Train Like a Marine; Workout: A HITT Plan

U.S. Marine Corps candidates from Delta Company carry out the Physical Fitness Test (PFT) at the Officer Candiate School (OCS) aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., Nov. 30, 2009. The PFT is an event in which a candidate's overall strength and endurance is put to the test. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by LCpl Reagan Lodge / Not Released)


By George Kalantzis

In a previous article, “How to Get Fit Like a Marine,” we explained the general ideas behind the Marine Corps’ High Intensity Tactical Training (HITT). This article shows you a specific training program that relates to the Marines’ combat level of training. Although anyone can complete a Combat HITT session, this particular training component is for Marines who require high levels of fitness and athletic ability. A variety of components go into choosing the right training program. This one is typically used prior to deployment. Marines perform this circuit in full kits (boots and utes).


The Warm-up (5-10 minutes)
As with any exercise regimen, the warm-up is an integral part of the program. Start with a few mobility drills from the ground, then move to standing, then to a more dynamic effort.

  • Glute Bridge with Diagonal Reach – 8 per side
  • Bird Dogs – 5 per side
  • Groiners – 5 per leg
  • Pigeons – 5 per leg
  • Bear Crawls – 20 yards
  • Inchworm to Elbow Tap – 20 Yards
  • 50% buildup for 20 yards; 75% buildup for 20 yards; 100% buildup for 20 yards


Strength Series 20
Perform as many as rounds as you can in 15 minutes. As you go through each round, try to increase the weight, forcing yourself to expend more energy in the same amount of time. If you need rest, take it at the end of each circuit.

  • Barbell Reverse Lunge – x5 perleg
  • Barbell Push Press – x5
  • Barbell RDL – x5
  • Barbell Row – x5



Combat Endurance (30 minutes)

This segment includes kettlebell training and conditioning drills. Typically, Marines perform a kettlebell circuit, then a sprint series for time. The series could be 400 meters, 800 meters, and 1,600 meters.


Grab two kettlebells of the same size and perform the following. An ammo pack weighs about 35 pounds, so use at least 16-kg kettlebells. Repeat as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes.

  • Kettlebell Deadlift – x5
  • Bent-Over Row – x5
  • Lateral Lunge – x5
  • Push-Ups – x5
  • Run 400 meters
  • Rest for 90-120 seconds



Combat Core (5-10 minutes)
This section requires a suspension trainer. We prefer the TRX, but any suspension trainer will work. Perform each exercise for 30-45 seconds, resting 15 seconds between exercises and one minute between rounds.

  • TRX Body Saw
  • TRX Atomic Crunch
  • TRX Pike
  • TRX Mountain Climbers






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