Five Core & Upper Body Exercises for Soldiers

Body weight exercises that can be done anytime, anywhere.

Coaching active duty soldiers requires out-of-the-box thinking. Many are pilots, nurses, and infantry soldiers who are frequently away from traditional strength training facilities. Mini resistance bands are compact and versatile, easy to stash in a GO bag when duty calls.

Here is a list of my favorite core and upper body exercises for soldiers, no gym required.

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EMOM Workouts: Versatile & Challenging

EMOM means “every minute on the minute”, and are fantastic workouts when time is limited.

The structure of EMOM workouts are pretty straightforward, and can be scaled to suit every fitness level, from beginners to elite athletes.

Most EMOM workouts last between 10 to 30 minutes, but there are variations.

One of the benefits of EMOM is that they can be designed to challenge and develop a wide range of different aspects of your fitness. They can be programmed to train:

  • Strength
  • Endurance
  • Coordination
  • Technique under fatigue
  • Conditioning
  • Pacing
  • Mental toughness

How to EMOM

Using a timer or WOD app, on each minute, perform the exercise(s). You then rest the remainder of each minute. When the next minute starts, you begin the next exercise(s). Repeat this process until the workout is complete.

The structure of EMOM’s makes the workouts intense and time efficient. Due to the time pressure, form can suffer. Always complete each rep correctly and modify if necessary.

EMOM for Runners

You can involve any exercise you want, especially the ones you are weak at to improve them. But you should change the routine regularly.

EMOM Workout For Runners

20 minute EMOM: 20 second isometric hold + 10 reps

Forearm Plank, then Dolphin Plank

Side Plank, then Lateral Leg Lift

Banded Glute Bridge, then Abductor Pulse

Superman, then Banded Reverse Hyper

Stephanie Harboe is a RRCA-certified running coach and NASM-certified personal trainer.

Plank Combinations

Mater the basic plank – elbow or hand – then start having fun creating combinations of exercises based on the Plank.

Today’s workout involved mountain climbers, single-arm rows, and push-ups. Play around with the foot placement to maximize core stability, especially with the single-arm row.

Plank combination – mountain climber, single arm row, then push up.

How to perform this plank combination:

  1. Assume Plank position, hands placed directly under your shoulder. Hold your body in a tight, straight line from ears through the hips to the ankles.
  2. Drive the left knee toward the right elbow. Return to Plank.
  3. Lift left hand and pull upward in a row. Return to Plank.
  4. Lower into a full push-up, elbows away from the body at a 45* angle. Return to Plank.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 for the opposite side of the body. Continue to switch sides for 10-16 reps.

Really want a challenge? Try this combination with your feet in TRX stirrups or with hands on a BOSU ball.

Need modifications to maintain form? Drive knee to same side elbow. Perform a shoulder touch, rather than row. Drop to the knees for the push-up.


What plank combinations do you love?

Stephanie Harboe is a RRCA-certified running coach and NASM-certified personal trainer.