STEW SMITH SAYS DO PUSH-UPS & PULL-UPS EVERY OTHER DAY   Leave a comment

Stew Smith (Navy SEAL) is an informative authority on physical fitness preparation for special operations assessment and selection (e.g. the Physical Screening Test for BUD/S selection). Recently, Smith published an article to reiterate his view that push-ups and pull-ups require a minimum 24-hour recovery period similiar to any resistance training.

This is not breaking news for the field of physical training as it has been understood for a while that 24-hour recovery periods work well in general, and therefore there are advantages in daily training programs to alternating upper body workout days with lower body workout days. For example, Paul Roarke (USMC Ret.) incorporates the alternating days approach in his Enhanced Physical Readiness System. That all said, many people preparing for special operations selection continue to perform push-ups and pull-ups on a daily basis because they understand it as a rapid way to increase their maximimum capacity for repetitions, and/or because they understand that push-ups and pull-ups will be required of them on a daily basis in the spec ops training program to which they are applying. The Navy Special Warfare PT Guide currently prescribes four days a week of pull-ups combined with push-ups, with three of those days in a row. The problem is that there is a point of diminishing returns with this approach, where gains will cease and decreases may even be observed.

One thing I am interested in is whether there may in fact be advantages to doing push-up and pull-up type calisthenics every day in the same way that there has been suggested benefits of running every day, alternating high effort run days with lighter recovery run days. In my current program for example, I alternate focused intense upper body workout days with other days with relatively lighter suspension strap training (e.g. jumping squats and lunges). It seems to be working for me, and I have the data to show it. That said, can I really narrow it down to the single explanation of how upper body workouts happen on alternate days in my program? Maybe not. But at this point, progress is progress and I am not going to fix something that isn’t broken.

You can read Stew Smith’s (Navy SEAL) full article HERE.

If you or your team want to develop a customized physical fitness assessment and improvement program that is effective, affordable and sustainable, contact me – Tom Delaney – at greatriverfitness@gmail.com. It’s what I do and my work motivates me every day! You will be just as motivated too!

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