The Commander Shepard Workout

The Commander Shepard Workout

Commander Shepard Quick Navigation Links:
Character Breakdown: Commander Shepard
The Commander Shepard Workout
The Skills of Commander Shepard
The Balance of Commander Shepard

Sorry for the later-in-the-day post, folks, had a busy day at work.  Anyway, we’re going to be borrowing from the US Army and US Marine fitness requirement charts, just to approximate a normal military fitness regimen requirement.  As such, the minimum requirement for both branches(merged) are as follows:

Equipment Needed:
Chinup Bar
(referral link)


Male Requirements

  • 3 Pullups
  • 40 Pushups(in 2 minutes)
  • 50 Crunches(in 2 minutes)
  • Run 3 Miles(in 28 minutes)



  • 20 Pullups
  • 77 Pushups(in 2 minutes)
  • 100 Crunches(in 2 minutes)
  • Run 3 Miles(in 18 minutes)



Female Requirements

  • 3 Pullups or 15 Second Flexed Arm Hang
  • 19 Pushups(in 2 minutes)
  • 50 Crunches(in 2 minutes)
  • Run 3 Miles(in 31 minutes)



  • 8 Pullups or 70 Second Flexed Arm Hang
  • 50 Pushups(in 2 minutes)
  • 100 Crunches(in 2 minutes)
  • Run 3 Miles(in 21 minutes)


(Sources: Marine Physical Fitness Test, Army Physical Fitness Test)

Now, Commander Shepard is a member of N7, which means she literally is the best of the freaking best.  Using the physical fitness standards is a good starting block, but keep in mind if you want to be Commander Shepard, you want to be exemplary.  So of course we want to shoot for the maximum possible in each category.  So here’s some good ways to improve in all areas.


If you can’t even do one pullup, that’s fine.  Check out my pull up progression video tutorial here!  Start with clenched descents, or “negatives.”  Start by standing on chair, grabbing onto the bar as though you were in an “up” position, and then lowering yourself down.  Then, start using the chair to help yourself a bit to do the actual pullups.  Finally, once you’re able to do a real chin, you can start moving on to some cool progression ideas.  Remember, in all of these, go for good, proper form, with full clench at the top, and full extension at the bottom.

Pyramid Pulls
Do one pullup.  Rest for thirty seconds.  Now do two pullups.  Rest.  Continue this way up to five pullups, and then back down to one pullup(still resting for thirty seconds between each set).  Once you can do this easily, start increasing the peak number(so instead of going to five, you go to six, then seven, then eight, etc.).

Max it Out
Do five sets of pullups.  On each set, do as many as you can.  Rest for two minutes between each set.

Dammit Jim, I’m a Krogan, Not a Doctor!
Do a pullup.  At the top, clench and hold, switch your grip to underhand(for chinups), and lower yourself down slowly.  Do a chinup, at the top, clench and hold, switch your grip back to overhand(for pullups), and lower yourself down slowly.  This is one rep.  Do this in a Max it Out set instead of your normal pullups.


If you have a hard time with pushups, check out our Pushups and Pushup Progressions Video.   After you’ve got the normal pushup down, here are some cool progressions to increase your max.

Pushup Sprints
Do as many pushups as you can in thirty seconds.  Rest for thirty seconds.  Do as many pushups as you can in another thirty seconds.  Rest for forty-five seconds.  Continue this pattern for another three sets of pushups, adding on fifteen seconds to the rest time every set.

Pushup Pyramid
Like the pull-up pyramid above, but with pushups!  Don’t time this, just focus on proper form, and banging out a lot of pushups.

Max it Out
Do five sets of pushups, doing as many as you can in each set..  Rest for a minute between each set.


Military crunches are performed by lying on your back, with your feel flat on the ground and your knees bent like an inverted “V”.  You cross your arms against your chest, and curl upwards, raising your shoulder blades off the ground until your forearms touch your legs/knees(keep them tight on your chest, no reaching for it!).  When first starting out, just go as high as you can if you can’t make it to your legs yet.  You’ll get there eventually.  Here’s some progressions to help increase your count.

Having someone hold your feet to the ground might help on this one.  Start in the “up” position of the crunch, and lower yourself down.  Do as many as you can in a set, and repeat it four more times(so five sets total).  These can also help you nail down the full range-of-motion if you’re having a hard time with it.

Crunch Sprints
Like the pushup sprints above, but with crunches!  Five sets total, don’t forget to add on fifteen seconds more rest between each set.

Crunch Tower of Power
Do five crunches.  Rest thirty seconds.  Do ten crunches.  Rest thirty seconds.  Keep adding five crunches onto each set until you can’t crunch no more!


Running is one of those things that really just gets better the more you do it.  Map out a three mile course in your neighborhood, and if you don’t feel comfortable running it yet, just walk it.  Gradually add in more running in between the walking, until finally you’re running the whole route.  Once you get here, just try to run the same route faster.  Sometimes it’s fun to fit in little mini-sprints in your run as well(and can increase your overall speed).  Remember running is always more fun with a friend, so see if you can get a fitness buddy!

The Schedule

On strength days, pick a progression from each category above that isn’t running and do it.  On cardio days, run.  Once or twice a month you might want to just try to hit the actual physical training standards, just to get an idea of where you’re at.  I would go with the Fighter Diet for this one, Shepard isn’t huge, she’s fighting fit.

Also, make sure you always warm up before exercising!  I did a video tutorial on how to warm up properly, so check it out!

Day 1: Strength
Day 2: Cardio
Day 3: Strength
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Cardio
Day 6: Strength and Cardio
Day 7: Rest

That’s it for the Commander Shepard Workout.  Check back tomorrow for The Skills of Commander Shepard.  If you liked this article, I need your help spreading the word about the blog!  Let your friends know about it on your social network of choice.  We’re starting to build a real community here, I think everyone should be a part of it.  Thanks, and remember to Always.  Be.  Awesome.

Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace

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9 thoughts on “The Commander Shepard Workout

  1. Pingback: Character Breakdown: Commander Shepard » Be a Game Character

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  4. Tegan says:

    I just wanted to say I think what you’re doing with this website is so great. I’ve always looked toward video game/movie characters as inspirations (especially when it comes to fitness) and many people thought it was stupid of me to be inspired like that by something fictional.
    These articles are amazing and fem-Shepard has always been such an inspiration to look up to and having a bad ass woman that isn’t all about appearance and sexual appeal is just awesome.

    Thankyou so much, time for me to get working! 🙂

    • DaRatmastah says:

      Thanks! I’m really glad you enjoy it, and no, it’s not stupid at all to be inspired by fictional characters! I think most people grew up pretending to be Luke Skywalker or Link or Batman! Anyone who says they didn’t is lying =P I do love profiling strong female characters, though, because I feel like for the number of ‘girl gamers’ (I hate that term, btw) out there, there’s precious few characters that aren’t exploitative in some way. Go badass girl characters! We need more of you! =D

  5. Pingback: The Skills of Commander Shepard | Be a Game Character

  6. Finn says:

    Let me say this piece really quickly. It is not to seem like I’m fat-shaming or not recognizing people’s accomplishments, but Femshep could probably easily make the maximum male standards. Like, in her sleep. So, why do you include the female standards? I am definitely not sexist, as you may assume. I am a feminist myself. But female Shepard is just so badass that she would be able to outperform an extremely fit male Marine any day. Even an extremely fit male N7, probably. Remember that Shepard is not only N7, but also a Spectre. Which is about the top ten, yes, I said ten, soldiers in the galaxy at one time.

    • DaRatmastah says:

      Couple of reasons for that. First off, while Shepard may be a top-ten class being in the Mass Effect universe, the girls and women I’m looking to inspire with this post are not.

      Secondly, while I accept that Shepard can probably hit the male standards, the fact is, men are just inherently more physically capable than women, assuming no performance enhancing drugs are involved. This is, of course, on a population average. There are plenty of men who are in worse/weaker shape than plenty of women, but at the upper echelons of physical fitness, men have a higher ceiling than women do.

      So I wanted to set a goal that people reading this blog could hit, especially the female readers (who don’t get enough characters to idolize as it is.)

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