The Best Army Exercises You’re Not Doing

Boost your core strength, power, and mobility with these eight military moves

June 27, 2012
men climbing wall
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The eight moves in this workout come from the U.S. Army's physical readiness training manual. (The army offers it free on iTunes as an iPhone app.) If you're weak in any key area--core strength, balance, power, mobility, or conditioning--this workout can identify the problem and help you fix it. (Search: What does it take to join the army?) Even if the closest you ever get to combat is an argument with your cable provider, you'll at least look fit to fight.

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half jack
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Half Jack

This is just your basic jumping jack, but with your arms stopping at shoulder level, palms down, to minimize potential rotator cuff strain. Do 1 or 2 sets of 20 as a warmup. (Video: Train like an Olympian)

Related: The Perfect Sports Warmup

Turn and lunge
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Turn and Lunge

Start with hands on your hips and feet shoulder-width apart. Pivot 90 degrees to your left, bend at your hips and knees in a lunge, and touch the floor with your right hand. Return to the starting position and then pivot to the right and touch the floor with your left hand. Do 2 sets of 10 to each side. (Want muscle-building tips delivered to your inbox? Sign up for our Get Fitter newsletter.)

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Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and hands on hips. Now squat with your heels flat and touch the ground with your palms. Jump forcefully, thrusting your arms overhead with palms inward to boost momentum. Land and immediately begin the next jump. Do 2 sets of 6 to 8 jumps.

Related: The Exercise That'll Give You a 62-inch Vertical Jump

Lunge Walk
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Lunge Walk

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step forward with your left leg and lunge with your right knee lightly brushing the floor. Without rising, lunge forward with your right leg. Keep your torso upright and swing your arms in a running motion with each lunge. Do 2 sets of 15 to 20 reps with each leg.

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Leg Tuck and Twist
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Leg Tuck and Twist

Sit and lean back 45 degrees, your legs straight and palms on the floor behind you. Lift your legs off the floor. Pull your knees toward your left shoulder as you twist to your left. Return to the starting position and repeat to your right. Do 2 sets of 10 reps to each side.

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single leg pushup
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Single-Leg Pushup

Assume a pushup position. While descending, lift your right leg 8 to 10 inches off the floor. Return to the starting position and descend again, this time raising your left leg. Do 6 to 8 pushups with each leg raised; then repeat for a total of 24 to 32 pushups.

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Leg Tuck
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Leg Tuck

Stand beneath a chinup bar with your shoulders perpendicular to it. Grab the bar overhand, your left hand in front of your right. Pull up while bending your knees and raising them toward the bar. The hard part is keeping your torso relatively straight. Do 6 to 8 reps, switch hand positions, and repeat.

Related: The American Ninja Workout

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Pullup Or Chinup

Finish with 2 sets of as many repetitions as you can manage. And congratulate yourself for completing a workout few civilians are tough enough to handle.

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