Military Training – Sun Gods Exercise

“The next exercise will be the sun gods.”

“The sun gods first sergeant!”

When I was in the Civil Air Patrol as both a cadet and a senior member one of the most memorable physical training exercises were the sun gods.  Everyone would be in a PT formation and perform however many repetitions the exercise leader wanted to do.  Then afterwards we would have to hold our arms in position until everyone could keep them up for a sufficient amount of time.  If one persons arms went down the count would start all over again.  A most fun exercise.  Sun gods were originally a marine corps military training exercise.

The sun god exercises are meant to strengthen your shoulders, something needed during military training when you will need to carry large amounts of weight on your shoulders.  The sun gods exercise does not require any special equipment and only requires enough room for you to be able to stand up and put your arms all the way out, parallel to the deck (straight out).

If you want to make the exercise a bit harder you can hold weights in your hands while you perform it.  Most people don’t have weights in their office though.  If you find yourself without weights but still want to make the exercises more vigorous, do more repetitions.

A quick warning before you begin sun gods: they will make your arms tired if you do enough reps.

How To Perform Military Training Sun Gods

The military training exercise known as sun gods is very simple to perform.  You stand up straight with your legs shoulder width apart.  Raise your arms up parallel to the deck and out to your sides.  From there rotate your arms in small circles.  When we performed the exercise we would do three rotations per count.  Ten to twenty counts per position of the arms.  You can hold your arms in various positions to help add more of a workout.  After each position of the arms hold your arms in place for ten to twenty seconds then move them to the next position.

Here are the arm positions that you can do:

  • Arms straight out, parallel to the deck.  (Standard arm position)
  • Arms out in front of you parallel to the deck.
  • Arms out in front of you at a 45-degree angle.
  • Arms straight above your head.

Here is a video from Brandon Bullert demonstrating sun gods.

2 thoughts on “Military Training – Sun Gods Exercise”

    1. Hello!

      I am not a fitness professional, just someone looking to become a more fit person. From experience (and what little I have been able to find about them) they strengthen the arms. You can feel the upper arms being worked out and it will quickly tire you out.

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