Max out your Army PT test with progressive resistance training and intense aerobic exercise.

Good Workouts for Improvement on the Army PT Test

by Paula Quinene

The Army physical fitness test, or PT test, is given throughout your Army career. One of the benefits to regular testing and daily PT is that you have to exercise even if you don’t want to get up do it. You may get reprimanded for missing PT and for doing poorly on an Army PT test. As a woman, you have a different scoring standard compared to men; however, you must still complete the three components of the PT test -- pushups, sit-ups and the 2-mile run.

1. Upper-Body Strength and Endurance

Pushups require strong chest and triceps muscles that must be able to contract repeatedly. Though most women tend to shy away from barbell and dumbbell presses, you should do these exercises to improve your push-up performance. Include back and biceps exercise to prevent muscle imbalances. For your chest and back, pair barbell bench presses with one-arm dumbbell rows and incline dumbbell presses with lateral pulldowns. Incorporate two-arm dumbbell triceps extensions with EZ barbell curls and triceps bench dips with alternating dumbbell curls. For each pair of exercises, do one set of each exercise and continue to alternate sets until you complete all the sets; then move to the next pair of exercises. The weights you use must be heavy enough so that it is challenging to do six to 12 repetitions. Complete six sets for each chest and back exercise; do four sets for each arm exercise. This workout should be done at the beginning of each week and only one day per week. At the end of this workout, do as many pushups as you can do until you can’t push your body back up.

2. Abdominal Endurance

Just as you need strong upper-body muscles for the Army pushup test, you also need strong abdominal muscles that have endurance. The hip flexor muscles that run along the front of your hips get quite a workout during situps, thus you do need to include ab exercises that work your hip flexors. Train your abs with added resistance twice per week. These two ab workouts may be done with a lower-body workout or as a separate session altogether. Incorporate decline situps holding a weight plate, hanging abdominal leg raises, V-ups on the floor and situps with a twist. At the end of one of your abdominal workouts, do as many situps as you can in two minutes.

3. Cardiovascular Endurance

Depending on your age, you must complete the Army 2-mile run within 15:39 to 19:00 minutes to get the full 100 points. An effective way to help you run faster is to first look at the PT 2-mile run standard chart for women and identify the exact time you must complete the run to get 100 points. If this time is much too fast for you, identify a time that is slightly faster than your current run. Take that time and divide it by four to get your pace for a half-mile training plan. For instance, if you have to run the two miles in 16 minutes, then your training plan is to complete each of six one-half miles in 4 minutes or less. During subsequent weeks, try to run each one-half mile slightly faster.

4. Keeping Track

Maintain a detailed training log for each workout, including the name of each exercise, the amount of weight you lifted and the number of repetitions you completed per set. Before the start of each workout, review last week’s data. Ensure you are pushing yourself at each session by lifting slightly more weight and doing more repetitions. Once you can do 10 to 12 reps per set, it’s time to increase the weight you are lifting. By keeping track and making each workout progressively challenging, you should easily improve your scores on the Army PT test.

About the Author

Paula Quinene is an Expert/Talent, Writer and Content Evaluator for Demand Media, with more than 1,500 articles published primarily in health, fitness and nutrition. She has been an avid weight trainer and runner since 1988. She has worked in the fitness industry since 1990. She graduated with a Bachelor's in exercise science from the University of Oregon and continues to train clients as an ACSM-Certified Health Fitness Specialist.

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