When we think of an upper body exercise that’s relevant to the military, I bet the first thing that comes to mind is Push ups!
Push ups are probably the number one foundational exercise in the ADF. Not only is it in your fitness assessment but it’s also a great exercise to do when you have no equipment available. BUT… aside from them being a great exercise, doing push ups alone will not guarantee you’ll have enough upper body strength to endure the rigours of military life.
Why Are Push Ups Such A Great Exercise?
Push ups can be done anywhere! In the gym, at home, at the beach, in the park...you couldn’t even do them in bed. You can progress them by raising your feet off the ground, you could do them one handed or you could change the position of hands to make them more difficult, you can even do hand-stand push ups if you are feeling hardcore. You can make them explosive and do clap push ups or you can turn them into an endurance activity and do hundreds of them. The list goes on.
Why Are Push Ups Alone Not Enough To Build Upper Body Strength?
‘Push’ is only one movement. Let’s think about what movements you’ll do in the military that aren’t ‘pushing’ movements. Rope climbing and scaling obstacles, carrying stores such as water jerry’s and stretchers, lifting equipment into the back of trucks, dragging your wounded buddy out of a danger area, wearing body armour and carry a heavy pack. As you can see, there are many activities and movements that require you to have upper body strength, that can’t be developed by just doing push ups.
What Other Exercises Will Help Develop My Upper Body Strength?
Rope Climbing and Scaling Obstacles
There is a lot to consider but as with anything to do with fitness, start light or just use your bodyweight and focus on efficient movement then start to add small amounts of weight each week.
You don’t need to try and fit everything into one week. Think of breaking this down over a month and focus on a couple of exercises each week. Two upper body sessions a week is enough to get and keep you on track. You can also add core training onto the end of each of your training sessions.
DROP THE EGO!!!
It’s so easy to think you’re a seasoned weightlifter but that will only lead to injury. Small amounts often is the key. Especially with pack marching, you may feel fine after throwing 30kg in your pack after your first ever pack march but in fact you are doing extreme damage to your body that will come out over the next 6 to 12 months which will see you sidelined. One pack march every 2 weeks is enough to begin to condition your body. Starting with 5kg in your pack is also fine. At least you won’t have potential career ending injuries in the next 12 months.
Don’t hesitate to get yourself a coach for the more advanced movements such as deadlifts and bent over rows. The education will go a long way.
For any further information on building upper body strength for the ADF then please don’t hesitate to get in touch and speak to one of our expert coaches in helping you out.
Michael and Carly both have walked the path you are about to take and are commited to help you get started with your training for a successful enlistment with free tips and articles.