The army has a physical training test and I can’t seem to pass it for my age. I have to complete 42 pushups, 53 situps and complete a 2 mile run in 15 minutes. We do PT (physical training) tests every day but that doesn’t seem to help. I do pushups at night and also do situps. I’m stationed in New York and I don’t really have all that much time to do it on my own. How can I improve and have quick results so I can finally pass my test?
If you want to increase your overall reps for push-ups, I recommend focusing on strengthening your primary and secondary muscles. The primary muscle in the concentric (pressing up) portion of the pushup exercise consists of the pectoralis major (chest) muscles. Since you are having a difficult time doing pushups, you probably just need to build up the over strength in your chest muscles. The best way to do this is with the barbell bench press exercise which is the king of mass building exercises for your pecs. Focus on training your chest twice per week (Monday and Thursday) and do 6-8 total sets per workout and shoot for lower repetitions of 6-8 reps per set to build up the overall strength in your chest.
The secondary muscles are also very important to develop and these include the deltoids (shoulders) and triceps (back of the arm). Here are a few exercises to increase the strength of your deltoids and triceps which will hopefully increase your strength and repetitions when doing pushups:
You might also want to use a spotter or partner when training for high rep pushups. Have a friend lie down next to you and once you start getting tired, have him use his hand and push up on your chest. This will allow you to get in several more pushups once you’re past failure. This is a great training tool to use for ultra high reps and it really trains your muscles for endurance.
In terms of your running times, the best way to decrease your overall time is to increase your weekly running sessions. This is done by running at least 2 miles several times per week. It’s even better if you run a little longer than your target length (2 miles) for your PT test. So, if you focus on running 3 miles per workout, then you will make sure you are easily able to complete the length of the running test.
Since you need to run an average of 7.5 minutes per mile (2 miles in 15 minutes) to pass the test, you might also want to mix in sprint interval training for added intensity. Jog for 5 minutes and then sprint for 1 minute. You can do 2-3 reps of this training style followed by a few 80-100 yard sprints to get a great cardio workout. One of the biggest factors in reducing your running time is to decrease your overall body weight by decreasing your body fat levels. Your diet is extremely important for shedding the extra weight which will make it much easier to run long distances.