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

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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

Hooray!! Selected for OCC-202!

The news I have been hoping to hear for almost a year just came this morning!  Pending physical (which should be fine) I am headed to OCS in October!  Captain Smith, Pittsburgh OSO and helo pilot, called me with the good news this morning.

To celebrate, I had to run a pre-ship PFT today (a fair 275) and fill out alot of paperwork.  Ehh government..

PFT Bigger Success!

Hooray! My goal was a 275, but I got a 282 on my PFT, hopefully putting me over the top to getting into OCC-202!

Did the PFT about 0600, and the cooler temperatures definitely helped on the run portion.  I would encourage any other candidates that you can retake PFTs and apply higher scores to your application package.  Good stuff!

Goal:

pft crunches

My PFT crunches, okay not really

Pull-ups: 19
Crunches: 100
Run: 21:20

Performance:

Pull-ups: 20
Crunches: 100
Run: 20:58

USMC OCS-worthy PFT…again!

Tomorrow morning I will run another PFT.  Yes, my package is applied and in to the boards.  However, my 266 PFT is not awesome these days, and my OSO wants me to do better.  He is assured that the board will not meet until August 21, and we can send in any “updates” to the packet before then.  Interesting..

Goal:

19 pull ups, 100 crunches, 21:20 on the run.

95/100/80=275/300

That’s the word anyhow.  Wish me luck!

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.

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Nearing the End of My Application Process

I now live and work in Washington, DC.

At the end of the month, I head to Pensacola, Florida for some last flight-related physicals.  I am told not to worry about them, but I’ll update the blog to explain what I go through.

For now, my old Pittsburgh OSO is putting me in touch with the DC officer recruiting team to have me run some PFTs to try to get my score up.  Yeah!