What’s the Best OCS Workout for Me?

Candidate Question

I’m a rising sophomore in the NROTC program in addition to being an applicant for PLC as well (not currently on scholarship). This summer, one of my goals has been to gain around five pounds, while not losing any cardio. I’ve been doing a powerlifting program 3x per week and am just starting to use creatine.

With this being said, I also want to increase my PFT run time. Currently, I run a 279 PFT (21:25 3-mile) and want to shave off a minute on the run come September. I’ve struggled trying to find “the best” workout regimen for myself (running vs. lifting) and knowing which types to do in order to tackle my goals. I’ve been running 2x a week (3x1mile runs, 3-5 miles) and have also experimented with some HIIT workouts.

I’m trying to decide if I should stop my powerlifting in exchange for more running/HIIT or adjust it to include a HIIT or CrossFit style workout after the lifting portion as to key into my running goals. OCS prep is an all-encompassing focus for the NROTC program and I want to be physically ready for it, but I want to do what’ll help me be the best I can be when I return this fall. Any advice?

Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Perry, a Middlesex, N.J., native and the motor transportation chief with Motor Transportation Platoon, Combat Logistics Battalion 24, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, lifts weights during a CrossFit workout on the flight deck of the USS Gunston Hall, June 14, 2012. The 24th MEU, along with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group, is currently deployed to the U.S Central Command area of operations as a theater reserve and crisis response force. The group is providing support for maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (Photo by Sgt. Richard Blumenstein)
Circuit-training Marines on a US Navy ship. Training for combat fitness never stops!


For now, focus on the demands of OCS, not metrics such as bodyweight or muscle size. You can always come back to that after the rigors of OCS. Consider our example workout:

The Ultimate OCS Preparation Workout

Dont forget the sheer amount of bodyweight workouts youll do at OCS

If your primary hang-up is the run, simply prioritize your running, cardio, plyo and lower body (e.g. deadlifts) exercises, then add components prioritized on your needs. HIIT and CrossFit are great for overall fitness, but you might need to skip one or two of those workouts a week to guarantee the run workouts and appropriate rest.


To help frame your progress, consider these goals.


And as a minimum, here are some suggested benchmarks.

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