Fitness Friday: How to Combine Calisthenics, Weights, Speed and Endurance

A player performs the timed shuttle run at the 2014 U.S. Army All-American Combine.
Colin Baker of Murrieta, California, performs the timed shuttle run at the 2014 U.S. Army All-American Combine at the Alamodome in San Antonio Jan. 3, 2014. (Spc. Victor Blanco/U.S. Army Reserve photo)

​People often ask how to add weights to a calisthenics workout effectively or practice speed and endurance training in one routine. Here is a routine you can complete either in one session or broken up into two workouts in the day. 

Warm up with a basic pull and push pyramid. If you need a rest between exercise sets, rest with sit-ups and crunches or give yourself a 30-second recovery period. Otherwise, keep moving up the pyramid to 10.

Push-up/Pull-up Pyramid Warmup

1-10: One push-up, one pull-up, two push-ups, two pull-ups ... Continue this pattern until you reach 10 of each.

The weight cycle below is the heart of the workout and focuses on strength for bench presses, deadlifts and weighted pull-ups. The stair crawls are a dynamic core and shoulder chest exercise, and the dips are done without weight. If you do not have stairs, replace with 50-meter bear crawls.

Repeat three times.

  • Body weight bench press max

  • Body weight deadlifts 1-5

  • Weighted pull-ups max

  • Stair crawls up/down

  • Dips max

Lightweight Shoulder: This exercise balances out the shoulder, working the rotator cuff muscles well.

Part two of the workout is a mix of shuttle runs of 300 meters (6 x 50 meters) and slowly jog or bike for two minutes.

Speed runs:

Repeat three times.

  • 6 x 50-meter shuttle run

  • Rest with an easy 400-meter jog or two minutes of biking.

Follow this up with the swim or running option of about 25-30 minutes.

Swim a 500-meter warmup (any stroke).

Repeat five times.

  • 100-meter free at eight strokes per breath

  • 50-meter CSS at goal pace

  • Rest as needed

  • And/or run 3-4 miles

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. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

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