Adding exercises to the PT Pyramid, an already perfect workout, is a risky move. As you get into better shape, you might find that the 1-10-1 PT Pyramid of pull-ups, push-ups and sit-ups starts to get easy.
If that is the case, it might be time to enhance the program by either going higher than 10 sets up the pyramid or adding in suspension training exercises that perfectly complement the classic PT exercises. If you are going to fiddle with the perfect workout, you have to add the perfect exercises.
The TRX Suspension Trainer has been my personal go-to for exercise enhancement for over a decade now. Here is how we mix in the TRX into our training either to make it easier for people on pull-ups or make it much more difficult but balanced for people who do well with push-ups and sit-ups.
For instance: Peaking with the PT Pyramid; PT Pyramid Progressions; Adding Variety to the PT Pyramid; and PT Pyramids and Running Goals. We even had Pavel join in on the PT Pyramid fun. In fact, I like the PT Pyramid so much I wrote a book called The 101 Best Pyramid Training Workouts where I use it in every aspect of exercise and not just calisthenics.
Upper body PT Pyramid 1-10-1 (19 sets) – The way the pyramid works is your first 10 sets work up the pyramid by doing 1 pull-up, 2 push-ups, 3 sit-ups, then 2 push-ups, 4 push-ups, 6 sit-ups…continue going up the pyramid by one on pull-ups, double the push-ups and triple the situps (or abs of choice) to the tenth set and then repeat in reverse order. The reason why we call this the perfect workout is that it has a built in warmup, max effort set and cooldown.
Pull-ups x 1 (odd sets) – This equals 50 pull-ups. If that is too easy, multiply by 2 each set to double the total reps.
TRX rows x 1 (even sets) – This equals 50 rows. The deeper angle you create the harder this exercise becomes.
TRX Atomic Push-ups x 2 (odd sets) – This equals 100 TRX push-ups/knee-ups and will challenge you.
Regular Push-ups x 2 (even sets) – This equals 100 push-ups and will be more difficult than normal due to prior TRX movements.
TRX rollouts x 1 (even sets only) This equals 50 rollouts and is sufficient as you will feel this one. Consider this exercise a dynamic plank hold and movement.
If you want to add a cardio event for a few minutes every round, that will extend the workout. You can work on your running if you select to run 200-400 meters every set. This will add another 3-5 miles to your workout.
Shoulder workout: You can top off the workout off with some lightweight shoulder rehab exercises with rubber bands or a lightweight set of dumbbells of 5 lbs. or less.
For the grand finale, hit the pool or do another non-impact cardio activity for roughly 30 minutes.
3 x 500 meters: Rest 2 minutes in between but 1 minute of that rest is treading water no hands
This is a full workout and mainly for advanced athletes, but the beauty of the pyramid and the TRX is the workouts are scalable to people’s fitness abilities. Give it a try and mix in some more exercises with the TRX to supplement any workout.
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.
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