The military's physical fitness test consists of push-ups, sit-ups and a timed run. Though the fitness test is crucial to assess a baseline level of fitness for everyone who takes it, it equates for only half of the Army Physical Fitness Program -- the other important component is the weigh-in. Because endurance, strength, overall aerobic capacity and weight are all considerations in determining whether or not someone is an appropriate candidate for the military, it makes sense that basic military training programs focus on all of these essential fitness factors while promoting effective calorie burn.
Upper-Body and Lower-Body Basics
Basic military workouts include resistance-training exercises that improve your upper- and lower-body strength. They incorporate upper-body calisthenic exercises, like push-ups, pull-ups and triceps dips. Combined with weightlifting exercises -- like bench presses, military presses and biceps curls -- these workouts are designed to help prepare individuals for the minimum-push-ups requirement for passing the military physical fitness test. This test requires men to complete 40 to 42 push-ups and women to complete 17 to 19. Lower-body calisthenic and weightlifting exercises -- like lunges, squats, extensions and curls -- strengthen and prepare leg muscles to power through the test's timed run.
Military training workouts also effectively target your core abdominal muscles. The abdominal crunches and sit-ups typically included in these workouts strengthen your core while preparing you to complete the minimum number of sit-ups required in the military physical fitness test. This test requires men and women to successfully complete 50 to 53 sit-ups in two minutes.
Because a timed run is part of military physical fitness tests, running is often integrated in military training workouts. In fact, interval-training runs are an effective way to improve speed in your test. Military workouts can train you to run fast bursts of half-mile distances and less, followed by active recovery periods that allow you to catch your breath. They can also include other cardiovascular activities -- like cycling, jogging, and jumping jacks -- to improve your overall aerobic capacity.
Cardiovascular exercises and strength-building exercises are often combined in alternating circuit-style workouts. Military training workouts combine various exercises in different ways to create countless circuit options. You can circuit train for as little as 20 minutes or you can train longer for more of a challenge. While circuit training promotes cardiovascular fitness and strength strides, it also increases your metabolism and helps you burn more calories. This approach to training supports weight management so that individuals taking the military physical fitness test are prepared for required weigh-ins.