Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge

Minimum Requirements:
500 yards (457 metres) swim in 12.5 minutes

42 pushups in 2 minutes

50 situps in 2 minutes

6 pullups, no time limit

1.5 mile (2.4km) run in 11 minutes

US Navy 090314-N-5366K-056 Athletes battle thr...

US Navy 090314-N-5366K-056 Athletes battle through two minutes of push ups during the Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge at Arizona State University in Phoenix (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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2013 Workout Goals

Original article is here: http://getfitsimply.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/2013-workout-goals/
I visited Fitocracy recently, and came across some fitness goals for 2013 that some member had posted.They were something like:

2,013 pull-ups

20,013 pushups

and so on.

Marines pull-up for America's birthday

Marines pull-up for America’s birthday (Photo credit: United States Marine Corps Official Page)

I think this is an interesting way of getting yourself to work out. Such goals certainly qualify as SMART goals.

The goals are:

Specific – the exercise to be done is named

Measurable – you can count the number of reps done

Attainable – this of course depends on your personal circumstances. 2,013 pullups in a year works out to about 6 pull-ups a day, or about 39 per week. Looks do-able.

Realistic – 20,013 pushups in a year translates to about 55 per day. Can you do that? You decide.

Time-bound – the time limit for achieving the goals is already defined as this year.

One good thing about having such a goal is that it allows you the flexibility to spread out your workout as you wish. if you miss some days, you make up for them later.

On the other hand, this flexibility means that there is no plan to achieve the goal, and you could easily fall far behind the weekly or monthly target numbers.

I think if you simply want to keep working out and you do not have a specific alternative plan, such goals can be good to give you something to aim for daily or weekly.

I should also mention that you should ensure that the goals cover all the major muscle groups of your body, so you should not have only pushups and pullups but nothing for your lower body.

I was aiming for 1,000 pullups in 20 days, but I already seem to be falling behind on that. I think i will extend that to 30 days and also do 2,000 body-weight squats in those 30 days.

What are your fitness goals for 2013?

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Pull-Up Programs

Pull-Up Programs

The pull-up is one of the main upper body exercises. It is tough and mastering it is an impressive sign of strength.
If you want to increase the number of pull-ups you can do, there are several programs available on the Internet for that.
Here are a few.

1) The Armstrong Pull-up Program
This is perhaps the most famous pull-up program on the Net.
It states “This program was developed by Major Charles Lewis Armstrong. Major Armstrong
developed this workout to prepare him to set a new world record in number of pull-ups
completed in a single exercise session.”
It has five days of training per week, with different instructions for each day.
You will need to keep track of your numbers for yourself, so that you know how many sets to do.

2) Recon Ron Pull-up Program
http://webpages.charter.net/bert/reconron.html
There seems to be little information on the origins of this plan, but it is often mentioned when pull-up programs are discussed. The program is fairly straight-forward. Each training day, you do 5 sets of pull-ups. The number of pull-ups to be done in each set is specified for you. The next week, the number of pull-ups to be done per day increases slightly. No further instructions are given, but you can get guidelines from other people on the Internet.
I chose this one myself because of it simplicity. I simply read and do. I do the pull-ups 3 times a week, with about 3 minutes rest between sets. I also change my grip from set to set.

2b) Pre-Recon Ron
http://www.getfitsimply.com/2012/04/12/pre-recon-ron-pull-up-program/
Please note that the Recon Ron program instructs you to do 6 pull-ups in the first set. Since not everyone may be able to do that, I looked at how the Recon Ron program was written and wrote the Pre-Recon Ron pull-up program, to take you from 1 pull-up to 6.

3) 20 pull-ups
http://twentypullups.com/
This one was inspired by hundredpushups.com. First you do a test, then depending on the results, you follow one of three columns given, and simply do the number of pull-ups specified, mostly in 5 sets. Rest intervals are also suggested for you.
You are to train 3 days a week. There is provision for those unable to do a pull-up to work towards doing them.

4) Art Of Manliness
http://artofmanliness.com/2008/07/08/pull-ups-fitness-routine/ has a pull-up routine as well, that increases the total number of pull-ups done in a workout, by adjusting sets and reps from week to week.

5) Marine Officer Programs
http://www.marineofficerprograms.com/media/download_gallery/pullupprogram.pdf
This document (PDF) has 5 programs. The programs seem to have been designed for anyone who simply wants to do pull-ups, not necessarily for someone who wants to increase the number they can do, but you might find them useful in increasing your numbers.

6) Physical Living
http://physicalliving.com/how-to-rapidly-increase-your-pullup-numbers-in-3-months-or-less/
This article has a rather elaborate 3-month program that says it will help you rapidly increase your pull-up numbers in 3 months or less.

Like I said, I chose the Recon Ron program because of its simplicity. I like clear instructions. (Maybe I am just lazy 🙂 ). It has certainly worked for me. The first few weeks, I struggled to complete the sets as stated. This was when I was required to do sets of around 5 pull-ups! I have seen definite increase in numbers, and I can currently do at least 10 without struggling, and I can hang on to the bar and complete a set of 18.

One of my problems with programs that do not tell me a specific number of reps to do, is that I may get soft on myself and not push to do one or two more reps, when I actually can do them. If a program dictates that I do 18 reps, then I will try hard to do the 18. But if it just says I do my max, I may stop at 12, when actually I could have pushed to maybe 16.
My other problem is that I do not want to have to write down or remember my performance at various points, then use this information to calculate what I am expected to do at another point and so on.

This is only a partial listing. There are other programs out there. Pick whichever program you prefer, and increase your pullups.
All the best!

Fitness Benchmarks and Goals

Fitness Benchmarks and Goals

What you get by reaching your goals is not nearly as important as what you become by reaching themZig Ziglar

What is a benchmark?
A benchmark is a standard by which something can be measured or judged.
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/benchmark

Why use benchmarks?
A benchmark allows us to know whether something is performing well or not. In our case, it allows us to know how well we are doing in a particular activity. From that, we can decide what we should be working towards.

Fitness benchmarks help you

  • set realistic goals
  • track your progress
  • stay motivated

Who Uses Benchmarks?
Various organisations such as police departments, the military and sports teams, have fitness tests to select candidates for jobs that need the ability to perform specific tasks. I did a brief Internet research on various fitness benchmarks and came up with the figures below.

Many of the figures were not categorised by age or gender. This may mean that the benchmarks may be too tough for some, or too easy for others. Don’t let this worry you, these are simply guidelines. In real life, however, situations do not categorise the people caught up in them. You may need to run, or climb or lift, whether you are 21 or 46 years old.

I have included multiple score expectations simply to show a bit of the range of numbers that exist. For us we can simply adjust these benchmarks and use them as something to aim for, or as something to measure ourselves against. Just do the best you can, as long as it truly is your best.

Most fitness tests had the following elements:

  • 1.5 mile run, timed
  • 300m run, timed
  • Situps in a minute
  • Pushups – maximum, not timed
  • Vertical jump
  • Pull-ups – maximum, not timed
  • Swim
  • Squat
  • Sit and reach

The requirements or average findings can be summarised as follows
300m Run
70 Seconds
78.4 seconds
300 yards (274m) in under a minute  for men, which translates to 300m in about 66sec
Average: 70 seconds

1.5 mile (2.4km) run
Average 13:27

Pushups to test upper body strength.
15
15 in 2 minutes
16
17
18 in a row
18 in a minute for females aged 29
26 for men
29 in 1 minute
33 in 1 minute – age 29 male
6 to 19 for males depending on age
5 to 11 for females depending on age
17 to 21 for men
13 to 19 for women
Average: 18

Situps in a minute – to test abdominal or trunk strength.
18 to 35 for men – in 1 minute
11 to 29 for female – in 1 minute
20 – in a row.
24 sit-ups
25 Reps in 1 minute
40 sit-ups in a minute – age 29 male
35 sit-ups in a minute – age 29 female
38 in 1 minute
Average: 28

Squat to measure lower body strength.
15 to 27 for men
9 to 21 for females
Average 18

Vertical Jump to measure leg explosive power.
12 for female
14 inches
15 inches
16 inches for male
20 inches – male

Jump over obstacles higher than his waist

Pull-ups
10 in a row.
15 pull-ups

Swimming
400m swim and 2 minute treading water.
Swim at least half a mile (805m)
Swim 500 yards (457m) in 12 min – men
Only 2/100 Americans can swim 1/4 mile (about 400m) without stopping

Sit and Reach to measure flexibility.
Sit and reach of 16.5
men 0 to 2 inches
women 0.5 to 4 inches

Walking
According to the American Council on Exercise, the average man who is over 40 can walk a 16.5 to 19 minute mile, while the average woman can do it in 17 to 19.5 minutes.

Links:
http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/best-fitness-benchmarks
http://www.topendsports.com/testing/tests.htm
http://exrx.net/Testing.html
http://artofmanliness.com/2009/09/15/every-man-should-be-able-to-save-his-own-life-5-fitness-benchmarks-a-man-must-master/