The experts: Senior Airman Rob Avellan, regional personal training manager in New York City (Air Force); Lance Corporal David Cary, master instructor at the Equinox Fitness Training Institute and personal training manager at Bloomfield Hills in Michigan (Marines); HM3 (FMF) Sean Hanrahan, area personal training manager in Maryland and DC (Navy); Captain Ben Hopkins, regional personal training manager in Los Angeles (Army); Tom Ram, Tier X coach at East 85th Street in New York City (Israel Defense Forces); Or Artzi, group fitness instructor at Equinox locations in New York City (IDF)
To create the workout below, each expert provided moves that reflect the style of training done in his or her respective branch of the military. In general, their routines were bodyweight-focused and peppered with functional cardio drills like sandbag carries and sprints.
“We Air Force guys had simple workouts, nothing fancy,” says Avellan. Echoes Hopkins: “It was never flashy, just based on volume.”
This workout exemplifies that simplicity without skimping on difficulty. It builds overall strength, moves you in multiple planes, and hits all seven fundamental movement patterns. On top of that, it's a do-anywhere round-up.
“There is nothing like having a ready-to-go military-grade program that you can be proud of doing whether you’re on the beach, in the mountains, or traveling,” Ram says. “This routine gives you the freedom to move around the world and still take care of your body.”
Unlike the other Fundamental fitness routines, this one comes with three bonus moves: one warm-up and two finishers, towel slides and plate pushes, which is "how they had us clean the floors at bootcamp,” Cary says.
"The purpose of these finishers is to accelerate fat loss, enhance your conditioning, and stimulate your deep core muscles," Artzi adds.
Incorporate the jumping jacks into your regular warm-up. Perform moves 2 through 8 AMRAP-style, doing one exercise for 30 seconds, taking 30 seconds rest, then moving on to the next. Complete 3 rounds total. (Each round will last 7 minutes.) After your third round, end with 1 minute of each finisher.
Add this routine to your regular strength and cardio program once or twice a week for best results. For an increased challenge, progress toward a two-one work-rest ratio, either by doubling your work periods or cutting your recovery in half, Ram says.
Stand tall with feet together and arms relaxed. Simultaneously jump your feet wide and sweep your arms to the sides and overhead. Jump back to start for one rep.
Stand tall with your left foot planted, left arm straight out, holding your right foot behind your glute with your right hand. Slowly lower into a squat until the right knee touches the ground. Keep your chest up, left arm extended, and right quad perpendicular to the ground throughout. At the bottom of the squat, reverse the motion to return to start for one rep. Alternate sides.
Stand tall with feet together and arms relaxed. Place your hands on the floor at shoulder-width and jump into a high plank. Lower your chest to the ground and press back up. Jump your feet forward and jump straight up, bringing arms overhead. Land softly for one rep.
Start in a high plank with feet together and shoulders stacked over wrists. Quickly tuck the left knee toward your chest and return to high plank, then repeat on the right side as soon as your left foot touches the ground for one rep.
Start in a high plank with feet together and shoulders stacked over wrists. Maintaining a straight line from head to feet, lower until your elbows are bent at 90 degrees, keeping triceps close to your sides throughout. Reverse the motion to return to start for one rep.
Hold a low pull-up bar (or improvise with outdoor structures) with hands at shoulder-width, palms facing toward you, legs extended, and the bar over your chest. Maintaining a straight line from head to feet, pull your body up until your chest touches the bar. Slowly return to start for one rep.
Get on all fours with shoulders stacked over wrists. Press your hips up so your body forms an inverted V. This is your start position. In one fluid motion, lower your hips and bend your elbows as if at the bottom of a push-up. Press up through your arms and lift your chest, ending in Upward Dog. Reverse the motion to return to start for one rep.
Hang from a pull-up bar (or a similar outdoor structure) with hands at shoulder-width and palms facing out. (For a chin-up, as shown, hang with palms facing toward you.) Tense your shoulder blades, squeezing them down and together, and pull through your arms to raise your collarbones to the bar. Pause, then slowly return to start for one rep.
Place a heavy weight plate on a towel. Assume a sprinter’s position with both hands on the weight plate. Run forward, pushing the plate in front of you with your chest up and core engaged. Complete 10 steps, then repeat in the opposite direction. Continue for 1 minute.
Stand in a half squat with feet wider than shoulders and a hand towel in front of your feet. Reach down with your right hand and place your fingers at the right end of the towel. Begin side shuffling to the right, keeping your chest up and fingers in contact with the towel so that it moves with you. Complete 10 side steps, then repeat in the opposite direction. Continue for 1 minute.
Photography by Mohamed Sadek. Art direction by Kathryn Marx.