OCS in Review: Physical Preparation

Although I’m done with OCS, I will be writing a few more posts to help out future candidates. Basically, these are the posts that have been requested, or that I just wish I had to read before OCS.

For physical preparation, much advice I got was wrong, or misleading before I got to OCS. The workouts and much of the training has evolved considerably since past CO’s.

If I had to do it again, I would mimic OCS workouts as much as possible in my own program. So, to that end I’ll detail the current workouts at Officer Candidate School. Enjoy!

PPPA: Push/Pull/Press/Abs

PPPA is often an addition to a run or another workout. This was the only workout that pushed me to my full physical limit. Know your weaknesses, right?

First, pushup/pull-up supersets. For example, 10 pulls, 25 pushes, 8 pulls, 20 pushes, 6 and 15.  The numbers increase each time you do it. By week 8 or 9, I believe it’s something like pull-ups: 16/14/12 and pushups 45/40/35. Ouch.

Marine Corps Pushup!

Marine Corps Push ups!

Ammo can press/crunch supersets come next. I think the ammo cans are 20 or 30 pounds each (full of sand.) This is a great preparation for the CFT and PFT. These are timed events, so you end up doing about 2 min/1.5/1 minute for ammo can presses, alternating with crunches of about the same time.

Fartleks

Fartleks are 3-5 mile runs, interspersed with workouts every half mile or so. Fartleks are very similar to the Run Course/Mec Weight (or something like that) where you just don’t run as far, and do more workouts. An awesome cardio workout.

Example exercises: Pushups, pull-ups, crunches, sit-ups, frog sit-ups (wide knees like you’re doing a groin stretch), diamond pushups, body squats, bend and thrusts, burpees, dips, mountain climbers, sprints

Continue reading

Advertisements

PFT Page updated

Some helpful running information is now on the PFT page here:

https://manlypat.wordpress.com/physical-preparation/physical-fitness-test-pft-pullups/

Click for PFT

Click for PFT page

PFT: Killer Crunch Workout

This is a popular training program for the crunches part of the PFT.

While it is a good program to help you get to and past 100 crunches, remember that it crunches are a one-dimensional component of fitness and are not a substitute for a full core workout. OCS is much more than just the PFT.

Day 1

Do three maximum effort sets. Rest 60-90 seconds between each set. As soon as you stop (even for one second), that set is complete.

Day 2

Pyramid day. Begin with 20 repetitions. Each consecutive set should increase by ten until you can not complete the required amount without pausing. Then do a maximum effort set. Rest 1 second per crunch of the previous set.

Continue reading

Top Ten Pull-up Strength Builders

[This post adapted from & courtesy of Stronglifts here; a great weight-lifting advice website]

Yes, Pull-ups are hard and the lack of progress can be frustrating. But as with all exercises, you can get stronger at them using the right methods. Here are 10 ways to get stronger at Pull-ups fast.  This is especially aimed at those just starting to work on pull-ups, or those who have lots of room for improvement.  After seeing hundreds of candidates succeed at OCS under the worst conditions, I am confident that anyone can get up to 20 pull-ups.  Just work at it consistently!

Get those reps in!

Get those reps in!


1. Avoid Machines.
Machines balance the weight for you and force you into fixed motions. The strength you build on the Lat Pull-down and the Assisted Pull-up Machine won’t carry over to pull-ups. Don’t use them.


2. Use Resistance Bands.
Attach a resistance band to your pull-up bar and loop it around your knee, like in this video. I have Iron Woody bands: they’re cheap & quality. Check their Assisted Pull-up Package.

What’s the difference with the Assisted Pull-up Machine? Resistance bands only help you in the bottom position. You’ll have to do most of the work in the top of the movement. Assisted Pull-up Machines help you from start to finish.

Continue reading

Recon Ron Pull-up Program

The Setup

To successfully use the Recon Ron Pull-up Program, one must follow the table below by doing five sets of pull-ups a night except for Sundays. Each set is specified on the table. To start the program, one must first be able to do six pull-ups. Also, all pull-ups must be “Dead Hang” pull-ups, where arms are fully extended before doing another pull-up.

This program can help Marines or Civilians

Proper Pull-ups

A Proper Pull-up as defined by the United States Marine Corps:

Continue reading

Physical Fitness Test in Depth: The Run

This part of the PFT kills more applicants than anything. People are just intimidated to run. Running can be a lot of fun if people do it the right way. Here are a few steps to getting off on the right foot.

1. Always, always run with a partner. Running can get very boring by yourself.

Run with friends!

Run with friends!

 

 

2. Start at a pace and distance you are comfortable with and build steadily. Having said that, don’t be afraid to push yourself outside of your comfort zone relatively soon. The key word is START at a comfortable pace and distance.

3. Every run does not have to be lightning fast. Run at a pace that you can comfortably converse with your running partner.

4. Run slower at the beginning of your run and work into a faster pace. Always finish a run strong instead of starting like fire and sputtering across the finish line.

5. Look where you are going to instead of at your shoelaces or the pavement.

6. Run at least 3 times per week every week. Work up to 4 or 5 days per week even if you only run a mile or two on some days.

Remember that there are many ways to improve your run time. The key to a good run workout is not overall mileage or speed work but consistency. Plan your runs and run your plan. Believe it or not, ANYONE can run below 18:00 minutes if they put forth the effort. If you do put forth the effort now, you will be reaping the benefits at OCS. Here are some of the key elements that I have incorporated into my run workouts to help me. I have not done all of these at once but have done all of them at one time or another.

Continue reading

Great Pre-OCS Workout: Fartlek

  Fartlek is a word that translates into “speed play”.  The basic concept of this system is to train the body using different intervals of rest and speed.  Normal Fartlek sessions tend to consist of about 3 to 4 miles, running about ¼ mile or more then resting before doing it again.  The course you are going to familiarize yourself with at OCS is a twisted representation of this concept. 

This is a great example of a Fartlek course you can do on your own time in preparation for OCS. Feel free to mix in other exercises found on this site.

     The OCS course will consist of running to pre-marked exercise stations along Quantico trails.  Each station is marked with a specific exercise and number of repetitions.  The repetitions increase as you progress through training.  Below is an example of exercises to include in your own Fartlek course, as well as, some recommended distances to space them out.

     Each station should have approximately 400m to ½ mile between them.  Each exercise should count between 10-20 repetitions.

Box Jumps

Pull -Ups

Crunches

Wide arm push-ups

Continue your workout