Preparing Americans to Serve in the Military, Special Ops, Law Enforcement, & Fire Fighting

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Future Recruits for Military / Law Enforcement - Start Here!

Often, I receive emails from young men and women in their teens who ask about military or law enforcement careers when they get old enough to serve their country by doing such honorable professions.  I wish however, most emails were like this future Marine.  Too many times, young men and women start to prepare way too late for professions that require fitness tests. But more importantly, their lives or their buddies’ lives may depend on their strength and fitness level.  Here is an email from a young man who wants to become a Marine one day:

 I'm 16-years old and want to become a marine. I just want to know how good my strength is, from your perspective:
80 push-ups w/o stopping
15 pullups, 25 diamond pushups w/o stopping, and
can run a mile in 5:25.

So how does it look, could I become a Marine?

 I think any branch of service would be happy to allow you to serve.  You are definitely getting into great shape.  For the USMC, you should start to focus on getting that 1 mile run up to 3 miles in about 18-19 minutes, and get those pull-ups to 20+ with ease.  That will put you in above average fitness levels upon arriving to boot camp. But, you have a few more years to prepare yourself not only for service but for the rest of your life.  Those are great PT scores, however, not all of your career depends on your physical abilities.  You should still study hard, learn to be a team player by playing sports, and figure out if you want to enlist out of high school or go to college and become an officer.  There are great programs that will allow the military to pay for your college either through the GI Bill and enlistment bonuses or ROTC and Service Academy Programs.  Regardless, your fitness is important and should be part of your daily life just as brushing your teeth is.

 Here are some tips to help you get moving and building your fitness levels to the level you should be in before you attend any basic training program (military or law enforcement). 

 Upper body and lower body endurance – The military and law enforcement indoctrination programs use calisthenics of exercises like pushups, sit-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges and many more to not only train hundreds of people at a time, but to build muscular endurance.  Long lasting endurance will best help a recruit run longer, be able to perform better on load bearing marches / gear carries and fitness tests.  Higher repetitions of these exercises will help your body last longer.  See related articles on workouts:

The Stretching Plan

Tips for Better Pullups

Pull-up Alternatives

Running Even Faster

Take 2:00 Off Your PFT Mile

 Ruck Marches

 Learn to swim – Swimming is one of the first survival skills we all learn.  Joining the military and not knowing how to swim can seriously challenge your indoctrination training.  There are videos available to see how to swim, but the best way to learn is in person with a coach or swim instructor.  Go to a local pool and seek lessons to learn the basic skills.  Swimming is also a great way to rest the leg after miles of running throughout the week.  Who knows, you may enjoy and join a swim team.   See related swimming articles for more info:

Passing Military Swimming Tests

Swimming Workouts

Strength – being strong is important too.  It takes full body strength to carry or drag a buddy out of a danger area.  From your grip muscles in your hands to your lower back, you need to workout by adding pull-ups, weight training, and smart lower back exercises to help add strength.   See related articles for more ideas on training the entire body to be stronger:

Pullup-Push Workout

The Push-Up Push Workout

Pyramid PT

 Too often, I receive emails from people who need to lose 20 lbs quickly before they go to Indoctrination training, having started exercising only a few weeks prior.  To be honest, to attend military or law enforcement training and perform well, you need to have a foundation of fitness for at least a year of sports and exercises for strength and endurance.  Otherwise, you will have a higher percentage of injuring yourself or have to attend “extra” workout sessions to catch up to the rest of your class.  Both situations add stress to an already stressful environment and distract you from learning your profession to the best of your ability.  So do not go until in your are in shape.  Otherwise, the instructors will take your fitness growth into their own hands and make your military and indoctrination tougher than it needs to be.

Good luck with your training programs.  For more information on specific training workout plans, check out the workouts at Fitness Store. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at

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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Published Books / DVDs

Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness (Book / DVD)
Maximum Fitness

The Special Operations Workout

The SWAT Workout - From Recruit to SWAT Team Member
The Combat Swimmer Stroke DVD

The Pre-Habit Workout DVD
Clinic DVD for Navy SEAL PST
The FBI Special Agent Test Clinic DVD

The Complete List of Stew Smith's eBooks:

Fitness for All Levels of Fitness

The 90 Day Beginner Guide to Fitness
The Advanced Maintenance and Recovery Program

Reclaim Your Life - The Erin O'Neill Program

Veteran's Fitness - Baby Boomer and a Flat Stomach

The Busy Executive Workout Routine
The Advanced Weights / PT Workout (Fall / Winter Weight Gain Cycle)
The Perfect Pushup Workout

The TRX Workout
NEW - Circuit Training 101 ebook
NEW Obstacle Course Race Ebook


The Special Forces Physical Fitness Workouts
 Combat Conditioning Workout

Navy SEAL Workout Phase 1  Beginner Weeks 1-9
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 2 - 3 - Intermediate Weeks 1-12
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 4  Grinder PT -  Four weeks before Hell Week

Navy SWCC Workout

The Army Special Forces / Ranger Workout 

The Army Air Assault School Workout

The Army Airborne Workout

Air Force PJ / CCT Workout

The Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer Workout

The OCS, ROTC, Service Academy, & Bootcamp Workouts

Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard OCS Workout
The USMC IST and PFT Workout
USMC OCS / TBS Workout
The Service Academy Workout (West Point, Navy, Air Force Academy)
The Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp Bootcamp Workout

The Army OCS and PFT Workout
The NEW Army PRT and Combat Readiness Test Workout
The PFT Bible - Military / Police Standard PFT


The Law Enforcement Physical Fitness Test Workouts

The FBI Academy / PFT Prep Workout

The DEA Prep Workout

The FLETC Prep Workout - Ace the PEB

The State / Local Police Academy Workout

The Fire Fighter Workout

Why a 52 Week Workout Cycle?

  Seal Multi Men's Multi-Vitamin Multi-Mineral

Become a TRX Trainer   

 TRX Train Like the Pros


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