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Stew’s Favorites: Reverse Pyramid

Free weights exercise.

This workout was done years ago using calisthenics only while deployed on a submarine for a few weeks doing OPS in the Med. Many people ask about good underway workouts so the calisthenics version is a great one. The second version that we did this week is a combination of many calisthenics exercises and lifts.

Calisthenics version: Reverse Pyramid from 25 to 1. Start off with 25 reps of a few exercises that focuses on legs, abs, lowerback, and upperbody. An advanced challenge is the following:

Squats, Pushups, Crunches /​ Situps, and Plank pose (rep per second) — do 25 of each, then 24, 23, 22,21, 20…all the way down to 1. Totals 325 reps of each exercise. For an added break, every 5 sets do a 5 minute cardio of run, bike, or elliptical.

For the Calisthenics and Weighted Version: This is where it gets more advanced as we add several challenging exercises throughout the 25 to 1 pyramid.

First 5 sets is a calisthenics warm up: 25 — 21 reps of Pushups, Abs of choice, and Squats

Then take a 5 min cardio break of tabata intervals on bike, elliptical, rower (20 sec fast /​ 10 sec slow)

Second 5 sets is calisthenics again but tougher: 20–16: Pullups, Dips, Abs of choice /​ plank
*note — if you fail at pullups /​ dips do remainder on pulldown machine /​ rows or pushups for dips

Take a 5 min cardio break of your choice: run, bike, elliptical, row, etc

Third 5 sets is a tough calisthenics and weighted cycle: 15–11: Pullups, Bench Press, Wt. Squats, Abs of choice

Take a 5 min cardio break of tabata intervals on bike, elliptical, rower (20 sec fast /​ 10 sec slow)

Fourth 5 sets is a combo of weights /​ cals as well: 10–6: Pullups, bench press, power clean or hang clean

Take 5 min cardio break of your choice

Fifth 5 sets of calisthenics /​ heavy lifts: 5–1: Pullups, Dead lifts, Squats
*heavy is relative — if you can add more weight then do so.

This is a great challenge to keep up with pullup reps while in lifting cycle. We basically use calisthenics as a warmup for the lifts, keep focus on core balance (abs /​ planks), and get some legs and full body exercises in the mix. This is one of those workouts that you feel like you did something afterwords and still had enough juice to do more cardio cooldown for 30–40 minutes if you had the time.

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Stew Smith Tactical Fitness Military Workouts Weight Training Pushups and Pullups

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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.

Latest Fitness Books: Navy SEAL Weight Training and Tactical Fitness

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