The PYRAMID Workout

A hardcore program to push your limits!

The “Pyramid” workout. My clients know it and loathe it, but they feel totally awesome and hardcore when they finish it. That said, I want to lead with a disclaimer that this is a very grueling training session. We only use this once every few months as a challenge workout. It’s important to understand your own fitness limits, or the limits of your clients, before undertaking this workout. Do not take this one on unless you are healthy.

The PYRAMID Workout - A hardcore program to push your limits!
CrossFit Athlete Libby DiBiase
demonstrates the Push-up.

What Is The Pyramid?

The reason that this training session is so tough is because of the high volume of repetitions. You will complete 20 repetitions of each movement. Then, you will complete 19 repetition of each movement. Then, 18,17,16 and so on until you reach 5 reps of each movement. After you complete that set of 5 reps for each exercise, you are done.

The goal is to finish this workout in the fastest time possible while maintaining perfect technique on every movement. If you have to go a bit slower to achieve that technique, that is completely okay.

Here are the three exercises:
• Jump Squat
Push Ups
Kettlebell Swings

The Rules

• You want to select a kettlebell about one bell lighter than you typically swing since your repetitions will be so high.
• Push-ups should be done on the toes for as many as possible. Once form starts to decline and the range of motion decreases, drop to the knees and continue to go deep and stay tight.
• Be sure to fully extend your hips on the jump squats. Do not cut these short just because you have so many repetitions to do.
• You can go in any order of exercises, but be sure to complete each prescribed number of repetitions before moving to the next set.
• Rest when needed but push your pace.
• Set a running time and simply record your time when you complete all the repetitions.
• If you are doing this with a group, simply create a chart and write down what weight everyone used for their kettlebell and what their final time was.

The PYRAMID Workout - A hardcore program to push your limits!
CrossFit Athlete Libby DiBiase
demonstrates the Kettlebell Swing.

Scaling The Workout For Beginners

As I mentioned above, rest whenever it is needed and the clock will continue to run. If you need to scale this down for a beginner, here is what I recommend:

• Complete 15 to 5 on the pyramid instead of 20 to 5.
• Perform body weight squats instead of jump squats.
• Perform all the push-ups from the knees.

You may use all or some of those modifications, depending on the person. A typical time frame for finishing this workout can range anywhere between 20 and 50 minutes. The best times for my clients are around 20 and 21 minutes and some newer folks finish closer to 50.

Give this workout a try every few months to test yourself and push your limits. Remember that technique is the #1 key. Be sure to leave a comment below if you try it, I’d love to hear how it goes for you.

Callie Durbrow

Callie Durbrow is the owner of Durbrow Performance Training and the author of Strong and Sexy in 25 Minutes.

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