Preparation Tips for The Marine Corps Combat Fitness Test

Friday, January 5, 2018

Preparation Tips for The Marine Corps Combat Fitness Test

Preparation Tips for The Marine Corps Combat Fitness Test. In the Fleet Marine Force, the Marine Corps Combat Fitness Test is administered during the second half of the annual year. All Marines are required to take the CFT between July 1 - December 31 each year, unless otherwise excused due to a medical condition that places the Marine on light duty or limited duty. The CFT consists of three events: Maneuver Under Fire (MUF), Ammo Lifts (AL), and Movement to Contact (MTC). Movement to Contact is an 880 yard run while wearing cammie trousers, blouse, and boots. The objective here is to finish as fast as you can. It is a sprint, so you should maximize your effort the entire time. Remember you will get a 5-minute break immediately following this portion, so give it all your effort.

For the Ammo Lift, you have 2 minutes to complete as many ammo can lifts as you can. You must lift a 30-pound ammunition can overhead from shoulder height. The elbows must lock out at the top. The starting position for the AL is with the ammo can sideways at shoulder height held with both hands, handle facing away from you. The proper lifting technique is head up, chest elevated and lumbar curve maintained. Feet remain shoulder-width apart or staggered in a basic-warrior stance position. You are encouraged to use your legs during the lift. This will provide momentum as well as additional strength, making the lift easier by spreading the work load across multiple muscle groups, as opposed to just using your arms. You will receive another 5-minute break following this event so ensure you give it all your effort once again.
Preparation Tips for The Marine Corps Combat Fitness Test
The MANUF is a 300 yard shuttle run that includes a variety of combat-related tasks, to include crawls, buddy drags/carries, ammunition resupply, grenade throw and agility running. You start out in the prone position at the starting line. You get up and run 25 yards, do a j-hook around a cone, then drop down and high crawl for 10 yards. During the high crawl, you must maintain contact with the ground with your elbows, knees, and torso. Next you will raise up to a modified high crawl for the next 15 yards. In the modified high crawl, your torso does not have to maintain contact with the ground. Only hands, knees, and feet must contact the ground. At the 50 yard line, you will negotiate a series of cones set up in a diagonal pattern. The turnaround point is at the 75 yard line.

Here you will grab a simulated casualty (SC) and conduct a buddy drag back to the 65 yard line, while negotiating the cones. To do the buddy drag, you will reach underneath and through the arms of the SC and obtain a solid grasp on both forearms. At the 65 yard line, you will lift the SC up into a fireman's carry and carry them all the way back to the start line. Once at the start line, you place the SC on the deck, turn around, grab two 30-pound ammo cans and run them back to the 75 yard line. At the 75 yard line, you drop the ammo cans, and pick up a grenade. You throw the grenade into a circle located 15 meters away. Immediately after the grenade throw, you drop down and do 3 pushups. If the grenade lands in the circle, you get 5 seconds deducted from your final score for the MUF. If the grenade lands outside the circle, you get five seconds added. If the grenade lands in the grenade pit area, but rolls out, the throw is considered a hit. If it lands outside the circle, but rolls in, it counts as a miss. After the pushups, you pick up the ammo cans and run back to the start/finish line.

Preparation for the Combat Fitness Test (CFT)

In order to prepare for the Marine Corps CFT, you must train your body by doing high intensity workouts that are shorter in duration. Going out and running 5 miles is not going to get you a better score on your CFT. While it is important to be able to run long distances, especially in the Marine Corps, this should not be your sole means of PT. It is not recommended that you ever train specifically for the PFT or CFT. Your goal should be to always be in top physical condition, and if you are training correctly you should always be able to go out and achieve a high score on both of the CFT and PFT. If you are struggling in the type of fitness required for the CFT, you should focus on incorporating sprints and interval training, high rep/medium weight weightlifting, and lower body strength into your existing PT program.

You need to get out there and get your heart rate elevated and your lungs working hard. You should focus on doing multiple sets of high repetitions of many different calisthenics with very little break in between each set. Pushups, bodyweight squats, and ammo can lifts are a good place to start. Make up a circuit using those three exercises and throw in some sprints. An example might be: Five rounds of 200m sprint, 20 pushups, 20 bodyweight squats, 20 ammo lifts. Execute each round in that order, completing each exercise before moving on to the next. Do not take breaks between sets. Your goal should be to finish the workout as fast as possible. When you are done, record your time. The next time you do the same workout, your goal should be to beat your previous time. If you find that this particular workout is too easy, or not getting your heart rate up and your lungs working hard, you can increase the distance, weight, repetitions, or all of the above.

Another helpful exercise is the "farmers walk". This is simply grabbing a heavy object in each hand, and walking. An example would be: Grab two 50 pound dumbbells and walk 100 meters. You can incorporate this into any of your existing workouts.

You need to get used to lifting things over your head. If you can get your hands on an ammo can, fill it up to 30 pounds and do max sets of overhead lifts as often as you can. Either as part of your existing workouts, or just do two or three sets of max effort three times a week. If you don't have an ammo can, use a dumbbell. If you don't have a dumbbell, improvise. Grab something that weighs close to 30 pounds and lift it over your head. One of the hallmarks of every good Marine is to adapt, improvise, and overcome.

Practice your crawls. You don't want the first time you execute a high crawl to be when you are out on the CFT field, running it for score.

Once or twice a week go out and run 880 yards as fast as you can. You can easily incorporate this into your existing PT plan, either at the beginning, middle, or end of a workout.

Practice your fireman's carry. Get a buddy and practice carrying them 100 yards as fast as you can. Make sure you start out slow and use a lighter partner until you are confident and comfortable carrying the weight. You can easily hurt your back doing the fireman's carry if not done properly. If you can't find a buddy to carry, use a barbell loaded up with whatever weight you are comfortable with. Your goal should be to carry someone/something that is equal to or greater than your body weight for 100 yards.

As with any workout, ensure you properly warm up and cool down. These should simply serve as ideas for you to use as additions to your existing PT program. If your PT program is tailored specifically and solely to get a higher score on the PFT or CFT, then you are wrong, and you are seriously limiting yourself in your level of physical fitness. Your PT program should include many different types of exercises that are constantly varied in duration, and done on a regular basis. Stay motivated and stick with it, and you will increase your level of overall physical fitness.

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