Leg days during calisthenics and cardio cycles should look different than a typical leg day at the gym, where you lift heavy weights and rest frequently between sets. This typical leg day works during a strength and power cycle, but if the goal is to improve cardio times in running and swimming, you need to work on leg muscle endurance as well.
This is a fun mix of run and swim cardio events mixed in with leg exercises. This training improves both the condition and the endurance of the lungs and legs.
Squat Pyramid 1-10 (stop at 10) with 100 meter dashes and dynamic stretches between each set.
This is a classic leg warm-up that’s recommended no matter what cycle you’re doing. Before strength training, get the blood pumping through your legs and lungs with a quick five- to 10-minute warm-up like the one-to-ten half pyramid squat. This equates to 55 bodyweight reps for a 1,000 meter jog. You’ll feel warmed up to lift or run after this warm-up.
Run a mile fast and 400 meter lunges.
Next, run a mile, followed by a non-stop walking lunge set (without weight) for 400 meters.
A NOTICE: If you haven’t already done this, start with 100-200 meter lunges and work your way up to 400 meters as this will leave you very sore if you are not ready.
One of our goals is to be able to do a 400-yard lunge without stopping with a chest carry of a 40-50 pound sandbag and Not be sore for the next two days. This takes time and steady increases in distance and weight.
Here you can find out your muscular endurance. If you’ve run 800 meters at your target mile pace after the above workout segment and squat drills, your muscular endurance is above average.
We typically make this running pace our four- to five-mile target running pace. So if our goal is to run a 28-minute 4-mile or a 35-minute 5-mile, our pace is a 7-minute mile and an 800-meter (or half-mile ) at 3:30. . This is not a sprint workout; The lesson is learning the target pace with tired legs.
Repeat four times.
- Run: 800 meters at target mile pace
- Squats: 25
- Plank or stretch: 1 minute
You can add an exercise of your choice as an active rest. Planking, sit-ups, flutter kicks, or hanging knee-ups are good ways to “rest” on the running sets. The recommendation is to complete every fitness test that you are required to pass in this section.
The leg workout for the day ends as it began, with an inverted squat pyramid, 10-1 and 100 meter sprints mixed in with dynamic stretches between sets. Use 20-30 meters of the 100 meter dash to do some dynamic stretches as a cool down.
swim or jerk
Depending on your branch of service and the event you need to improve the most, either swim with fins or jerk as the last event. You can also do this later in the day after a recovery period for best results.
Here is the swim training: Fast swim 500 meters without fins and 1,500 meters with fins for time in a pool or open water, depending on your ability and your environment.
Here’s the jerk workout: Walk a 50-pound jerk (or choose a weight for your current ability) for three miles and practice three different paces to develop a jerk strategy for future long jerk events.
Mile 1 is an easy walk. Record your time. Mile 2 is a power walk. That pace should put you in line with Army (and other service) standards of at least 15 minutes per mile. For mile 3, do a half step shuffle at a pace of 10 to 12 minutes per mile depending on the cadence you can keep to yourself.
Practicing this exercise will help you when backpacks get long in training and you need a strategy to recover. It will also help you catch up if necessary to exceed the standards of this event.
This is a calisthenics and cardio leg day. Enjoy.
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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