Workout of the Week: PT, Weight Mix Warm-up with Run, PT and Swim

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A U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Party Airman assigned to the 10th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Riley, Kansas, performs pull-ups. (U.S. Air Force/Zade Vadnais)
A U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Party Airman assigned to the 10th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Riley, Kansas, performs pull-ups. (U.S. Air Force/Zade Vadnais)

Using the pyramid as a warm-up, mixing in upper body exercises is a good way to prepare for higher volume sections of a workout.

Here is how the warm-up, max out section, and cardio sections all blended into a workout fit for military special ops preparation. This workout is a mix of PT, lift, run and swim.

Warm-up (push-up pyramid 1 to 10):

1 push-up -- run 25 meters (you can also mix in some dynamic stretches during the 25 meter section)

2 push-ups -- run 25 meters

3 push-ups -- run 25 meters

4 push-ups -- run 25 meters

5 push-ups -- run 25 meters

Then, add in the following:

Pull-ups, sub-max; Pulldowns, 10; Heavy rows 10 each arm; Bear crawl for 25 meters

Continue up the pyramid from 6 to 10 and repeat the pulling and crawling exercises again.

Then: Run 1 mile timed.

After the warm-up in complete, begin the workout.

Workout (repeat four to five times):

Pull-ups, max effort.

TRX push-ups 20-25 or regular push-ups for 30-40.

Sit-ups or flutter kicks, 30; Or, plank pose, one minute.

Run 1/2 mile fast (can you hit goal pace?)

Goals: Can you get 100-plus pull-ups total in this workout? 100-plus TRX push-ups or 200-plus total regular push-ups? How about pacing out the sit-ups at 40 to 50 reps per minute or running at your goal timed run pace each set? Example: If you can run a 10:30 1.5 mile run, can you run a 3:30 or faster on the half miles?

*2019 note: Many military branches are in discussions of replacing sit-ups or crunches with the plank pose. Consider practicing the plank more often if you see this happening. However, no advanced level military unit (SEALs, Rangers, Special Forces, RECON, PJ) have considered replacing the situp or crunch with the plank yet, so doing both is a good idea as you will likely see both for the near future.

Swim section: There are many uses for swimming, even if it is not in your future testing or selection program. However, if you are considering a military unit that requires swimming or diving as part of its selection, you need to be swimming. Otherwise, if in an Army Ranger or Special Forces unit you can opt to do a ruck in place of swimming, unless you need the non-impact benefits of swimming for the day.

Most swim tests are in the 500 yards or 500 meter zone. To get used to swimming that distance and in condition to handle that distance at a fast pace, you need to have a minimum standard of swimming 1,000 to 1,500 meters a day.

Swim warm-up:

500 meters

Swim workout (repeat 10 times):

100 meters, any stroke

10 pull-outs (This is a muscle up on the edge of the pool in the deep end. Pull your hips out of the water by holding on the pool edge -- pulling and dipping to complete the movement.)

10 push-ups

20 flutters or 30 sec plank in the push-up leaning rest position.

Cool-down with an easy tread of five to 10 minutes. Try most of it with no hands or hands only to really work the hips and knees or shoulders and elbows respectively. Then, mix in a few minutes of dynamic stretches in chest deep water for the grand finale.

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