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Physical Requirements

Daily Physical Training

A standardized physical readiness training session consists of three essential elements:  warm–up, activity, and cool–down. These elements are integrated to produce the desired training effect. More importantly, every standardized physical readiness training session must have a specific purpose. This purpose, to prepare you for the physical demands of CBT, follows a recommended rate of progression, specific to each individual’s tolerance to the current level of training.

Warm-Up Activities

The standardized physical training session will always include the following elements: warm–up, activity and cool–down. The warm–up should last approximately 15 minutes and occur just before the activities of the physical training session. The dynamic exercises contained in each of the warm–up drills challenge the body’s range of motion to achieve a variety of postures. There are 10 dynamic warm-up drills that the Army recommends.  Click here to see these drills. 

Standardized Physical Training Activities

The activities of your physical training session are specified on your individualized program and include Endurance & Mobility and Strength & Mobility.
 
Endurance & Mobility: Running fitness is determined primarily by the combined volume and intensity of running you do each week and secondarily by the challenge level of your hardest individual runs. Because of this second factor, a week of training in which hard and easy runs are alternated will make you fitter than a week of equal combined volume and intensity in which every run is moderately challenging.
 
If you are comfortable with your running endurance, but would like to improve your running speed, there are several ways to improve your running speed without increasing volume (mileage).  Intervals, sprints, hill repeats, shuttle runs, 1 mile repeats are all ways to improve running speed without a great deal of mileage. 
 
If running endurance is an area of weakness, do not aggressively increase mileage as it can be a sure path to injury for new runners.  When progressing in any running program it is important to not increase intensity (speed) and volume (mileage) at the same time.  New runners should slowly increase their running fitness by only adjusting one factor at a time and allowing for adequate recovery.  Do not run every day and listen to your body. 
 
All male Candidates should arrive at West Point with a minimum ability to run at least three miles in 25 minutes and all female Candidates should arrive with a minimum ability to run at least three miles in 30 minutes.  Properly planned running workouts are incorporated into the Cadet Candidate Fitness Improvement Program. To learn more about running form, please access this PDF
 
You can expect to foot march three miles with 20 pounds initially, then increase time, distance and weight every week.  For more information on Foot Marching, please access this PDF.
 
Strength & Mobility: Training your capacity to exert force repeatedly or against a maximal resistance (muscular endurance and muscular strength respectively) is vital to a well balance workout program.
Muscular Endurance: Muscular endurance is defined as the capacity of a muscle/muscle group to exert a force repeatedly or to hold a fixed or static contraction over a period of time.  Some common exercises used to train for muscular endurance are: pushups, situps, dips, planks, squats, pull-ups and ankles to the bar (see videos).  These and other bodyweight movements are an essential part of preparing for cadet basic training.  For muscular endurance training, exercises should range from 12-20 reps with 1-2 minutes of rest between each set.  Muscular endurance training is incorporated into the Cadet Candidate Fitness Improvement Program.
Muscular Strength: Muscular strength is defined as the capacity of a muscle or muscle group to exert a force against a maximal resistance.  Strength training has been proven to increase bone density, ligament and tendon strength, increase lean body mass and decrease body fat.  A well-designed, strength-training program improves performance, appearance and controls injuries.  A solid strength foundation will help you succeed in cadet basic training by helping with pull-ups, carrying heavy loads, or lifting heavy objects overhead.  To effectively train muscular strength, it is best to focus on compound, multi-joint, functional movements (Squat, Overhead press, Bench Press, etc).  It is important to emphasize good form and proper techniques when strength training.  For strength training, exercises should range from 2-6 reps with 2-5 minutes of rest between each set.  For safety and technique reasons, strength training is not incorporated into the Cadet Candidate Fitness Improvement Program.

Cool-Down Activities

The cool–down serves to gradually slow the heart rate and helps prevent pooling of the blood in the legs and feet. You should begin the cool–down by walking until your heart rate returns to less than 100 beats per minute (BPM) and heavy sweating stops.
 
The cool–down should last approximately 10 minutes and occur immediately after the activities of the standardized physical training session. The performance of The Stretch Drill makes up the cool–down for ALL physical training sessions. The cool–down safely brings you back to your pre–exercise state after performing vigorous conditioning activities. The Stretches are designed to improve flexibility in most major muscle groups of the body. These static stretches involve slowly stretching muscles and then holding that position for an extended period of time.  Click here to access the cool down PDF.