What Is the Army’s Daily Dozen Exercise Routine?

The Army’s daily dozen exercise routine is a set of 12 calisthenics exercises that are done each day as part of the physical therapy program. It was developed in 1920 by Walter Camp in an attempt to improve and strengthen all the major muscles groups. Seldom-used muscles were also included in the exercises. The routine was originally devised for the Yale University football team.

The exercises included the high jumper, trunk twister and turn and bounce. After completing those, push-ups, knee benders and the side straddle hop were performed. Next, came squat thrusts, bend and reach and toe touchers. The routine was finished with the mountain climber, lunger and leg lifts.

The whole routine was devised to be completed in 15 minutes. Each exercise was done for 60 seconds, followed by a 15-second break. This program was done every day prior to running during a recruit’s basic training. After boot camp, it was done formally when circumstances permitted, but the soldiers were expected to stay in shape by doing the daily dozen on their own as time permitted. The Army Physical Training Guide no longer includes this routine, but offers three different conditioning drills that are rotated for a complete physical therapy program. The original daily dozen was also used by the United States Navy.