Marine Corps Daily 16 Exercises
The Marine Corps Daily 16 exercise program consists of a series of warm-up, conditioning and cool-down exercises. If you are a Marine, you need the ability to effectively handle your own body weight. According to the Marine Corps, this is a prerequisite for strength training with machines. The Daily 16 program develops such strength and helps prepare Marines for required physical fitness tests.
The warm-up exercises are meant to promote a gradual increase in blood flow to all of your muscles. This prepares your musculoskeletal system as well as your cardiovascular system for the exercise session and reduces risk for injury. The warm-up exercises include rocking back and forth from your toes to your heels, partial squats and butt kicks -- you bring your heel toward your buttocks five times before switching to the other leg and repeating. During the double-time in place warm-up exercise, you run in place and gradually increase your speed. When you are running double-time, throw easy punches to the front of your body and then to the sky before doing arm circles. Follow this with a neck flexion and extension exercise. Bring your chin to your chest then tip your head back and then tilt your head from side to side. Also perform a front-to-back and side-to-side movement with your trunk. Do 10 to 15 repetitions of each exercise.
The Daily 16 warm-up exercises include several dynamic stretching maneuvers. Highlights include the upper back stretch in which you clasp your hands in front of your chest and push them forward, rounding your upper back. Perform a chest stretch by clasping your hands behind your lower back with palms up and pulling your arms up. Do a modified hurdler stretch with one leg extended and one leg tucked in front of you. Rest the sole of your foot on your inner thigh, and lean over the extended leg. Stretch your hips and back by extending one leg along the ground, crossing the other leg over the extended leg and placing your foot on the ground next to your knee. Turn your torso in the direction of the extended leg. Perform a groin stretch by placing the soles of your feet together and gently pushing your knees toward the ground with your elbows. Stretch your iliotibial band by lying on the ground and bringing one leg across your body so you feel a stretch over your hip. The warmup also includes standard stretches for your calf, hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back, abdominals, shoulders, neck and triceps. Hold each stretch for 10 seconds.
The conditioning exercises in the Daily 16 consist of traditional calisthenics exercises. These include pushups, abdominal crunches, opposite-elbow-to-opposite-knee crunches, side crunches, lunges, jumping jacks, prone flutter kicks to condition the back and hips, donkey kicks, side leg raises and back extensions. Highlights include the dirty dog. Start on hands and knees. Raise one leg to the side, knee bent, then return to starting position. Wide pushups, in which you place your hands on the ground wider than shoulder width, increase the workload on your chest muscles. Follow these with dive-bomber pushups, started with hands slightly beyond shoulder width and shoulders behind your hands. Lower down and forward to bring your shoulders and hands even then continue forward so your shoulders are in front of your hands and your chest is raised. Reverse the maneuver using a smooth, continuous motion throughout the exercise. Perform steam engines by standing upright, hands behind your head, then raising your knee and lowering your opposite elbow to touch it with a slow and controlled motion.
The cool-down exercises in the Daily 16 help your body return to its pre-exercise state gradually. These exercises are the same exercises used during the warmup. The Daily 16 is designed so that it can be used as a stand-alone conditioning program or incorporated into longer aerobic or anaerobic conditioning sessions.
Linda Tarr Kent is a reporter and editor with more than 20 years experience at Gannett Company Inc., The McClatchy Company, Sound Publishing Inc., Mach Publishing, MomFit The Movement and other companies. Her area of expertise is health and fitness. She is a Bosu fitness and stand-up paddle surfing instructor. Kent holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Washington State University.