DIY Military Training: Build a Backyard Boot Camp

monkeybarsJoining the military is an honored and respected tradition in this country, often following from generation to generation as children see the good that their parents are doing and seek to emulate that sense of duty. Training to join the military can be, however, a challenge. The physical fitness requirements of military service are demanding and grueling.

Take the U.S. Marine Corps, for example: the physical assessment for a young man in his early 20s includes running three miles in under 28 minutes, doing 50 crunches in under two minutes and nine unassisted full-body pull-ups. This may not sound like a lot on paper, but if you haven’t practiced and conditioned your body for these challenges, they will be more than difficult.

Take the proper steps and get prepared. Joining a gym or hiring a trainer is an option some take, but for the truly dedicated one of the best options is to build your own backyard boot camp that you can use whenever you want. Below are a few tips and suggestions to help you get started.

Tire Run

This classic exercise requires taking used tires (at least 10) and staggering them so that as you run your feet land within the tires. Place your hands behind your head and lift your knees as high as you can to work not only your thighs but your core and stomach as well.

Monkey Bars

Use a long row of elevated bars to help strengthen your forearms, shoulders, biceps and triceps, as well as get your body used to supporting itself in that position. For increased difficulty and training, do the bars one at a time with a pull-up at each bar.


While most backyards don’t allow room for a full track, set up an area to do wind sprints. Practice these high-speed, short-distance runs to quickly increase speed, stamina, and strength. To take it to the next step, consider getting a harness and attaching a tire or other weight behind you as you run.

Rope Climb

This simple but effective exercise requires a great deal of upper body strength and coordination, and help to increase strength and stamina in your forearms and grip.

Balance Beam

These are great for increasing your balance as well as working your core. For greater difficulty, increase your speed across the beam or hold weights out to either side of your body.

Hurdle / Cover

This exercise requires you to alternate jumping over a hurdle and crawling under an obstacle. This is a full-body workout, and is great for working your core and increasing all-around stamina and endurance.

Many of these obstacles like the wall or the monkey bars require you to build large, durable structures that can withstand the strain you put on them during training. If you are comfortable doing it yourself, rent a scissor lift and other equipment that can make the task much easier. If construction isn’t your thing, don’t be afraid to hire someone to assist.

Whatever service you are going into, remember that the biggest advantage you have is mental discipline. Be sure to prepare your mind as well as your body, and know that your service and dedication is always appreciated.


About Roger Young

Roger served with A Troop, 3/17th Air Cav "Silver Spurs" as a Scout Crew Chief in Vietnam from '69 - '70.
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