T Nation

Military Specific Training


I am a 20 year old marine who has lifted off and on for about 4 years. I am 6'0" and 155 lbs (yes i know...). Anyways I have always been in good shape but have never really been able to master the excercises that are needed in the marines. Specifically, what is the best way to improve my pullups (up to 20+), situps and three mile run time??

Does anyone have good programs that they personally have used to improve these excercise results? Now I obviously know running is improved by running, but I have had some positive results with things like weighted duck walks and walking lunges, etc. Any suggestions on how to improve my numbers would be appreciated. I am currently doing 13-14 pullups and running in the 22 min range right now.


For running, Tim Noake's, MD book, Lore of Running is awesome.


I remember about 6 years back when I couldn't do one single pull-up. So what did I do? Every single day, regardless of what muscle groups I was working at the gym, I always made sure to make several attempts at the pull-up. When I could do one, I tried to do two...and so on and so forth...
When I could do around 8, I started using a weight belt and tying it around a dumbbell, then trying to do more pull-ups. At my peak, I could do 23 pull-ups (with my own body weight).
So, persistence and "over training" (the extra weight) got me where I wanted to be.



I sorta asked the same question a few days ago and someone told me about crossfit.com. So far I like it but I'm also lookin to see how I could combine the crossfit stuff with EDT and bodyweight excerise.


Try following the workouts posted on crossfit.com. Combine crossfit with some extra running and you will be good to go. You will do tons of pullups in crossfit.

I have been crossfitting for about a year now and there isn't much better out there to get you in good combat condition as well as PFT condition. I have several Marines in my company doing crossfit and they have all seen improvements in pullups and run times.
I posted a thread called Military Strength and Conditioning a couple days ago that should still be up in the Strength Sports forum. There are quite a few posts there about Military workouts.


It's a great book but it is very confusing for most people.

I did a thing where I would do 2 pullups every minute for as many minutes as i could - went from 5 minutes to 9 in one month and in that same month I went from being able to do 3-4 in a row to being able to do 7 in one shot.

As far as running, run everyday - in a year you should go from 22 to 19ish by just running everyday.

Learn how to set up a week of training and you can go 18ish in a year.

Long run once a week, 2 threshold runs a week, and the rest easish and maybe a 2nd medium distance run (almost a long run, but not quite).

For situps just do them every day.

No offense to the marines but there standards are not that hard to attain. Just by being a person who works out everyday for a year maybe two gets you to the standards or well below them.

Don't be afraid to gain some weight also, the 3 mile race, as crazy as it might sound to a 22 minute runner, is very similar to the mile, which has a huge anaerobic power component to it.

Btw i'm the same height as you and ran a 17:45 5k (3.1miles) at a similar weight. and the year befor i ran a 22:55 best. I trained like a newbie because I was one all year long - and still came out decent.


For pull-ups I tried the grease-the-groove program by Pavel. I know he's a little fadish but the program worked well for me. Basically you do multiple sets of your choosen exercise through out the day but do half or maybe a third or even a quarter of your best total. I did anywhere from 3-6 sets a day usually adding one set a week over 3 weeks using the same reps for each set. After 3 weeks I would set a new max and start over with 3 sets. I hit 22 dead hang bodyweight pull-ups after 8 weeks. It works well with push-ups also.


I'd suggest (and I do this myself) to do moderately heavy full body workouts. The stronger you get, the lower percentage of your max your bodyweight becomes. 2 weight sessions and 2 strength endurance sessions (where you would actually work on high rep pullups) would work well. For running, I'd look up some of the 5k training programs. The one I'm using now is three times a week. One day is a longer run (over 3 miles) at a slower pace, one day is hill running, and one day is intervals.

My personal opinion is that the PFT doesnt prepare a Marine for combat, but that's neither here nor there. Good luck with your training.


Search for that pullup thread zeb posted a while back.


To become proficient at these exercises you have to break each one down for what it is. The runs are endurance exercises for your cardiovascular system and legs. The situps are endurance exercises for your hip flexors and to a lesser degree abdominals. The pushups are endurance exercises for your push system. Last but not least, depending on your weight pullups are strength/muscular endurance for your pull complex. What is key in all these exercises is that you get as strong as you can, (which you will over time given proper training) but increase your weight as little as possible. All of these exercises become much more difficult with the addition of even 5 pounds. Over time your body will adapt and you will increase muscle mass in the only area that requires it given your strength demands, in your lats and related pull muscles. Do what the others have said and add weight to your chins,


Another JAR-HEAD!!! What we do to improve our 3mile run time is not a specific program we would run up hill\mountain and every 5-7min between we would do 75 crunches with the good ol ruck sacks. Whats your MOS?

G' Luck
Sempi Fi, Godspeed