In another post I told you about various forms of Military Circuit Training Workouts used by many different Special Forces Units in order to reach a peak fitness level.

In order to advance your training on to even higher levels you will need to know about many forms of Military Circuit Training Workouts for a time when you have access to high quality facilities for Strength and Conditioning.I will also be providing some ideas on Cross Training Workouts and their place in Military Fitness Training.

Cross Training Workouts and GPP (General Physical Preparedness)

I don't have to tell you that Cross training and Cross training workouts are extremely popular and employ some of the most effective,and also enjoyable, ways to obtain solid conditioning. I feel it's important that you understand what it is and what it can do for you. If you want an execeptional level of "General Physical Preparedness".

Cross training will NOT get you in a good condition for a very specific event or mission but will provide a solid functional base. When evaluating an exercise method or an individual exercise it's important to apply the Functional Pyramid to your evaluation. To do this you need to ask two questions:

What functional range does this method allow me to apply in my training? This focus is on the number of possible activities this method or exercise has available for you to apply.

What range of activities can this prepare me for?

Cross training workouts have a good range of activities and exercises open for use but  on the other side of this issue is the fact that in order to make it specific you will still need specific Military Fitness training. Cross training workouts will have a high pyramid with a broad base when drawn as Functional Pyramid diagram, in functional training the wider and taller the Pyramid the more useful it will be. For your Cross training workouts I suggest you focus on movements which are staples in many Armed Forces on an international level. A look at each one will reflect what differing philosophies each country has towards conditioning its Armed Forces and again each unit will have specific physical initiations it must pass.

Here is a list of some of the most used exercises, movements and methods used by different Armed Forces on an international basis:

  • Kettlebell Conditioning with Swings and Snatches being two of the most used
  • Dead Lifting
  • Pull Ups
  • Systema Conditioning Movements
  • Movement Training and Biomechanics training to improve movement
  • Marine Doubles and Triples
  • Heavy lifting
  • SAQ Drills for movement quality
  • Grinder Conditioning
  • Various Combat Readiness Programs making heavy use of strength and conditioning
  • Boxing Conditioning
United Kingdom:
  • Milling (all out boxing)
  • Load Marching
  • Upper Body Strength
  • Lower Body Plyometric Programs
  • 22nd SAS "Golden 22"
  • Royal Marine and Parachute Regiment physical training schools which again both have a unique conditioning philosophy
  • Boxing Conditioning
  • Commando Conditioning
  • Outdoor Improvisation and Conditioning
  • Krav Maga Conditioning
  • Running and Pack Programs which they adapted from British Military Methods
  • Shayetet 13 Conditioning Protocols
  • Sandbag Conditioning
  • Movnat
  • Outdoor Improvisation and Conditioning
  • Body Weight "No Gym" Sessions
  • Foreign Legion Marching Programs
  • Nordic Walking
  • Load Training
  • Mountain and Arctic Fitness Shcools
  • Endurance running
Germany and Denmark:
  • Pull Ups and Press Up Variations similar to Grinder Conditioning
  • Nordic Walking
  • Running Programs
  • SAQ for movement this is similar to the methods employed in the USA
  • Core Training
  • Lower Body Conditioning
  • Outdoor Improvisation and Conditioning
With Imagination, you can build all of these into your Cross training workouts. These moves, when effectively programmed, can make your Cross training workouts specific to your mission or you unit. It's important that you take time to adequately practice and construct methods if you do use Crossfit Wods that draw from the methods above.

Designing Military Circuit Training Workouts

At this stage after you've been using Military Circuit Training Workouts for yourself and the ones provided in the previous post on this site you should be attempting now to design your own.

Below is a simple method of designing workouts which will allow you to quickly plan and use an effective workout using many of the exercises and methods outlined above:

How will you control the timing at your Stations?
  • Time Controlled using a Stopwatch
  • Time controlled by specific repetitions of exercises at a the station
  • Time Controlled with pre-recorded tapes an alarms
  • Color/Light Stations to denote time
  • Control through Group and Ability level
What kind of Space and lay out will you use?
  • 8 Station with 2 lanes of 4 stations at each side of the Circuit in rectangular circuits
  • Single Station line Circuits with Shuttles in a line
  • 4 Corners Set Up
  • Half and Half
  • Cross Circuits
  • Star Circuits
  • Zig-Zag Circuits
What will your Circuit be composed of?
  • list your exercises you will use
  • obstacles
  • Barbells or Dumb Bells
  • Progressive Circuits
  • Competive Circuits
  • Arms, Trunk and Legs Format for designing Circuit Workouts
A popular set up for the Royal Marines is the following:
  • Use 3-12 stations per circuit
  • Each station must alternate Arms, Trunk and Leg in that order
  • Perform 3-5 Circuits
  • 1 Minute rest between Circuits

Military Circuit Training 1: "Ton Up" or "100 Up" Circuits

These are always a popular method for use in Military Circuit Training Workouts. It requires that you do 100 repetitions of an exercise at every station before moving onto the next station. In this approach you want to use a full body approach.

You can use both body weight movements and strength based with weights. You can do any amount of repetitions at a station as long as the end total is 100 repetitions. You can also do them in one big set depending on your level of conditioning.

100 Rep Circuit 1-Body Weight:
  • Press Ups 100
  • Squats 100
  • Lunges 100
  • Sit Ups 100
100 Rep Circuit-Weights Based with Compound Lifts:
  • Bench Press 20
  • Squats 20
  • Lunges 20
  • Dead lifts 20
  • Perform this Circuit 5 times
One approach you can take to building up this kind of Military Circuit Training Workout is to perform as man repetitions of a movement at one station as possible and note the total. Then take this away from 100 and use the figure as the amount of rest you can have before starting the exercises again. For example if you manage 35 Press Ups then have 35 seconds of rest before initiating Press Ups again.

Military Circuit Training 2: The 22 Minute Circuit

This is another favorite format for Military Circuit Training Workouts due the minimal need of only a basic Barbell and Weights for it. It can be set up in any camp and you will often see soldiers with a makeshift Barbell performing some of the movements at the core of Barbell training. This Circuit is designed so you have to complete 8x8 repetitions of an exercise within the target time of 22 minutes. These can be intense depending on the exercises you choose to use in this format. Again this can be done with or without weights.

Circuits in this format can be performed with only a standard Olympic Barbell to start off while learning the movements,but I suggest that you build up to using a light weight on your Barbell and progress from there.

You will need a stopwatch to record your time and I suggest a note book to make a record of your progress. You can if this is too easy for you increase the weight used or the number of reps to ten but don't go any higher than 8 Circuits and always aim to complete those within 22 minutes.

Perform 8 Circuits in 22 minutes of the following movements without putting the bar down
  • Press Up on the bar
  • Bent over Row
  • Romanian Dead Lift
  • Hang Clean
  • Shoulder Press
  • Upright Row

Military Circuit Training Workout 3: Royal Marine "Beastings"

Another popular Military Circuit Training Workout provided by the Royal Marines an this is a core workout used by many Marine Physical Training Instructors. They plan many variations of these "Beastings" below is just one.Plan your workout set with 2 stations where you can run between them and perform shuttles. You will perform the following:
  • The circuit will be in Arms, Trunk and Legs Format
  • You will perform the following continuously
  • 1 Shuttle followed by 10 Press Ups
  • 1 Shuttle followed by 10 Squats
  • 1 Shuttle followed by 10 Sit Ups
  • Perform this from 10 down to 1

Military Circuit Training Workout 4: Cross Training Workouts

Here are some sample workouts designed from methods described above in the military exercises section of this post:

Cross Training Workout 1:
  • Dead Lift 10
  • Kettlebell Swing 10
  • Pull Ups 10
  • Perform 3- 5 times through for time
Cross Training Workout 2:
  • 10 Pull Ups
  • 15 Press Ups
  • 20 Squats
  • 30 Lunges
  • AMRAP 30 Minutes
Always remember to warm up safely before every workout. Remember to keep adequate hydration and ensure the safety of the environment.

This is part two of a two part series. For additional reading, visit part one, "Military Circuit Training: Types and Workouts."

For more workouts you can purchase 12 Week Special Forces Cross Training Program.


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If you would like a personal circuit training program tailor made for you and your needs then please contact Peter North.

If you want to train with Peter then take a look a Services and Pricing.


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