Military-Style Fitness: Get in Shape

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Physical fitness, otherwise known as PT in the military, is an integral part of military boot camps, police academies, and other similar organizations. You’ve probably heard of people losing significant amounts of weight in boot camp. Well, there’s a reason for that. Military PT for boot camp can be intense but offers a great way to stay in shape.

Military style fitness training has evolved over the years to meet the tactical requirements of the contemporary soldier. Military tactics have changed significantly over the last several decades. PT programs for Special Forces are even more rigorous. Here are some different ways to get in shape military style.

The Basics of Physical Training

There are two primary goals for PT: muscle strength and muscle endurance. For the best results, you should work out three days a week at the very least. Begin by warming up, and then do some dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching allows your body to perform a full range of motion over time. 

After your workout is complete, you should end it with static stretching and a cool-down. The same is true with cardiovascular training, a form of working out that burns stored energy. Static stretching improves your flexibility.

Proper nutrition is also a critically important element of getting in shape. It’s essential to get plenty of sleep too. These components create the ultimate workout program.

The Deadlift

The deadlift is one of the best military exercises to do at home. It requires specific fitness gear such as a weighted bar or kettlebells. It can be performed using a heavy bag if you don’t have this equipment. 

This exercise strengthens your glutes, shoulders, back muscles, and hamstrings. Lift the kettlebells or bag up to your chin while keeping your back straight and your legs apart. A 2:1:2 tempo is ideal, meaning that it should take approximately two seconds to lift the kettlebell, one second to hold it up at your chin, and then two seconds to bring the weight back down to the floor. Do sets of 10 for as many repetitions possible.


The mighty push-up is an exercise that so many of us love to hate—especially those in the military or police academy, where you’ll do a lot of them when one of your fellow recruits messes up. They are an excellent exercise to instill resilience and discipline. This exercise works the shoulder muscles, upper abdomen, and chest, as well as the triceps. 

Push-ups are another good exercise to do at home. When you push up, make sure that your back is straight and that the distance of your hands is the same width as your shoulders.  Maintain a 1:1:1 tempo, meaning it should take you one second to push yourself into an arms-extended position, remain there for a second, and then take one second lowering yourself. Do as many sets as you can of 10 repetitions.

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The Plank

The plank is another common exercise used to instill resilience and discipline. It helps you control your core muscles by strengthening your back, shoulders, and abdominal muscles. These muscles have the critical duty of protecting your spine. Keep your back straight when doing the plank. To begin with, use a hold time of 10 seconds, and then you can increase the time as you grow stronger.


The squat is a popular strength training exercise for many people who routinely train vigorously. It strengthens your hamstrings and thighs. You can do it while holding weights or without. Don’t attempt to squat with weights if this exercise is new to you—and having a spotter is a good idea.

To a tempo of 2:1:2, keep your back straight as you squat. It should take you two seconds to lower yourself, and then stay down for another second. Take two seconds to rise to a standing position again.

Crunches or Sit-Ups

Everyone remembers sit-ups from gym class in middle and high school. They are great for strengthening the abdominal muscles. You begin crunches by lying on your back with your knees raised and your feet flat on the floor. Sit-ups can also be done with your legs straight out in front of you instead of bending your knees, but this way is not as popular as the bent knee position.

From your position lying down, raise and lift your upper body quickly, touching your elbows to your knees and then lying back down. Sit-ups have a few variations, such as leaning to the left, right, or bicycle crunches. Do as many sets of five to 10 repetitions that you can daily for the best results.

Reverse Lunges

Reverse lunges strengthen your calves, thighs, and glutes. This exercise is the reverse of regular lunges and, as you perform it, keep your back very straight. The tempo to maintain is 1:1:1. Take one second to lunge backward and down, remain down for one second, and then take another one to rise back up to standing.

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Running is an incredible endurance building exercise. Many people like to run outside and consider it their time alone to de-stress. If you decide to run outside, make sure you wear supportive footwear for the terrain you’re running on and a hat with a brim to shield you from the sun. If you’re new to running, start with a short distance and then gradually build it up as your endurance increases.

Routine exercise provides many health benefits besides helping you lose or maintain weight. It adds years to your life and reduces your risk of cancer, as well as strengthening your body’s muscles. 

Military-style exercises are obviously effective, as you can see the results people in the military or police academy get after starting a military-style fitness regimen. Build your physical stamina and body strength for more confidence and a happier life overall.

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