OCS Workout That Kills: Push, Pull, Press, Abs (PPPA)

I want to say that this has to be a classic OCS workout. I had heard about it from many people for several years and when I got to OCS there it was. The workout is actually fairly simple to do, but it will destroy your arms. It is also not going to be the only thing you do for a morning PT session. There may be a platoon run, or some “introduction to” type of workout that you do beforehand. I just don’t want you to get too excited thinking that this won’t be to bad. The PPPA workout is also going to be done fairly early on at OCS. I recall it being the second, or third, PT session we had after phase 1. Scheduling does change frequently throughout the years, but since PPPA focuses on helping candidates train for the CFT and PFT my guess is that it will always be one of the first training sessions. I have heard from OCC graduates that they did the workout multiple times. I only did it once during my 6-week session.

Equipment

Pull-Up Bar

(1) 30 Pound Dumbbell (or ammo can if you have it)

There is no excuse for not being able to do this workout. If you don’t have a pull-up bar go to the park, or find one at a school. There is more than likely going to be one publicly available in the area. If you don’t have the dumbbell then find a brick or fill an empty jug of water with dirt. I don’t care about having fancy equipment when I train. There are so many ways to make use of the things we have around us to get a good workout.

PPPA: Push, Pull, Press, Abs OCS Workout

Push-up/Pull-Up Supersets

  1. 10 pull-ups
  2. 25 push-ups
  3. 8 pull-ups
  4. 20 push-ups
  5. 6 pull-ups
  6. 15 push-ups

There is no rest between the pull-ups and push-ups, but you will likely get about 30 seconds to a minute after the push-ups before having to jump back into pull-ups. It is going to depend on the line to use the bar, so you may get no rest at all!.

Depending on your current physical status you can modify the number of repetitions to begin with. The Physical Training Instructors (PTIs) will say to do each exercise 3 times, but really you are going to keep on going until it is time to switch with the other half of the platoon doing presses and crunches. I would recommend continuing to reduce the reps until you hit zero. If you can start with 20 pull-ups and 50 push-ups just keep working your way down until an arm is getting ready to fall off.

Ammo Can Press/Crunches

  1. 2 min Ammo Can Press
  2. 2 min Crunches
  3. 1.5 min Ammo Can Press
  4. 1.5 min Crunches
  5. 1 min Ammo Can Press
  6. 1 min Crunches

As you can see, this event is timed and not dependent on repetitions like the pull-ups and push-ups section. That is why I mentioned earlier that you may do more than 3 sets of push-ups/pull-ups. The exercises are done with a partner, so you will have rest after each set with the time being equivalent to the time you spent doing the set. To reiterate, when training for this at home go a little further and do more intervals by adding 30 seconds and 15 seconds to the supersets. The more challenging things are when training at home the easier it will be when the real OCS workout comes around.


USMC Officer

As a Marine Corps Officer, my goal is to help and educate those who have obtained, or are aspiring to earn, the title of Marine Officer.

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