Military PT tests…lets’ all take a deep breathe and let out and egregious sigh regarding how mandatory physical training has failed to keep up with what our warfighters are doing in the field. Have they gotten better with the Combat Fitness Test in the Marine Corps and similar tests across the other branches…we’d say mildly. It has gotten a little better, but it still has room for improvement when it comes to how our warfighters train AND how you should train if you’d like to avoid getting that DD214 body. If you do want a DD214 body, nobody here will hate…okay maybe one guy will, but he’s a douche (His name is Chad).
In the fitness/exercises/gym life/#gymbro/#instafitmodel world there is something known as “Mode”. Mode is how closely your training resembles what you’ll actually be doing. For instance, if you want to get better at swimming, the preferred mode of exercise would be (drumroll please…) you guessed it, plyometrics! Just kidding, it’d be swimming. The more you swim the more efficient your motor units get at swimming! You can vary the training type from endurance to sprints and what have you, but the point remains the same. So let’s look at some of our PT Tests from the time when your old ass author was sweeping sand off of the sand (no that’s not a typo, that’s a real thing that happens) at MCAGCC Twentynine Palms.
First off let’s be like N’Sync and tell the distance run “Bye bye bye” because the truth of the matter is a better endurance test would be a timed ruck. Nobody likes hiking, rucking, road marches whatever you want to call it. However, when simulating what is done on combat patrols, you know carrying heavy loads at a moderate pace for hours at a time. It just seems like carrying heavy loads at a moderate pace for hours at a time might just be a better training tool than running 3 miles as fast as you can. A timed ruck could be scored the same as the run and more adequately prepare troops for long drawn out foot patrols over uneven terrain.
When it comes to any running, I’d merely institute the 300-meter shuttle run as the test (Here is how that test is performed). This test has been used for ages within the athletic community and is a great indicator of anaerobic capacity…i.e. short bursts of intense activity…you know like maybe bounding across hostile intersections or from cover to cover.
Now, I don’t want to be totally negative here and rip everyone on everything, so I will point out that the pushup and pull-up/chin-up variations are both extremely beneficial when it comes to training for upper body strength and endurance. I would only add one small improvement. Wear your body armor and perform the exercises in boots and utility uniform. Muscular strength and muscular endurance are extremely important when it comes to pulling your gear laden ass over a wall or fighting off some douchebag, taking his weapon and beating him to death with it a-la Cliff Wooldridge in Afghanistan.
Lastly, I’d replace the situps/crunches whatever with a standard 10 repetition max deadlift. If you have a weak core, I don’t care how strong your hamstrings or ass muscles are, you’re not going to pull shit off the ground. In addition, the deadlift is a great overall measure of total body strength. It tests grip, stability from the feet up, leg strength and is one of the best exercises to ensure you are pound for pound the strongest you can be.