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.

Resistance Band Supine Bicycle

Place a mini-resistance band around the balls of the feet. Lie on your back, hands behind the head. Do no use hands to pull the neck forward. Maintaining tension in the mini-band, push one foot away and down while the opposite knee comes toward the chest. Twist the core so the opposite elbow connects with the knee. Repeat until set is complete.

Plank Extensions

Start in elbow Plank form, elbows directly below the shoulder and forearms facing straight forward. Do not clasp hands in front of the body. Slowly begin to tip-toe backward, only as far as Plank form can be maintained. Tip-toe back to starting position. Repeat until set is complete.

Shoulder Tap Plank Push Up

Start in standard Plank position, hands directly below the shoulders. A wider foot stance will provide stability during the shoulder taps. While maintaing Plank position, alternate touching a hand to the opposite shoulder. After 10 shoulder taps, lower into a push up. Repeat until set is complete.

Plank – Mountain Climber – Row – Push Up

Start in standard Plank form, hands placed directly under the shoulder. Drive one knee toward the opposing elbow, then return to start. Then lift one hand upward, into a single-arm row, then return to start. Lower into a standard push up. Continue this routine, remembering to use the opposite leg and arm for the mountain climber and row. Repeat until set is complete.

Pelvic Tilt with March

Lay supine on a mat, back of the head and lower back fully engaged with the floor. Bend knees to 90* angle. Exhale, then lift one knee toward the chest, mantaining the bend in the knee. Inhale, then lower the foot back to the floor. Repeat while alternating sides. Stop and reset form if the lower back disengages from the floor.

Progress this exercises by adding a mini-resistance band just above the knees.

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

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