30-Minute Bodyweight Movement Pyramid Workout

Bodyweight Movement Pyramid WorkoutI’ve posted lots of pyramid workouts on the blog—some where the number of reps declines as you go, some where the length of interval time declines as you go, but never one where you move less as you go. It’s been my favorite workout structure recently, so I had to debut the movement pyramid on the blog. Say hello to my at-home winter workout go-to!

If reducing motion sounds relaxing, you’ve got another thing coming. What I love about this workout is you get the benefits of both explosive movements and isometric holds: two different, but equally beneficial, burns.

30-Minute Bodyweight Movement Pyramid

I don’t want you guys to feel robbed—this workout technically takes only 29 minutes and 20 seconds, but 20-Minute-and-20-Second Bodyweight Movement Pyramid Workout didn’t have a great ring to it. Forgive me…

I recommend glancing over the pictorial of the this workout below before reading the next couple sentences so that everything makes sense—it’s not a complicated structure, but explaining it with words is harder than showing you.

This workout is made up of five exercises that you’ll circuit through four times. You spend 60-80 seconds on each exercise (you’ll see below why it differs for a couple moves). During that time, you’re reducing your range of motion every 20 seconds. For example, jump squat 20 seconds, stationary squat 20 seconds, squat hold 20 seconds. First you take out the air time, then you take out the movement altogether. I think of the progression as explosiveà stable movementà isometric.

After each exercise progression, you’ll rest for 20 seconds before moving onto the next exercise. The 20-second rest will feel like a long time at first, but by the end you’ll really appreciate it (trust me). I set my interval timer for 44 rounds of 20 sec work and 20 seconds of rest. This basically just meant that my timer was beeping every 20 seconds to signal me onto the next progression or exercise. Bodyweight Movement Pyramid Workout

SQUATS | Spend 20 seconds on each of the following variations…

  • Jump Squat: Feet about shoulder-width apart, squat down, sending your hips and butt back and down (not the knees forward!). Bring your hands in front of you as you sink down. From there, explosively jump straight up, swinging your arms back behind you as you do. Land softly and sink right back into a squat, hands swinging forward.
  • Power Squat: Just take out the jump! Feet about hips-width apart, squat down, sending your hips and butt back and down (not the knees forward!). Keep your chest open, shoulders back—it’s natural to lean forward slightly as you lower down, but we don’t want to hunch Bring your hands in front of you as you sink down to your lowest point, bodyweight staying in your heels. From there, powerfully stand back up, straightening your legs and thrusting your hips forward (squeeze your bum at the top!).
  • Squat Hold: Sink down to your lowest squat and hold. Weight should be in your heels, knees not sticking out farther than your toes.

PUSH UPS | Spend 20 seconds on each of the following variations…

This was by far the hardest exercise for me. I did all of the variations in a modified push up position (from my knees).

  • Hopping Push Ups: Start in a push up position (feet) or modified push up position (knees) with hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart. From here, you lower down like a normal push up and then explosively push yourself up, lifting your hands a couple inches off the ground at the top and then landing back into push up position. If you’re more advanced, you can do clapping push ups here instead (they require a little more air time so are harder).
  • Push Ups: Take out the air time! Hands stay on the ground the whole time. You know the drill.
  • Push Up Hold: Lower down in your push up so that elbows are bent to about 90 degrees. Hold there.

AB LIFTS | Spend 20 seconds on each of the following variations…

  • V-Ups: Start on your back with arms stretched overhead and legs hovering just slightly above the ground. Pull your abs in tight and press your low back to the ground. You’ll then crunch up, bringing your hands towards your toes (keeping legs and arms straight). When done correctly, your body will make a “v” shape as you crunch; this means you’re not just reaching your arms up, your chest needs to move towards your knees. Lower back down to starting position. If possible, your feet should never touch the ground between reps.
  • Leg Lifts: Take out the movement of your upper half. Lay on your back with hands under your butt for support or by your sides. Lift legs straight up, perpendicular to the ground and then lower until they are just a couple inches off the ground. Legs should stay straight the whole time, and should never come to rest on the ground in between reps. As you do these, pull your abs in tight and press your low back to the ground. If you feel your low back lifting off the floor and straining in anyway, add a bend to your knees as you do these.
  • Leg Hover Hold: Still in leg lift position, lower your legs down so that they’re hovering about a foot off the ground. Hold them there, keeping them as straight as possible (again, if your low back feels strained while doing these, add a bend to the knees).

LUNGES | Spend 20 seconds on each of the following variations…

  • Jump Lunges: Start in a split-stance lunge: right foot in front, ball of left foot planted on the floor behind you. Both knees should be bent to 90 degrees, front knee aligned over ankle, back knee hovering just a couple inches off the floor. From here, push off your feet to jump up in the air, switching feet in mid-air and landing back in a lunge with left foot forward and right foot planted behind. Continue, alternating feet with each jump.
  • Alternating Forward Lunges: Just take out the jump! Start standing with feet hip-width apart. Step your right foot forward, bending both knees to 90-degree angles—really get low on these! At your lowest point, the back knee should be hovering just a few inches off the ground. Push off the front right foot to return to standing and then repeat, lunging the left foot forward this time.
  • Hold Lunge Right Foot Forward: Step into a lunge (a la the previous exercise description) with right foot forward and hold down at the bottom.
  • Hold Lunge Left Foot Forward: Same as above, just switch your lead leg.

CROSSBODY PLANKS | Spend 20 seconds on each of the following variations…

  • Crossbody Mountain Climbers: These are just like traditional mountain climbers except you drive your knees across your body at an angle instead of straight forward to engage the obliques. Start in a plank, hands stacked underneath shoulders, core squeezing in tight (don’t let your low back sag or your butt stick up in the air). From this position, drive one knee at a time up towards the opposite elbow, like running horizontally (with a twist). The pace on these should be quick.
  • Crossbody Knee Tucks: Essentially just the previous exercise, but slower and more controlled. From your plank position, pull your left knee across your body towards your right elbow, making physical contact if you can. That means you really need to crunch everything together. Step the left foot back into plank position and then repeat with the right.
  • Hold Right Knee to Left Elbow: Pretty self-explanatory, but you’re going to hold that crossbody crunched position. Challenge yourself! For how many of those 20 seconds can you keep your knee physically touching the opposite elbow? It’s going to want to quickly start drifting away—don’t let it!
  • Hold Left Knee to Right Elbow

Bodyweight Movement Pyramid WorkoutDisclosure: This post was sponsored by Target® C9 through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Target® C9, all opinions are my own.


Quick Kettlebell Ladder (+My Lorna Jane Picks)

Hello, weekend, you beautiful thing!

I wanted to share the tutorial to the quick kettlebell workout I posted to my Facebook page earlier this week for anyone who’s unfamiliar with the exercises (and, of course, for all of you who don’t follow the blog on the ‘book). This took me just under 15 minutes to complete and was the perfect way to start the day. I was going to take a class at Btone later that night before teaching, but needed to do something before gluing my butt to my desk chair. This did the trick!

Quick Kettlebell Ladder

Equipment I Used:

  • 25-lb kettlebell

You’ll go through the following exercises five times. The first round, complete 50 reps of each. Next round: 40; and so on, down to a final round of 10 reps of each. For the side bends, split up your reps (for example, during the first round, you’d do 25 to the right and 25 to the left).

Quick Kettlebell Ladder

  • Kettlebell Swings: Start with kettlebell on the floor between your legs and lift it up to starting position with both hands, flat back, using your legs to lift. With kettlebell hanging between your legs, use your arms as a pendulum, and swing the bell to chest-to-eye level by thrusting with your hips while keeping your core tight as you stand up straight. Swing back down and repeat. Your knees should remain slightly bent, but the main source of movement is hinging at the hips—not so much squatting.
  • Figure 8 Squats: Start standing with feet a little more than hip width apart, holding the kettlebell in one hand. Squat down, and as you do, pass the bell through your legs to the other hand, tracing half of a figure 8. Stand up, squeezing that booty and popping your hips forward. Squat back down, finishing the figure 8 shape around your legs as you pass the kettlebell through your legs to the starting hand.
  • Standing Side Bends: These are sneaky! The first few reps you’ll feel like you aren’t doing anything, but man are these effective. My obliques were noticeably sore the next day. Stand upright with fieet hip-width apart, holding the kettlebell in your right hand. With your left hand on your hip or overhead (I have mine overhead in the pictures, but it doesn’t matter—do what’s comfortable), lean to the right, lowering the kettlebell towards the floor. Return to starting position using your core (arm isn’t moving or doing any of the work; your torso is where the movement originates). Split up the reps between sides. Round one, you’ll do 25 to the right and 25 to the left. Round two, 20 to each side, and so on.

Lorna Jane Picks

In today’s post I’m wearing the Coco Excel Zip Through and Berry Support Full Length Tight that Lorna Jane so graciously sent me. I was super excited about the top because black zip-ups are such a wardrobe essential—gym, running errands, grabbing lunch on the weekends. I actually lost the one I previous owned so thank you for the perfectly timed gift, LJ! In addition to the items I’m wearing, I wanted to share some of my other favorite picks from the brand (just in time for holiday shopping wink wink).

Keeping It Real Tank // Sabina Stripe Bra // Erica Active ¾ Pant // Cruz 7/8 Tight // Mia Excel Tank Bra Combo

Lorna Jane also sent me their 2015 Move Nourish Believe Diary which is essentially a weekly planner with healthy recipes, workouts and pictures thrown in. To go along with it, LJ has the Move Nourish Believe site that covers all things health and fitness (sort of like an online magazine meets blog)–check it out! In particular, this Beetroot Crust Pizza looks delish and I loved this article comparing cold press juicers to centrifugal juicers.

Enjoy your weekend! If you’re in Boston and looking to get a workout in, I’m subbing tomorrow morning at Btone and there are a couple spots left in the morning classes. Sign up here! :)


This post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Lorna Jane.

25-Minute Bodyweight Interval Ladder Workout

25-Minute Bodyweight Interval Pyramid WorkoutWhenever I don’t feel like working out (but, ya know, should), I always do a pyramid workout. The structure makes it so much easier to psych yourself up to make it to the end because the rounds get shorter and shorter as you go, getting the worst out of the way first. This is basically my internal dialogue during pyramid workouts (@fuckjerry is HILARIOUS to follow on Instagram, BTW):

25-Minute Bodyweight Interval Ladder Workout

There are five exercises in this workout and you’ll go through them four times, with the intervals getting shorter each round. The first time through, you do each for 2 minutes. The second round: 90 seconds. The third: 1 minute. The final: 30 seconds each. At the end of each round, rest for 30-sec to 1-minute. Don’t rest between exercises in the round; move from one right to the other until you’ve completed each of the exercises.

You could just watch the clock, but I used my break in between each round to quickly reset my interval timer. First round: 5 rounds of 2 mins work and 0 sec rest (so that it just beeps every 2 minutes, signaling the next exercise). For the second, I just quickly dropped the 2 min interval down to 90 sec, keeping all the other settings the same.

25-Minute Bodyweight Interval Pyramid Workout

  • Spider Man Lunges to Frog Stamp: Start in a plank position, hands aligned under shoulders. Keeping hips level, step your right foot up by the outside of your right hand. Step it quickly back to plank and then repeat on the left side. Once you’ve done one of these spiderman lunges to each side, from the plank position, jump both feet up towards the outside of your hands, landing in a wide-stance crouching position, and then jump the feet quickly back to plank.
  • Alternating Jump Lunge to Jump Squat: Jump squat, right-foot-forward jump lunge, jump squat, left-foot-forward jump lunge…and so on and so on. Start in a squat, feet shoulder-width apart, weight in your heels, knees stacked over ankles, butt down and back. Jump up and land in a lunge position, right foot forward, ball of the left foot back, both knees bent to 90 degrees. Jump up again, landing back in a squat. Repeat, this time with the left foot forward in your lunge and right foot back.
  • Rolling V Crunches: For these, you just alternate between a side v-up crunch on your right side, then roll onto your back for a regular v-up crunch, then roll onto your left side for another side v-up, back to center, and so on. Start laying on your right side with right arm stretched outwards on the ground for support. Do a side crunch, lifting your legs up and crunching the knees in to meet your left elbow and raised torso. Lower down and roll onto your back with arms overhead and legs straight out, hovering a couple inches off the floor (to make these challenging, try your best to never let your feet rest on the floor, even while rolling from side to side). From this position, do a v-up crunch, lifting your straight legs up towards the ceiling as the same time as you lift your torso off the floor, bringing your hands up towards your toes. Slowly release back down onto your back and roll over to your left side for your next side crunch.
  • Mountain Climber Burpees: These are regular burpees, except you do 10 mountain climbers at the bottom of each. So the full sequence of one looks like this: start standing; squat down, placing your hands by your feet; jump your feet back into a plank position; do 10 mountain climbers, driving your knees up towards your chest one at a time (like horizontal running) while holding the plank position; jump both feet back up towards hands; shift weight into feet and come upright, jumping up with arms overhead; land and go right into your next rep.
  • Skaters: These are like side-to-side leaping courtesy lunges. Leap to the right, landing on your right foot and bending down to touch the ground by your foot with your left hand as you swoop your left foot behind the right (think of a courtesy). Come up, leaping left and reversing the move. Keep it going quickly, back and forth, trying to never let that back foot come to rest on the ground—keep the weight in the foot you land on.

25-Minute Bodyweight Interval Pyramid WorkoutAnd in Trendy Sh*t I Wish I Could Afford news, aren’t these Lucas Hugh leggings fun?? You sort of feel like you’re stepping into a wetsuit, but once they’re on—bam!—nothing is jiggling in those babies. It’s like wearing chic Spanx. These are another piece of eye candy from the selection of workout apparel Btone has at the Sudbury and Boston locations that have been taunting me the past few months. :)

Some additional Lucas Hugh window shopping splurges:

Let me know what you think of the workout if you try it! It’s a great one to do if you’re traveling—no equipment needed and quick, just the way I like ‘em!

P.S. I shot these pictures a couple months ago and looking through this post is making me seriously miss my long hair!