With the new year well under way, you may already find yourself struggling to keep up with your usual gym workout routine. As you try to keep up with the pace of everyday life, you may feel like it's mission impossible to spare an hour to hit the gym. It might be time to look for an alternate solution.
A home military-style workout is the perfect thing to get you in shape fast without eating up what little free time you have.
Who better to advise you on how to go about creating a top-notch, fat-burning and muscle-building workout than one of the fittest army soldiers? SSG Sarvis has just won one of the toughest challenges in the Army: the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant of the Year award.
Now he's revealing some of his precise training techniques that he's used to whip his body into top shape, so that you too can get your body in top form.
AskMen (AM): Please explain the overall foundation upon which your boot camp workouts are built around.
SSG Sarvis: During basic training, soldiers are trained using our new Training Circular 3.22-20, which is a scientific approach to fitness, appropriate for various levels of fitness. Soldiers learn and conduct basic exercises focusing on the principals of physical readiness training (PRT), which are precision, progression and integration. Our goal is to build the strength, mobility and endurance of soldiers while reducing injuries in order to enhance their performance on the battlefield.
During the first weeks of training, known as the “toughening phase,” the focus is on progressive training of the whole body. To minimize the risk of injury, soldiers must perform exercises precisely. Also, their intensity must progress gradually.
AM: What are your thoughts on Army workouts versus traditional weight lifting workout programs? What advantages of boot camps do you see, and why would you recommend this type of training?
SSG Sarvis: Physical readiness training is more of a functional workout, whereas weight training is usually geared toward working out those “beach muscles.” The Physical Readiness Training program is a great workout if done correctly. Not only are you building muscles and increasing endurance, but you are also developing better agility, balance, coordination, flexibility, posture, speed, and power while reducing the chance of injury. Building you up to be what we like to call a “tactical athlete.”
AM: What cardiovascular exercise recommendations would you give someone who was going to use your boot camp training workout?
SSG Sarvis: The 30/60s and 60/120s are great. This is when you sprint as fast as you can for 30 seconds then walk for 60 seconds, or sprint for 60 seconds and walk for 120 seconds. These runs really help with your speed and even your endurance for longer runs. It’s also great because you can get an intense, effective workout in a short amount of time.
AM: Let's talk nutrition for a moment. Do you have any pre-workout or post-workout tips that should be followed prior to and immediately after this army workout is performed?
SSG Sarvis: In the Army, properly fueling the soldiers enhances performance and their ability to do their job, both in training and on the battlefield. Currently soldiers receive a snack (protein or granola bar) in the evenings before bed so they have energy for PT at 5 a.m. Soldiers’ post-workout meals are about an hour after the completion of the workout. Our foods are now labeled (green, amber, red) based on nutritional values such as lean protein, lower fat, good carbs, etc. Additionally, soldiers are encouraged to rehydrate with water, milk and juices.
AM: What's the maximum frequency a boot camp workout should be performed? Could someone do this three, four, five, six times a week?
SSG Sarvis: In Basic Combat Training, soldiers usually conduct workouts five to six days a week, alternating muscular strength or endurance days and aerobic or anaerobic endurance days (cardio).
AM: When performed correctly and good nutrition is followed, what would you say are the typical results that can be achieved with this Army workout plan?
SSG Sarvis: In the Army, we have already seen soldiers scoring significantly higher on their PT tests, which includes the two-mile run, two-minute sit-ups, two-minute push-ups. For soldiers recently entering the Army, many typically lose body fat and would attest that after 10 weeks of the program, they are in the best shape of their lives._________________________________________________________________________
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AM: Will this program work for both those who are looking to build muscle mass and those who are looking to lean down?
SSG Sarvis: Absolutely. This program is appropriate for various levels of fitness. We have a wide range of new soldiers entering our Army every day. Some are star athletes from their high school football teams, and some have never exercised a day in their life. This program is for everyone. If executed correctly, soldiers lose weight when they have a little extra and gain weight if they were a little scrawny to begin with. Overall, soldiers build lean muscle mass while becoming more fit.
Below you'll find a series of workouts. The core workout can be performed at any time throughout the week, and the conditioning drills should be performed on a day-on/day-off type of sequence. Perform 15 to 20 reps of each exercise in the conditioning drill before immediately moving to the next movement. Once the entire drill sequence is finished, rest for 1-2 minutes and then repeat a second and possibly third time through. Note that due to the number of exercises involved, the third drill will be your toughest challenge.
Bent leg raise (60 seconds)
Side bridge (60 seconds)
Back bridge (60 seconds)
Plank (60 seconds)
Conditioning Drill No. 1
Leg-tuck and twist
Conditioning Drill No. 2
Turn and lunge
Conditioning Drill No. 3
Single-leg dead lift
Side-to-side knee lifts
Front kick alternating to touch
Straddle run forward and backward
Half-squat lateral shuffle