workout plan for basic training
General Military Questions

30 Day Workout Plan To Prep For Basic Training

No matter which branch of the military you want to enter, every recruit has to pass a basic fitness test.

While you might be feeling confident, it’s important to know that the days of being able to perform a few push-ups, pull-ups, and a mile run to get into the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard are long gone.

The military has gotten with the times and their fitness tests reflect that.

Let’s breakdown what a basic military fitness test requires and the best type of workout to train for it.

Related ArticleHow To Lose Weight For The Military

The Military Fitness Test

While there may be some variation depending on the branch of service, here are the basic expectations for male candidates ages 17 – 21 entering the US Army (called the APFT standards):

Level of PerformancePointsPush-UpsSit-Ups2 Mile Run
Maximum100717813:00
Outstanding90647213:42
Excellent75536314:48
Good60425315:54
Satisfactory Medium50354716:36
Probationary45314417:00

And here’s the standards for females in the same age bracket:

Level of PerformancePointsPush-UpsSit-Ups2 Mile Run
Maximum100427815:36
Outstanding90367216:24
Excellent75286317:42
Good60195318:54
Satisfactory Medium50134719:42
Probationary45114420:06

Type of Workout

Can you confidently execute 53 push-ups within two minutes? How about a two-mile run in under 13 minutes?

If seeing these requirements is a bit of a reality check, you’re not alone.

Instead of worrying whether or not you’ll be able to pull it off, let’s focus on how you can get into perfect shape to crush the fitness test.

One of the best ways to train for this military fitness test is by combining a full-body resistance training program with high-intensity cardiovascular work.

The idea behind this type of workout is that you’ll challenge all of your major muscle groups at the same, increasing strength, muscle mass, and endurance.

Best of all, you’ll improve the neuromuscular communication between muscle, tendon, and connective tissue.

In other words, you won’t just be stronger; your body will function better overall.

Resistance Training and Periodization

workouts to get you in shape for boot camp
Image: Flickr.com

For the full-body workout, you will hit each major muscle group twice per week using weight-based resistance training.

You’ll also cycle through four stages of fitness benefits.

In this way, you’ll achieve all of these benefits if you use this workout program consistently.

As you move from stage to stage, you will increase the number of sets and how much weight you use while decreasing the number of repetitions.

  • Endurance: Refers to the stamina of your muscles. Use 50% to 60% of your one-repetitio maximum (1RM) or the maximum amount of weight you can lift one time.
  • Muscle Growth: Size and leanness of your muscles. Use 60% to 70% of your 1RM.
  • Strength: How much you can safely lift, pull, or move. Use 70% to 80% of your 1RM.
  • Power: Amount of raw force you can generate. Use 90% to 100% of your 1RM.

High-Intensity vs. Low-Intensity Cardiovascular Training

Your cardiovascular exercise will be a mixture of high-intensity and low-intensity cardio.

Both have been shown to promote weight loss, but high-intensity is better at improving your endurance, maximum target heart rates, and oxygen capacity.

Be sure to warm up for 10 to 15 minutes and stretch before every cardio session and weight training workout.

Note: Click Here to download our free workout plan PDF of the exercises below.

Click Here for a printable workout log for each group of exercises.

Week One:

Monday: Full-Body Workout (Endurance)

  • Barbell Back Squat: 2 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions
  • Lat Pulldown: 2 x 12 – 15
  • Lying Leg Curl: 2 x 12 – 15
  • Dumbbell Bench Press: 2 x 12 – 15
  • Hanging Knee Lift: 3 x 8 – 10

Tuesday: Cardiovascular Training

  • Push-Ups: 5
  • Jump Squats: 10
  • Pull-Ups: 5
  • Side Lunges: 10
  • Mountain Climbers: 20
  • Sprints: 50 yards total

Do each exercise in the order listed, so start with 1 set of 5 pushups, then 1 set of 10 jump squats, 1 set of pull-ups, and so on. 

Repeat the process 2 times. Also do 30 minutes of low intensity cardio training

Wednesday: Rest Day

  • Spend the day focusing on your nutritional goals including calorie counting, meal planning, and meal preparation.
  • Strive to get seven to nine hours of sleep.
  • Drink plenty of water: the more active you are, the more water you need.

Thursday: Full-Body Workout (Endurance)

  • Barbell Bench Press: 2 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions
  • Romanian Deadlift: 2 x 12 – 15
  • Pull-Ups: 2 x 5 – 10
  • Dumbbell Sumo Squat: 2 x 12 – 15
  • Woodchopper: 3 x 8 – 10

Friday: Cardiovascular Training

Spend 30 to 45 minutes performing a cardiovascular exercise of your choice. Here are some ideas:

  • Jogging / Running
  • Biking
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Yoga

Saturday: Rest Day

  • Spend the day focusing on your nutritional goals including calorie counting, meal planning, and meal preparation.
  • Strive to get seven to nine hours of sleep.
  • Drink plenty of water: the more active you are, the more water you need.

Sunday: Cardiovascular Training

  • Begin with a 10 to 15-minute warm-up and stretching session
  • Jog / Sprint Combos: For this exercise, you’ll base everything in one-minute increments
  • Jog for 55 seconds then sprint for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat

Week Two:

Monday: Full-Body Workout (Muscle Growth)

  • Barbell Back Squat: 3 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions
  • Lat Pulldown: 3 x 10 – 12
  • Lying Leg Curl: 3 x 10 – 12
  • Dumbbell Bench Press: 3 x 10 – 12
  • Hanging Knee Lift: 3 x 8 – 10

Also do 30 minutes of low intensity cardio training.

Tuesday: Cardiovascular Training

  • Push-Ups: 6
  • Jump Squats: 10
  • Pull-Ups: 6
  • Side Lunges: 10
  • Mountain Climbers: 20
  • Sprints: 7 seconds

Do each exercise in the order listed, so start with 1 set of 6 pushups, then 1 set of 10 jump squats, 1 set of 6 pull-ups, and so on. 

Repeat the process 3 times. Also do 30 minutes of low intensity cardio training.

Wednesday: Rest Day

  • Spend the day focusing on your nutritional goals including calorie counting, meal planning, and meal preparation.
  • Strive to get seven to nine hours of sleep.
  • Drink plenty of water: the more active you are, the more water you need.

Thursday: Full-Body Workout (Muscle Growth)

  • Barbell Bench Press: 3 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions
  • Romanian Deadlift: 3 x 10 – 12
  • Pull-Ups: 3 x 10 – 12
  • Dumbbell Sumo Squat: 3 x 10 – 12
  • Woodchopper: 3 x 8 – 10

Friday: Cardiovascular Training

Spend 30 to 45 minutes performing a cardiovascular exercise of your choice. Here are some ideas:

  • Jogging / Running
  • Biking
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Yoga

Saturday: Rest Day

  • Spend the day focusing on your nutritional goals including calorie counting, meal planning, and meal preparation.
  • Strive to get seven to nine hours of sleep.
  • Drink plenty of water: the more active you are, the more water you need.

Sunday: Cardiovascular Training

  • Begin with a 10 to 15-minute warm-up and stretching session
  • Jog / Sprint Combos: For this exercise, you’ll base everything in one-minute increments
  • Jog for 55 seconds then sprint for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat

Week Three:

Monday: Full-Body Workout (Strength)

  • Barbell Back Squat: 4 sets of 6 to 8 repetitions
  • Lat Pulldown: 4 x 6 – 8
  • Lying Leg Curl: 4 x 6 – 8
  • Dumbbell Bench Press: 4 x 6 – 8
  • Hanging Knee Lift: 4 x 6 – 8

Tuesday: Cardiovascular Training

  • Push-Ups: 7
  • Jump Squats: 10
  • Pull-Ups: 7
  • Side Lunges: 10
  • Mountain Climbers: 20
  • Sprints: 9 seconds

Do each exercise in the order listed, so start with 1 set of 6 pushups, then 1 set of 10 jump squats, 1 set of 6 pull-ups, and so on.

Rest for 2 min., then repeat the process 4 times. Also do 30 minutes of low intensity cardio training.

Wednesday: Rest Day

  • Spend the day focusing on your nutritional goals including calorie counting, meal planning, and meal preparation.
  • Strive to get seven to nine hours of sleep.
  • Drink plenty of water: the more active you are, the more water you need.

Thursday: Full-Body Workout (Strength)

  • Barbell Bench Press: 4 sets of 6 to 8 repetitions
  • Romanian Deadlift: 4 x 6 – 8
  • Pull-Ups: 4 x 6 – 8
  • Dumbbell Sumo Squat: 4 x 6 – 8
  • Woodchopper: 4 x 6 – 8

Friday: Cardiovascular Training

Spend 30 to 45 minutes performing a cardiovascular exercise of your choice. Here are some ideas:

  • Jogging / Running
  • Biking
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Yoga

Saturday: Rest Day

  • Spend the day focusing on your nutritional goals including calorie counting, meal planning, and meal preparation.
  • Strive to get seven to nine hours of sleep.
  • Drink plenty of water: the more active you are, the more water you need.

Sunday: Cardiovascular Training

  • Begin with a 10 to 15-minute warm-up and stretching session
  • Jog / Sprint Combos: For this exercise, you’ll base everything in one-minute increments
  • Jog for 55 seconds then sprint for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat

Week Four:

Monday: Full-Body Workout (Power)

  • Barbell Back Squat: 5 sets of 3 to 5 repetitions
  • Lat Pulldown: 5 x 3 – 5
  • Lying Leg Curl: 5 x 3 – 5
  • Dumbbell Bench Press: 5 x 3 – 5
  • Hanging Knee Lift: 5 x 3 – 5

Tuesday: Cardiovascular Training

  • Push-Ups: 8
  • Jump Squats: 10
  • Pull-Ups: 8
  • Side Lunges: 10
  • Mountain Climbers: 20
  • Sprints: 10 seconds

Do each exercise in the order listed, so start with 1 set of 6 pushups, then 1 set of 10 jump squats, 1 set of 6 pull-ups, and so on.

Rest for 2 min., then repeat the process 5 times. Also do 30 minutes of low intensity cardio training.

Wednesday: Rest Day

  • Spend the day focusing on your nutritional goals including calorie counting, meal planning, and meal preparation.
  • Strive to get seven to nine hours of sleep.
  • Drink plenty of water: the more active you are, the more water you need.

Thursday: Full-Body Workout (Power)

  • Barbell Bench Press: 5 sets of 3 to 5 repetitions
  • Romanian Deadlift: 5 x 3 – 5
  • Pull-Ups: 5 x 3 – 5
  • Dumbbell Sumo Squat: 5 x 3 – 5
  • Woodchopper: 5 x 3 – 5

Friday: Cardiovascular Training

Spend 30 to 45 minutes performing a cardiovascular exercise of your choice. Here are some ideas:

  • Jogging / Running
  • Biking
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Yoga

Saturday: Rest Day

  • Spend the day focusing on your nutritional goals including calorie counting, meal planning, and meal preparation.
  • Strive to get seven to nine hours of sleep.
  • Drink plenty of water: the more active you are, the more water you need.

Sunday: Cardiovascular Training

  • Begin with a 10 to 15-minute warm-up and stretching session
  • Jog / Sprint Combos: For this exercise, you’ll base everything in one-minute increments
  • Jog for 55 seconds then sprint for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times (minus the warmup / stretching)

Summary

Using the above workout, there should be no reason whatsoever that you shouldn’t be prepared to take literally any military physical readiness test.

This includes the Navy PRT test, the Army APFT, the Air Force PT test, and even the Marine Corps PFT test.

Be sure to also eat right, as it can be impossible to out-exercise a bad diet.

Click Here to see more tips on getting in shape for boot camp!

Rob V.

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