Basic training (BT) places extreme physical demands on your body and mind to prepare you for the battlefield. You are constantly physically active—jogging, running and ruck marching for what seems like endless amounts of time.
You know that BT is physically demanding. What might surprise you is that it's actually quite difficult to maintain muscle mass. The high frequency of endurance workouts coupled with the lack of weight training is an ideal recipe for muscle loss.
So, when an individual is preparing for basic training, my number one recommendation is to focus on building muscle. You should enter BT a bit heavier than your normal weight. You will lose some weight, but you will come out a strong and lean fighting machine.
To achieve this goal, you need a two-fold approach, focusing on strength training and recovery.
Strength training will build the muscle mass you need for BT, help you perform better in physical fitness tests and reduce the risk of injury.
The best way to accomplish this is by performing functional exercises that simulate the movements you will perform during training and on the battlefield. Specifically, you need to emphasize exercises that engage multiple large muscle groups at the same time.
The following BT prep program features three workouts per week. Each workout hits your entire body but has a specific focus, offering an increased challenge to the targeted muscle groups.
Note: perform the grouped exercises in superset fashion.
Day 1 - Upper-Body Focus
- A1. Flat DB Bench Press - 3x6
- A2. Seated Row - 3x10
- B1. Deep Squat Landmine Press - 3x8 each side
- B2. Half-Kneeling Lat Pulldown - 3x8 each side
- C1. RDL - 3x10
- C2. Reverse Crunch - 3x10
- C3. Side Plank - 3x20 seconds each side
Day 2 - Lower-Body Focus
- A1. Trap-Bar Deadlift - 3x5
- A2. Push-Up to Downward Dog - 3x8
- B1. Suspension Trainer Inverted Row - 3x10
- B2. DB Goblet Squat - 3x10
- C1. Pallof Press - 3x8 each side
- C2. DB Goblet Split-Squat - 3x5 each side
Day 3 - Upper-Body Focus
- A1. Neutral-Grip Pull-Up - 3x8
- A2. Elevated Hip Thrust - 3x10
- B1. Feet-Elevated Push-Up - 3x10
- B2. DB Goblet Lateral Lunge - 3x8 each side
- C1. Single-Arm Farmer's Walk - 3x25 yards each side
- C2. Plank - 6x10 second holds
While building muscle is the priority, you cannot ignore the importance of recovery. It ensures that you can perform at your max during each workout and prevents your body from breaking down.
One of the best recovery methods is foam rolling. It's a type of self-massage that releases tight muscles, improves blood flow and increases mobility. All you need is a foam roller or piece of PVC pipe. Watch the video below to learn how to foam roll.
Strength training and adequate recovery will effectively build muscle in preparation for basic training, while also increasing your endurance so you can withstand long runs and intense obstacles. When a drill sergeant starts screaming in your face, you'll be thankful you prepared and that you have the physical capacity to answer his demands.
- Become a Better Leader With the Military's Five Basic Responses
- The Best Athletes in U.S. Military History
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock