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Need a Tough, New Workout?  Make Your Own Triathlon!

Recently, I have been adding more cardiovascular activity to the workouts I do with local military recruits and myself and have developed a fun but challenging program.  You can easily alter the events to your preferences and future military / law enforcement training and use these programs to maintain a high operational fitness level.  I call it the Military Triathlon!

Phase 1 of the Spec Ops Triathlon:

The first segment of the workout consists of a standard aerobic routine.  If you are seeking more land based training then I would suggest performing the 3-6 mile timed run.  It is up to you if you want to run this in boots / pants or regular training gear. 




Phase 2 of the Spec Ops Triathlon:

The next segment is great for those of you are seeking more Navy, USMC, Coast Guard, or water Special Ops type training.  I suggest doing a 1000-1500m swim with fins after performing the run.  Some like to push this distance with fins and build up to 2-3 mile swim with fins.



Phase 3 of the Spec Ops Triathlon:
After the swim, dry off and put back on your gear but this time pack a ruck with 40-50 lbs of gear in it and perform a 6 mile timed ruck.

Overall, this is not that bad of a workout.  It takes a few hours to do.  You can always get creative and add some upper body PT after the run or the swim.  Perhaps doing a max rep superset of pull-ups, pushups, sit-ups in a non-stop circuit until you do five complete sets or hit a group of goal numbers like 100,200,300 (pull-ups, pushups, situps) will complete your PT workout.

Another addition is to add some squats and lunges every 15-20 minutes of the ruck.  Try adding 20 squats and 10 lunges each leg during your ruck (with ruck still on!) for your 60-90 minute ruck march.

I usually do the military triathlon once every other week or once a month and always after a day off of workout activity.  After the military triathlon, make sure you re-hydrate, get proper electrolytes, eat well and enjoy the rest of your day.  You earned it!


Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at


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Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness (Book / DVD)
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Reclaim Your Life - The Erin O'Neill Program

Veteran's Fitness - Baby Boomer and a Flat Stomach

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