When you’re mixing in calisthenics, running or other cardio options to improve muscle stamina and cardiovascular endurance performance, using a pyramid to warm-up and cool-down is an effective way to prepare yourself and recover from a higher-mile and high-repetition full body routine.
A good workout for the day after this full body workout would be a cardio-only option, a day off or mobility day with non-impact cardio options.
Check out this workout and how it takes a little time to progress into the challenging part of the training time.
Warm-up with Pushup and Squat Pyramid and 100 meter runs each set 1-10. Mix in dynamic stretches for a portion of the 100 meter runs: Do 1 push-up, run 100 meters, 1 squat, run 100 meters, 2 push-ups, run 100 meters, 2 squats, 3-run-3, 4-run-4…up to 10-run-10. This will equal 55 pushups and squats and about a mile of easy-paced runs mixed with a variety of dynamic stretches of your choice to loosen up and help prepare you to do the next events at your best.
Run 1.5 mile timed: Practice a timed run event as you prepare for military fitness testing. Depending on your service branch, you will have a 1.5-mile run, 2-mile run or 3-mile run. If you want to save the longer three miles option for later, do the 1.5 mile and check your half-way split time to see if you are on your goal pace. If you need to replace running with another activity, bike, swim, row or use the elliptical for the time it would take you to run your run distance.
Hard Running or Heavy Resistance Cardio Options mixed with Leg PT
The following section requires you to make running a little harder for two minute sets. This can be done with hills, incline, stairs, soft sand or rucking with weight at a faster pace. After every two minutes of fast paced movement, stop and do leg exercises with or without weights depending on your abilities. But at this volume, if you opt for weights, keep it light compared to what you would normally use.
Repeat 5 times Run hills or stairs for two minutes fast on the up and easy on the down (or bike or row two minutes) - squats 20 - lunges 10 (each leg)
Intervals at Goal Pace
If you have any juice to push your next PT test goal pace time on the run, go for it. You will see that a 400 meter run at your next goal mile pace is not that difficult for your first few sets, but it will be a bit challenging especially as you accumulate reps in the leg calisthenics.
Run 1.5 miles but broken up in 6 x 400 meter runs with 1 minute walk in between - stay on your goal mile pace. Goal pace refers to what you want to score on your next timed run event, within reason. Typically, a drop of one minute per mile is a logical progression. If you are currently running a 7-minute mile pace for your 1.5 mile timed run (10:30), the next goal pace zone would be shooting for between a 6-minute and 6:30-mile pace. The 400 meter sets would then be set at 1:30-1:35 zone versus the 1:45 that is your current pace.
Cooldown Reverse Pyramid
Top off the calisthenics with another 55 reps of pull-ups, push-ups and squats spread out over 10 sets of the 10-to-1 reverse pyramid.
Pull-up / Push-up / Squat x 1 Pyramid 10-1 / stretch: Pull-ups x 1 Push-ups x 1 Squats x 1 - stretch in between sets as desired
This one is pretty easy as the sets increase. Start out with 10 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 10 squats, stretch as desired. Then start the next set with 9 pull-ups, 9 push-ups, 9 squats…work your way down the pyramid until you complete 1 pull-up, 1 push-up, 1 squat – resting with stretching the entire body each set.
Check out the latest 101 Best Pyramid Training Workouts book for even more ideas for warmups, max effort calisthenics, cardio workouts (run, swim, bike, other), and cooldown options. It is way too easy to skip the warmup and the cooldown of a workout, but when your workout system has it built into the program, you win and will see the benefits in performance and recovery.
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to email@example.com.
Want to Learn More About Military Life?
Whether you're thinking of joining the military, looking for fitness and basic training tips, or keeping up with military life and benefits, Military.com has you covered. Subscribe to Military.com to have military news, updates and resources delivered directly to your inbox.