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Military Muscle: Up for a challenge? Minimal equipment, maximal exertion required

Jun. 21, 2012 - 04:07PM   |   Last Updated: Jun. 21, 2012 - 04:07PM  |  
Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Chris Bonner, an aviator and CrossFit coach, demonstrates the burpee-box jump-suicide. This series is done three times in 90 seconds.
Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Chris Bonner, an aviator and CrossFit coach, demonstrates the burpee-box jump-suicide. This series is done three times in 90 seconds. (Thomas Brown / Staff photos; John Harman / Staff i)
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When Bob Thomas' latest workout hit our inbox, we knew we'd have to find some seriously fit people for the photo shoot. So we crashed the CrossFit class at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., to test out this brutal workout.

Four Coasties and one civilian student showed up and threw down literally and all agreed that this week's workout is a killer. Instructor Lt. Cmdr. Chris Bonner told us he didn't think the average person would be able to complete it.

So, consider this our throwdown to you. Are you up for it?

Bob Thomas says:

This workout can be done indoors or out with very little equipment. It's meant to be done as a grind without rest, except for a drink. But quality still counts over quantity, so take short rests as you need them.


10 minutes of heavy-bag get up. Start with the bag across one shoulder. Stand up, then get down any way you want until you're lying flat on your back, shoulders touching the floor, then return to your start position. Change shoulders at the halfway mark.

First set

Set up cones 25 meters apart. Perform three rounds each with a 14- to 20-pound medicine ball:

Full-body toss. Start with the medicine ball on the ground, then squat to pick it up. Explode as you come up (fingers are pointing up) in one continuous motion. Your feet should come off the ground at the end, and your focus should be on getting maximum height on the throw. Jog to the ball and repeat until you cover 50 meters.

Granny throw. This is an underhand toss starting between your legs. Focus on maximum height, then run to where ball lands and repeat until you cover 50 meters.

Backward-over-the-head throw. Start with the ball on the ground as in the full-body toss. Explode as you come up, throwing the ball backward over your head for maximum height. Run to where the ball lands and repeat until you cover 50 meters.

One-minute run at 85 percent effort between each set, then one-minute rest.

Second set

Two to three rounds of:

50 meters of walking lunges with dumbbell curls. Execute the opposite arm curl during each lunge.

30 kettlebell swings. Start with an athletic stance with knees bent and both hands gripping the kettlebell. Start with the kettlebell between your knees. Explosively swing the dumbbell upward and above your head, ensuring your hips are thrusting forward. You should feel minimal pressure on your lower back.

10 explosion pushups. Put one hand on medicine ball, the other on the ground. Explode up and over the medicine ball so that when you come down, the hand that was on the ball is now on the ground. Each time over the ball is one rep.

Third set

Two to three rounds of:

Three sets of front planks.

Start in the full down position with your toes curled under. Push up to a level position, weight resting on your toes and forearms. Hold for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.

10 crunches of each of the following:

Regular crunches.

Straight-leg lifts on your back, lifting from legs horizontal don't let your heels touch the ground to a 90-degree angle with your trunk.

Toe-touch crunches with your legs and trunk at 90 degrees, trying to touch your toes with your fingers.

Three sets of burpee to box jump to suicide sprint every 30 seconds.

Use the 25-meter course, but add a marker at the halfway point. The box will be at the start cone.

Perform a four-count burpee:

1. From standing, drop your hands to the floor next to your feet.

2. Thrust your feet back into pushup position.

3. Jump your feet back between your hands.

4. Jump up and slightly forward to land on top of the box.

After the box jump, run to the halfway point and back to the start, then to the far cone and back to the start.

Rest for the remainder of the 30 seconds. Repeat twice more.


10 minutes of heavy-bag get up.

Bob Thomas is director of the Navy Wellness Center in Pensacola, Fla.,%20maximal%20exertion%20required">Click here to send him an email.

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