My Three Favorite Workouts To Crush
(Pyramid, Super Set, Max Rep Sets)
and How to Use Them
It is no secret that I will recommend most people to do one or more of the three workouts above to improve scores on PT Tests and help enhance muscle stamina overall. Depending on the individual, I may also recommend to try a short term overload process called the Pullup / Pushup Push. Typically, this person is in the beginner / intermediate zone that gets the overload recommendation as that controlled program will yield big results quickly, BUT after the two week challenge the three favorites come into play in a more balanced every OTHER day approach.
The PT Pyramid - You can mix countless exercises with this workout, but first you may learn this method with the basic pullup, pushups, situps (or squats if doing Murph in 19 sets). The 1-10-1 Pyramid (or 1-10 double ladder) will do what you seek - build strength-endurance (aka muscle stamina) to enable you to reach higher repetitions in calisthenics exercises and testing specifically. Here is how it works:
This particular exercise choice will yield 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 squats (aka Murph) in 19 sets. If you need to work on situps - replace squats with situps as we have been doing that since the 1980s.
Set 1: 1 pullups, 2 pushups, 3 squats
Set 2: 2 pulups, 4 pushups, 6 squats
Set 3: 3 pullups, 6 pushups, 9 squats...keep going up to set 10
Set 10: 10 pullups, 20 pushups, 30 squats...Then repeat in reverse order from 9 back down until 1 (set 19).
If you cannot complete 19 sets, use the pyramid as an assessment tool and go up until you fail at 1-2 events and repeat in reverse order. Square your top set achieved to figure out how many reps you did of pullups - multiply x 2 for pushups reps, multiply x 3 for squats / situps total reps.
This is a workout that is in just about all of my programs, but if you really like this one you can do it as much as every OTHER day if you do not want to follow any programming that mix in other methods, added lifts, running (sprint, goal pace, etc), swimming, and rucking.
The pyramid is by far the most versatile and complete workout I have ever done as it naturally has a warmup, max out, and cooldown built into it. In fact, I have written over 100 different types of pyramid workouts and put them into my new book. Running, swimming, biking, calisthenics, weights, and a mix of every method of training there is can be used with the pyramid:
The Super Set / Circuit
Repeat 5-10 times
Situps / Squats - limit time to 1 min but work on your pace especially for situps shooting for 20-25 reps in 30 seconds. Mastering this pace will yield 80-100 reps in 2 minutes fitness tests.
Add Weight to Calisthenics Option:
*Consider adding a weight vest (10-20lbs) if you are stuck in the mid teens on your pullups and mid 70s on your pushups with this workout (ONCE A WEEK).
The Max Rep Set Workout
100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 situps (or squats)
Do a max rep set of pullups, then pushups, the situps in 2 minutes. Remember there is a difference between muscle failure and muscle fatigue. The goal is to push each set until you fatigue and not completely fail. Here is how I like to do this workout:
Pullups max reps of 20 (hopefully a few more) but I feel like I could do maybe 1 more and a stop.
Workout Week Organization:
The way I arrange these workouts is I place the pyramid on Day 1, followed by a leg day / cardio day (Day 2). I place the Super Set on Day 3, followed by a mobility day or cardio (Day 4) with some legs depending on energy levels / soreness. ON Day 5 or Day 6 try the Max Rep set workout. Sometimes that extra day off before doing another upper body day can help you with bigger number sets on Max Rep workouts. That day 5 can be a cardio only day or leg day depending on what you did on Day 4.
Other Program / Training Options
BOOKS / EBOOKS
It depends: The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness is a classic and focuses on high rep calisthenics and running and swimming base. You will build up your running over 12-18 weeks to 20 miles but very fast paced focus on both the 1.5 mile run for the PST and the 4 mile timed run for weekly run test at BUDS. If you are an athlete with a strong power / strength background in lifting and not running or swimming, Navy SEAL Fitness is ideal for you. IF you need some place to start Navy SEAL Fitness is ideal for you as well because a calisthenics base / running / swimming progression is a good place to build a foundation. Though you will likely need to spend some time in the Navy SEAL Weight Training Book OR if Navy SEAL FItness is too challenging, go with Navy SEAL SWCC, EOD, Diver, PST Phase 1 Workout. Phase 1 is a good starting point if Navy SEAL Fitness program is too tough.
Navy SEAL Weight Training - This is part two (winter lifting phase) of my SEAL Prep program. If you have done the Navy SEAL Fitness (12 weeks to BUDS) program a few times and need a break, this is the next program that integrates lifting with the Navy SEAL Prep training. This is ideal for people who have come from an endurance athlete background. Athletes like swimmers and runners will also require some strength training as you will be exposed to challenges under logs and boats during the first phase and many miles of rucking 50+ lbs of backpacks and gear in 2nd and 3rd phases of BUDS. Do not skip lifting in your year of training prep. However, if you are coming from a powerlifting / football background, supplementing a few lifts into your endurance / muscle stamina focus plan is something you may enjoy especially if training for a year or more during your prep phase.
Navy SEAL / SWCC, EOD, Diver Program Series - Phase 1 is what I call a beginner guide, but it is still challenging. It is geared toward those who are scoring minimally or failing their Navy PST test - 500yd swim, pushups, situps, pullups, 1.5 mile run. It is easier than The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness and a good prep course before attempting it.
Phase 2 and 3 of the Navy SEAL / SWCC, EOD, Diver program is about the same level of intensity as Navy SEAL Fitness and is also a good follow-up plan after Phase 1.
Phase 4 ot the Navy SEAL Key to Mental Toughness is by far my toughest workout ever created. It resembles a day of BUDS, complete with "wet and sandy", runs after eating, high rep punishment push-ups, 4 mile timed runs, 2 mile swims with fins, log PT simulation, and even a HellWeek Simulator with 3 workouts a day.
Tactical Fitness Series - Tactical Fitness, Tactical Strength, and Tactical Mobility is an ALL-encompassing program that focuses on lifting, calisthenics, run, ruck, swim, speed, agility, and flexibility / mobility. Many people focusing on USMC (OCS, RECON, MarSOC) Army Ranger / SF, Air Force Special Warfare, SWAT / Federal Law Enforcement, and Navy Special Warfare have done very well focusing on the Tactical Fitness Series and developing themselves into an all-round Tactical Athlete.
The Warrior Workout Series - If you are solid with making your own workouts, but need some ideas. This three part series has 300 workouts (100 / book) to pick from focusing on all the elements of fitness and training programs. Each book is organized with periodization cycles in mind along with calisthenics only, weights / calisthenics mix, cardio options and more.
Personalized Training Programs
There are many more options as well as personalized training programs member's only program and the new :
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