What Are Some Group PT Ideas — Advanced Level?

PT Pyramid

Here is a commonly asked email from military members who are placed in charge of their command’s group PT program, but this one is a request for more advanced workouts for his hardcore group at his command.  See his request:

Stew, Thanks for your numerous articles /​ books as I have used them since I was a civilian several years ago.  Now, I am placed in a position to spice up our Command PT and we have many advanced level athletes who spend much of their free time at the gym, running races, or preparing for their future Spec Ops careers.  Any recommendations for tougher than average workouts we can do as a group?

Thanks for the email and it is by far one of my favorite requests of the week.  I just so happen to be creating many new and unpublished workouts that I use with my Spec Ops wanna-​​be group here in Maryland.  The cool thing about these workouts is that they can all be arranged to be a PT foundation for your intermediates and a challenging job related skill workout for your advanced groups.  They all stem from the basic PT Pyramids and Max Rep Super Set Workouts as described below:

PT Pyramid — Foundation Building: Here is a standard pullups, pushups, situps, and even dips if you wish that you can add into a PT Pyramid routine that progressively gets tougher each set.  Using the even numbered pyramid above if you hit all the reps of the 2,4,6,8,10,8,6,4,2 that equals 50 reps of an exercise.  Double and triple the repetitions and you can see how quickly this workout becomes challenging.

Max Rep Set Workout: 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 situps in as few sets as possible base routine.  I have found this workout is a great one for those who are stuck at 15 pullups and seeking to get 25–30 reps.  Usually if done just once a week, along with 2 other upperbody workouts of your choice (smaller pyramids, weights, etc) you will see those kind of gains with this max rep failure workout.

Now, here is some new video of how we have progressed into harder group PT workouts using the above models of workouts.

Pullup /​ Burpee Jump and Fireman Carry Pyramid: See video link: This pyramid has a pullup pyramid going UP until you fail (10+ sets) followed by burpee broad jumps on the ODD sets and fireman carries with a partner or bear crawls (25yds) on the EVEN sets.  Keep going UP until you fail at pullups.  If you do not get to 10 sets then repeat in reverse order.  If you get above 10 sets keep going until you fail and stop.  No need to repeat.  Many in this video were getting up to 15–20 sets on this workout.

Pullup /​ Run /​ Kettlebell Swings /​ Burpees /​ Bear Crawl or Fireman Carry Pyramid: See video link: Now there is a lot going on with this pyramid.  Basically it starts off with 2 pullups, 25yd run, 2 KB swings, bear crawl or fireman carry 25yds, double your pullups or 4 burpees, bear crawl back to KBs and repeat 2 KB swings (matching pullups), then run to pullups for your 2nd set or 4 reps.  This pyramid is a 2,4,6,8,10,12,14,16,.… pyramid.   Whatever you do on pullups you double your burpees and KB swings each set.  Very tough workout.

100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 situps progression: See video link: This progression of the standard 100/​200/​300 PT workout adds in running 100 — 200yds each set, plus kettlebell swings that match your pushup numbers.  The goal of this workout is to get 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 200 KB swings, and 300 situps in as few sets as possible with added short /​ fast runs per set.  Limit your set time to 1–2 minutes for pushups and situps depending upon your timed events of your branches PFT.  Most advanced members will get this one done in 4–5 sets.

These are classic PFT based workouts that will not only challenge your group but help with acing the PFT exercises like pullups, pushups, situps as well.  You can get creative with this one and add in other transition exercises like crab walks, wheel barrow races, forward rolls, or whatever will float your boat.  Adding in exercises to be part of the pyramid or max rep set routine is fine too.  We often add in plank poses for 1 min, flutterkicks, and a variety of other pushups to keep things interesting.

Good luck with adding in challenging PT workouts to your Command PT.  I would only do exercises like these every other day at the most.  You can always add in a Cardiovascular only or Leg PT day on days in between these upper body intense workouts as well if you need more than a few ideas per week.

Military​.com Group discussion: What are your ideas for the BEST GROUP PT ever?

PS — Check out my new Fitness APP for iPhone/​iPad for a mobile library of more than 115 exercises.

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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. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Stew Smith article archive at Military.com. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at stew@stewsmith.com.

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