When it comes to physical fitness and conditioning, military personnel are on a whole different level compared to regular folks.
That is why many fitness enthusiasts look up to the workout regimens used in the military. They try to emulate it in the best possible way so that they can achieve similar levels of fitness.
In that context, modern-day armies around the world use callisthenics workout programs to train their cadets. It is a highly effective strategy that can help you achieve peak fitness levels, provided that you can go through with it.
However, if you are not well-versed in these things, you might ask – what exactly do military callisthenics workouts entail? Well, that’s what this guide is all about, so dive in if you are curious!
Table of Contents
What Is Callisthenics?
Callisthenics is a type of strength training workout that involves doing a wide variety of physical movements to exercise the different muscles of the lower and upper body. There are different variations of exercises included in callisthenics, and these exercises are often performed in a rhythmic manner.
On that note, you don’t need a lot of equipment to perform these exercises. Instead, you can put your own body weight to use here, which is why they are otherwise known as bodyweight exercises. Of course, you do need some basic implements like a rope or a pull-up bar to perform some of the exercises.
These body weight exercises aim to improve your strength, flexibility, endurance and overall fitness. Moreover, advanced callisthenics can help in enhancing your psychomotor skills as well, such as balance, coordination and agility.
Bodyweight exercises can be performed individually, but most callisthenics trainers conduct them as a part of a group. That’s because group callisthenics routines can be highly efficient in synchronising and optimising the workout regimen.
The above reasons are why they are commonly used in military workout schedules. Drill instructors often use them to evaluate the baseline physical fitness levels of candidates.
What Are The Different Exercises Included In A Typical Military Callisthenics Workout?
In a regular callisthenics routine, the instructors choose only a few types of exercises. However, military bodyweight workouts are designed to be much more intense and adaptable. After all, the cadets who wish to enter military service need to be in peak physical condition to perform their duties. That is why they need to be proficient in performing a wide range of bodyweight exercises.
Keeping that in mind, here are the different types of exercises that are commonly observed in military callisthenics workouts.
- Diamond push-ups
- Leg raises
- High knees
- Inverted rows
- Side planks
- Chest dips
- Russian dips
- Hamstring curls
- Jump ropes
- Rope climbing
- Hill sprints
- Shadow boxing
Now that’s quite a lot of exercise for one day, isn’t it? Well, don’t relax just yet, for there’s more to it than that!
We have mentioned the above exercises just to give you a basic idea of what you can expect with such a workout routine. Military personnel are required to undertake all of these exercises plus all of their existing variations as well. So, as you can guess, the scope of such a workout is also pretty high.
How To Prepare A Military Callisthenics Workout Routine?
To be honest, the sky’s the limit when it comes to preparing a military callisthenics workout routine. Every instructor has a preferred set of exercises that they recommend to everyone.
However, the primary idea is the same in all cases, which is to exercise the key muscle groups throughout the body. With that being said, here are some examples of military callisthenics routines that you can follow for your personal fitness needs.
1. Full-Body Military Workout
Just as the name suggests, a full-body military workout aims to exercise all the muscle groups in your body. In other words, you will be expected to perform different exercises for your upper body as well as your lower body. Aside from that, you will need to do core training and conditioning exercises too.
To be more precise, here are some of the exercises that you need to do in a full-body workout.
- Push-ups in three sets, with 10 to 15 repetitions in each set
- Three sets of pull-ups with 10 to 15 repetitions in each
- Jump squats in three sessions, with 10 to 15 repetitions in each session
- Hamstring curls in three sessions of 10 to 15 repetitions each
- Two sessions of planks performed for as long as possible
- Five sprint sessions consisting of 4-second all-out sprinting and a 30-second rest interval
Of course, these are the basic exercises that you need to perform. If you wish, you can increase the intensity of these exercises to meet your needs.
2. Military Cardio Workout
The primary aim of a military cardio workout is to enhance the body’s metabolism and improve the different physiological biomarkers. These biomarkers include metrics like the heart rate, VO2 max (the maximum amount of oxygen you breathe in during exercise), muscular endurance and so on.
In any case, such a callisthenics fitness routine may involve exercises like the ones mentioned below.
- A warm-up run of varying pace lasting for 10 to 15 minutes
- 30 seconds of burpees, with as many reps as possible
- 20 seconds of high knees, with as many reps as possible
- 10 seconds of rest
As usual, you can increase the duration of each exercise to get a more intense workout. Furthermore, you can include other types of exercises, such as swimming and jump ropes, if you prefer. Whatever you choose, you need to maintain the rest interval at the end. And for the best results, you can follow it up with a cooldown walk of 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Upper Body/Lower Body Split
If you wish to split your bodyweight training regimen into separate upper-body and lower-body routines, then you can follow this method. For instance, you can do an upper body workout on one day while you perform a lower body workout on the following day.
On the first day, you can do upper-body training exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, planks, inverted rows, dips and others. Subsequently, the next day, you can perform lower-body exercises like squats, hamstring curls, lunges, leg raises, and hill sprints, to name a few.
Such a system will bring a lot of variance to your training regimen, which will help you achieve military fitness in no time. However, it is not necessary to follow this particular routine, meaning that you can set your own schedule in any way you like.
4. Push/Pull Workout Split
This particular strategy is very similar to the one discussed above. But instead of splitting your upper and lower body workouts, you split the push and pull workouts on different days.
For example, you perform all the different push exercises, like push-ups and dips, in one day. Similarly, you can do pull exercises, like pull-ups and rows, on the next day.
Weekly Military Callisthenics Workout Program
The military workouts we have discussed above are good examples, but they are methods that you can follow for a day or so. If you want your military training regimen to bear fruit, you need to follow a weekly program that combines the different aspects we have discussed so far.
For your convenience, we have provided an example workout regimen below that you can follow over the course of a week.
- Day one – Upper body workout
- Day two – Cardio workout
- Day three – Push workout
- Day four – Lower body workout
- Day five – Pull workout
- Day six – Rest
- Day seven – Full body workout
Make sure to perform the necessary warm-up exercises before you begin the callisthenics workout session for each day. Also, it is important that you keep at least one rest day in between, which will allow your body to heal and recover. If you don’t, you will end up putting excessive strain on your body. And believe us – that will do you more harm than good.
There are different advantages to following a military callisthenics workout, which is why they are so popular among hardcore fitness enthusiasts nowadays. For starters, you can perform such a workout practically anywhere and at any time without needing an extensive gym setup.
Aside from that, the level of versatility that you get from it makes it highly beneficial. If you are a beginner or a working professional, for instance, you can perform basic training routines to maintain a standard fitness level.
Conversely, if you are an athlete or a long-time fitness expert, you can take it to the next level by engaging in advanced callisthenics techniques. On that note, the different exercise variations available at your disposal also help in improving the versatility.
In any case, we hope that the information we have provided here helps you in developing your personal military callisthenics program. So, it is time for us to wrap up.
See you around, folks!
Founder of www.calisthenics-101.co.uk. Training calisthenics since 2012.
Currently working on: 30 second one-arm handstand, muscle-up 360, straddle planche.