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Military PT and Your Own Training Plan in the Same Day

Here is a great question from soldier who wants to add in some extra PT with his command group PT and does not want to overdo it / get injured or over-train.  This is such a smart question because too many will wind up working the same muscle groups 3-4 days in a row which can slow growth and recovery significantly especially as we age.

Hi Stew.
I am a soldier in the US Army and as you know, we do PT every day. I'm pretty weak at PT and so I feel that I need to do extra on my own. What I run into when I try to start my own training is an overlap in what my unit does and what I do. For example I will plan a long run for Thursday afternoon and we'll end up doing a 5 miler that morning. I'm afraid of over training ever since my shin splints a couple of years back.  Any ideas on what I should do? 

 Sure - what I would do is this: Set up a similar workout later in the day after your group Army PT workout.  So on Monday you do some upper body PT and a run in the morning. Later in the day or evening, do more similar exercises in the evening that same day for 20-30 minutes.  Add weights of the same muscle group for variety if needed.  For example, if you did a lot of pushups in the morning, add in some bench press, chest flies, shoulder exercises, and some plank poses for abs / lower back.  Then do a non impact aerobic activity like bike, swim, elliptical glide to work the heart and lungs without over-working your legs / shins.  This way, your body will get more than 24 hours of recovery before working the same muscle groups even though you did a two-a-day workout.  The thing to remember is not do any upper body workouts the following day.  Focus on leg PT, running, rucking or some other form of cardio activity.

Also add in some foam rolling.  See article on how to use a foam roller to give you some quick recovery from workouts / daily grind of being a soldier.  See

  Also Stew, could I get a 5 or 6 day plan that incorporates your pyramid/supersets/test failure workout? I'm a little foggy on what that looks like.

Have you seen this one: or seen this link

15 Day starter plan - 15 day PFT Starter Plan  - These are routines that work well for those seeking to better their PFT scores.

BUT, I would also do this to be more specific:

Monday - pyramid workout to failure and repeat in reverse order (pullups, pushups, situps - dips options)
Tuesday Run / Leg PT Workout
Wednesday - Super set workout - all SUB MAX effort: For example:

Repeat 5- 10 times (depending on your fitness level)
pullups - 50% of your max reps
pushups 50% of max reps
situps work on your pace of 20-25 situps in 30 seconds
run 3-4 minutes at goal pace for your 2 mile run

Thursday Day off or easy non impact cardio option

Friday Run or ruck mixed with some Leg PT or weight workout

Saturday - Max effort PT Workout:

Pick a number to do like 50-100 pullups, 100-200 pushups (1 min limit per set), and 150-300 situps (1 minute limit per set).  Your goal is to get to these number as quickly as you can in as few sets as possible.  For instance a first set may look like this:

pullups - 20
pushups - 60
situps 60
Run - OPTIONAL - try adding in a recovery run of 1/4 mile before repeating the above three exercises in a circuit fashion with no rest in between

Set two may look like this:  pullups 15, pushups, 40, situps this routine until you hit your goal reps per workout. Just to give you an idea of how far you can take this, my Heroes of Tomorrow PT group typically does this in 4-6 sets.  Every now and then we have a guy who can do 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 situps in THREE sets!!!  (time limit on situps is 2 minutes for this workout)

There are many ways to create workouts with the classic calisthenics exercises.  One of my latest and new favorite is the 8 count bodybuilder pushup and pullup pyramid.  Do one 8 count body builder pushup - run 30-40m to a pullup bar and do 1 pullup - run back 30-40m and do two 8 count BB pushups - run to pullup bar and do 2 pullups. I think you get where this is going, so keep going up until you fail at pull-ups, then repeat in reverse order IF you did not make it over 10.  Keep going if you can and shoot for a goal of reaching 20!  That is 210 pullups and 210 BBpushups in a workout.  This one is tough.

One thing to remember Fitness is not a Destination It is a Journey.  I have been enjoying learning new things developing challenging workouts for more than 20 years now and I am not done.  Im still learning everyday.  Enjoy and keep things a changing!


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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