These workouts add variety to your cardio and leg training


If you’re looking for a way to add variety to your running, leg endurance, and muscle endurance training days, check out calisthenics and cardio workouts to help push the running a little harder.

These are difficult when done in a single day, but as you progress you can mix and match these workouts until you’re ready to complete the entire column in a single activity day (all listed):

Squat Pyramid 1-10 with 100 meter dash warm up

This classic warm-up is a great way to prepare for running and leg exercise reps. This is what this section looks like:

• 1 squat, jog 100 meters (do not sprint) and incorporate some dynamic stretches for 10-20 meters per set if you like. • 2 squats, jog 100 meters and continue dynamic stretches. • 3 squats, jog 100 meters.

Keep going until you get to set 10. That’s a total of 55 squats and 1,000 meters running mixed with dynamic stretches. If you’re feeling warm after 5-6 sets, it’s okay to continue with the rest of the workout – especially if you feel like 55 squats is more than you can on the first attempt.

1 to 1.5 mile time trial:

See what your fast target can be for one to 1.5 miles. This is a good 50% exam for the Marine Corps timed three mile run tests, two mile runs for Army tests and a good mile to 1.5 mile for the Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard actual test.

Depending on your professional goals, estimate your pace for 50% of your timed run. Do you think you can keep that pace for the other 50% of the time trial event?

resistance run

This section is all about making running harder than it needs to be. This can be done with hills and stairs as mentioned below, but you can also add weight (jerking) or soft sand for extra walking difficulty. Depending on hill, stair or grandstand availability, you can opt for weight or sand. You can also maximize the incline on a treadmill or elliptical trainer to get the same benefits.

Run weighted hills, bleachers, stairs, or the stair stepper for 20 minutes. Rest or stretch as needed.

running intervals

In this next section, focus on running pace goals for your timed runs at 400- to 800-meter sets. See if you can cover a total distance of 1.5 to 2 miles broken down into these intervals:

Repeat four times. • Run 800 meters at a target pace • Squats 20 • Lunges 20 per leg

The additional leg exercises are for muscular endurance to train the legs while resting your lungs. As you work to run faster with timed running events, you’ll find that the biggest challenge is on your lungs and legs. Combine them with this type of leg and PT workout to get the results you want.

After completing the sections above, take some time to stretch and cool down. A bath right afterward is often a great way to cool off, especially in the summer. For recruits considering jobs that involve scuba diving and swimming, top off the aforementioned leg day with fin swim practice. This is not only recommended, it should become the norm when preparing your legs for the rigors of swimming with large SCUBA fins.

Top off your leg day with a fin or jerk swim, followed by a quick cooldown for mobility and flexibility. Depending on your career goals and current weaknesses, consider one of the following options to end a leg day. If you need to prepare for both, you can switch from jerking to fin swimming every two weeks.

These can be done in separate workouts:

Navy Goals: Top off leg day with finswimming

• Swim 500 meters to warm up or run 10 minutes

• Swim 1,500 meters (or more) with fins

Army or Marine Corps Goals: Top off leg day with jerk

• Jerk three miles for time (exercise steps for walk, power walk, fast shuffle). This ruck drill is a great way to develop pacing strategies for longer distance ruck events. You’ll find that knowing your walking pace (15 minutes per mile), power walking pace (13-14 minutes per mile), and fast shuffling (10-12 minutes per mile) will be useful when you need to catch your breath, but still take your time. Of course, picking up the pace is always required to finish long packs strong.

mini mobility

This is a great way to cool off after some or all of the above workouts. Take your time and don’t skip the cooldown and stretching or massage sections as it can make a world of difference in how you feel tomorrow.

Repeat twice. • Row, bike, elliptical, or swim for five minutes. • Foam roller and/or stretch five minutes.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness writer certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit him Fitness e-book store if you want to start an exercise program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to [email protected]

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