I'm a 23 years old male (75 KG) never exercised before, I only walk from time to time and I have a physical fitness test in a couple of weeks (2 to 4) and I'm looking for a training program that will help me improve fast without injuring myself.

What the test includes:

  • Running 2 KM
  • 80 Push ups (40 to pass)
  • 90 Sit ups (45 to pass)

What I'm already doing:

  • Walking in the morning for longer distances, to prepare for running (today walked about 1.7 KM)
  • Doing knee push ups (about 20 each set)
  • Doing 20 sit ups each set

So how can I improve faster ? and what program should I follow for a total beginner like me ?

  • I'm no runner, so I'll leave that part to the pros. Anyway, for pushups and sit ups, you could cluster the reps needed to pass. For example, do 40 push-ups in as many sets as it takes (don't go to failure, stop one rep before that). Next time, try to do it in fewer sets and so on. You should improve quite fast and lose the respect of the 'big' amount of pushups/situps.
    – user8119
    Jun 6, 2014 at 19:48
  • When is the test needed? 2 weeks? How much time do you have available to train daily? To pass, you have to run a little over 1mile, perform 40 push ups, and 45 sit ups. You'll likely need external help to help you because you'll need to push yourself a lot daily to be prepared in 2 weeks. It's not impossible though. Jun 7, 2014 at 20:23
  • BTW, your program is cut short for you. Run daily. Perform push ups daily. Perform sit ups daily. Run till you're exhausted, then power walk without stopping. Once you've caught your breath, start running again. Do that daily for 1.5 miles. As for push ups, endeavor to complete 5 reps in a single set. Next day, ensure you perform more than 5. Keep the numbers up daily. Oh....you will have to do them more than one daily. Maybe in the mornings and evenings. Jun 7, 2014 at 20:29
  • If you cannot push yourself, get a coach to push you, especially if the test is extremely important for you. And you should stop walking or doing knee push ups. They will not help you with your test. They're for beginners who don't have a fast approaching deadline. Jun 7, 2014 at 20:33

2 Answers 2


Bottom Line Up Front: 2-4 weeks is a very short amount of time to get from walking time-to-time and knee pushups to a 2k* run and 80 pushups. You can exhaust yourself quickly, but your body needs time and rest to get faster and stronger. I'm going to ignore your schedule, and just talk about how I think you can get to your goals the fastest.

You'll definitely do better if you find yourself a personal trainer that understands
your goals and can adjust your routine to keep up with your progress.

I would start by giving myself the test I'm preparing for, and finding out exactly where I'm at. I'd do the run (don't just walk a distance I'm comfortable with), do strict pushups (even though it will be fewer than knee pushups) and do as many situps as I can. This can help determine how much we focus on preparing for peak performance during the test, vs building strength and closing gaps.

Do a daily warm-up routine. Even on rest days, do the warm-up routine. This should include walking, stretching and some body-weight movements to keep things moving and help reduce stiffness.

I highly recommend adding some sprints to your routine. When I say sprint, I mean as hard as you can. It is VERY easy to burn out here by doing this too frequently and your body starts breaking down rather than building up. Give your body plenty of time to rest between sprint days. I would usually say have one sprint day every 7 to 10 days or so. If you look up tabata intervals, that's a place to start. These are a mental challenge too. After the first 2, you'll probably stop trying as hard. For myself, I reverse the time sets (10s sprint, 20s rest) and find that I can push myself much harder that way. Tabatas are a proven, efficient way to increase speed and endurance quickly. BTW: sprints don't just make you a better runner, they teach your body how to work harder and send signals telling your body it needs to get stronger (possibly even releasing natural HGH).

20 knee pushups means you're ready for strict pushups, and more importantly: bench-press. It can be hard to control your loading using body weight (e.g. pushups). You can build strength faster buy using a bench. Find the weight that you can do about 10 reps, then do 3 sets of 6-8 reps. Only rest about 1 minute between sets. You are doing this right if you can't always complete the last rep of your last set, so make sure you have a spotter. Again, your body needs rest to become stronger, so take 3 days off between these workout days.

*I'm going to assume "2000KM" really means "2 kilometers" right?

  • Yes it's 2 KM, I didn't notice that, and thanks for the tips.
    – Pierre
    Jun 7, 2014 at 7:19
  • Can you keep us up-to-date on what path you've chosen, how you're progressing and how you do on the test? Good luck! Stay healthy!
    – anregen
    Jun 9, 2014 at 2:05
  • Yes of course I will, and I'm currently doing bench press and I'm progressing faster than modified push ups.
    – Pierre
    Jun 9, 2014 at 13:39

You can't get better at running by walking. If you can't run 2km then at least run for 30 seconds, then rest while walking, then run again, and so on. Look up "couch to 5k" schedules to see examples of regimented programs for this kind of thing.

For the push-ups, do negative push-ups instead of knee push-ups. Lower yourself to the ground, rest for a moment, then get to the top any way you can.

Try to get to 100 total sit-ups in as few sets as possible. Don't stop at 20.

Be aware that this is quite a short period to go from your current abilities to the abilities the test requires.

  • 1
    Just to add on to this: Running and walking use different muscles. When training for track our coach was adamant that we cool down and do everything at a jog, even a slow one just to make sure we were still using the right muscles Jun 10, 2014 at 14:53

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