The PT Progression Series is a series of answers about how to get better at pullups, pushups, and situps for fitness testing as well as bootcamp, police or fire academies.
Part 4 of the PT Progression Series is about adding the final segment of most fitness tests into the calisthenics workouts — RUNNING. Learning to run at your goal pace is critical for optimal performance and you must practice it so often that it actually becomes “muscle memory” when you run. You should be able to transition from the the PT section into the running test easily and know by the way you are breathing, swinging your arms, striding how fast you are going. This takes practice though.
You can make a pyramid out of this one or make it one tough super set but each “rest” period in between sets is a run of a variety of distances. These type of workouts not only help your body learn how to transition from PT exercises to running, but can also help you in simulating other exercise events like obstacle courses, combat conditioning courses, and other job related challenges.
Here is an all-time favorite that can progress into a workout even the toughest people cannot finish. I call this the Obstacle Course Simulation Workout Progression but it’s goal is to help you with the PFT exercises. This is best if using an outdoor pullup bar and an area to run a short distance. Here is how it works: (NO REST Workout)
Set:#1: Do 1 pullup — run 30-40m —do 2 pushups / 3 situps — run back to pullup bars Set #2: 2 pullups —run 30-40m—4 pushups / 6 situps — run back to pullup bars
Keep moving forward up the pyramid to set #10: 10 pullups, run 30-40m — 20 pushups, 30 situps
Now here is where it is up to you and your fitness level. You can return and go back down the pyramid completing the 100/200/300 total repetition challenge OR try a new progression.
One Way Pyramid to 20: Keep going up and see where you fail. If you continue moving up the pyramid there is no need to return down the pyramid. The goal if you keep going past level 10 is to see if you can keep moving and go to level 20. This is a total repetition workout of 210 pullups, 420 pushups, 640 situps. I would recommend turning some of these situp sets into plank pose where each second at plank pose (up pushup position after pushups) counts as 1 rep of situps.
Super Set with Running: Another option is to do a sub max Super Set with running longer distances at your goal pace. For instance if you are fairly advanced try:
Repeat 10 times Pullups 10–15 Pushups 25–40 Situps or plank pose/second — 25–40 Run 1/4 mile at goal pace
Running goal pace means if you are doing a 1/4 mile run and you are striving for a 9 min mile and a half or a 12 min 2 mile run, you have to run each quarter mile at 90 seconds (1:30).
It is recommended to only do these high volume workouts once a week and make your other two upper body workouts lower in volume but still focus on pace and transition from running and PT. See why the transition from PT to running is so important.
The Complete PT Progression Series:
PT Progression Series #1: PT Pyramids: Do this workout EVERY OTHER DAY. No workout is good to do daily for long periods of time. It is best to do this foundation workout only three days a week.
PT Progression #2 is the SUPER SET: This is another sub-max effort foundation workout to increase volume of your PT exercises. It is recommended to add this type of workout and replace a pyramid workout once a week so you only total these upper body workouts only THREE times a week. Learn how to design a SUPER SET effectively.
PT Progression #3 is the Max Rep Set Workout: Once you have mastered the PT Pyramid and the Super Set and can handle workouts with volume of 100 pullups and 200 pushups, then it is time to test your new found strength. This workout will increase your muscle stamina and endurance which is really the goal of mastering PT tests. Find out how to push your numbers even higher.
PT Progression #4 is the PT / Run Workout: You can make a pyramid out of this one or make it one tough super set but each “rest” period in between sets is a run of a variety of distances. Learn the best way to add running to the next generation of progression.
PT Progression #5 is the PT and Advanced Movements Workout: Add tougher exercises into your pyramids and supersets such as burpees, push presses, bear crawls, etc.