With strong legs, a solid core, and high aerobic capacity, you can do almost anything (at least from a physical performance standpoint). These leg, core, and cardiovascular workouts are designed to help soldiers pass the new Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), but can also be used by civilians to help them survive.
This is functional fitness folks.
Recommended trainer: Spc Chris Kellum is a sniper infantryman in the Florida Army National Guard. As a NETA certified personal trainer and member of the Bravo Sierra team, his mission is to inspire others by incorporating fitness and the military on his YouTube channel and documenting the transition to a warrant officer to go to flight school. You can find all of his workouts in his Playbook fitness app.
Equipment needed: Fully equipped gym – barbell, plates, loaded sled, mini resistance bands, exercise ball, dumbbells, cables.
Time required: About an hour.
Training overview: Kellum's routine increases aerobic capacity while building strength and ultimate functionality in the lower body. The main components of the training are as follows:
Lower body strength circles (3) – The first involves two classic lifting movements (squats and lunges); the second prescribes sledge work (pushing and pulling) and sideways band walks; and the third hits back chain and calves with Romanian deadlifts, hip kicks, and calf raises. "You will lift less weight than usual because the intensity is high," says Kellum. "But we still want to focus on proper form, which can be compromised by heavy lifting when it's exhausted."
Core insulation – Four exercises (one crunch, two rotations and a plank hold) with short periods of time.
HIIT cardio sprints – A total of two miles of running, divided into two 800-meter joggings (warm-up and cool-down), two 400-meter sprints, two 200-meter sprints and four 100-meter sprints. A 1: 1 work-to-rest ratio makes this part of the training challenging (if not downright strenuous).
"This training was designed to create a structure to increase the combat efficiency of our service members," says Kellum. “The Army released the new Army Combat Fitness Test, and to help soldiers navigate the events, I developed my own Hybrid Warrior training plan. This is part 1 of the plan to build strength and endurance in the legs. "
Chris Kellum's leg, core and cardio training
- Leg swing forward – 20 repetitions per leg
- Lateral leg swings – 20 repetitions per leg
- Groiner – 2 sets, 20 repetitions per leg
- Slide slide – 2 sets, 20 yards (slow march, long strides, 1-2 45 pound plates)
Gradyreese / Getty
Circle 1 | 4 rounds:
- Barbell squats – 10-12 repetitions
- Reverse Lung – 12 reps per leg
- Rest 45-60 seconds
Circle 2 | 4 rounds:
- Sled Push & Pull – 20 meters down (push), 20 meters back (pull)
- Side band squat – 20 meters down, 20 meters back
- Rest 45-60 seconds
District 3 | 4 rounds:
- Romanian Deadlift – 12-15 reps
- Glute Hip Thrust – 12-15 reps
- Seated calf raises with dumbbells – 12-15 repetitions
- Rest 45-60 seconds
Complete all sets of each exercise before moving on to the next; Rest 15 seconds between sets.
- Exercise ball crunch – 3 sets, 30 reps
- Mason Twists (also known as Russian Twists) – 2 sets, 40 reps
- Lateral cable rotation – 3 sets, 15 repetitions per side
- Hold planks – 1 set, maximum time (2+ minutes of shooting)
HIIT cardio workout
Perform this cardio protocol after the above circuit and core workouts or in a separate session.
Directions: Alternate between sprints and breaks – sprint the specified distance, then rest for the time it took to sprint. For example, if it took you 3 minutes to run 800 meters, rest for 3 minutes and then start the work sets. If the first 400 meter sprint takes 90 seconds, rest 90 seconds before the next one.
- 2 x 400m sprints
- 2 x 200m sprints
- 4 x 100m sprints
- Squat with a barbell – Use a weight that is approximately 50% of your maximum 1 rep (1RM); For example, if your 1RM is 320, use 160 pounds for the 10-12 repetition sets. If you don't have a barbell (or don't prefer the barbell version), use dumbbells, a kettlebell, or a Smith machine instead.
- Reverse lunge – Either load with a barbell on your back or hold dumbbells or kettlebells by your sides. Use enough weight that 12 reps are challenging.
- Push & Pull slide – Push the slide 20 meters quickly and then slowly pull it back (go back) to the starting position.
- Lateral band squat walk – Do this exercise by putting a mini band around your thighs, just above your knees. Get into a squat position (thighs parallel to the floor), take side steps in this position. Walk 20 meters to the side, then 20 meters in the opposite direction. To increase the level of difficulty, hold a plate or dumbbell in front of you to activate your core and shoulder.
- Romanian deadlift – This can be done with either a barbell or dumbbells.
- Glute hip thrust – Do this exercise with a barbell resting in the bend of your hips, sit to the side of a bench with your upper back on the bench.
- Seated calf raises with dumbbells – If you have a seated calf raise machine available, you can use it in place of dumbbells. Otherwise, place two heavy dumbbells on your knees to complete the movement.
- Mason twists – To increase the difficulty (for advanced users), hold a medicine or weight plate over your chest with your arms bent.
- Lateral cable rotation – Do this exercise to the side of the weight stack, hold the cable in front of you and turn your torso to the side. Do all of the repetitions for one side, then repeat on the other side. Don't rest between pages. This exercise can also be done with a resistance band.
- Hold planks – If you repeat this workout more than once, make it a goal to increase the holding time each time.