What Are the Army's "Daily Dozen" Exercise Routines?

By Judy Kilpatrick

The design of the U.S. Army "daily dozen" exercise routines incrementally increase a soldier's strength and endurance. The term "daily dozen" originally referred to 12 specific calisthenics performed by the Yale University football team more than a century ago. Today, it refers more to a commitment to routine fitness training than to a specific number of exercises. During initial training, however, military recruits do perform specific calisthenics, but these are not limited to a dozen.

Overview

New recruits and ROTC cadets must pass the Army Physical Fitness Test before advancing to the next level in soldier training. Adherence to a regular exercise program four to five days per week during the initial physical training program prepares recruits and cadets for this test. During this initial phase, the exercise routine consists of standardized physical training sessions that include warmups, conditioning drills and a cool-down period.

Conditioning Drill 1

Calisthenic exercises figure prominently in the U.S. Army fitness program, just as 12 calisthenic exercises made up the original "daily dozen." The Army Pocket Physical Training Guide lists and describes the 10 exercises of Conditioning Drill 1: bend and reach, rear lunges, high jumpers, rowers, squat benders, windmills, forward lunges, prone rows, bent-leg body twists and pushups. During training, these exercises do not vary, as they are designed to safely and incrementally build strength, endurance and mobility, and increase bone mass and connective tissue strength. Trainees perform five repetitions of each exercise, which are performed in the order given.

Conditioning Drills 2 and 3

After approximately four weeks of training, Conditioning Drill 2, or CD2, is added to the activity portion of the training routine for additional upper body strengthening. CD2 is comprised of calisthenics -- pushups, situps and pullups -- performed in the given sequence. Conditioning Drill 3, or CD3, consists of five higher-level calisthenic exercises performed with greater intensity to further develop motor skills, endurance, mobility and strength. Trainees perform CD3s to cadence in the given order: power jumps, V-ups, mountain climbers, leg tucks and twists and single-leg pushups.

Considerations

Recruits must pass a physical examination at a Military Entrance Processing Station before beginning the U.S. Army standardized physical training program. Exercise routines performed according to a recommended sequence, repetition and pace minimize muscle soreness and control injuries. For greatest gains, precise execution of each exercise is more important than speed, according to the training guide.

References

About the Author

For Judy Kilpatrick, gardening is the best mental health therapy of all. Combining her interests in both of these fields, Kilpatrick is a professional flower grower and a practicing, licensed mental health therapist. A graduate of East Carolina University, Kilpatrick writes for national and regional publications.

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