How to get back in shape for duty


If you’re going back into the military or just miss being in great shape, you can get moving and drop the weight that may have crept on over time. To build your plan, take the steps below to build up the strength and endurance for military service.

Get Moving

If you’re under the age of 21, You will need to finish a timed 2 mile run in less than 16:36, for men, or 19:42 for women

Older applicants will have more time to finish the run, but these are good targets for your fitness goals In addition to meeting the 2 mile mark, you’ll need to show you can run one mile in 8 to 10 minutes.

Plan on running at least 5 days a week to build up stamina and speed. Do longer runs for three of those days and work on interval training the other two days. Break down the two mile time limit into quarter and half mile lengths so you can be ready for the two mile test.

Calisthenics to Build Muscle

Pushups, planks and crunches will all build core strength. To function well in a heavy pack, you’ll need a solid core with the ability to do many sit-ups and pushups in a short amount of time. Again, break it down into 15 and 30 second planks to build up the core strength for timed trials.

Stay Flexible

Make sure that you stretch out your hips as you work out for your military fitness goals. Tight hip flexors can cause low back problems, leg pain and serious problems once you’re loaded up with gear. Work to keep your low back limber, your hamstrings loose and your hip flexors moving freely.

Drop Some Weight

If you’ve put on weight since you got out of the military, do your best to get your BMI down under 27.5. Most military restrictions have a minimum and maximum weight allowed by height. Burning off extra fat may mean getting into a program of intermittent fasting to drop the weight.

Basic Equipment

Most of the exercises you’ll want to do to get in shape won’t take a lot of fitness gear. If you have a pull-up bar, a place to hook your feet for sit-ups, and a mat where you can stretch out, you can do a lot to get your body in military shape.

Start with Low Impact Training

It may be tempting to lace up your running shoes and try to run your way to weight loss, but this is a really good way to hurt yourself, tear up your tendons and actually wind up in worse shape than you were before. Start with low impact workouts like biking, rowing and walking.

Set yourself a deadline and break it down into manageable chunks of time. If you want to run a mile in two months, start a walking program today and get your bike road-worthy. Get out in the cool of the day and push your pace. Stretch after every workout, stay hydrated, and watch what and when you eat.

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