Body Fortress

Latest News

Get Fit with the Military Workout Plan

WORKOUT & TIPS
       

Military Workout Plan

If you’re looking to get as fit as the toughest men and women in the country, Eric Phillips is your man.

After serving nearly two decades in the Marine Corps and attaining the rank of Captain, he’s now a Logistics Officer based out of California.

A decorated military career would be enough for most people, but Phillips isn’t most people. He is also a nationally-ranked NPC Men’s Physique competitor, winning his fourth show and finishing top 5 at the previous three. While he is proud of his service, bodybuilding is Phillips’ passion - he plans to transition into the sport full-time when he retires from the Marines in the next five years or so.

Needless to say, as a Marine Corps Captain and NPC champion, Phillips knows what it takes to stay in shape. So when we asked him to create a workout for military-level fitness, he was happy to oblige. We also got some great info on how he designed the program, how to eat on the military workout, and the secret to getting the most from your lifts.

The Workout

All sets and rep ranges are 4 Sets for 12-15 Reps with a 30 to 45 sec rest period between sets and no more than a 2 minute rest between exercises, unless otherwise denoted below.

Monday: Back & Abs

Back

  • Pull Ups - Wide Grips: 2 Sets of 7-15 Reps. Natural Grip: 2 Sets of 7-15 Reps
  • Wide Grip Cable Pulldowns
  • Bent Over Barbell Rows
  • One Arms Dumbbell Rows
  • Close Grip Seated Cable Rows

Abs

  • Hanging Leg Lifts- 4 Sets to failure, min 20 reps
  • Decline Crunches- 4 Sets of 10-12 Reps (weight optional)
  • 115 Crunches or Sit-Up (branch of service dependent) Complete the number of reps in whatever split needed. The in goal is to complete the majority of your reps in the 1st set. (Example: 85/15/15)

Tuesday: Shoulders & Cardio

Shoulders

  • Dumbbell Shoulder Presses
  • Underhand Barbell Shoulder Raise
  • Military Press
  • Side Lateral Dumbbell Raises
  • Smith Machine "Behind the Back" Shoulder Shrugs

Cardio (Intervals)

  • 15-20 100-meter Power Sprints (Sprints 100 meters, walk 50 meters, and then immediately sprint the nex 100 meter and repeat

Wednesday: Legs & Abs

Legs

  • Barbell Squats
  • Leg Extensions
  • Leg Press
  • Leg Curls
  • Seated Calf Raises
  • Standing Calf Raises- 4 Sets of 10-12 Reps (Toes Pointed In & Pointed Out)

Abs

  • Hanging Leg Lifts- 4 Sets to failure, min 20 reps
  • Decline Crunches- 4 Sets of 10-12 Reps (weight optional)
  • 115 Crunches or Sit-Up (branch of service dependent) Complete the number of reps in whatever split needed. The in goal is to complete the majority of your reps in the 1st set. (Example: 85/15/15)

Thursday: Back, Arms and Cardio

Back

  • Wide Grips- 2 Sets of 7-15 Reps
  • Natural Grip- 2 Sets of 7-15 Reps
  • Close Grip Cable Pulldowns
  • Cable Shotguns
  • Straight Arms Pulldowns
  • Deadlift or Rack Pulls

Arms

  • Dumbbell Hammer Curls
  • One Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curls
  • Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extensions
  • Cable Triceps Pushdowns

Cardio (Intervals Ladder)

  • 2x100m, 2x200m, 1x300m, 2x400m, 1x300m, 2x200m, 2x100m Sprints (sprint, walk 50 meters, then immediately sprint the next meter set and repeat.)

Friday: Chest & Abs

Chest

  • Bench Press
  • Dumbbell Chest Press
  • Incline Chest Press
  • Decline Chest Press

Abs

  • Hanging Leg Lifts- 4 Sets to failure, min 20 reps
  • Decline Crunches- 4 Sets of 10-12 Reps (weight optional)
  • 115 Crunches or Sit-Up (branch of service dependent) Complete the number of reps in whatever split needed. The in goal is to complete the majority of your reps in the 1st set. (Example: 85/15/15)

Weekends

A 4-6 miles run. Not for time, but to exercise your breathing and cardiovascular system for endurance run requirements and hikes.

Tips for Using the Military Workout

As you might imagine, the program was designed to focus on key areas required for military fitness: upper body strength, the ability to carry heavy loads, and running for endurance. It was built with the basic fitness requirements for every branch of the military in mind, which is why it emphasizes back, shoulder, and core training.

With that said, the workout is not exclusively for people looking to join the military.

“It’s also a good plan for those in physically demanding public service jobs - firefighters, police officers, and so on,” Phillips said. “It could also be used as a baseline for athletes in certain sports, particularly football. Adjustments may need to be made depending on the sport. Basketball players, for example, probably need more arm training.”

It’s also not exclusively for those looking to gain or lose weight. Instead, the emphasis is on functional fitness - building strength and endurance, the same traits required in the military. “This plan is a nice middle ground [between cutting and bulking workouts]. You aren’t going to build bulky muscles - it’s more about functional strength, endurance, and lean muscle.”

As far as dieting, Phillips suggests a focus on lean meats and healthy fats. “You don’t have to completely cut out carbs, but you’ll want to manage them,” he advises. “The majority of your calories should come from lean protein - chicken, fish, turkey, etc. I personally love almonds. They are a superfood with excellent protein and fat content.” The key is making sure your macronutrients are in alignment with your goals.

Finally, remember not to skimp on the effort. “Pushing yourself is the key to get what you want out of this plan. Don’t lift for reps - lift to get the burn. If your muscles aren’t burning and close to failure by the time you reach your third set, the weight is too light. Push yourself, remember the three key principles of contraction, squeezing, and negative motion, and you’ll be fine.”

Whether you’re looking to join the military, stay in shape for a physically demanding job, or simply give yourself a challenge in the gym, try the military workout to test your limits - mentally and physically.

Recent Articles

Interview: Joey Decaminada and Body Fortress Take on the IFBB
He’s a competitive bodybuilder, business owner, and father of two. Team Body Fortress member Joey Decaminada talks about staying balanced, nutrition, and his advice for the next generation.
Essential Fortress Building Ingredients
3 Moves for Bigger Biceps***
Your Fall Guide to Fitness
MORE ARTICLES »