Military Workout of the Week: Chest and Push Day

First sergeants assigned to the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, preform hand-release push-ups, Aug. 27, 2019. (U.S. Army/Neysa Canfield)
First sergeants assigned to the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, preform hand-release push-ups, Aug. 27, 2019. (U.S. Army/Neysa Canfield)

When doing split routines, it's common to divide working the body into different days. You can also do a workout that engages the entire body and split it with a cardio event day in between during the week. Most split routines are seen in hypertrophy programs or body building programs, but it is wise to at least split your days into upper body one day and lower body the next, especially if you like going to the gym every day. The real reason for splitting the body into multiple days is so you work on the movement or muscle specifically, then allow your body to recover for a few days before activating again.

This favorite workout of the week is a split routine day where you do all the upper body push exercises. Some split routines will focus on just chest or shoulders or arms, but this is a combination of all the ways to push your body or an object away from your body.

Start off with a warm-up that turns into a quick early challenge about half way into it. The Push-up Pyramid with 100 meters runs in between sets is a way to build up to over a mile of jogging (or faster) and over 200 push-ups in a relatively short time. We do this on a local football field and push through this "warm-up" pretty quickly.

Push-up Pyramid Warm-up

Push-up pyramid 1-20 warm-up with 100 meters runs in between (stop at 20) = 210 push-ups and 2,000 yards running.

In other words, do:

1 push-up -- run 100 meters

2 push-ups -- run 100 meters

3 push-ups -- run 100 meters ... and so on.

Keep moving until you reach 20. If you cannot do 210 push-ups in a short period of time, instead continue up to 10, then repeat in reverse order from 9 down to 1. This will drop the total number of pushups to 100, but keep the run at 1,900 yards.

Then, stretch as needed.

Next, hit the weight room.

The weight room section is a mix of barbells or dumbbells or cable machines. This is a no rest circuit that will push you to keep up with the repetitions. In fact, you may need to lighten the load or take a short water break about halfway through.

Repeat 4 times:

Bench Press 10 (no rest)

Pushups 10 (no rest) Note: after doing a bench press, push-ups will be tough.

Military Press 10

Tricep push downs or Tricep Extension 10-15

Lightweight Shoulders Workout -- 5 lbs dumbbells. This is a challenging six exercise shoulder workout done with light weight.

Run and Calisthenics Section

These runs are shorter but faster. You can either try to run these as fast as you can or shoot for your goal mile pace on timed runs.

Repeat 4 times:

Run 800 meters

Dips, max reps

Hang knee-up 10 -- Hang from a pull-up bar and lift your knees to your chest.

Push press 10-15 -- With a moderately heavy weight, use your legs to push the weight over your head.

Optional Cool-down Cardio:

Swim 500 meters warm-up or 10 minute tread. It is up to you to practice treading without hands, but after the above chest, shoulders and arm workout, you may find that treading water using your hands only is quite refreshing especially prior to swimming the sets below.

Repeat 10 times:

Swim 50 meters free fast

Swim 50 meters at goal pace CSS (or any other rest or testing stroke)

If you really want to push it, try to crab walk the length of the pool at sets 1,5, and 10.

If you have not had enough pushing yet, you can add some push-ups in between sets of the above swim workout and make this a swim PT. Usually, by this point in the workout (90 minutes), the arms are pretty dead and just swimming freestyle stroke is challenging enough.

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