T Nation

Going Through Army Basic Training


so I start BCT beginning of may. from what I gather there is roughly an hour of PT in the morning which would mostly consist of running, core work and pushups flutter kicks and whatnot.... but any training things would be aiming more towards muscular endurance rather than strength (feel free to correct me if I am wrong on this assumption). I am worried about losing too much strength.

I also gather there is roughly an hour or so of "personal time" in the evenings where you can do whatever it is you need to do. is there any way to fill this time with extra training (hypothetically a rucksack full of whatever weight I can muster) for variations of pushups, pullups, lunges, etc etc (for a "push" day, "pull" day and "leg" day)..... would this be productive in helping to maintain or build strength? or would it be venturing into the realm of overtraining?


you're gonna lose some strength regardless of what you do. barring any injury or you getting sick, if you put out on the PT and make sure you keep consistent in working out during your free time, you should be good off. You'll get down there though and all you wanna do it bullshit with your new mates and write letters though. haha happened to me


Dude you are not going to want to work out during basic. You'll understand once you get there, just try to maintain your strength for now but focus on running running running, push-ups and abs work. You can get the strength/muscle back after AIT or whatever advanced training you do afterwards. Strive to max your APFT.


Most soldiers either in basic or at their unit fail their APFT - Army Physical Fitness Test due to their run times. I would focus on this, if you can at least do 45-50 of pushups and situps in two minutes "correctly" you'll have no problem.

BCT has changed it appears every year. Everything is gradually becoming more easy, at least that's what the Army Times says...

Have fun. :slightly_smiling:


Army Times = National Enquirer/Star Magazine.

That particular headline, as are most from AT, belied reality. What is reality- and has been discussed on this forum someplace, is that recruits are entering the service notably more unfit than each previous year. Standardized PT is an attempt to progressively develop core strength through a series of structured warm-up and conditioning drills. By 'easier' - recruits are now required during 'red' and 'white' phases to get 8 hours of sleep (Lights out 2100- first call 0500). Time was taken away from classroom instruction, and more emphasis/time on rifle marksmanship (BRM and ARM).

Recently returned from a two week visit to Ft. Benning- and spent two days out at Sand Hill. Was able to have one-on-one discussions with Bn CDRs, CSMs, Drill Sergeants and recruits. OVERALL...I'm encouraged by what I saw- many good changes the past few years. Still some 'WTF' stuff, and much room for improvement.


Navy boot camp went through similar issues in the late 90s, most notably the advent of the 'stress card'. If a recruit felt too stressed, then he/she could pull out their stress card, and they were able to withdraw from whatever training/PT/'physical remediation' was going on at the time, and go sit in their happy place. This quickly turned into exactly what the RDC's predicted: a bunch of lazy ass recruits throwing their card at the first signs of something getting tough. The stress card, thankfully, quickly vanished. Not before some idiot got to the fleet and tried to play the 'stress card' during flight deck ops. From what I heard, he was more than happy to put his card away once his one-on-one counseling was finished.

OP, don't worry about losing strength during BCT/AIT. It's going to happen, accept it and move on. Worry about taking on board what they are teaching you, and getting it right. You will always have time to hit the gym and regain what you lost after those two blocks are done and you get to your first assignment. Depending on your MOS, there is a very real chance you could be getting shot at within a year or so, and what you learn now(and continue to learn) may save your life or your squad mates.


Listen to the guy above my post, and yeah man your not gonna want to workout during BCT maybe AIT depending on mos.I went through Ft. Benning, and yeah i went there weighting about 190 and at like 13% bodyfat. And at 5' 7" thats not bad. , i cam back and i weighed in at 172.

But i can run sub 13 min 2 milers, repeatedly, now im doing the whole balence thing. but hey man just focus on learning all that you can while at your training station. When i went to training i did the same thing i posted about doing extra, so yeah man just try to be a great soldier. And have fun with the experience.

PFC Strider


DITTO! Your going to be so damn worn-out at the end of the day all you are going to want to do is write a few letters and rack the fuck out. I went through Benning for OSUT in the summer and it will put a hurting on you especially if you aren't from the south. I would concentrate on doing some running now which will make the AGR runs at basic a little more bearable. Remember you need to have progression, if you have never ran 2 miles before then I would suggest you do a walk-to-run program.

Have fun at Sandhill!


Yeah, I went into my base's gym one time after being on a few weeks and did one set and said to myself..."Nah." Then went in the sauna for 20 minutes.

All I'd say is get very good at running 2 miles, as this is what they test you on I think. They did with us, but I was in the Canadian Army.


And what is you MOS? If its Infantry then your gonna have Fasted state of mind like every morning for atleast 2 hours, and that includes PT, Bay Maintence, and whatever else they think up.




How many people in basic come in maxing the APFT? Is it normal or a bell curve type deal? I'd like to crush the pt test when I go.


Speaking from personal experience I have never seen anyone max their first APFT. I would look at what the standards are for your age and use that to gauge where you stand. Ask your recruiter to give you a no-bullshit PT test to see where you need to improve.


I have to say ditto, we had like 1 290 and the next highest were in the 270-280s. I thought i was going to but that shit is hard once you get that standard thrown on your ass, haha. I did get a 274 though, I maxed Push ups, and got a 96 on the Sit ups, and i got 78 on the run. As time went on i maxed Sit ups, and my run and got like 78 on my Push ups. but hey its all good man.


That is some good shit! My first PT Test I did like 36 PU, 40 SU, and ran/walked the 2 mile in 22 min and some change. Needless to say I was out of shape. However 14 weeks later at our last PT Test before graduation I did 65 PU, 72 SU, and ran a 14:12 in 30 degree weather. It's amazing how quickly the body will adapt.


I hear that. Yeah our last PT test was the coldest day we were there, like 55, now that really aint that cold if you think about it, but think it was summer in southern Georgia so anything below 75 was freezing, when i came back to Florida i was in Key West and i was cold at the Beach in early October, hahaha.


If you want to make BCT PT as easy on yourself as possible start running, doing pushups, and sit-ups now. When you can hit 50 pushups, to standard, without stopping, about 70 sit-ups, and run a sub 16 2mile and a sub 40ish min 4mile youâ??ve made a good start. If you can do that before you get there youâ??ll be kicking ass by the time you leave.

Where you go to BCT makes a big difference and the shape youâ??re in when you get there will make a huge difference on whether or not you hit the gym in the process. I spent some time TDY at Ft. Knox and there were BCT and AIT privates in the field house gyms. They were in insanely good shape so rucking around and getting in some range time didnâ??t wipe them out for the day, but itâ??s all on the person.


I think this kid disappeared. Anyways...

I'd recommend, in terms of running, 4 running sessions a week. Two sessions of HIIT... sprints, stuff like 400m sprints, 200m sprints, 100m sprints, timed intervals, etc. And two sessions of steady-state running, but don't half-ass it either. Basically, run at least 2 miles as fast as you can. As you get better, you should be working your way up to 3-4 miles as fast as you can. And do timed 2 miles every couple of weeks.


Yea he shoulda stuck around and payed attention... I'll bet he washes out.


Thank you for the advice, everyone. I didn't start this thread, but all of it answers questions I wanted to ask.


Do they ever make recruits perform pull-ups at all during your boot camp?