Evolving Workout pt2

During my time as a Drill Sergeant, I used the pull up routine sporadically. The physical training of the Soldier’s was highly regimented at the time, and there was little wiggle room in what exercises we could and couldn’t have them perform. I won’t go into much more detail than to that, and keep my personal thoughts on it all to myself.

When I started as a DS, I was in outstanding shape, but long 18-20 hour days, back to back cycles, and inconsistent meal schedule (troops always get to eat, the DS, not so much) put a beating mentally and physically. The morning PT the troops were led through was not really a challenge for many of the DS’s, but finding the mental energy to really kill yourself in the gym on your own time was hard. During my day, I would find time to hit the gym in the unit area or at one of the Post gyms. This is when I really started to hit the big lifts, for lower reps and a focus on 1rep maxes, and old time strongman feats of strength. To sum it up, I got really strong, bulked up with alot of muscle, and let my endurance and cardiovascular go to the shit can.

What I did take away from this was the importance of a good balanced program (which I did not have), how much stronger but out of shape I was, and what it takes to get strong on the three big lifts. I would still do the pull up routine on occasion, but it became more of a test. I would time how long it took me to complete the whole routine sans the piggy back carries.

It wasn’t until I got to my next unit that I really got my wake up call on how far out of shape I was. Before deploying, I really hammered the pull up routine, running and circuit training. I continued to lift heavy but, two out of the five days of workouts were devoted to stamina and endurance. This schedule and patrolling the mountains started getting me back to where I wanted to be.

After redeploying, I started to see a huge improvement in my times in completing the workout. Instead of taking 50 minutes to an hour, I was in the 30-35 minute range.

About this time I decided for PT I would do a challenge workout, and see what I could do. The workout was real easy to remember, and really just sucked. The exercises in parentheses were those I rotated each set till I hit the total for that focus area.

  1. 100 chin ups/ pull ups (strict to start, kip towards the end)
  2. 200 push up exercises (regular, wide, close, Hindu and hand release)
  3. 300 ab execises (situps, crunches, obliques, and leg raises)
  4. 400 body weight squats ( squated to parallel touching my butt to a box each rep as a standard)
  5. 500 two handed Kettlebell swings with the 24kg bell. ( decided to finish with these as this is a whole body movement that would tax the legs, hips, upper back and hands once again and balance the squats with some hamstring work)

It took me almost two hours to get through. You had to finish all the reps in the exercise before moving on to the next exercise. Let’s just say the new Liutenant was not a happy camper, as I had him do it with me. My new goal was set. I wanted to do this workout in 60 minutes or less.

To do this I used the pull up routine every week, adding reps to the ground based exercises, and cutting the rest time down during transition between exercises. Every other week or so I would do a half session of the challenge, and try to get it under 30minutes.

  1. 50 pull ups
  2. 100 push ups
  3. 150 ab exercises
  4. 200 squats
  5. 250 swings @ 24kg

Soon I found my pull up routine times down in the high 20minute range, and a month and a half later got my under thirty minutes time for the half session at 29:46. Two weeks later I hit the full challenge, and completed it at 59:34.

I did the full routine with another of my many platoon leaders as well, but this guy is a beast. He was able to hang in there the first time he did it, and did it just over an hour no problem. He asked several times if he could switch exercises in a circuit fashion. I told him just to do the workout and don’t ask again, but he got me thinking, how bad would it be if it was broken down into rounds of each exercise.?

(I gave the full challenge a go yesterday, and completed the 400 squats at the 46 minute mark. I started the swings, and hit 260 reps at the 56:35 mark, but got called into a meeting before I could finish. I would have busted the 60 min goal, but not by all that much. not bad considering I haven’t done the full challenge since last September. My new LT. did the half challenge and finished at the 46 minute mark. He’s probably feeling it today I’m guessing. )


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