Ask Stew: Supplemental Training For Pullups, Pushups, Situps

Many people are into scoring competitive PT scores on a variety of tactical fitness tests. The following programing is a one-stop shop article and the answer to a question from a young man seeking to improve in all three exercises:  pushups, pullups, situps.  Here is his question:

My name is Luke. I am currently trying to top off my pararescue PAST numbers.  Pull ups are 11, push ups 55, sit ups 65. I saw your pull up, push up and sit up push programs for free on your website.  Would you suggest those for my situation and if so can I do them all at one or would that limit individual improvements? Thanks your for time, Luke

Luke – I would do your normal PAST program which has plenty of pullup, pushups, situps in it along with cardio, weights, other exercises – but perhaps not to the volume you need – and definitely not daily for 10 days straight that the PT Push Supplement requires. Supplement the three programs below (see links) adding to the workout days if needed, and to the days in between and rest days from PT exercises.  However, only add what you did not complete in your normal workout for all three daily goals. You do not need to do the repetition in your normal workout PLUS the pushup / pullup / situp push programs.  REMEMBER, the following programs are SUPPLEMENTAL programs and not meant to be done alone with no added cardio events, weights, other exercises to balance out your workout routine goals.

The Three PT Push Programs (14 Day Supplemental Programs)

Pullup Push – The rule here is take your max set of pullups done for a test and multiply it by 5.  So, if you can do 10 pullups, you will do 50 pullups a day for 10 days straight – rest 3 days from ANY pulling exercise – then test on day 14.  On days 1,3,5..etc (odd days) you can achieve these pullups during your normal workout.  If you do not accumulate your daily reps in your normal workout, then add to the end of the workout.   On days 2,4,6, (even days), you can accumulate your daily reps spread throughout the day.  I recommend doing them in maximum effort sets or at least near max effort.  (Luke 11 x 5 = 55 your daily totals)

Pushup Push – The rule here is to take your max set of pushups (time limit for test) and multiply is by 4-5. So, if you can do 50 pushups, your daily range is 200-250 pushups a day. Do that range for 10 days straight – rest for 3 days from ANY pushing exercise – then test on day 14.  On days 1,3,5..etc (odd days) you can achieve these pushups during your normal workout.  If you do not accumulate your daily reps in your normal workout schedule, then add to the end of the workout. On days 2,4,6, (even days), you can accumulate your daily reps spread throughout the day. I recommend doing them in maximum effort sets or at least near max effort.  (Luke 55 x 4-5 = 220-275 daily range)

Sit-ups Push – This program is fairly new but many have seen big results, simply by learning their goal pace for their 2 minute sit-up test. This protocol is a little different from the above methods, be sure to read the link in the heading on how to implement this program into your current training schedule.  (Luke 65 x 3 = 195 daily totals but at a certain pace.)  My recommendation is learn your pace to be 20-25 situps per 30 seconds. This will give you a pace of 80-100 reps in a 2 minute test.  Do not start out too fast and get 30+ your first 30 seconds as you typically will not be able to maintain that pace for 2 minutes.

The Next Level of PT – Once you reach a certain level of PT performance the PT Push workouts above are not the best option for you. Typically, if you can already to 15 pullups, 80 pushups and 80 situps the process of the pt push is not really needed at that kind of volume. Try the Next Level of PT (see link) which will change your programming to every OTHER day but still keep your volume high enough to progress – but also add in rest days in between.  A new version of this was recently published as the Classic Military PT Week.

Good luck with the challenging supplemental training program. Remember your daily totals and there is no need to push more that those repetitions each day for these 10 days. The key to the success is your 3-day recovery of those muscle groups. You can still do cardio and some leg work, but save your pushing, pulling, and core muscles for those 3 days.  Make sure that day 13 is an actual REST day.  No need to do anything but stretch and then give yourself a test on day 14. Some have seen better results on day 15 so consider that if your scores are not quite where you expected.  Most people – depending upon their starting point – can see a 50-100% increase in their repetition. I would say a normal range of success for your current level is in the zone of 15-18 pullups, 80+ pushups and sit-ups. 

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