Ilove (like, loves) whip my gel pens, pack a spare notepad, and encode the colors of the reps, sets, and circuits of my workouts. There are so many ways to structure exercises. I tried the 5-4-3-2-1 method, scale training, sprint interval training-and the list goes on. But a look at a Navy SEAL workout routine shows that pyramid training is yet another one that I need to add to my to-do list.
As the name suggests, this pattern of structuring your strength training involves reaching the peak of your body abilities. The blog A Shot of Adrenaline explains that the Navy SEALs use pyramid training to get strong with push-ups, pull-ups and sit-UPS, but that’s not exclusively for the upper body. You can use it to work anything-or anything!- Muscle group. First step? Remember the ins and outs of training. Let’s do this.
How to build a Pyramid Training
There are 10 stages in the pyramid formation. Each level dictates the number of repetitions of push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups (or your movement trio of choice) that you need to do. You need to assign 1, 2 or 3 repetitions to each exercise, and then multiply each by the level (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10) to see their prescribed number of representatives. After all, the goal is to reach level 10 and then fall back to level one, but be calm when you start. As an example, we use the traditional trifecta of the Navy SEALs:
Representatives by movement
Pull-ups = 1 representative x [number of level]
Pumps = 2 repetitions x [number of levels]
Sit-ups = 3 repetitions x [number of levels]
- Stage 1: 1 pull-up, 2 push-ups, 3 sit-ups
- Level 2: 2 pull-ups, 4 pull-ups, 6 sit-ups
- Level 3: 3 pull-ups, 6 pull-ups, 9 sit-ups
- Level 4: 4 pull-ups, 8 pull-ups, 12 sit-ups
- Level 5: 5 pull-ups, 10 pull-ups, 15 sit-ups
- Level 6: 6 pull-ups, 12 pull-ups, 18 sit-ups
- Level 7: 7 pull-ups, 14 pull-ups, 21 sit-ups
- Level 8: 8 pull-ups, 16 pull-ups, 24 sit-ups
- Level 9: 9 pull-ups, 18 pull-ups, 27 sit-ups
- Level 10: 10 pull-ups, 20 pull-ups, 30 sit-ups
And don’t forget to come back down!
If you prefer someone to eliminate the guesses of your workout, try this super sweaty session with Charlee Atkins: