Advanced/Spec Ops Level Workout of the Week

A noncommissioned officer performs a 100-pound dumbbell row.
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Josh Lowe, Combat Logistics Battalion 22, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), postal noncommissioned officer in charge and native of Clinton, Tenn., performs a 100-pound dumbbell row during physical training aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19). (Cpl. Manuel A. Estrada/U.S. Marine Corps photo)

The favorite workout of the week was a bit advanced and geared toward the special-ops side of our workout group. The warmup pyramid actually is mixed into the workout circuit that mixes a good amount of repetitions of calisthenics with heavy weights in a push/pull rotation. The cardio is limited, but it adds up with runs between the warmup sets, a 15- to 20-minute cooldown run, and short and fast swim distances in the swim PT.

Push-ups and run pyramid

  • Run 25-50 meters between each set

1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 |16-20 (1 push-up, run, 2 push-ups, run, 3 push-ups, run … up to 5 push-ups, then lift)

But every fifth set, do the following:

  • Pull-ups/dips max
  • Bench press 10
  • Dumbbell rows 10
  • Push press 10
  • Pulldowns 10, 10
  • Biceps curls 10
  • Triceps extension 10
  • Abs of choice 50

Run 15- to 20-minute cooldown (easy pace)

Swim workout

Swim 500-meter warmup (any stroke)

Pool skills: 10-15 minutes -- Navy BUD/S drownproofing test practice (two minutes of each event): bottom bounce, float, 50 meters travel, front flip/back flip, pick up mask with your teeth off the bottom of the pool in nine feet of water. Simulate your hands tied behind your back and your feet tied together (do not tie yourself). We use rubber bands that are easy to separate, if needed.

Swim PT

Repeat 5 times

  • Swim 150 meters
  • Pullouts 10 -- similar to a muscle up on the pool edge
  • Push-ups 25
  • Reverse push-ups 25
  • Abs of choice 25

You can break this workout up into two different sessions if you prefer or try to get this done in less than two hours straight. Enjoy.

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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