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Armed Forces PT (Physical Training)

This article is meant to be educative and does not refer to training of any specific Armed Force.

Physical training for the armed forces in many parts of the world is still based on the conventional pattern followed for the last century. Many countries have now introduced the modern concepts of Physical training, Here Is outlined the major changes in training that have set in the physical training curriculum of most armed forces world over in the last decade.

Below is ennumerated the modernization that must set in, or that has already set in, in most developing countries of the world.

  1. A proper warm up technique involving the spine and knees must be taught over conventional method (very important before running).
  2. Abdominal , knee and spinal Exercise should always precede the Cardio Endurance (running) to prevent spondylosis & Arthritis.
  3. The spine should be exercised as rigorously as the abdomen since both are contralateral muscles. Hence an imbalance can result in damage to the spine.
  4. The conventional situp can harm the discs of the neck and the spine and does not cause sufficient work load on the abdominal muscles. This must be replaced by the modern crunch where the lower spine is resting always on the ground.
  5. The conventional leg raises do not directly work out the abdominal muscles but the flexors of the hip and thigh. This be replaced by the bent knee leg and hip raise.
  6. The oblique muscles of the abdomen are ignored thus increasing the chances of Hernia (i.e the prolapse of the intestines, in between the oblique muscles, into the scrotum). Never exercise to work out the obliques, be taught.
  7. Cardiovascular Endurance (running) should always be preceded with a warm up jog of atleast half a km to prevent sudden rise of heart rate and Blood pressure and to ensure the contraction of all muscle fibres (with out warming up only a few muscle fibre groups would be actively recruited).
  8. Correct technique of running be taught i.e. running on the balls of the feet rather then the heels which tends to jar all the joints (ankle, knee, hip, spine) encouraging joint degeneration.
  9. One must be taught how to deal with first, second and third winds during running caused by (respectively) diaphragmatic fatigue, muscle and joint pains (due to lactic Acidosis of anaerobic training) and cardio Respiratory fatigue. Thus the trainees would be capable of better performance.
  10. Strengthening exercise like Conventional Pushup and the Chinup may cause hyper extension of the spine and lead to slipped discs at a later age. The reverse grip behind the neck chinup and the simple Dip must replace the older versions.
  11. Plenty of variations of the pushup (Dip) be taught to work out the muscles of the fingers, the forearms, the tricep, brachioradialis, Bicep and pectorals (the chest muscles) which are not well exercise by the conventional pushup.
  12. The full squat places a tremendous strain on the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee joint and the discs of the spine. It must be replaced by the modern half squat.
  13. The conventional squat does not place sufficient load on the inner thigh and Hamstring muscles. Hence wide squats and the lungs be introduced.
  14. For liagmentous strengthening of hip, knee and ankle joints, age old Duck walks, Frog Jumps, Chicken walk, Donkey walk, Monkey walk be taught. It is to be noted that the entire stability of the joint comes only with a good ligament tone.
  15. Flexibility and stretching is a grossly neglected part of training. Ideally equal amount of time should be devoted to stretching as to muscle contraction training to prevent muscle tightness and relative Hyper tonia (increase in tone). Tight muscles which are not stretched cause incoordinated and clumsy movement. They also cause Cerebral bombardment and increase anxiety thereby taking away the soldiers composure. One hour of various flexibility exercise be taught everyday after the strength training.
  16. A soldier walks and runs all the time thus the lower limb muscles are maximally used. Hence special leg conditioning techniques be taught to bring about greater strength, endurance and coordination in the lower limbs.
  17. Most soldiers or servicemen tend to lose muscle bulk and weight during training. Resistance training in the form of weight training be taught to develop isolatory muscle groups (particularly those muscles which are smaller in an individual because of his constitution or heredity need to be developed by training with weights). We must aim to make bulkier soldiers and fitter soldiers to match the size of the enemy counterparts.
  18. Cross training, Circuit Training and various types of cardio Endurance Training be introduced.
  19. Mental training by Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation from the East and Self Hypnosis, positive visualization from the west be taught over an hours session everyday during the COOL DOWN session for : -

(a) Imbibing courage, will power, and determination.
(b) Instilling composure in the face of a life threatening crisis.
(c) Improving Self esteem, self confidence, Discipline and obedience.

These are the major changes that have set in physical training and this is what constitutes the modern day training in Physical fitness for armed forces of the world.

Appx `A’

Suggested Modernization Of Physical Training


(55 Minutes)

(a) WARM-UP NECK, SPINE, SHOULDERS, KNEES, ANKLES) - Forward, Backward, Side Twisting – (5 Minutes)

(b) ABDOMEN & SPINE – Up, Low, Cycling, Up, Low – (5 Minutes)


Without timing (FARTLEK) (Minimum 20 mins)

With timing (CONTINUOUS)

Or 100 Mtrs.  Dash (RECEPTION TRAINING) x 10 – 20   Sets

Or 1 Km Interval (1 – 3 Miuntes Walk) x  3 – 5 Sets


Or Walks – Chicken, Duck, Frog, Monkey, Donkey, Front Crawl, Fireman’s Lift, Tricep, Kangaroo


Pushup – Types as per Hand position Front, Side, Back, Inside – Touch Chest, Inside – Touch Head, Wide, One Sided, Tricep, Finger (5 Minutes)

Squat – 1/2  Narrow, 1/2  Wide, Rt  Lunge, Lt  Lunge (5 Minutes)

ChinUp - Overgrip behind Neck (10 Minutes)

(e) FLEXIBILITY  Trains Calf, Thigh Back, Thigh Front, Hips, Spine, Upper Body (Bhujangasan) (5 Minutes)

(f) GYMNASIUM Training – Circuit Training for 20 – 40 participants can be conducted over 25 – 45 minutes respectively. Such training should be made compulsory in sports period twice a week.  This will result in increase in muscular weigth and making larger policemen like in the Western Countries.



FARTLEK – Fixed distance without timing, Any style.

REPETITION – 60 Mtrs/100 Mtrs  x 10 or 20

INTERVAL – 1 Km Run and Walk ( 1- 3 Minutes Interval)

CONTINUOUS – 5 Kms IN 22 Minutes.


200 Mtrs Warming Up and Abdomen and Spine before Running.


MONDAY – Fartlek Method (Starting to Ending 2 – 5 Kms)

TUESDAY – 100 Mtrs x 10 – 20 Repetition

WEDNESDAY – Run & Walk

THURSDAY – Continuous

FRIDAY – Walks


Excellent Good Average

(a) 2.4 Kms Run               9 minutes                 10.5 Minutes          11 minutes

(b) 100 Mtrs Sprint        10 Seconds                 11 Seconds             12 Seconds

(c) Finger PushUp                 16                                   12                            10

(d) 1/2 Squat with 4 Sec pause  80                            60                            40

(e) Chin Up (Front Neck)           12                            10                             08

(f) Spinal Exercises Hand in front    50                   40                            30

(g) Sit Up                                         50                            40                            30

(h) 5 Mtrs Shuttle/1 Minute       16                            14                             12

(j) Flexibility                                  +4                           +3                            +2

(k) Waist Fat crude method    1/4 Inch              1/2 Inch                  1 Inch

(l) Weight

(m) Shoulder Diamaeter (In Cms)             Should show progressive increase.

(n) Mid Thigh Diameter (In Cms)


Time Weight Waist Fat Shoulder

Entry              0 Month             70 Kgs             2 Inches                 100 Cms

Mid                 4 Months           67 Kgs             1 Inch                     103 Cms

Passing Out    9 Months        72 Kgs             1/4 Inch                 107 Cms

Such result can be achieved only by adding Weight  Training in Gymnasium Twice weekly during the Sports Period.

NOTE : The methods outlined here are without any sophisticated instrumentation or biotechnological monitoring. They are meant for a rough evaluation & estimation by the on field instructor.

Despite all, they serve good the purpose of effective training methodology.