The Army-Navy Football Game Inspired This Leg Day

Navy squats
(May 27, 2016) Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Airman Daniel Lopez performs squats while participating in the fitness enhancement program in the hangar bay aboard USS Boxer (LHD 4). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brett Anderson)

On the eve of the Army-Navy football game, here is a military-themed workout that mixes Army and Navy specialties, all of which require strong and resilient legs. Depending on which side you are rooting for, you can call it the "Beat Navy" or "Beat Army" Leg Day.

Good luck to both sides. I am thankful that we're all on the same team once this annual event is complete. Give this workout a try if you are looking for a good leg day mixed with cardio events.

Warm up with the squat and run pyramid 1-10 with 100-meter runs between sets. This half-pyramid totals 55 reps of squats and 1,000 meters of jogging as a warmup. These runs are not sprints.

  • 1 squat, run 100 meters
  • 2 squats, run 100 meters
  • 3 squats, run 100 meters
  • Keep going up the pyramid until level 10 and stop.
  • Then run two miles timed.

If you want to make this harder, you can opt for running on rough terrain (trails), hills or soft sand beaches. You can decide to wear PT clothes, boots and pants or add distance, depending on your group's fitness levels.

Repeat four times.

  • Kettlebell swings: 20*
  • KB squats: 10
  • KB farmer walks (4 x 25 meters) or fireman carry (2 x 50 meters)
  • Lunges: 50 meters with weight (chest carry)
  • Run: 400 meters to shake out the legs

* The kettlebell can weigh 35-50 pounds

Ruck: 2 miles with 50 pounds in backpack or weight vest on the same terrain as your earlier 2-mile run.

Finish the Squat Pyramid but add in faster runs this time.

Squat and Run Reverse Pyramid 9-1, with 100-meter fast runs between each set (total pyramid squats equals 100 reps).

If you are more advanced and can handle more squats, continue going up the pyramid (11-20) and finish at level 20. This option will yield 210 squats total when you add the warmup and this other "half."

For you Navy guys and Army divers, here is a way to top off the Army-Navy Leg Day.

Swim 2,000 yards with fins, followed by 10-minute tread with no fins and five-minute dynamic stretches in chest deep water to loosen tight legs, hips and lower-back muscles.

Any time you combine a run, swim and a ruck, we call it the Military/Spec Ops Triathlon. The run, swim and ruck are challenging enough to the legs and lungs. Adding kettlebell or dumbbell events will continue to work the legs in order to prepare for the tactical fitness tests all branches of service now use.

-- Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

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