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With strong legs, a solid core, and high aerobic capacity, you can do damn near anything (at least from a physical performance perspective). This legs, core, and cardio workout was created to help soldiers survive the new Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), but it can also be used by civilians to survive, period.
That’s functional fitness, people.
Featured Trainer: SPC Chris Kellum is a sniper team infantryman in the Florida Army National Guard. A NETA-certified personal trainer and member of the Bravo Sierra team, his mission is to inspire others by incorporating fitness and military on his YouTube channel and documenting the process of transitioning to a warrant officer to go to flight school. All of his workouts can be found on his Playbook fitness app.
Equipment Needed: Fully equipped gym — barbell, plates, loaded sled, mini resistance bands, exercise ball, dumbbells, cables.
Time Commitment: About an hour.
Workout Overview: Kellum’s routine will increase aerobic capacity while building strength and ultimate functionality in the lower body. The main components of the workout are as follows:
Lower-body strength circuits (3) – The first one incorporates two classic lifting moves (squats and lunges); the second prescribes sled work (push and pulling) and lateral band walks; and the third hits posterior chain and calves with Romanian deadlifts, hip thrusts, and calf raises. “You’ll be lifting less weight than usual, as the intensity is high,” says Kellum. “But we still want to focus on proper form, which can be compromised by lifting heavy while depleted.”
Core isolation – Four exercises (a crunch, two rotational moves, and a plank hold) performed with short periods.
HIIT cardio sprints – Two miles total of running, broken up into two 800-meter jogs (warmup and cooldown), two 400-meter sprints, two 200-meter sprints, and four 100-meter sprints. A 1:1 work-to-rest ratio will make this portion of the workout challenging (if not downright grueling).
“This workout has been designed to create a structure to increase the combat effectiveness of our service members,” says Kellum. “The Army has released the new Army Combat Fitness Test, and to help soldiers master the events, I developed my own ‘Hybrid Warrior’ training plan. This is Part 1 of the plan to help build strength and endurance in the legs.”
Circuit 1 | 4 Rounds:
Circuit 2 | 4 Rounds:
Circuit 3 | 4 Rounds:
Complete all sets of each exercise before moving to the next; rest 15 seconds between sets.
Perform this cardio protocol after the above circuits and core workout, or in a separate session.
Directions: Alternate between sprints and rest – sprint the distance listed, then rest the amount of time it took to complete the sprint. For example, if it took you 3 minutes to run 800 meters, rest for 3 minutes then start the working sets. If it takes 90 seconds to run the first 400-meter sprint, rest 90 seconds before the next.