Personal Training for the Military | Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

Personal Training for the Military

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • Fitness testing may vary depending on which branch of the military you join.
  • You should start preparing your body.
  • Many people enter basic training overweight and deconditioned.

It’s a common misconception that when you decide to join the military, all you need to do is show up. Far too often, both men and women arrive at boot camp out of shape. Many individuals are overweight and deconditioned, unable to withstand rigorous training. After all, basic training is far from basic. Preparing your body for the military is a demanding process. It surpasses simply your physical endurance.

Since every facet of your endurance will be tested, it’s important to undergo a training regimen that preps both your body and mind.

Without adequate preparation, it’s not hard to see how so many people get injured and are unable to meet the fitness standards of boot camp. In addition to the remedial physical training, you also need to change your diet.

As with any major life change, you need a strategy on how you plan on reaching your goals. In the case of joining the military, getting in shape should be a top priority. Below, we put together a list of the most important things you should do before your first day in the military.

To get even more out of your pre-military training, go PRO today for access to certified personal trainers, tailored workout plans, and more.


Serving your country is admirable, but you need to have the right mindset before jumping in with both feet. And although it’s an exciting time, it may also be a bit overwhelming. Preparing for body and mind can be stressful, so working with an experienced personal trainer can put you on the right path. The right trainer will keep your enthusiasm high while prepping your body for basic training.

Personal Training Regimen

Working out in preparation for the military is different from simply exercising to lose weight.

Split Workouts

Your trainer will probably have you split your exercise routines in the morning and afternoon. You can complete at least 30 minutes of cardio in the morning of varying intensities, with an afternoon session of strength training. To ensure adequate recovery time, avoid resistance exercises at night.


There’s no doubt that you will do a lot of running in basic training. To prepare for the rigorous military training, you should run on a daily basis for at least 30 minutes and slowly increase the time and distance. Since most boot camps require timed running tests, it’s important to prepare your body beforehand. Therefore, you’ll be more successful when the time comes for fitness evaluation.

Strength Training

In addition to cardiovascular training, you should incorporate bodyweight exercises into your regimen. Push-ups are an optimal choice for building upper body strength. Your end goal should be to complete 100 push-ups before you leave for basic training. Focus on the depth of your push-ups, in addition to your back position and range of motion.


Traditional fitness testing in boot camp involves at least two minutes of crunches while holding a weight in front of you. To prepare for this appropriately, you should start by incorporating weighted crunches into your workout routine three times a week.

Slowly increase the repetitions with proper form as frequently as possible. You should also incorporate a variety of core-strengthening exercises like oblique twists, leg lifts, and reverse crunches.


Having adequate flexibility is vital for avoiding injuries. Basic stretches are the best place to start. Start by stretching your legs, particularly your hamstrings, on a daily basis. Try to hold for counts up to 35 each day. Since your flexibility will also be tested in basic training, it’s important to incorporate stretching into your current fitness routine.

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High-Frequency Training

Even if you’ve been active in the gym, it’s important that you introduce high-frequency training into your current workout regimen. A personal trainer can show you the right way to increase the frequency with added repetitions of the appropriate exercises.

Perfecting Your Form

Just because you can do 50 crunches doesn’t mean you are doing them correctly. Proper form is imperative, so if you find yourself straining or having back pain, enlisting the help of a personal trainer for military fitness training will help you perfect your form.

Serving your country may be the right decision, but it isn’t easy. To be successful, take the time and energy to prepare yourself both mentally and physically.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long is basic training?

Army basic training lasts nine weeks; Air Force basic training lasts eight weeks plus one week of processing; Navy basic training lasts  seven weeks plus one week of processing; The Marine Corps basic training lasts 12 weeks, plus four days of processing; Coast Guard basic training lasts 7.5 weeks

If I have an injury, can I still join the military?

It completely depends on the injury. Your recruiter will help you determine whether or not a current or preexisting injury or medical complication will disqualify you from joining the military.

Does the military have an age limit?

Excluding the Navy Reserve, every branch permits those who are 17 to join the military with parental consent (the Navy Reserve has a minimum age requirement of 18). The maximum age to join the military differs for each branch: Army age limit for active duty, Guard, and Army Reserve is 35; Navy is 34 for active duty and 39 for Navy Reserve; Marine Corps is 29 for active duty and the Reserves; Air Force is 39 for active duty, Guard, and Reserve and 38 for Air Force Reserve; Coast Guard is 27 for active duty and 39 for Coast Guard Reserve.

Are the physical requirements for basic training different for women?

Yes. The Army, for example, requires that men aged 17 to 21 do 35 push-ups, 47 sit-ups, and run two miles in no more than 16:36. Women of the same age are required to complete 13 push-ups, 47 sit-ups, and run two miles in no more than 19:42.

Leaving home for extended periods is stressful enough, but being pushed to your physical limits without proper training can be dangerous. Working with an experienced personal trainer can help you be military-ready when the day finally comes. Go PRO today for access to certified trainers and workouts that are created with your goals in mind.

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