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The Next Step On Upper body PT Maximums
After the Foundation is Built

Here is an email from a military man seeking to get better at his pull-ups and pushups for an upcoming PFT for Special Ops Selection.

Thank you for the 14 day Pull up and the Push up routine.  I did it to the letter, doing on average of a 130 pull ups and 300+ pushups per work out.  I went from 19 solid pull ups to 22 solid pull ups, and 76 pushups to 86 in 2 minutes. 

pullupdown.jpg - 7810 Bytes

pullupup.jpg - 12078 BytesNow that I have come this far, what else can I do to get up to 25+ solid pull ups and 100+ push ups in 2 minutes? 

I would not recommend the Pull-up / Pushup Push workout if you are already getting more than 15 pull-ups and 75 pushups as you already have a solid foundation to build upon. However, the advice on what is the next step is still the same.

 The next step after the Pushup Push and the Pull-up Push Workout is to get back into a normal split routine doing pull-ups and pushups three times a week maximum.

 Here is what I do not only to maintain 25-30 pull-ups and 100+ pushups but to also help folks like you to achieve those goal scores on a fitness test.

The maintenance plan is three workouts during the week:

 1 – Pyramid Routine

2 – Super Set or Circuit  

3 – Max Rep Workout

**NOTE:  Always balance out your workout with a good upper and lower back routine as you do get many reps with these workouts that focus on the chest, shoulders and stomach muscles. See this linked Plan

Workout #1 – Do a Pyramid type workout with pull-ups, dips, pushups, and an abdominal exercise of choice (usually crunches, sit-ups, flutter-kicks or a variety of all).  The goal is to build up to a maximum repetition set of all the exercises in the workout...

Check this one out...for example:  PT PYRAMIDS


Workout #2 - Super Set - but sub maximum repetitions:

Run 1/4 mile in 90-100 seconds
pull-ups 5-15 reps
Pushups - 40-50 reps
Sit-ups 40-50 reps (or abs of choice)
Repeat above for 5-10 sets depending on your fitness level
(Goal – do not go to muscle failure)

Workout #3:  Max out workout.  It is OK to fail this workout and push your max every set.

Max pull-ups
Max pushups 1:00
Max sit-ups 1:00  (pace out 50-55 reps)
Optional run 1/4 mile 90 seconds  (I do this some days - not all )

Repeat above until you hit 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups, 300 situps.  Once you can reach 100 pull-ups in 4-5 sets, then shoot for 150 pull-ups in a total workout. 

**NOTE – Try not to rest during any of these workouts as the “rest” is built into the circuit by working another muscle group.  Try to take some time to stretch and have some water in between sets but no longer than 15-20 seconds. 

This process will take a few weeks.  Usually people stuck at 15 pull-ups will be able to do 20-25 pull-ups in 4-6 weeks with this type of
Physical Training System.

 There are many way to get better at pull-ups.  This is a proven method, I have been using for more than 10 years with future Special Ops members.  Send in some other ideas that have helped you in the past reach the 20+ pull-up mark.  Weighted pullups are another options 1-2 times a week as well.

Workout #4  - one of my new favorites!!!

The 8 Count Pushup / Pullup Pyramid Workout – This one can be done at the beach if you have a pullup bar or run down to a local play ground or park and find some monkey

bars.  Here is how the Pullup / 8 count body builder pyramid workout works:

Do ONE 8 count bodybuilder pushup -  run 30m to a pullup bar - do 1 pullup.  Run back to 8 count area and do TWO 8 counts - run back to pullup bar - do 2 pullups.  Continue up the pyramid to 20 if you really want to challenge yourself.  Another option is go to 10 and repeat in reverse order - that one should not be too tough for a future frogman.  - FOR ADDED PLEASURE DO THIS ONE WET AND SANDY...BY GETTING IN SURF EVERY 5 SETS OR SO.

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 Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at

Complete List:  BOOKS / eBOOKS / DVDs

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Published Books / DVDs

The Complete List of Stew Smith's eBooks:

Fitness for All Levels of Fitness

The 90 Day Beginner Guide to Fitness
The Advanced Maintenance and Recovery Program

Reclaim Your Life - The Erin O'Neill Program

Veteran's Fitness - Baby Boomer and a Flat Stomach

The Busy Executive Workout Routine
The Advanced Weights / PT Workout (Fall / Winter Weight Gain Cycle)
The Perfect Pushup Workout

The TRX Workout
NEW - Circuit Training 101 ebook
NEW Obstacle Course Race Ebook


The Special Forces Physical Fitness Workouts
 Combat Conditioning Workout

Navy SEAL Workout Phase 1  Beginner Weeks 1-9
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 2 - 3 - Intermediate Weeks 1-12
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 4  Grinder PT -  Four weeks before Hell Week

Navy SWCC Workout

The Army Special Forces / Ranger Workout 

The Army Air Assault School Workout

The Army Airborne Workout


 The OCS, ROTC, Service Academy, & Bootcamp Workouts

Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard OCS Workout
The USMC IST and PFT Workout
USMC OCS / TBS Workout
The Service Academy Workout (West Point, Navy, Air Force Academy)
The Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp Bootcamp Workout

The Army OCS and PFT Workout
The NEW Army PRT and Combat Readiness Test Workout
The PFT Bible - Military / Police Standard PFT


The Law Enforcement Physical Fitness Test Workouts

The FBI Academy / PFT Prep Workout

The DEA Prep Workout

The FLETC Prep Workout - Ace the PEB

The State / Local Police Academy Workout

The Fire Fighter Workout

Why a 52 Week Workout Cycle?


  TRX Train Like the Pros


Some Titles Above available in Print Softcover Format