunches if you need to practice them for future tests.

The 300 yd Shuttle Run

Now in many tactical fitness programs, the 300 yd shuttle run is a test that will challenge the heart, lunges (anaerobic capacity), agility, power and muscle stamina of the legs. It does not take many sets of this one to complete a workout.  Try two 300 yard shuttle runs with a minute rest in between.  You can do it the following different methods: 6 x 50 yards shuttle run 12 x 25 yard shuttle run

Both are equally challenging, but the 12 sets of 25 will challenge the agility and leg power more and the 6 sets of 50 yards shuttle run will have you gassed and running a bit of a longer distance stride with fewer turn arounds.  You can add in pushups and situps into this workout in between shuttle run sets if you prefer to practice some core and upper body testing elements too.

Professional Soccer Test (Manchester United 100m test)

This test is a classic if you are familiar with soccer training. The 10 x 100 yards on a 1 minute pace and the additional 10 x 100 yards at a faster pace is a test of being able to recover quick and run twenty 100 yards fast with 100m not so fast - with little recovery.  Basically, you have to get good enough at your sprint recovery to recover with a slow jog.  This takes time, but it is a fun challenge. Here is how it is done:

You have to do 10 x 100 yards on a 1 minute interval.  That means your rest is dependent on your 100m fast and your 100m jog back to the starting line. For instance, if you run the fast 100 yards at 20 seconds, and jog the 100 yards in 30 seconds, you will have 10 seconds before you start the next set - on every minute for the first 10 sets. If that is not hard enough, the next 12 sets get more challenging by reducing the sprint speed / increasing the jog time.  The workout / test broken down in 22 sets:

First 10 sets:  Run repeat 100 yards fast, and jog back ten times for the first 10 minutes.

100 yard sprint in 25 seconds, 35 seconds to get back (10 Sets)

After initial set of 10, each round will be run 1 time

100 yard sprint in 24 seconds / 36 seconds to jog to the start

100 yard sprint in 23 seconds / 37 seconds to jog to the start

100 yard sprint in 22 seconds / 38 seconds to jog to the start

100 yard sprint in 21 seconds / 39 seconds to jog to the start

100 yard sprint in 20 seconds / 40 seconds to jog to the start

100 yard sprint in 19 seconds / 41 seconds to jog to the start

100 yard sprint in 18 seconds / 42 seconds to jog to the start

100 yard sprint in 17 seconds / 43 seconds to jog to the start

100 yard sprint in 16 seconds / 44 seconds to jog to the start

100 yard sprint in 15 seconds / 45 seconds to get to the start

For the grand finale – you can max this test only if you can complete 3 sets of the final round for a total of 22 sets.

To complete the entire test you will run 22 x 100 yard sprints in 22 minutes.

The above are four different ways to get in some fast running drills, build up some decent mileage, as well as work many muscle groups, and energy systems.   Enjoy.

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