The PT Pyramid- Training for Muscle Without the Weights

If you don’t feel like going to the gym today or want to workout in the comfort of your own home, look no further than PT Pyramids. PT Pyramids, which are done by the US Military, is a no rest workout complete with a warmup, max out, and a cool down all incorporated into one exercise routine. This program incorporates all forms of physical fitness, making it one of the best workouts you can do, especially at home.

There can be different variations incorporated in a PT Pyramid, but most of the time it focuses on pushups, pullups and situps. As you advance with this program, you can increase the steps up to as high as you would like. For example, at SEAL training, some SEALS would do a pullup pyramid up to 15 and back down to one. That equals 225 pullups.

How the Pyramid Works

If you look at the pyramid, you will notice that it is numbered on both sides. It goes from 1-5 on one side, with the number 6 on the top, and then 5-1 on the other side. Each number represents a step in the pyramid. Your goal is to climb the pyramid all the way up, and all the way back down. Therefore, you can consider each step representing a “set” of your workout.






At the bottom, you will find “pullups x 1, pushups x 2, situps x 3”. What this means is that at each “set” or step of the pyramid, you perform 1 pullup for every step you are on, 2 pushups for each step, and 3 situps for each step. 
Starting at the bottom of the pyramid, you see number one. For each set that you do, you multiply each set number by 1 and that tells you how many pullups you do. You then multiply it by 2 to get your pushups and then multiply by 3 for situps. You essentially keep progressing to the top of the pyramid or until you reach muscle failure. At the final step, step 6, you perform 6 pullups, 12 pushups and 18 situps. You then start working your way back down, in which you do 5 pullups, 10 pushups and 15 situps.

Keep going until you work all the way back down to one. Listed below is a number summary of the pyramid:


Go Up the Pyramid (or half pyramid workout)
Set/Step 1:
1 pullups/2 pushups/3 situps
Set/Step 2: 2 pullups/4 pushups/6 situps
Set/Step 3: 3 pullups/6 pushups/9 situps (Your first few set are basically a warmup)
Set/Step 4: 4 pullups/8 pushups/12 situps
Set/Step 5: 5 pullups/10 pushups/15 situps
Set/Step 6: 6 pullups/12 pushups/18 situps (Here is where you may fail/max out)


Go Down the Pyramid (or reverse order pyramid)
Set/Step 5:
5 pullups/10 pushups/15 situps
Set/Step 4: 4 pullups/8 pushups/12 situps
Set/Step 3: 3 pullups/6 pushups/9 situps (Finish cool down)
Set/Step 2: 2 pullups/4 pushups/6 situps
Set/Step 1: 1 pullups/2 pushups/3 situps


Challenge Yourself

Remember, you can start the pyramid at any number you want. For example, make “step 1” of the pyramid into “step 2” or “step 3” so you can get more reps out of your workout. However, what may be the most effective is including resistance bands with this workout. if you want to go to absolute failure on your sets, try incorporating the following using resistance bands:

Pullups & Chinups: Use a resistance band to assist you on the way up. Loop the band around your pullup bar and your knee. The band will help you from the bottom up.

Pushups: Wrap a resistance band across your back while holding it in your hands. Now push yourself up. The stronger the band, the more difficult the pushups become. This is a much easier way to make pushups harder than wearing chains, a rucksack or X-vest.

Situps: Wrap the resistance band around a stable object and grab them from behind your head. Lift yourself up by just using your abs. You will feel more resistance on your core muscles.

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