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Stew's Favorites: Pullups / Pushups / Situps

Army Basic Training PFT

This week, we did an all-​​time favorite workout that we have been doing for decades. It truly is a classic workout and if you are ever in the area where we train, you can join us. Especially now, as we are cycling out of the weight /​ strength cycle and merging into the running, swimming, higher rep PT cycle to prepare for crushing any fitness test.

We train in Severna Park, MD, on a converted railroad track now paved bike path. Along the bike path there are pullup bars and a place to PT every mile of a five mile section on the Baltimore — Annapolis Trail (formerly the B&A railroad).

This is one of those classic 100,200,300 workouts but done with pullups, pushups, and situps. This works best on an outdoor pullup bar on a track /​ field or trail, but you could also do it on a treadmill if you wish.

Here is how it works: Using the Pyramid Method of Building Reps, we start off easy on the first set:

1st set: 1 pullups, 2 pushups, 3 situps /​ 50m jog — after each set of the pyramid you do a short 40-​​50m jog of various dynamic stretch exercises.

2nd set: 2 pullups, 4 pushups, 6 situps /​ 50m jog…(We really use this jog to keep the legs loose so butt-​​kickers, high knees, bounding, side steps are all great 50m events to use each set)

Keep going by adding (x1) to the pullups, (x2) to the pushups, and (x3) to the situps each set.

After the 5th set of: 5 pullups, 10 pushups, 15 situps /​ 50m jog — Run 1 mile (every 5 sets you run 1 mile).
You can either do this by running and half mile and turning back to the pullup bar, running 4 laps around a track, or on a treadmills.

After the mile run — continue up the pyramid from sets 6–10. Run 1 mile again.

Now depending on your fitness level you can keep moving up the pyramid or start your way back down the pyramid. IF you can continue up to 15 then you do not have to return back down the pyramid. But you still need to get the 4th mile done.

In this particular pyramid, if you go up to TEN and repeat in reverse order, you will have 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 situps. On the way back down, start at NINE and work your way back to ONE.

Regardless, you still run a mile every five sets. So coming back down you will do sets 9–6 — run a mile. Then do the final sets of 5,4,3,2,1 and run your final mile.

In the end you will have run 4 miles and complete 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 situps.

*Note some people prefer not to do 300 situps. If you choose to alter it, it is best to alter with 1 second plank pose per repetition required. We usually say that 300 situps = 300 second (5 min) plank pose. Regardless, it is a good balance if you chose to break it up this way.

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Contributor

Stew Smith works as a presenter and editorial board member with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He has also written hundreds of articles on Military.com's Fitness Center that focus on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.

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