Joining the military? You need to train hard to qualify! Did you know that 80 percent of all military recruitments are turned down because they don’t pass the fitness requirements?
To get recruited, you’ve got to be fit. That means grabbing your WOLFPak athletic backpack, going to the gym, and getting it done. But it also means meal prepping with your WOLFpak meal bag, sleeping eight hours and focusing on recovery. Fitness isn’t just what you do in the gym, it’s what you do out of the gym! For now, we’re just going to focus on the fitness.
Here’s how to adjust your training to pass the military fitness test.
WOLFpak and the Military
To celebrate the release of our new military patch collection, we’re sharing more content about the military and a link to our military patches. You can use these on your WOLFpak fitness backpacks!
To say a special thank you to each person standing forward to protect our country, we’ve organized a discount of WOLFpak gear just for you. Click here to get a military discount.
What is the Military Fitness Test?
The military fitness test, known as the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), is used to test the physical and mental capabilities of enlisting soldiers and officers. Check out this article we wrote that covered everything you need to know about the ACFT.
The article covers some of the main goals of your training in order to pass the ACFT, these include:
- Building strength
- Improving endurance
- Increasing explosive power
- Building stamina
So based on these four goals, how can you adjust your workout routine to pass the military fitness test? Let’s dive into this and also offer an example training routine.
How to Build Strength
Simple: lift weights! Pack everything you need in your WOLFpak workout backpack and get to the gym, and then:
- Focus on compound lifts like deadlifts, squats and bench press. These work the maximum amount of muscles per exercise.
- Increase the weight and reps over time to continuously test your muscles.
- Eat in a calorie surplus to fuel your muscle growth.
It’s really as simple as that. If you’ve been doing that and not seeing results, it’s a sign that you haven’t been consistent, or you haven’t been increasing your workout load enough to test your muscles. The goal is to keep providing enough of a workout stimulus to keep increasing body strength.
How to Improve Endurance
Endurance is how long an activity can be performed in total. It refers to cardiovascular efficiency. This is how well your heart, lungs, and muscles work together to distribute blood and oxygen around your body to sustain activity.
Any activity that needs to be sustained for long periods requires endurance, like marathon running. Your cardiovascular system needs to be efficient at transporting oxygenated blood around your body to your working muscles to continue movement. The goal in endurance sports isn’t to max out on effort or work at maximum capacity, it’s to be physically capable of persistent activity.
- Cycle between high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and long runs or bike rides.
- Do one long run or bike ride per week (working out for more than one hour!).
- Keep a steady pass in your run and go for as long as possible.
Increase Explosive Power
Explosive power involves any motion like throwing, punching, lifting, or sprinting. It’s the energy and power required to react quickly and strongly. Simply put, it refers to an individual's ability to exert a maximum amount of force in the shortest possible time.
So how can you improve this? You’ll want to practice exercises like box jumps and ball throws. Trying to perform as many as possible in a given time and then use that as a benchmark for progress is usually the best way to measure explosive power gains.
What Exercises to Practice for the ACFT?
Olympic lifts are arguably the best method to develop explosive strength. Key lifts include: deadlifts, squats, overhead press and bench press. These lifts involve the activation of several muscles, not to mention the need for balance and core strength, joint mobility and kinetic chain sequencing.
These exercises are explosive in nature - for example the squat. With the barbell on your back you lower down with controlled tension into a squat position and use explosive power to return to standing. The higher the weight, the more muscular tension, strength, balance etc that is required.
If lifting isn’t your chosen method of developing lower body strength then box jumps may be your best bet. Box jumps involve fast body weighted movements, explosively jumping from the ground to a raised box.
These jumps encourage maximal force production in the shortest amount of time (working in the anaerobic zone), similar to the quick force required in a punch.
Medicine ball throws
Throwing a heavy medicine ball down to the ground or sideways to the wall is a great way to improve explosive power and strength. There is no deceleration period required, only acceleration in the movement, meaning that you just practice the ‘explosion’ again and again with no lead up.
The sideways wall throw develops transverse/axial plane power, which essentially is your ability to move from the superior to inferior muscle groups in your body quickly and smoothly. This is necessary for landing powerful punches and getting back quickly to defend yourself and dodge the next move.
Improving your cardiovascular capacity is key to endurance. Sprinting, or another intense cardio machine like the rower, is great for increasing your fitness levels and building strength and explosive power.
Sprinting increases your stamina, burns a lot of calories and boosts your metabolism to keep your body functioning at a higher level following the workout. It also increases the production of human growth hormone (HGH) in your body and increases testosterone which helps to build and maintain muscle mass.
A 10-Minute Workout to Prepare for the ACFT