Unsurprisingly, successful applicants to most US military programmes will need to be committed to staying in shape. Not only due to the physically demanding nature of military roles, but also because regimented workout routines demonstrate dedication to personal development.
Engaging in appropriate exercise routines can improve both your physical and mental health. Decreasing the risk of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as helping military personnel avoid the onset of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.
The US Army suggests that 45 minutes per day – 4-5 times a week – should be committed to physical training routines. However, for veterans or those not in active military employment, it can be hard to find a suitable space to continue performing intense military workout routines.
For ex-military personnel, prospective candidates and anyone else wishing to improve their physical and mental health using a regimented fitness programme, this article will explore a number of key considerations when choosing a gym for your military workout routine.
What is a military workout routine?
To understand what to look for in an appropriate gym, it is important to first understand what constitutes a military workout routine. To illustrate this, below is a selection of physical fitness requirements associated with boot camp training programmes for different military branches.
|US Army||Timed 2-mile run|
Maximum deadlift – 3 repetitions
Hand release push-ups – 2 minutes
Plank – 1-5 minutes
Standing power throw – 10lb ball
Sprint / drag / carry – 5 repetition of 50m
|US Marine Corps||Pull-ups / push-ups|
Timed crunches / plank
Timed 3-mile run
|US Navy||Timed 1.5 mile run|
2X sets 30 sec planks
Push-ups – 2 minutes
|US Air Force||Timed 1.5 mile run|
Push-ups – 2 minutes
Sit-ups – 2 minutes
As demonstrated above, for a 45 minute military workout routine to incorporate the primary components of common recruit training programmes, it is important to find a gym with enough space to perform sit-ups / pull-ups (heaves) / push-ups (press-ups) and suitable equipment to perform timed runs.
Look for gyms with high-quality installed equipment like pull-up bars, squat racks and plenty of treadmills to comfortably and safely perform pull-ups, deadlifts and timed runs. As well as facilities with a large amount of floor space to suitably perform planks and core exercises.
Strength Training Requirements
In addition to the basic exercises mentioned above, the official US Army Holistic Health and Fitness Field Manual recommends two sessions of strength training should be performed per week as part of a comprehensive military workout routine. Therefore, an appropriate gym for your military workout routine must be able to provide ample strength training equipment.
While push-ups and pull-ups can be incorporated into an effective strength training routine, a high-quality military strength training routine should involve the following types of exercises.
Compound exercises are designed to improve mobility by working on several muscle groups at once. These exercises are perfect for military workout routines as they are both time and resource efficient. Common examples of effective military-style compound exercises include:
- Bench press
Lower Body Exercises
Several compound exercises can also be considered as lower body exercises, with deadlifts and squats in particular acting as effective ways to strengthen leg muscles. However, there are a few extra targeted lower body exercises worth adding to your military fitness routine:
- Calf raises
Upper Body Exercises
Upper body exercises typically involve the use of barbells and dumbbells lifted and held in different positions, improving the strength of upper body muscle groups in the arms, back, core and shoulders. Exercises worth considering for your military workout routine include:
- Bent-over rows
- Bicep curls
- Tricep extensions
Physical Security Requirements
Alongside physical space and equipment considerations, an ideal gym for your military workout routine must be suitably secure. To ensure that you can focus on working out without worrying about your belongings, choose a site with a good physical security system.
Look for facilities with specialised gym door access systems, prioritising those that provide personalised access credentials that can be monitored by security guards. This will ensure any suspicious activity is identified promptly, reducing the likelihood of criminality on site.
In addition, look for gyms that use mobile access systems, as your credentials can be sent straight to your smartphone. These systems are great for 24 hour gyms, as members can freely enter and exit the property while unauthorised persons will be locked out. Additionally, most mobile systems allow members to adjust bookings at any time using in-app controls.
Finally, it can be worthwhile to find a gym that offers military discounts if you are affiliated with the military in some way. Not only can this save you a little money, but it’s also a good way to gauge how well a gym understands the requirements associated with military fitness.
For example, the US Army runs a programme offering funding for YMCA gym memberships throughout the US and Puerto Rico for all Active Duty Personnel. In addition, private gym memberships for local fitness facilities can be covered up to $55 for eligible Active Duty Title 10 personnel.
Choosing a gym that is partnered with the military means the site will be more likely to have suitable equipment for military fitness programmes, as well as act as a great indicator that the company respects the dedication required to keep up with dedicated military fitness routines.
Whether you are an active member of the military, a veteran or a civilian interested in personal development, military workout routines can be a great way to keep fit and healthy. However, to safely and consistently perform military fitness exercises, you must select a suitable gym.
The facility must have enough space to perform common exercises like planks and sit-ups, as well as grant access to specific equipment such as treadmills and bench presses. Also, look for gyms with advanced security systems and some form of military affiliation, as this will ensure your belongings are always safe and act as reassurance that the organisation understands military fitness requirements.