What Did You Do This Week?

Stew Smith

As a fitness writer, I find I need to train people as well as personally train in order to develop new ideas, learn from group dynamics, and just stay motivated in order to produce new and innovative training programs. My personal workouts have evolved into the Heroes of Tomorrow program where I train future military, special ops, police, and fire fighters for FREE in the Severna Park /​ Annapolis area. I received a good question this week from an Army veteran who wants to stay fit after his Army career. He asks,

“Stew, you seem like you are still working out pretty hard what I gather in your late 30s /​ early 40s. What do you do? I have a decent amount of time before work and like to get up early still and get it done. What did you do this week? — 38 yr old Army Vet.”

Thanks, I am turning 44 this year and still work pretty hard as you will see below. We just so happen to be in what I call Phase 3 of my Four Cycle Periodization Program. We break it up through the year instead of doing the same old workout week after week. I like to change up the goals and make four different quarter goals in a 52 week cycle. Each cycle roughly takes 13 weeks and we usually peak with a Monster Mash routine or a Navy SEAL PST, AF PAST, etc to test out of one phase and start into another.

In a nutshell, it looks like this:

Phase 1 — March — May: Calisthenics Build Up to Max REP sets, and steady increase of running and swimming distance /​ speed.

Phase 2 — June — Sept: Max Out Calisthenics /​ TRX /​ Obstacle Courses, Faster Run Pace, Faster Swim Pace — Fitness Testing

Phase 3 — Sept — Nov: Mix of Weights /​ KBs, Barbells — Olympic Lifts — tapering down on high rep calisthenics, less running, build up of rucking, more swimming with fins for distance. Only lifting 1–2 times a week.

Phase 4: Dec — Feb: Weights — Olympic Lifts, Still do pullups /​ dips (sub max — weight vest), less running, more rucking, more swimming with fins /​ distance. Lifting or rucking most days of the week. Shorter workouts in time and doing fewer reps /​ more weight is the goal this phase.

Below is the workout that we did this week. It is after our tough Monster Mash Fund Raiser (4.5 hour workout) so we took it a bit easy this week in the beginning. Next week we will get into more full body lifts and rucking /​ swimming with fins.

I have been doing this style of routine for over 15 years now and feel it has the been the answer to my health and lack of injuries each year. About the only injury I get is a mild tendonitis during longer running periods that can be rolled out pretty easily with my foam roller.

So back to the question: We are now preparing for ruck marches and lifting cycle for Fall and Winter. The following workout is what Stew Smith’s local group of candidates training for SEALs, Special Forces, Maryland SWAT Team, AF PJ, and Fire Fighters did this week:

Day 1
Recovery Day after PST or Monster Mash Saturday.


Light workout:

Warm up with 2,4,6,8,10 pullups — in between sets do foam roller, butt kickers, high knees, side steps, stretch


Light Weight Shoulders

Pick an Exercise of each group::

Upper body Push
Upper body Pull
Lower body
Abs /​ Core

TRX Cycle:

squat /​ rows 10
squat /​ high rows 10
squat /​ biceps 10
squat /​ wide rows 10
chest press 10
tricep ext /​ stretch 10
TRX plank 1 min

Fullbody Mix #1:

Pulldowns 10,10
(wide /​ reverse grip)
Pushups 10–20
Arm /​ Shoulder Chest Stretch
Air Squats 20

Fullbody Mix #2:

DB Rows 10/​arm
Bench press 15–20
Arm /​ Shoulder /​ Chest Stretch
Leg Press 15–20
plank pose 1 min
crunches 25

Day 2

Swim Mix:
500m warmup any stroke
500m with fins

5 x 100m of:
50m fast freestyle 2–3 breaths per 50m
50m CSS easy– catch your breath — Repeat 50/​50 5 times with little or no rest

10 x 50m sprints any stroke — rest 15–20 seconds
500m cool down any stroke

Day 3

Cardio /​ Lower Back:
Run or Ruck Mix for 1 hr
Lower Back Plan

Day 4

Burpee Pyramid Warmup:
run 50m — 1 burpee,
run 50m — 2 burpees,
run 50m — 3 burpees …stop at 10 burpees.
Light Stretch

Push — Pull Combo: Repeat 3 times
Pullups — max
Dips max
(weighted 10-​​20lbs)

Upper /​ Lower Combo: Repeat 3 times
Dead lift 5
Hang clean 5
Bench Press 10–15

Upper Push/​Full Combo Repeat 3 times
Lightweight Shoulder 5#
MJDB#2 — 5–8 (heavy)

Fullbody /​ Abs Combo Repeat 3 times
KB swings 20
abs of choice 1 min

Swim /​ PT: Repeat 3 times
Swim 300m fast
For the amount of time it took to swim 300m — get into the pushup position for that time. Do 25–50 pushups /​ plank pose only.

Day 5

Cardio /​ Lower Back
Run or Ruck Mix for 1 hour
Lower Back Plan

Day 6
Run 1.5 mile run /​ Stretch

Pyramid /​ Run Mix:
Run 50m
Pullup x 2
Bear crawl, walking lunge, or burpee jumps 50m
KB Swings x 5
– increase pullups x 2 and KB swings x 5 each set
Shoot for 10 sets
Run 1.5 mile run /​ stretch

So as you can see, we push it out pretty hard each week. Some weeks are tougher than others and as we get into the dead of Winter the workouts are shorter weight room /​ swimming for cardio workouts. After a long tough year, we are starting to taper down and get ready for a new tougher cycle in the Spring.

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Stew Smith

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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