SSGT NICHOLS - UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Military Physical Preparedness
Posted by SSGT Nichols

REMEMBER, PRIOR TO UNDERTAKING ANY PHYSICAL TRAINING, CONSULT A PHYSICIAN.  THERE ARE MANY INDIVIDUALS WHO, DUE TO VARIOUS CONDITIONS, SHOULD NOT UNDERTAKE ANY PHYSICAL TRAINING REGIMEN WHATSOEVER.

A good life is a physically healthy life.  The mental challenges that arise through day-to-day living become easier to deal with when you are in good physical shape.  It is much easier to succumb to mental fatigue when your body is already worn out.  If you are not very physically active, it is necessary to break several habits and start a training regimen.

In the military, service members stay in shape with staple exercises, specifically pushups, sit-ups, pull-ups and running.   None of these exercises requires elaborate equipment.  You can train only with pushups, sit-ups, pull-ups and running and can become very fit.

Running, pushups and sit-ups require shoes and gym clothes.  Pull-up bars that install in a door frame can be purchased from sporting goods stores.

Adequate Hydration

Adequate hydration is imperative and you must remember to drink enough fluids.  Training without replenishing your body’s water levels can lead to dehydration and negative side effects.  So it is important to drink enough water (but also remember that drinking excessive amounts of water can be dangerous to your health).  You also want to keep your body’s electrolyte and other salts and mineral content at a normal level.  This can be achieved by occasional recourse to one of the many popular sports drinks on the market (remember, sports drinks should be consumed only once in a while, as too much consumption of sports drinks can be counterproductive).

DEHYDRATION AND DANGEROUSLY LOW ELECTROLYTE AND MINERAL LEVELS CAN LEAD TO SERIOUS HEALTH PROBLEMS.  THAT IS WHY IT IS IMPERATIVE TO CONSULT A PHYSICIAN ABOUT ALL ASPECTS OF ANY PHYSICAL TRAINING PROGRAM.

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Running

The physical training staple of the military is running.   There are volumes of running books on the market.  If you are a complete novice, it may be a good idea to purchase one of these books in order to get background knowledge of stretching, proper footwear, rest, shin-splints, pacing, running surfaces, form, and the myriad of other important facts necessary to become a competent runner.

At the beginning of your training, run at a pace comfortable enough in order to finish your set-out mileage or time.  The goal for the first few months is just to finish whatever run you start.  You should not be concerned with improving your running speed until you have spent several weeks building up your endurance.

Pushups

The second most important exercise in the military after running is the pushup.  A pushup is the ultimate upper-body strengthener (without the use of weights).  A major problem with pushups is the temptation to cheat with form, including not keeping your back straight, not touching your chest to the ground on the down movement and not fully extending your arms in the up position.  When training, you want to aim for perfect form in all your exercises, as proper form will build up your muscle strength fastest.  A correct pushup starts with your hands on the ground a little more than shoulder width apart, arms fully extended, your legs-back-shoulders in a straight line, head tilted up and eyes looking straight ahead.  Keeping your legs-back-shoulders straight, bend your elbows until your chest touches the ground, then straighten your arms again until fully extended.

Sit-Ups

For sit-ups, lay on the ground with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle and your feet flat on the floor.  Place your fingertips to your ears and place your arms flat to the ground.  Curl up with your stomach muscles so that your chin touches your knees.  Use no other muscles other than your stomach muscles, and do not assist your upward motion with your arms.  Remember to keep your feet planted on the ground as you curl up.  When your chin touches your knees, hold for a two-count and then lower your head back down to the starting position.  Once you are back in the starting position, do not rest, but immediately proceed to the next sit-up.

Pull-ups

When doing pull-ups, the palms of your hands must face away from you.  The pull-up bar should be perpendicular to the length of your body above your head.  Grab the bar with your hands (palms facing away from you), and hang fully extended from the bar.  With a smooth motion, pull yourself upward so that your chin is above the bar.  Hold this position for a two-count and then slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.  Your goal is to perform each pull-up smoothly and with no kicking or kipping to assist your motion.  You should only use arm and chest muscles to move up and down.

You can prepare for the military with these basic exercises.  Elite numbers include 100 pushups in two minutes, 100 sit-ups in two minutes, 20 pull-ups (no time limit), and a 1.5 mile run in under 9 minutes.  Numbers that will make you competitive in Boot Camp are 50 pushups in two minutes, 50 sit-ups in two minutes, 8 pull-ups (no time limit) and a 1.5 mile run in 11 minutes.

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