The Pyramid of Pain

I just finished a great workout taken from The Complete Guide To Navy SEAL Fitness by Stewart Smith. It looks like this –

First the pyramid.

.                            10
.                         9      9
.                      8            8
.                   7                  7
.                6                        6
.             5                              5
.          4                                    4
.       3                                          3
.    2                                                2
. 1                                                     1

At each step of the pyramid you do a super-set of three excersises. The level of the pyramid is multiplied by the number of reps for the exercises in the super-set. I did the following:

x1 pull-ups
x2 push-ups
x3 sit-ups

For example:

SET #1:

  • 1 x 1 = 1 pull-up
  • 1 x 2 = 2 push-ups
  • 1 x 3 = 3 sit-ups

SET #2:

  • 2 x 1 = 2 pull-ups
  • 2 x 2 = 4 push-ups
  • 2 x 3 = 6 sit-ups

Pretty easy so far, right?

SET #10:

  • 10 x 1 = 10 pull-ups
  • 10 x 2 = 20 push-ups
  • 10 x 3 = 30 sit-ups

By this time you are pretty wasted and very thankful that you are going down the back side of the pyramid.

When it’s finally over you have done 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 sit-ups. Not bad for an old fart.

This pyramid workout is very useful and can be applied to many different exercises. You can do it for a single exercise or any number that are super-setted. You can vary the multipliers. For example, there is another popular variation that does the above but then adds a fourth exercise of dips with a multiplier of 2.

For kayaking, try this. Do the same pyramid but the exercise is paddling as hard and fast as you can. The multiplier would be 1 with 1 minute of slow recovery paddle until the next step:

1 min paddle hard, recover 1 min
2 min paddle hard, recover 1 min
3 min paddle hard, recover 1 min
and so on until you complete the pyramid or puke.

Getting In Shape – End of Week 13

It was all worth it. I just finished 13 weeks of P90X. As I progressed in the program I added a bit to the mix.

During this 90-day program I did the following.

I walked one hour per day every day of the week. Sunday and Thursday are my “rest” days so I must walk at a comfortable pace. All other days I can do a walk/run or a run depending on how I feel. But no matter what I have to at least walk every single day.

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are my heavy days. In addition to the morning walk I add the P90X workout of the day in the afternoon. At the end of the P90X workout I pause the DVD just before the cool down and I do 100 kettlebell swings with a 40lb kettlebell. Then I restart the DVD for the cool down. I follow that with the P90X Ab Ripper workout. After that I start up Insanity and usually to their Pure Cardio. This intense sessions take a bit over two hours to complete.

Tuesday I do the P90X Plyometrics in the afternoon.

Thursday I am supposed to do the P90X Yoga but instead I usually do P90X X-Stretch. Sometimes I just take the day off as a rest day.

Saturday is supposed to be P90X Kenpo, but their Kenpo sucks so I do a Bas Rutten or Team Quest or SEAL Workout. Or sometimes I just do a bunch of yard work.

Sunday is always rest day but that includes a walk.

Note that I started with just P90X. The other stuff was added as I progressed. When you reach my advanced stage of decrepitude (64) you have to progress carefully.

The Results After 13 Weeks:

  • Net weight loss of 18 pounds
  • Lost 22 pounds of fat
  • Gained 4 pounds of muscle
  • Flexibility has improved significantly

Not bad.

For the next 13 weeks I will be changing to P90X2. I’m also going to change my nutrition plan just a bit, and I will have kayak day twice a week now that I can fit in my kayak.