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8 Count Body Builder Pull up

stew smith

This new workout is one we developed with the Naval Academy Spec Ops Team when we were thinking how to simulate an obstacle course without one to train with. So we figured there was a 20-30 yard run in between most obstacles. Most obstacles had either a pulling exercise or a pushing exercise or a combo of both. So we added an 8 count bodybuilder to the exercise and a pullup and set the workout to a pyramid cycle. So it looks like this:

Preparation for Obstacle Courses: Use the 8 Count Body Builder Pushup / Pullup Pyramid – This is one hardcore workout. Do one 8 count BB pushup, run 20m to a pullup bar and do 1 pullup. Run back to the area where you do the 8 counts and then do two 8 counts, run back to pullup bar and do 2 pullups. Keep cycle of 8 counts, short runs, pull-ups until you fail at pull-ups, then repeat in reverse order.

The 8 count body builder pushup - 8 movements of a mix of pushup / burpee:

**The next Progression for this is the 16 count pushup where you do 5 pushups when at position 2-4 - then continue with 5,6,7,8.

Joe Gunter of Georgia, one of the Online PT Club members created this progression and calls it the Billy Waugh - one of the toughest Special Operations members in US history. Joe can get up to level 20 using the 16 count pushup = 210 pullups / 1050 pushups if done correctly!

Run to Pullup bar - This can start off as a sprint but likely change to a jog after several sets.

*GET CREATIVE - after a 1-5 set warm up, make it so you do not walk or run to and from the pull-up bar to the 8 count area. Now you have to low crawl, bear crawl, fire man carry a partner, drag a partner, frog hop, crab walk, lung, side step squat, other agility exercises etc. If you have something available like a wall or fence jump that to better simulate the o course.

The Proper Pull-up (regular grip) - Grab the pull-up bar with your hands placed about shoulder width apart and your palms facing away from you. Pull yourself upward until your chin is over the bar and complete the exercise by slowly moving to the hanging position.

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Continue up the pyramid until you fail at pullups - resort to negatives for a few sets if you can limit them to 1-2 per set. If you cannot, then repeat the pyramid in reverse order.

Here is another option - burpee jumps / bear crawls / fireman carries in between pullups...

Pull-ups (negatives) - If you cannot do any pull-ups, you should try "negatives". Negatives are half pull-ups. All you have to do is get your chin over the bar by standing on something or having spotter push you over the bar. Then, you slowly lower yourself all the way down - let your arms hang grasping the bar fully stretched. Keep your feet up and fight gravity for a count of 5 seconds. This will get your arms used to supporting your weight.

Going from 10-15 pullups to a goal of 25-30?

Try this workout - 100 pullups in as few sets as possible. Rest with 100 abs of choice and 50-100 pushups then repeat pullups for the next set until you reach 100 pullups. See ideas at Increase Pullups

Check out the Fitness Store for answers to your weight loss and pull-ups goals. All programs are written by Stew Smith and access to Stew is as simple as emailing him at

Cannot do Pullups? Check out the TRX

Obstacle Course Related Articles:

Obstacle Course Races

Obstacle Course Races 2

Obstacle Course Simulator

Combat Conditioning Course

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