How to Prepare for Basic Training

When talking to people who want to join the military, I get a lot of questions on How to prepare for basic training. Honestly, it is not as hard or scary as you may think. Don’t worry. I was scared Sh*tless before joining, so I know how you feel.

Table of Contents

how to prepare for basic training

I will make this as simple as possible, so I made the checklist below. 

  1. Make Sure You Are Healthy and Have No Serious Health Issues. (See the Doctor and ask if you are questioning this)
  2. Physically Prepare 
  3. Mentally Prepare

Let’s dive a little deeper…

How to Prepare for Basic Training (1 of 3)

Am I going to be able to keep up? How hard is it? Can I actually do this? These are probably some of the questions running through your mind when thinking of an army basic training workout. But fret not; we are here to help you to master your fears with full preparation!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BwWjBjJOUw

Before we dive into the best ways of preparing for the army basic training, do consider that things are different now. The game has changed with the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), compared to the old test, the United States Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT).

Hence, the importance to prepare for the army training program well in advance and in the right way. 

6 Tips on How to Prepare for Basic Training

To achieve your goal of joining the army, it is important to start on the right foot, in the right shape, and the correct mindset. While it is true that you will get out of the army basic training in possibly the best shape of your life! You do have to set yourself up for success by preparing beforehand.

To get your mind and body acclimated to the army basic training program, you must get in shape and get yourself well within the height and weight standards. This will help you do all the exercises comfortably throughout the program. 

Here is a list of the 6 tips so you can get physically and mentally ready for the Army Basic Training:

how to mentally prepare for basic training
1. Do not go into basic training out of shape. 

A common misconception a lot of people have is that they can simply show up to the army training program in any shape. This is extremely unwise as it increases your chances of getting injured or having an incredibly tough time during training. 

2. Start preparing now.

The time is now! Do not procrastinate, and start preparing now. Depending on your current form, it might take you a while to get in shape, so do not lose any more time procrastinating!  

3. Don’t get recycled. 

Getting recycled, or getting set back, is what you need to avoid at all costs in army basic training. 

The way the program is structured is that it includes 3 phases or a 3-week cycle. Getting recycled means, you are sent back to square one and have to do everything all over again. Preparing beforehand will highly decrease the chances of this happening to you. 

4. Try to prevent injuries

According to the University of Rochester’s Medical Center, you can do the following to prevent injuries while training:

  • Develop a fitness plan that includes cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility.  This will help decrease your chance of injury
  • Cool off properly after exercise. It should take 2 times or as long as your warm-ups.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink water to prevent dehydration and heat exhaustion.
  • Always take your time during strength training and go through the full range of motion with each repetition.
5. Use Drill Sergeant Kryptonite 

As you might know, drill sergeants or any Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) may punish with physical activities, otherwise known as smoke sessions, if you are out of line or mess around. 

You would do well to be physically fit if you tend to err on the side of mischief. Or if you wish to be able to handle punishments and not give the drill sergeants the satisfaction of seeing you wince in pain.

To warn new recruits, military.com quotes the famous saying of many training programs: “If you are going to be stupid, you better be strong.” 

6. Optimize your experience a 100x 

Lastly, going into the basic army training program in good shape will help you significantly optimize your training. You will be able to enjoy better sleep and better energy levels and have an overall positive outlook on the whole experience.


How to Prepare for Basic Training (2 of 3)

  1. Workout on an Empty Stomach
  2. Eat 3 Times a Day
  3. Sleep Schedule
  4. Cut down on Chemicals
  5. Workout Outside – every day
  6. Workout at 0600 (Location Time last week)

How to Physically Prepare for Basic Training

This isn’t the “Old” Army anymore. The 2-2-2 Soldier is dead. Say hello to the new Soldier-Athlete Hybrid.

how to physically prepare for basic training

The Old Soldier “Athlete”

Before 2019, Soldiers were graded on:

  1. Completing as many push-ups as possible in 2 minutes
  2. Followed by doing as many situps as possible in 2 minutes, then,
  3. Finishing the test by running 2 miles as fast as possible.

The military finally figured out this was not a true test of physical fitness, and changes needed to be made.

Welcome the ACFT!

The new ACFT has seriously changed the game for Soldiers.
Before the ACFT, there have never been events like this.

  1. The 3 Rep Max Deadlift
  2. The Standing Power Throw
  3. The Hand Release Push Up
  4. The Sprint Drag Carry
  5. The Plank
  6. And the famous 2 Mile Run
how to prepare for army basic training

Soldiers have not experienced such a brutal onslaught on their glycolytic muscles & energy systems before.

Not to mention run a 2 mile as fast as possible on a drained muscular system.

Soldiers taking this test for the first time will report the following:

  • legs going numb.
  • Falling flat on their face.
  • Feeling lightheaded & dizzy,
  • legs full of blood,
  • lungs on fire,
  • Giving up, not able to continue.

This a serious problem.

We need to realize that we are utilizing all 3 energy systems of the human body now.

  • Creatine Phosphate / ATP System
  • The Glycolytic Energy System.
  • Aerobic Oxidative System

Ripped, Jacked, Lean… Athletic.

Our bodies will adapt and overcome when we incorporate the correct training plan for each energy system. We just need the right fitness program to be successful.


Sounds like a lot of work and no fun, but to be dead honest with you. This style of Training produces the body and figure most of us desire.


How to Prepare for Basic Training (3 of 3)

In Army Basic Training Workouts, we will use:

  1. Creatine Phosphate / ATP Energy System – Type IIb Muscle Fibers
  2. Glycolytic Energy System – Type IIa Muscle Fibers
  3. Aerobic Energy System – Type I Muscle Fibers

Type 1 Muscle Fibers 

Type I, slow twitch, or “red” muscle, is dense with capillaries and is rich in mitochondria and myoglobin, giving the muscle tissue its characteristic red color. It can carry more oxygen and sustain aerobic activity using fats or carbohydrates as fuel.[8] Slow twitch fibers contract for long periods of time but with little force.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscle

(next) Type 2a Muscle Fibers 

Type II, fast twitch muscle, has three major subtypes (IIa, IIx, and IIb) that vary in both contractile speed[9] and force generated.[8] Fast twitch fibers contract quickly and powerfully but fatigue very rapidly, sustaining only short, anaerobic bursts of activity before muscle contraction becomes painful. They contribute most to muscle strength and have greater potential for increase in mass.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscle

(last) Type 2b Muscle Fibers 

Type IIb is anaerobic, glycolytic, “white” muscle that is least dense in mitochondria and myoglobin… this is the major fast muscle type.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscle

The New PT Test (ACFT) will be hitting all of these muscle fibers and we need to know how to train them properly so all Soldiers can excel on test day.


How to Physically Prepare for Army Basic Training – Muscle Groups

how to physically prepare for army basic training

When physically preparing for basic training in the military, it’s important to properly work out each muscle group of the body. This includes the chest, back, arms, shoulders, legs, and core. A well-rounded workout program that targets all of these areas can help you improve your overall fitness and performance, and prepare you for the physical demands of basic training. Incorporating exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, planks, and crunches into your routine can help you build strength, endurance, and flexibility. It’s also important to gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts over time to avoid injury and ensure continued progress. By focusing on a balanced, full-body workout program, you can give yourself the best shot of success in basic training and beyond.

Major MusclesSupport Muscles
MDLLow Back
Gluteal Muscle Group
Hamstrings 
Quads 
Forearms
Latissimus Dorsi

Calves
Hip Flexor Muscle Groups
Upper Body
Forearms
Traps
Core
SPTShoulders
Core (Low Back)
Hamstrings 
Quads 
Calves
Traps
Core (front)
Biceps 
Triceps
HRPTriceps
Chest
Shoulders
Core
Rhomboids & Traps
Legs for Stability
SDC
Quads
Hamstrings

Forearms
Traps
Core
Biceps
Latissimus Dorsi
Low Back
PLKShoulders
Transverse Abdom. Low Back
Hip Flexors
Supporting Core
2MRHamstrings
Quads
Core
Gluteal Muscle Group
Calves
Hip Flexor Muscle Groups
How to Physically Prepare for Basic Training – Muscle Groups Chart

FAQ – How to Prepare for Basic Training

FAQ of Basic Training:

What is Basic Training

Basic training, aka boot camp, is the initial period of military training for new recruits. It is designed to prepare them for the physical and mental demands of military service, and to instill in them the values, discipline, and skills necessary to function effectively as members of their respective branches of the military. Basic training typically involves a combination of physical conditioning, classroom instruction, and hands-on training in a variety of military skills. It is typically a challenging and demanding experience, and is meant to test the physical and mental limits of recruits as they learn to adapt to the strict and structured environment of military life. Upon completion of basic training, recruits are usually assigned to a specific military unit or specialty where they will receive further training and begin their military careers.

How Long is Basic Training

Basic training, aka boot camp, is the initial period of military training for new recruits. The length of basic training can vary depending on the branch of the military and the specific role that the recruit is training for. In general, basic training lasts for several weeks, usually between 8 and 12 weeks. During this time, recruits are immersed in a highly structured and disciplined environment, where they undergo physical and mental conditioning, and are taught the basic skills and knowledge they need to become members of their respective military branches.

How Long is Army Basic Training

Army basic training is a period of initial military training for new recruits who have enlisted in the United States Army. It typically lasts for 10 weeks and is designed to prepare soldiers for the physical and mental demands of military service. During basic training, soldiers will undergo physical conditioning to build strength and endurance, as well as classroom instruction on a variety of topics including military history, customs and courtesies, and the values of the Army. They will also learn basic military skills such as marksmanship, first aid, and handling weapons. Basic training is a demanding and challenging experience, but it is also an opportunity for soldiers to develop self-discipline, confidence, and teamwork skills that will serve them throughout their military careers.

How Long is Air Force Basic Training

Air Force basic training is the initial period of military training for new recruits who have enlisted in the United States Air Force. It typically lasts for 8.5 weeks and is designed to prepare airmen for the physical and mental demands of military service. During basic training, airmen will undergo physical conditioning to build strength and endurance, as well as classroom instruction on a variety of topics including military history, customs and courtesies, and the values of the Air Force. They will also learn basic military skills such as marksmanship, first aid, and handling weapons. Basic training is a demanding and challenging experience, but it is also an opportunity for airmen to develop self-discipline, confidence, and teamwork skills that will serve them throughout their military careers.

How Long is Navy Basic Training

Navy basic training is the initial period of military training for new recruits who have enlisted in the United States Navy. It typically lasts for 8 weeks and is designed to prepare sailors for the physical and mental demands of military service. During basic training, sailors will undergo physical conditioning to build strength and endurance, as well as classroom instruction on a variety of topics including military history, customs and courtesies, and the values of the Navy. They will also learn basic military skills such as marksmanship, first aid, and handling weapons. Basic training is a demanding and challenging experience, but it is also an opportunity for sailors to develop self-discipline, confidence, and teamwork skills that will serve them throughout their military careers.

Can You Have Your Phone In Basic Training 2023

The use of personal electronic devices, including phones, during basic training is generally restricted. In general, recruits are not allowed to bring personal electronic devices with them to basic training, and they will not have access to phones or other electronic communication during the training period. This is done to help recruits focus on their training and to create a sense of separation from their civilian lives. However, recruits may be allowed to use phones or other electronic devices during designated free time or for emergency purposes. It’s important to note that policies on the use of electronic devices during basic training can vary by branch of the military and by specific training program, so it’s a good idea to check with your recruiter or training facility for more specific information.

Do You Get Paid During Basic Training

Yes, recruits who are in basic training are paid a salary. The amount of pay that a recruit receives during basic training depends on their rank, which is determined by their pay grade and length of military service. Pay grades in the military range from E-1 to E-9 for enlisted personnel, and O-1 to O-10 for officers.

Within each pay grade, there are several levels of pay, which are determined by the recruit’s length of service and whether they have any dependents. In general, recruits who are in basic training receive a lower salary than they will receive once they complete their training and begin their military careers, but they are still paid for their time in training. It’s important to note that recruits are also provided with room and board while they are in basic training, so they do not have to pay for food or housing during this time.

How Much Do You Get Paid for Basic Training

The amount of pay that a recruit receives during basic training depends on their rank, which is determined by their pay grade and their length of service in the military. Pay grades in the military range from E-1 to E-9 for enlisted personnel, and O-1 to O-10 for officers. Within each pay grade, there are several levels of pay, which are determined by the recruit’s length of service and whether they have any dependents. In general, recruits who are in basic training receive a lower salary than they will receive once they complete their training and begin their military careers. It’s important to note that the specific amount of pay that a recruit receives during basic training can vary depending on their pay grade and other factors, so it’s a good idea to check with your recruiter or training facility for more specific information.

How Much Do You Get Paid for Basic Training: E1-E4

An E-1 is the lowest rank in the United States Army, and soldiers at this rank are generally referred to as “private.” The base pay for an E-1 with less than two years of service is $1,733 per month. This amount may be adjusted based on the soldier’s length of service and whether they have any dependents. It’s important to note that soldiers at the E-1 rank may be eligible for additional pay or allowances based on their duty assignment or other factors. In addition to base pay, soldiers in the Army also receive housing, medical and dental care, and a food allowance as part of their total compensation package.

How Much Do You Get Paid for Basic Training: E2

An E-2 is the second lowest rank in the United States Army, and soldiers at this rank are generally referred to as “private.” The base pay for an E-2 with less than two years of service is $1,943 per month. This amount may be adjusted based on the soldier’s length of service and whether they have any dependents. It’s important to note that soldiers at the E-2 rank may be eligible for additional pay or allowances based on their duty assignment or other factors. In addition to base pay, soldiers in the Army also receive housing, medical and dental care, and a food allowance as part of their total compensation package.

How Much Do You Get Paid for Basic Training: E3

An E-3 is a rank in the United States Army, and soldiers at this rank are generally referred to as “private first class.” The base pay for an E-3 with less than two years of service is $2,043 per month. This amount may be adjusted based on the soldier’s length of service and whether they have any dependents. It’s important to note that soldiers at the E-3 rank may be eligible for additional pay or allowances based on their duty assignment or other factors. In addition to base pay, soldiers in the Army also receive housing, medical and dental care, and a food allowance as part of their total compensation package.

How Much Do You Get Paid for Basic Training: E4

An E-4 is a rank in the United States Army, and soldiers at this rank are generally referred to as “corporal.” The base pay for an E-4 with less than two years of service is $2,263 per month. This amount may be adjusted based on the soldier’s length of service and whether they have any dependents. It’s important to note that soldiers at the E-4 rank may be eligible for additional pay or allowances based on their duty assignment or other factors. In addition to base pay, soldiers in the Army also receive housing, medical and dental care, and a food allowance as part of their total compensation package.

How Much Do You Get Paid for Basic Training: O1

An O-1 is a rank in the United States Army, and officers at this rank are generally referred to as “second lieutenant.” The base pay for an O-1 with less than two years of service is $3,580 per month. This amount may be adjusted based on the officer’s length of service and whether they have any dependents. It’s important to note that officers at the O-1 rank may be eligible for additional pay or allowances based on their duty assignment or other factors. In addition to base pay, officers in the Army also receive housing, medical and dental care, and a food allowance as part of their total compensation package.

What to Bring to Army Basic Training 2023

It is important for recruits to come prepared to basic training with all of the necessary items that they will need during their time in training. Recruits should bring a copy of their enlistment contract and any other important documents, as well as any prescription medications that they take. They should also bring the following items:

  • Clothing: Recruits should bring enough clothing to last for the entire duration of basic training, including casual clothing, PT (physical training) gear, and formal uniforms. Clothing should be comfortable and appropriate for the weather.
  • Personal hygiene items: Recruits should bring toiletries such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and a toothbrush, as well as any other personal hygiene items that they use on a regular basis.
  • Money: Recruits should bring a small amount of money for incidentals, such as snacks or stamps.
  • Writing materials: Recruits should bring pens, pencils, and paper for taking notes.
  • Bedding: Recruits should bring a set of twin-sized bedding, including sheets, a pillow, and a blanket.
  • Footwear: Recruits should bring a pair of running shoes and a pair of boots.
  • Cell Phone: Limited phone use is granted on special occasions

It’s important to note that recruits should leave any unnecessary items at home, as there will not be much space for storage during training.