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Too many new naval recruits are video gaming couch potatoes, according to Senior Chief Petty Officer Steven C. Shaw of the U.S. Navy's Great Lakes physical training division. To toughen up these would-be warriors, the Navy decided to make boot camp harder. Instead of requiring physical training three days a week, they upped it to six. Results have improved dramatically. If you want to be in naval shape, put down the remote and train like a modern sailor.
While you work out, keep in mind that the Navy's goal isn't just a toned body. The point of all this training is to be strong, competent and clear-headed in the face of adversity. Navy boot camp takes recruits through several levels of training, culminating in an event called Battle Stations. During this grueling, 12-hour overnight event, recruits must navigate 12 crisis simulations without benefit of food or rest. Scenarios are based on real life situations, such as rescuing drowning shipmates from the USS Oklahoma during the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack. This simulation involves maneuvering through an obstacle course while carrying a 185-pound dummy.
Four Mile Track Workout
The 4-mile track workout prepares you for one of the military's favorite physical activities: running. This interval workout alternates periods of jogging and sprinting. Start by jogging 1 mile. Once you're in good shape, aim for completing the mile in less than eight minutes. Then alternate one-quarter mile sprinting with one-quarter mile jogging three times. Now the intervals get shorter. Alternate six intervals of sprinting, then jogging, one-eighth of a mile. Eventually aim for jogging your quarter miles in 1:45 and your one-eighth miles in one minute. If you are just starting out, you might need to walk some of your intervals instead of jogging.
Sailors and other military people spend a lot of time in the field without weight equipment, so they do bodyweight exercises to keep strong. Pushups, pull-ups and sit-ups -- called curl-ups in the Navy -- are widely practiced. One way to improve these exercises is through the pyramid workout. If you're working on accomplishing more pull-ups, start off by doing a first set of a single perfect pull-up. Rest, then do a set of two. Continue adding one pull-up at a time until you've reached your maximum number for a single set. Rest. Start your way back down the pyramid. For example, if five is your maximum number of pull-ups, do one, two, three, four, five, four, three, two, one. This also works for pushups or other difficult exercises. Another approach is timing the maximum number of an exercise you can do in one minute. Rest. Repeat up to four more times.
Sailors are tested on pushups, running and curl-ups and ranked by performance. For an 18-year-old man to be ranked outstanding, he would need to do 102 curl-ups, 86 pushups and run 1.5 miles in nine minutes or less. For a satisfactory rank, he must do at least 50 curl-ups, 42 pushups and finish the 1.5 mile run within 12.5 minutes. A woman of the same age would be considered outstanding with 102 curl-ups, 47 pushups and a 1.5 mile run time of 12:30, and satisfactory with 50 curl-ups, 19 pushups and a 15-minute run time.