Workout of the Week: Cardio Pentathlon (Some Options and Challenges)

Lance Cpl. Ben Lowry, assistant gunner with Low Altitude Air Defence Battalion, Marine Air Wing, performs kettle-bell exercises during the Combat Conditioning Training Course (Photo By: Sarah Wolff-Diaz).

After writing the Adding Cardio article a few weeks ago, many people commented on some of their go -to cardio events they prefer than “just going for a jog.” This mix of cardio events can be done as several options to your cardio section of your workout or challenge yourself and try what we are calling our Cardio Pentathlon.  This group of five cardio events challenges all energy systems as well as multiple elements of tactical fitness (speed, agility, endurance, muscle stamina) and will definitely get the heart rate elevated.

Speed / Agility Challenge – Doing a fast sprint in the 40-100m range is always a tough but quick and relatively painless way to start this challenge (after a good warmup of course).  We prefer mixing in some agility in this quick test such as the 5-10-5 pro agility test or the Illinois Agility Test.  Pick one.

300 yard shuttle run – This can be done several different ways however there are two more common methods.  The 6 x 50 yard run is a good choice but the 12 x 25 yard option is also a popular 300 yard shuttle run challenge.

5 minutes KB swing – Many opt to get their cardio conditioning from using kettlebells. A 5-minute swing or snatch option is a tough full body event that challenges the heart, lungs, legs, arms, grip as well. How many swings or snatches can you do? Just for reference the Secret Service uses a 52 lb KB for a 10 minute max rep snatch test.

Timed Run – Depending upon the timed running event you are preparing for or have to take as part of your job, do it. 1.5, 2, and 3 mile runs are the typical military events depending upon the branch of service. If you are preparing for the Special Ops side of military training, the longer 4 and 5-mile runs will be seen quite regularly in a variety of selection programs both before and during. How fast can you get the military timed run events done? Training for Timed Runs.

Timed Swim or Ruck – Depending upon your fitness / training goals, the longer distance events of the Cardio Pentathlon can be selected between a 1-mile swim with fins (any stroke) and a 4 mile ruck with 50 lbs. Once again, depending upon the military branch or event challenge you want to try, you can swim or ruck. If you really want to push yourself, try both options and turn the last three events into a Special Ops Triathlon (run, swim, ruck).

Rest in between events.  If you are selecting multiple events or challenging yourself with all five options, rest as needed in between the different cardio exercises.  You can also opt to do the entire pentathlon for time with minimal rest in between events and turn these options for cardio into a 60-90 minute event.

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