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Weights, PT and Pull ups

stew smith

Here is a great question of how to mix in weights with the Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness. By the way, a new CGTNSF workout PLUS weights will be coming out this year!

I am a 2ndLt in the Marine Corps and I'm about to start the third week of the The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness. I have been lifting less with the workout -- only 2 days a week, and I'm wondering what you would recommend in regard to lifting while doing the CGTNSF3 workouts?

My second question is about pull-ups. I have been stuck at around 20 -22 for quite some time now, and am looking for something new to help me break through. Thanks for your time.

Depends on your athletic history as to IF you need to add weights or not - See Change Needed to Ace the SEAL PST or Change Needed Part 2

I like to lift weights as well but I do lift lighter weights during my PT cycles. I lift heavier during my weight lifting cycle. My recommendation for your current goals as well as your profession is to lift lighter weights with more repetitions, and to add in calisthenics so that you totally burn out in the gym. See the Periodization Article for some ideas on how to organize your routine throughout the year.

So - on days you do pushups / pullups and other upper body calisthenics from the book - add in your upper body lifts. On days that you run, swim with fins or do leg PT - add in leg workouts or full body exercises like thrusters, hang cleans, dead lifts, squats, etc.

Personally, I like to do bench press a max rep set of 75-100% of your bodyweight, followed by max reps of pull-ups -- then, to top off the upper body, add 50-75% bodyweight pull-downs followed by max reps of pushups. I work opposing muscle groups with weight/PT mix so I can rest one group of muscles while working the other, but never getting a true rest. This will help you increase your muscle stamina.

I lay off heavy weighted legs during my running cycles as that will slow me down while running, but I do leg PT with running. See the Running PT article for methods of performing the exercises correctly:

Run --1/4 or 1/2 mile
Squats -- 20-30
Lunges -- 10-20 per leg
Repeat above 5-8 times

To Get to 30 Pull-ups:

To break through to 30 pull-ups, you can refer to last week's article, the Pullup-Pushup Next Workout for some ideas -- but the best way I think is to try the following workout:

Do this workout 1-2 times a week and another regular pull-up workout for a 3rd pull-up workout in 7 days.

100-150 pull-ups in as few sets as possible -- rest with:
Max sets of pushups 2:00
Max sets of abs of choice in 2:00
Option run --1/4 mile in 90 seconds (some days this is a great one)

In a nutshell, do max reps of pull-ups - stop right before you fail. Add in 1-2 negatives to completely fail ONLY a few times. Then rest with pushups, sit-ups, and running, before mounting the bar again for pull-ups -- no real rest in this workout.

The run is optional as it adds time to your workout. Once you get good at the pull-up burnouts as well as the other exercises, you will see that you can get that hard workout done in under 20 minutes. That is why I like to add the 1/4 mile at 90 seconds in -- to make the workout harder. Plus it gets you to muscle memory a six min mile pace even when tired and pumped up from PT workouts.

Try this for 4-6 weeks and you will be in the 30 pull-up range.

Please keep the emails coming. Let me know if you are increasing your pull-ups between last week's article and this one. Good luck. Email me at

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