There’s fit — and then there’s military fit. Prepare to get a military-grade workout with these five exercise moves, inspired by the troops. Just bring your body. No equipment needed.
1. Army crawl
A staple of military bootcamps and mud runs alike, this exercise trains core strength, muscular endurance, and total-body coordination at once, certified strength and conditioning specialist Mike Donavanik, C.S.C.S., C.P.T, told Fox News. Expect everything to burn.
Instructions: Lie on the floor on your stomach, legs extended straight behind you, and, tucking your arms underneath your chest and running perpendicular to your body, prop your upper body up on your forearms. From here, move one forearm to the floor in front of your body, use it to pull your body forward a few inches, and then repeat on the opposite side. Continue pulling yourself forward with your upper body, keeping your core engaged and legs dragging straight behind you.
Top military advisers are looking into scrapping sit-ups in favor of planks. Why? Because not only are they a better measure of core strength and function — and, ultimately, how well you can perform on duty — they are far safer on the low back, which is prone to injury, Donavanik explained.
Instructions: Lie on the floor on your stomach and place your forearms on the floor in front of you, elbows directly underneath your shoulders, palms down. From here, and with your toes anchored into the floor, lift your hips until your body forms one straight line from head to heels. Keep your entire body tight by squeezing your glutes, bracing your core (like you are about to get punched in the gut), and digging your elbows down and back into the floor as if you are trying to touch them to your feet. Hold for the allotted amount of time.
This move’s a longtime military training staple — and for good reason. “It builds strength and muscle both in the chest and throughout the whole body,” Donavanik said. If you have trouble performing a full push-up with proper form, work up to it with incline pushups performed with your hands on a bench, he said.
Instructions: Get in a high-plank position, hands on the floor directly underneath your shoulders. From here, bend your elbows to row your chest toward the floor, making sure to keep your body in a straight line from head to heels as you do so. Your elbows should flare out diagonally from your body. Once your chest just barely touches the floor, powerfully drive through your chest and arms back up to start. That’s one rep.
The military enlisted this fad-worthy exercise move back during World War II as part of its fitness testing for new recruits. More than half a decade later, it can still reduce the fittest out there to a pile of sweat by tapping your body’s aerobic and anaerobic systems alike, and testing strength, cardio and endurance all at once, Donavanik said.
Instructions: Start in a high-plank position; hands on the floor directly underneath your shoulders. From here, perform a push-up, then explosively jump your feet forward so that they land just outside of your hands. Immediately jump up and clap your hands overhead. Land in a squat, then quickly place your hands down on the floor, jump your feet back behind you, and repeat for the desired amount of time or reps.
5. Standing mountain climber
If you want to get up and over that wall, you’re going to have to master this total-body move, honing coordination, agility, strength and endurance, Donavanik said. The longer you perform it, the bigger the cardio boost.
Instructions: Stand tall with your feet about hip-width apart. From here, reach one hand overhead as if you're trying to grab onto something. Simultaneously lift the opposite knee up to waist level, foot flexed. Immediately return that arm and leg to start while switching to the opposite side. Continue switching back and forth, as if you are trying to climb in place.