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The Russian System of Physical Training

December 5, 2007 02:15 PM

"Greetings, brothers in arms!", as we say in Russia. I would like to tell you about my military experience and the method of training of Russian Spetsnaz.

To test a serviceman's basic PT the following battery of tests was used:

  1. Run in full kit and body armor (3k)
  2. Pullups (overhand grip)
  3. Rope climb (5m, no feet)
  4. Obstacle course (14 obstacles)
  5. Cold weapon throw to a chest target (6m)
  6. Ruck march in full kit and body armor (10k)
  7. Hand-to-hand combat (self-defense and sparring with changing partners)
  8. Complex #1 (see below)
  9. Complex #2 (see below)

I will focus on the last two complexes of exercises; I use them even today in work with my personal training clients.

Complex of Tests #1

This complex consists of four general physical preparedness exercises. Each is performed 10 times following the instructor's moderate tempo count, with perfect form and no rest between the exercises. The initial position is the squat on the balls of your feet with your hands on the floor in front of you.

  1. Pushups. Touch the ground with your chest on every rep.
  2. Burpees from a crouch to the pushup position. Lie on your back once finished.
  3. Leg raises. Touch the floor behind your head with your feet. You may keep your hands along your body or behind your head.
  4. Jumps from a squat, the hands clasped behind the neck. Land in a split stance, one foot slightly in front of the other. You don't have to jump high but you must fully extend your body. Switch feet every jump.




The above complex is done in combat gear. Five circuits is an excellent result. What makes this battery of tests great is the fact that you can test many people at once and you do not need any equipment. I often use it today, especially when the time is short.

Complex of Tests #2

This is a strength test. I usually perform it one on one with a client.

Do as many reps as possible of every exercise. Maintain perfect form. Excellent scores are in brackets.

  1. Pullups with an overhand grip. (12-18)
  2. Split squat jumps, the same as in the first test. (77-95)
  3. Pushups. The chest must touch the ground, the body must stay straight. (48-60)

The three above exercises are done back to back without rest. Then the tested individual gets 5-10 min of rest before continuing.

  1. Situps. The hands are clasped behind the neck, the feet are held by the training partner. Touch your left knee with your right elbow, on the next rep touch your right knee with your left elbow. Keep alternating. Do as many reps as possible in 2min. (72-85)
  2. Burpees from a crouch to the pushup position, max reps in 2min. (35-41)

I hope you will find these tests useful in your work. See what have you've got! Next time I will write about pullup bar and parallel bar exercises.

Andrey Patenko, RKC graduated from a Physical Culture and Sport Institute in 1991. He was a champion and member of the Uzbekistan track and field team. Served in the military in a reconnaissance company in the rank of a senior sergeant. Later was a senior lieutenant of the interior department in the city of Perm area where he was in charge of the combat training and PT. A Master of Sports in hand-to-hand combat, placed in a Russian hand-to-hand combat championship, a coach of the Perm Hand-to-Hand Combat Federation. Later worked as the head security guard for the Imperial Perm Bank. Andrey immigrated to the US in 1999. He owns a personal training business Proform Fitness, LLC and teaches sambo in Lansdale, PA. You can contact Andrey at or through his website