We get asked all the time for a list of military bodyweight workouts from my days in the Navy and training with other Special Forces units.
Several of us were talking after a workout at the gym and we started to come up with a quick list to get you going.
And guess what?
You do not need a fancy gym every time you want to improve your strength and muscles. You can use your own bodyweight.
What Are Bodyweight Exercises?
Body weight exercises, as the name suggests, are exercises that you can do with the weight of your own body.
The good thing about these exercises…
…is that you need minimum equipment, and the positions mentioned in this article will help you increase your strength and improve your body.
Besides being easy to carry out, bodyweight exercises and military calisthenics workouts also give you the added benefit of being versatile and thorough.
What does this mean to you?
These exercises are meant to give you a complete muscle endurance and body workout and work on all your muscles including your chest, back, legs, shoulders, arms, and abs.
There are multiple options mentioned in this article, and you have the option of picking out your favorite calisthenics exercise or workout routine from the given ones.
A military calisthenics workout, if done in the right form…
…these simple bodyweight exercises can vastly improve your strength, movement, endurance, and overall quality of life.
WORKOUT #1 SEVERIN
50 Strict Pull-ups (Strict pull-ups mean that when you’re at the bottom of the movement, your arms should be completely straight and you should be hanging vertically on the bar.)
100 Push-ups, release hands from floor at the bottom (Pushups are one of the best strength workout exercises that you can do. They work on your shoulders, chest, arms, and back.)
Run 5K *If you’ve got a twenty-pound weighted vest or body armor, wear it.
Check out the SGPT Article: “Top 10 Weight Vest Reviews” with gear that SGPT athletes use.
CrossFit elite times Peter Egyed 34:59 (20lb vest), Graham Holmberg 38:20 (20lb vest), Russ Malz 41:53 (20lb vest), Kim Malz 44:09 (no vest).
Need a Bodyweight Training Plan to Prep You for BUD/s Or Simply to get you in Peak Physical Shape?
Check out SGPT’s 30 Day Navy SEAL Bodyweight Training Program:
To do these types of workouts, you need almost no gear to get started. You can do these workouts in your apartment bedroom or a back balcony or preferably outdoors.
If you have a friend that wants to do the workouts with you, that would be a big boost for keeping you accountable with your exercise. This will not only help you stay more motivated with your full-body workout, but will also help you track each other’s progress and help each other do better.
If you’re doing this workout outdoors, make sure that some of these calisthenics exercises do not cause any injuries. You may want to use a yoga mat for a little bit of comfort when doing sit ups or other upper body exercises on hard or uneven surfaces.
If you cannot complete the program, do not be discouraged. You can put the practice in and get better before you attempt to finish it again. With enough commitment and consistency, you will get closer to your goals.
WORKOUT #2 “THE POINT”
10k run for time
100 four count flutter kicks
50 toe to bar
25 crunches finish with a 5-minute plank on hand. When you’re in a plank position, make sure that your body is completely straight for the complete time period for the best results. Keep in mind that your body needs to be at an angle with the floor.
Six rounds for time of:
50 air Squats
25 Ring dips (or regular dips if no rings are available. If regular dips are not possible, then do dips on a bench.)
CrossFit elite time – Kristan Clever 14:13.
25 leg levers
5-minute plank hold on hands. You can start recording the minute timer on your phone or a stopwatch before you get in the position.
Question: What is a good weight vest to use for these exercises?
Answer: We like the MiR weighted vest as it is a good value at around $60 (20 lb) and gets great reviews.
Many CrossFit athletes and the famous Bar-Barians can also be seen in their videos knocking out dips and pull-ups with this vest.
#3 SPECIAL FORCES WORKOUT
100 pull-ups run 200 meters every time you come off the bar.
Run fast – don’t jog or loiter. It is in your interest to stay on the bar longer so that you run less.
200 pushups run 200 meters between sets of pushups. This will work on your torso, mainly your chest and triceps, and improve endurance, as well.
300 situps run 200 meters between sets of sit-ups
*If you are taking a BUD/S PST in the near future, do 400 meter runs between sets. This workout can take 30-60 minutes to complete – if you can complete it.
#4 BURPEE RUN
Run 3 miles total for a time
At the start, do 5 burpees at every 1/4 mile
Do 5 burpees with 60 total burpees
Not enough core and abs for you Special Forces snake eaters? Try this…
25 weighted sit-ups (with 20 lbs or as needed)
30 toe to bar 35 Russian Twist (with 20 lb weight)
40 Mountain climbers
Want to challenge yourself with one of the hardest Military Fitness Training Plans in the world? Check out SGPT Online’s Tier 1 Training System HERE!
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Disclaimer: This program is extremely rigorous and physically demanding. You must be in peak physical shape before you even start this program. This program is designed to prep you for the physical standards of a Tier 1 Operator.
#5 DEATH BY PULL-UPS
Every minute on the minute (EMOM)Set a running clock. In minute 1 do one pull-up.
In minute, 2 do 2 pull up. Continue until you can no longer do the number of pull-ups in that minute on the clock.
Note the number of Pull-ups completed at the last minute finished.
Not enough ab and core for you Special Forces warriors? Try this…
25 alternating sit-ups (touch each knee) 30 mountain climbers 35 reverse crunches
Question: Do you know of a good book or article that has a larger list of good bodyweight exercises?
Answer: Check out the Bodyweight Cross Training WOD Bible: 220 Travel Friendly Home Workouts. You will find a ton of great bodyweight workouts in that book to keep you going for months. If you do every workout in this book — you’re a bad @ss.
Video – Death by Pull ups workout
Check out the Wright Exercise Mounted Pull Up Bar @ Amazon.com
3 rounds for time:
1 mile run
With weight vest
Not enough abs and core? Try adding this as a finisher…
50 four count flutter kicks 40 sit-ups with weight overhead 30 leg levers 20 sitting toe touches 10 slow crunches (count slow to four and hold at top)
10 rounds for time
Rest 30 seconds – repeat
When your get to your rest period dont lay down. Stand up and move your body around to keep your blood flowing. Stretch arms and shoulders to release lactic acid buildup.
#8 5K TRAIL RUN
5k run or 1 mile run for time. Go to a local greenspace area and run on the trails. Start out on less technical areas and slowly work your way up by adding trails that are steeper or have more elevation.
Over time add more complex features like roots, chunky rock and gravel. Proceed slowly and enjoy adding in a trail run to your mix. Pick a local course and use the Strava app to replicate this in future workouts.
#9 DECK OF CARDS
This is a workout that I would do up on the flight deck of the USS Cleveland while I was serving as a Radioman (RM) in the regular Navy. I bought a fresh deck of cards from the ships store and got my workout buddy and hit it.
With a Deck of Cards Diamonds = Push-ups Spades = Pull-ups Hearts = Burpees Clubs = Sit ups Joker = run one mile (log and post your time)
Later in my life I was working out at a CrossFit gym and our Coach broke out a deck of cards as the workout of the day. It was great to use this old school method again as a method to workout.
Run 1 mile
300 air squats
Run 1 mile
With a weight vest
Check out this SGPT article on Murph workout tips
Questions from athletes in our gym
Question: Coach, where can I find special forces bodyweight training for abs?
Answer: Do the CrossFit workout Annie and you will feel the burn in your abs.
Question: What are the top 5 army exercises?
Answer: The top five army exercises you will see are pushups, sit-ups, pull-ups, air squats, and burpees.
Question: What is a military workout?
Answer: Military workouts are described as functional fitness using bodyweight, sand bags, swimming, running and hiking. Workouts can be performed in a HIIT method (High intensity, short time) or as long endurance. The goal is to build better military candidates for war time.
Question: Where can I find out more info on the US Army Special Forces?
Answer: Check out their website here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brad McLeod knows first hand about mental toughness. After passing Hell Week and Dive Pool Comp at BUD/S, he failed a math test and was kicked out of training. A year later, he returned, graduated, and served as an operator on the Navy SEAL Teams.
Today, he helps Veterans and athletes achieve their dreams and goals. Check out SEALgrinderPT Coaching to help you step up and take hold of your dreams and realize your goals.
Proceeds from this website go to help raise funds for the Navy SEAL Foundation. SGPT has finished several endurance off road bike challenges to help raise funds and awareness for Veterans in need.