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The U.S. Army Rangers is an elite unit that conducts special operations for the U.S. military. Like other Special Forces units, members of the Rangers require an extremely high level of fitness and training and must successfully pass Army boot camp, Army Airborne School and two months of Ranger School, after which they are awarded the Ranger tab. You must meet the minimum standards on the Army Physical Fitness Test in order to qualify and pass Ranger School. Following a Ranger workout program can improve your fitness level and help prepare you for Ranger School.
Pushup Test Preparation
Pushups are one of the key components of physical training for the Army. In order to qualify for Ranger School, you must be able to complete at least 49 pushups in two minutes. Doing sets of timed pushups can be the base of your pushup training. Complete sets of pushups in the standard position (hands underneath your shoulders), the wide position (hands placed outside your shoulders) and diamond pushups (hands directly underneath your body, with the index fingers and thumbs touching in a diamond shape). Do the first set for 40 seconds, the second set for 30 seconds and the third set for 20 seconds, completing as many pushups as you can during the allotted time, resting no more than 30 seconds between sets. Complete three to four sets of bench presses -- 20 repetitions each -- using 50 percent of your body weight. Do three to four sets of triceps extensions with 10 to 15 pounds, working until muscle failure. You can also do three to four sets of dips at a dip station, working until failure.
Situp Test Preparation
Another key component of the AFPT is situps. You must complete at least 59 situps in two minutes in order to meet minimum standards for Ranger School. As with the pushups, complete three timed sets -- 60 seconds, 40 seconds and 30 seconds -- taking no more than 30 seconds between sets. Maintain proper form when doing the situps. Complete three sets of flutter kicks, doing 50 to 100 reps in each set. Lie on your back, with your hands underneath your butt for support, and your head and legs 6 inches off the ground. Raise the left leg, then lower it as you raise the right leg. Use incline situps as part of the training. Lie flat on an incline bench, with your head beneath your body, and slowly raise your upper body. Complete three to four sets of 30 to 50 situps, adding weight when it becomes too easy. Another exercise you can use are hanging leg raises. Hang from a high bar or from abdominal straps with your legs bent at a 90-degree angle. Straighten your legs, and slowly return them to the starting position. Do three sets of 50 to 100 reps.
In addition to the strength that Rangers need, they also need muscular endurance in order to complete their missions, which often occur deep inside enemy territory for extended periods of time. There are several exercises you can do to help build your muscular endurance. Begin with 60 seconds of jumping jacks, completing as many as you can. Complete 60 seconds of Iron Mikes. Place your hands on your hips, and lunge forward with your left leg, then return to the starting position. Repeat with the right leg. You must complete at least six pullups to qualify for Ranger School, so make them part of your workout. Begin hanging with your arms straight, and lift your body until your chin is above the bar. Do not use your legs or swing your body for assistance. Do four 90-second sets of walking lunges, which are similar to Iron Mikes, except that you continually move forward.
Two-Mile, Five-Mile Run Test Preparation
Along with strength, the ability to march and run far distances is a requirement for military service. Ranger candidates must be able to run two miles in no longer than 15 minutes, 12 seconds, and five miles in no longer than 40 minutes. In order to maximize the benefits from your training, mix up your training. Use interval training once a week to improve your time in the two-minute run. Run 400 yards as fast as you can and rest a minute, completing eight reps. Do fartleks twice a week, running three to five miles. Jog for two minutes at a pace fast enough to meet at least 70 percent of your training heart rate, then speed up for 30 seconds, running hard enough to come close to 90 percent of your THR. Continue alternating paces during the run. Once a week, do a six- to eight-mile run at a slow pace, maintaining no worse than an eight-minute-mile pace. Stretch after you complete the running.