How Periodization Training Can Reinvigorate Your Fall Workouts

A soldier competes in the bench press event at Fort Stewart.
A soldier from the 3rd Infantry Division competes in the bench press event as part of Marne Week at Jordan Gym at Fort Stewart, Georgia, Nov. 14, 2016. (Spc. Ryan Tatum/U.S. Army photo)

As fall approaches, so does our transition from higher miles running and high-repetition calisthenics to fewer impact cardio miles and more weighted resistance training. I have been following a Periodization Program like this for more than 15 years now, and it really helps break up the monotony of doing the same type of workout. It also reduces your chances of overtraining if you are smart about it.

During the fall and spring, we make a balance out of the higher reps of calisthenics, mixed with some light lifts complemented with running intervals and longer-distance swimming with fins. This workout focuses on push, pull and core. Here is a great example and what we did today:

Warmup with a light jog or bike for 5-10 minutes.

Lightweight Shoulder Set

Repeat 4-5 times.

  • Bench press 5-10 reps

  • Push-ups immediate following -- max

  • Reverse Push-ups 20

  • Birds 20

  • Arm haulers 20

  • Pull-ups max

  • Pulldowns 10-15

  • Rows 10/arm

  • Sit-ups one minute or abs of choice

  • Plank pose one minute

Cardio options

Interval run:

A half-mile warmup jog/light dynamic stretch

Repeat 5-6 times.

  • Quarter-mile at fast pace

  • Quarter-mile at easy pace

Swim workout:

  • 500-meter warmup

Repeat five times.

  • 100 meters fast pace

  • Rest with tread (no hands)

Repeat five times.

  • 100 meters at goal test pace

  • 50 abs of choice on pool deck: flutter kicks, leg levers, crunches, plank (one minute), etc.

More non-impact options:

You always can use a rower, bike or elliptical and do Tabata intervals for as long as you can stand it. Tabata interval = 20 seconds sprint, 10 seconds easy recovery. Repeat for as long as you prefer.

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

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