T Nation

APFT prep Program

I just got done with a bulking phase (currently maintaining) and i’m trying to plan a cutting/APFT prep phase. My primary concern is not so much fat loss as it is improving cardiovascular endurance and maintaining upper-body strength (though fat loss is a goal, as it will improve my relative strength). I don’t do daily PT, as I’m in the National Guard. I’m an ectomorph, so i don’t plan to change caloric intake very much. My current plan is to use 20 minutes of HIIT and 20 min of endurance running on off days. My question is what kind of program would you recommend. I’m leaning towards a 5x5 program, but wondering if Meltdown training would be better to improve my cardio-respiratory endurance. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

oh btw, i’m a student living in a dorm in a college, so that limits my training and ability to diet and supplement. also my stats are 5’9, 178, 13% bf, and one semester of continuous lifting, but have been lifting on and off for 7 years.

I’ve maxed the APFT for several years now, and here’s what I do: Lift for strength (5x5 works, 1-6 Principal-themed workouts are my favorites, though) until 2 weeks before. Cardio thrown in at least 3x weekly for 20 mins. From 2 weeks until the test, only do bodyweight exercises (PU, SU, Pull Ups, etc) and run (2 miles for time, 5 miles for fun, only because I know the 2 and 5 mile points on the route I run) 4x a week. Rest the night before (obviously), stretch in the shower (assuming its a morning PT test), stretch just before the events. Max it!
Alpha Leads The Way!
-CDT Neuenfeldt

I just want to say that being in the National Gaurd is no excuse to not be in shape. I happen to be in the National Gaurd proudly serving in a Special Operations TACP field. I really get sick of all the “lazy gaurd” comments. I know that we train just as hard if not harder than all the other troops out there. Sorry, had to vent. Good luck with your training.

I’m actually not really out of shape at all. i’ve consistently scored above 270, with 90 in each event. I’ve just been training for strength and let my running go, and am looking for advice on ways to improve my run without losing strength. I was just saying that i don’t do PT every day, as you would on active duty.


Plan for increasing push-ups, normal strength training (5x5, 1-6), whatever. After your maximal effort of whatever pressing movement of the day, rest fully (2-4 min). Next start a 10x10 pushup (as you will do them in the APFT) section, making sure that each set of ten is completed in 12 seconds of less. At 5’9", you shouldn’t have any trouble with this pace. Set a rest interval that you are sure that you can maintain for the first workout, i.e. 120 sec. Each time you repeat your pressing workout, shorten that rest interval by 10 to 15 sec. Obviously, you will have to lower the volume of other pressing movements. I have found that do this frequently (twice a week, or three times every two weeks) works best.

Plan for increasing running time. First off, two miles is not very far to run, second off 13:00 is a rather generous time to complete the run. If you’re like me, and don’t like to run for distance (you know, maybe you like to actually be able to sprint, jump, etc), I would suggest that you use ‘Renegade style’ GPP at some time throughout the day (I like first thing in the morning, you may prefer to do it before you go out partying), six days a week. Once you get to the point where you can do five circuits (ten minutes) of jumping jacks (side straddle hops), burpees (squat thrusts), slalom hops, and mountain climbers, maxing the APFT will be probably be a moot point. In the mean time (while you are working up to that level of GPP) try applying the same principle that you will use on the push-ups on the running. After warming up, complete a set of intervals, adding up to two miles, with a set, decreasing rest interval. If you are going to use this method, I would suggest setting a target two mile run of 12:00, as I feel that 13:00 is easily attained. This gives you a quater mile interval of 90 seconds, an eighth mile interval (one half lap) of 45 seconds, etc. Assuming you start with half laps, and 90 second rests (I don’t know your fitness level), a twice a week progression would look like this.

16x1/2 lap. Target interval-45 sec. Initial rest period 90 sec. Each time workout is repeated, subtract 15 secs from rest interval. If unable to complete a workout, go back to the last completed workout and then subtract by 10 seconds, instead of 15. Once you complete 16x1/2 with 10 or 15 second rest periods (depending on whether you had to repeat any workouts), increase to distance run during each interval to one lap (so that you are doing 8x1) and start again with an increased rest interval. You might want to increase to rest interval to 120 or 150 seconds to start, since you will be working much harder each lap. Once you can complete 8x1 with 15 seconds rest, go to 4x2 and then 2x4.

As far a sit-ups are concerned, I have no advice, as I have never had a problem getting 100 hundred or more. Good luck, and I hope this helps. If I confused you, I took this idea from Charles Staley, so if you go to his website, he could explain, probably better then I can.