PREPARING FOR AIR FORCE BOOT CAMP

March 2, 2015

Dear Dr. Bell,

I have joined the Airforce and I’m in the process of getting ready for boot camp. I’m really out of shape. And I’m nervous about going through bootcamp in the summer and dying of heat stroke in Texas. Do you have a workout you suggest for me to get ready for bootcamp? Also any tips for the PT Test, I have around 7 weeks to get ready?

Thanks,

Sean

Dear Sean,

(Dr. Bell broke this down into two sections for you. The first, how to improve cardiovascular performance, and second, how to improve pushup performance. Good Luck with Bootcamp! Sincerely, All of us at the IFPA)

I wish you all the best in the Airforce! You will meet some of the most wonderful people in the World in the USAF. I had the best time and the best friends while I was flying for the Force. Flying the A-10 was my idea of a dream career and still have my fondest memories of my time in green. Thank you for your service and I hope the following helps you prepare for a great career.

Part 1: Improving Cardiovascular Test Performance.

Excellent research from McMasters University showed HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) as the fastest way to improve aerobic endurance.

Program Design:

Week One / Session One: Work Interval: 15 Seconds, All-Out, 100% Sprint. 4 Reps

Rest Interval: 4 Minutes

Week One / Session Two: Work Interval: 15 Seconds, All-Out, 100% Sprint. 5 Reps

Rest Interval: 3 Minutes

Week Two / Session One: Work Interval: 15 Seconds, All-Out, 100% Sprint. 6 Reps

Rest Interval: 2.5 Minutes

Week Two / Session Two: Work Interval: 15 Seconds, All-Out, 100% Sprint. 7 Reps

Rest Interval: 2 Minutes

Leave 4-5 days rest between each High Intensity Interval Training Session. After two weeks- Week Three: Go the Distance! This week is focused on endurance training.

Week Three / Day One: Run 1.5 miles at 80% of Max effort

Day Two: Run 1.5 miles at 85% of Max effort

Day Three: Run 1.5 miles at 70% of Max effort

Day Four: Rest

Day Five: Run 1.5 miles at 90% of Max effort

Day Six: Run 1.5 miles at 80% of Max effort

Day Seven: Run 1.5 miles at 100% of Max effort

Week Four / Session One: Work Interval: 15 Seconds, All-Out, 100% Sprint. 6 Reps

Rest Interval: 3 Minutes

Week Four / Session Two: Work Interval: 15 Seconds, All-Out, 100% Sprint. 7 Reps

Rest Interval: 2.5 Minutes

Week Five / Session One: Work Interval: 15 Seconds, All-Out, 100% Sprint. 8 Reps

Rest Interval: 2 Minutes

Week Five / Session Two: Work Interval: 15 Seconds, All-Out, 100% Sprint. 9 Reps

Rest Interval: 2 Minutes

Week Six / Session One: Work Interval: 15 Seconds, All-Out, 100% Sprint. 10 Reps

Rest Interval: 2 Minutes

Week Six / Session Two: Work Interval: 15 Seconds, All-Out, 100% Sprint. 10 Reps

Rest Interval: 2 Minutes

Week Seven / Day One: Run 1.5 miles at 80% of Max effort

Day Two: Run 1.5 miles at 85% of Max effort

Day Three: Run 1.5 miles at 70% of Max effort

Day Four: Rest

Day Five: Run 1.5 miles at 90% of Max effort

Day Six: Run 1.5 miles at 80% of Max effort

Day Seven: Run 1.5 miles at 100% of Max effort

For determining percent of Max “intensity” either use Heart Rate Monitoring or RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) all described in detail in the IFPA Personal Training Manual

Part 2: Military Fitness – How to Increase Pushup Performance

Push-ups are a muscular endurance test and rely on both Anaerobic Energy Systems: The ATP-CP (Adenosine Triphosphate – Creatine Phosphate) Energy Systems and the Lactic Acid Energy System. To increase the number of push-ups you can perform, you will need to strengthen the muscles involved in the pushup: the pectorals, triceps and to a lesser extent the deltoids. If you have not been regular practitioner of push-ups, you will also notice that all the muscles of the body are activated to some extent to maintain the “plank” position

A wise man said “Practice makes perfect,” but in reality “Perfect practice makes perfect!” To perform a perfect push-up: start in the down position.

Down Position: Hands on the floor at approximately shoulder width apart, head held neutral, chest barely touching the floor, stomach sucked-in as far as you can, entire body from upper torso to feet kept tight and toes curled so that only the “balls of your feet” are on the ground. In the down position only your hands chest and balls of your feet touch the ground.

Action: Keep your body tight throughout the motion: up and down. Keep your abs sucked-in and your head neutral. Avoid the tendency to “turtle” your head and neck with forward flexion. Avoid sagging in your back by relaxing a tight body. Keep a relative slow and even pace. You may want to do as many as you can as fast as you can during Maximum Repetition test, but you will get more from training by slower and controlled repetitions.

Program Design: Your goal should be to continuously increase repetitions. Plan on 3 days/week with a day of rest between workout days.

Week One: 1 Set to failure

Week Two: 2 Sets to failure

Week Three: 3 Sets to failure

Week Four: 4 Sets to failure

Super Set each set of Push-Ups with modified Pull-Ups. Take a 5 minute rest interval after each Super Set. After Week Four, you can begin to decrease the rest interval by 30 seconds each week until you reach 30 second rest intervals between Super Sets.

The Modified Pull-Up is performed opposite the same body position as the push-up. In the Modified Pull-Up: the down position is with your glutes-shoulder blades and head just barely touching the ground. You pull-up to the bar so that your chest touches.

You can perform the Modified Pull-Up in a Squat Rack, Power Station or even on a Bench Press with the bar set at full extension of the Arms. Super Setting Pull-Ups and Push-Ups maintains symmetry and body balance simultaneously while increasing overall strength by improving agonist-antagonist strength ratio.

Remember to keep your body tight (don’t sag) & learn to “Love the Burn!” Rep Max Tests take you deep into the Lactic Acid System. Part of your conditioning is strengthening that system and part is learning that the BURNS will not kill you and tolerate the burn! The more you can take, the stronger you get!

I wish you all the best!

Best Regards,

Dr. Jim Bell

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