We all train for different reasons.
Some of us want to feel and look good, others to lose weight, heal and injury, or improve our game.
For the Marines, sufficient fitness was an essential tool in our survival kit. A sound body meant we were apt at overcoming obstacles, supporting our teammates, and if it came down to it - defending our lives.
While we don't all have to train like our lives are at stake, we've learned from over two centuries of Marine Corps history what we need to be combat ready. Our battlefield readiness was measured in two separate tests: the PFT and CFT.
The PFT (personal fitness test) is a generalized barometer to gauge muscle endurance, cardiovascular fitness, and mental strength. These basic fitness tests translate to the civilian world, with these simple workouts applicable in almost any walk of life.
The Personal Fitness Test is broken into 5 workouts
- Running at Altitude
These exercises cover the essential functions of human strength - pushing, pulling, and core stability. While repeating these exercises over and over will yield the result you're looking for with the proper effort, here are three of my favorite field exercises to prepare for the Marine PFT.
Burpees are an exercise you can do almost anywhere. They're one of the most complete calisthenic workouts available, and thus a fast track to greater preparedness for the PFT. The "burpee" starts and ends by standing. The movement involves dropping to all fours by kicking the legs out into pushup position, completing a pushup and returning to a jump. They are one of the single most challenging motions to execute, and a powerful motion for core stability, cardiovascular endurance, and quadricep strengthening.
Mountain climbers are primarily a core workout, but through movement offer a more dynamic ab exercise than a traditional, more static regimen. Mountain climbers begin in the pushup position, and are executed by alternating the knees and pulling them to the chest while remaining in pushup position. This trains the obliques, rectus abdominus, and to a lesser extent - the deltoids, shoulders, and chest.
"Plyos" are not a single exercise, but a class of their own. Plyometrics are categorized by the rapid onloading and offloading of muscle in explosive motion, often jumping. A full plyometric routine is a staple exercise for anyone looking to increase speed, leaping ability, and lateral agility. Some of the most common plyometrics include the squat jump, clap pushup, and jump lunges.
Each of these exercises is a guaranteed burn in no time at all! If you're looking to bring out your best and break barriers, try these three backbone workouts - the force behind a successful PFT!