Army Conditioning Drills

Acclaimed for their strength and heroism, soldiers need to perform feats of impressive endurance and force on the battlefield. As such, the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), whose job it is to recruit train and educate U.S. Army Soldiers, developed a standardized training regime designed to improve fitness, toughen soldiers and reduce injuries. These drills are designed to condition soldiers and have them ready for action.

This article looks at the army conditioning drills 1 (CD1) and 2 (CD2) found in the TRADOC Standardized Physical Training Guide. These are designed for the toughening stage of conditioning and are not to be performed more than 5 repetitions of each exercise per set. The conditioning drill 3 is designed for soldiers who have mastered the CD1 and CD2.

Army Conditioning Drill 1

According to U.S. Army Physical Readiness Training Information, conditioning drill 1 also known as CD1 are designed to improve a soldiers' mobility, endurance, and strength. These exercises are all supposed to be repeated 5 times.

The Bent-Leg Body Twist (5 repetitions)

This drill strengthens your trunk. Regular practice will allow you to safely bend and rotate your trunk. The bent-leg body twist must be performed at slow cadence (speed).

Steps

  • Start in a supine position with your arms sideward, your palms down and fingers spread. With your legs and feet together, raise them such that your hips and knees are bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • Move your legs in a rotational manner to the left while keeping the rest of your body in a stationary position,
  • Return to the position in step 1.
  • Repeat step 2 but to the right.
  • Return to the position in step 1.

The bent-leg body twist drill must be performed at moderate cadence (speed).

The Rear Lunge (5 repetitions)

This drill improves your balance and leg strength. This drill has to be performed slowly.

Steps

  • Start by standing straight with your hands on your hips.
  • Take a large step/lunge forward with your leg foot; ensure you touch down with the ball of your foot.
  • Return to the standing position
  • Take a large step/lunge forward with your right foot; ensure you touch down with the ball of your foot.
  • Return to the standing position

The Windmill (5 repetitions)

This drill strengthens your legs, shoulders, and trunk. Regular practice will allow you to safely bend and rotate your trunk.

This drill must be performed slowly.

Steps

  • Stand with your arms stretched sideways and your palms facing downward.
  • Bend your knees and hips while rotating downward to your left. Touch the outside of your right foot with your left hand while looking backward. Your right hand is pulled rearward so it is perpendicular to your left hand.
  • Return to the position in step 1.
  • Bend your knees and hips while rotating downward to your right. Touch the outside of your left foot with your right hand while looking backward. Your left hand is pulled rearward so it is perpendicular to your right hand. (The opposite of step 2)
  • Return to the position in step 1.

High Jumper (5 repetitions)

This drill teaches correct jumping and landing. It improves balance and body coordination. The high jumper must be performed at moderate cadence (speed).

Steps

  • Stand leaning forward.
  • Swing both arms forward and jump a couple of inches.
  • Swing both arms out forcefully over your head and jump high.
  • Repeat.

The Prone Row (5 repetitions)

This drill builds your back and shoulders, making them stronger.

Steps

Lie in a prone position with your arms stretched forward overhead. Your toes should be pointed to the rear and your palms should be an inch or 2 off the floor.

  • Raise your chest and head while simultaneously lifting your arms and pulling them rearward.
  • Return to starting position in step 1.
  • Repeat step 2
  • Return to starting position in step 1.

Perform the prone row drill slowly.

The Forward Lunge (5 repetitions)

This drill improves your balance and leg strength.

Steps

  • Start by standing straight with your hands on your hips.
  • Take a step/lunge forward with your leg foot, let your knee bend until it is parallel to the floor; ensure you touch down with the ball of your foot. Slightly lean forward. Make sure your back is straight.
  • Return to the standing position
  • Repeat step 2 with your right length.
  • Return to the standing position.

This drill must be performed at a slow cadence.

The Rower (5 repetitions)

This drill strengthens your abdominal muscles as well as improving coordination between your trunk and your extremities. It allows you to move from a supine position to a seating position with ease.

The rower must be performed slowly.

Steps

  • Lie on your back with your arms overhead, your feet pinned together outstretched, your head should be a couple of inches off the ground.
  • Swing your arms outwards while sitting up. At the end of this step, your arms should be outstretched and parallel to the floor and your palms facing each other.
  • Lie back down.
  • Repeat step 1.
  • Lie back down again.

The Push-Up (5 repetitions)

This drill strengthens and develops the muscles in your trunk, arms, shoulders, and chest. Regular practice will allow you to safely bend and rotate your trunk. The push-up drill must be performed at moderate cadence (speed).

Steps

  • Start in a front leaning rest position.
  • By bending your elbows, lower your body until your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
  • Lift yourself back into the starting position in step 1.
  • Repeat step 2.
  • Lift yourself back into the starting position in step 1.

The Bend and Reach (5 repetitions)

This drill will work on your spine and extremities allowing you to be flexible during vigorous movements. It works on the spine and the legs. This drill has to be performed slowly.

Steps

  • Start straight with your arms straight over your head.
  • Squat with heels flat on the floor and use your arms to reach as far as you can between your legs,

Repeat Steps 1 and 2.

The Squat Bender (5 repetitions)

This drill strengthens your lower back and lower extremities. It improves flexibility, endurance and strength.

Steps

  • Stand with your hands on your hips
  • Squat leaning forward slightly at the waist, while extending your arms straightforward parallel to the floor and your palms facing each other.
  • Stand with your hands on your hips
  • Bend down and reach towards your feet with your arms fully extended and your palm facing inward.

This drill has to be performed slowly.

Army Conditioning Drill 2

According to U.S. Army Physical Readiness Training Information, conditioning drill 2 also known as CD2 are designed to improve a soldiers’ mobility, and range of motion. They build the core muscles of the soldier allowing for effective control over their body weight. They require more complex motor skills than the CD1 drills. These exercises are all supposed to be repeated 10 to 20 times. 

The Push-Up (10-20 repetitions)

This drill strengthens and develops the muscles in your trunk, arms, shoulders, and chest. Regular practice will allow you to safely bend and rotate your trunk. The push-up drill must be performed at moderate cadence (speed).


Steps

  • Start in a front leaning rest position.
  • By bending your elbows, lower your body until your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
  • Lift yourself back into the starting position in step 1.
  • Repeat step 2.
  • Lift yourself back into the starting position in step 1.

The Sit-up (10-20 repetitions)

Sit-ups strengthen your hip-flexor and abdominal muscles. Sit-ups must be performed at moderate cadence (speed).


Steps

  • Lie on your back with your hands behind your head with your fingers interlocked (your hands must touch the floor.). Bent your knees 90 degrees. Keep your feet twelve inches apart and flat on the floor.
  • Lift your upper body up vertically until the base of your neck is above your spine.
  • Gently lower yourself back into the starting position in step 1.
  • Repeat step 2.
  • Gently lower yourself back into the starting position in step 1.

The Straight-arm Pull (5 repetitions)

For many people performing a pull-up can be struggle. The straight-arm pull exercise is a great starting point for a pull-up.

  • Hang from a bar using an overhead grip with your thumb around the bar and your palms facing away from your face. Ensure your legs are straight and not bent.
  • Pull yourself up using your shoulders (by squeezing your shoulder blades together) and upper back muscles.
  • Lower yourself back into the starting position.

The Pull-up (5 repetitions)

The goal of this drill is to strengthen your arm muscles, back muscles, and forearm muscles.  The Pull-up drill must be performed at moderate cadence (speed).

Steps

  • Hang from a bar using an overhead grip with your thumb around the bar and your palms facing away from your face. Bent your knees 90 degrees.
  • Pull your body up vertically until your chin is above the bar. Ensure that your body is straight.
  • Gently lower yourself back into the starting position in step 1.
  • Repeat step 2.
  • Gently lower yourself back into the starting position in step 1.

NB: Keep your legs and feet together through the exercise. It is important to have 2 spotters 1 in front of you and another behind to assist with the exercise. As you get better at it, you will need less assistance.

The Leg Tuck (5 repetitions)

The goal of the leg tuck drill is to develop your grip strength, hip flexor and abdominal muscles.  You should perform the leg tuck drill at moderate cadence (speed).

Steps

  • Hang from a bar using a left or right alternate grip.
  • Pull your body up vertically with your arms and raise your knees toward your chest until your thighs just about your knees touches your elbows.
  • Gently lower yourself back into the starting position in step 1.
  • Repeat step 2.
  • Gently lower yourself back into the starting position in step 1.

NB: Just like in the pull up drill, keep your legs and feet together. It is essential that you have 2 spotters, one in front of you and another behind you to assist with the exercise.

Conclusion

The conditioning drill 1 consist of 10 exercises namely - the bend and reach, the rear lunge the high jumper, the rower, the squat bender, the windmill, the forward, the prone row, the bent-leg body twist, the push-up  while the conditioning drill 2 consist of 5 exercises namely - the push-up, the sit-up, the straight-arm pull, the pull-up, and the leg tuck.

In totality, the army conditioning drills are designed to prepare and develop soldiers physically to perform the range of motions needed on the battlefield. It also builds the muscles for flexibility, agility and versatility.

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