OCS In Review: Q and A

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.

Q: I have a question about the PFT and the CFT. Are the events (like pull-up, 3 mile run and crunches) back to back or is there a rest period in between?

A: Excellent question. I have always gotten enough time to catch my breath, get some water and even do a little quick stretching in between. At OCS, you will have so much time in between events that the worry is muscles cooling too much if it is winter or fall, in my opinion. They take a few minutes to total everyone’s scores and give instructions for the following event. Hey get excited about the CFT-it is awesome and of course tough: gotta push yourself right?

Q: Were you planning on doing a blog about TBS?

A:  I don’t think I’ll do a whole blog on it. Preparation and mental preparation especially is so key to getting to and succeeding at OCS, that’s what I wanted to help other people with. For TBS, you’re prepared if you make it through OCS. And at OCS, they tell you enough of what you’ll be doing at TBS.

So it won’t get its own blog, but maybe I’ll put some periodic “TBS” posts on here, just for curiosity’s sake.

Q: Do you recommend CrossFit also to prepare for Marine Corps OCS.

A: Crossfit is a great workout program and might help some get ready for OCS (hey, better than nothing) but in my opinion, it does not prepare you for most OCS workouts except indirectly. I definitely do not recommend it for everybody. I would say to most people, you need to work on your bodyweight exercises for sure, and need lots of running for starters. After OCS, I highly recommend Crossfit for your general fitness.

Q: I was planning to go this summer to OCS. Do you know if the OSO’s really strict on speeding tickets

A: Speeding tickets aren’t a big deal until you get one during OCS on libo! I had two on my record and no one said anything about them (you should report them to your OSO.)

Q: I know I need a better PFT score. What helped you bring up your pull-ups?

A: What helped me with pull-ups was doing the Armstrong program (click for link.)

I also began incorporating weighted pull ups as I could do 20, 21, 22 reliably. Top Ten Pull Up Strength Builders.

Q: What was the gas chamber experience like?

A: Only enlisted do the gas chamber during boot camp. After OCS (OFFICER Candidate School) comes The Basic School for new 2nd Lieutenants, and it is there that we do the gas chamber. I haven’t quite gotten that far yet!

Q: Looking back on your experience, how much “knowledge” did you memorize before going down to OCS? Knowing what you know now, what would you advise others to learn?

A: I memorized a fair amount, but would recommend more.  I will dedicate a post to this topic–standby.

Any other questions?

Just ask them as a comment and they will be answered!

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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

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!

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.

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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!