Bodyweight Pyramid Workout Targeting Obliques

Bodyweight Pyramid Workout Targeting the Obliques

You may have seen another post (unfinished, without pictures) pop on here this morning about a BOSU ball workout–sorry about that! I messed up my scheduling and a draft got published.

It’s a gloomy, rainy day here in Boston, but no complaints–I’ll be in sunny southern California soon enough! On Thursday I’m heading out to LA and then Friday through Sunday will be spent in Palm Springs for a bachelorette party. It’s the first time all my college BFFs and I will be together in years (after graduation we all seemed to move to different corners of the country) so I feel like a little kid waiting for Christmas. I’ll do a blog post about the weekend in case any of you are thinking of doing a destination bachelorette party or just have a Palm Springs getaway in your sights. If you’ve been there and have restaurant/activity recommendations, let me know in the comments!

Bodyweight Pyramid Workout Targeting Obliques

Since this is a pyramid workout and you’re going through it at your own pace, the quick video I made for it just demos the exercises rather than going through the whole thing in real time. As always, full description with pictures below!

We’re mixing a pyramid structure of reps with 20-second isometric holds. There are three exercises which will be performed on the right and then the left. The first two will be done using a pyramid of reps, the third exercise is just a side plank hold (20 seconds EVERY time). Your rep numbers start and 10 and get reduced by 2 each time through the circuit. So here’s the breakdown:

10 reps exercise 1 right / 10 reps exercise 1 left
10 reps exercise 2 right / 10 reps exercise 2 left
20 second hold right / 20 second hold left

8 reps exercise 1 right / 8 reps exercise 1 left
8 reps exercise 2 right / 8 reps exercise 2 left
20 second hold right / 20 second hold left

… continue until you get to 2 reps each …

Your goal is to complete this workout as fast as you can without sacrificing proper form. It’s better (and way more effective) to go slow and nail the correct form than to rush it sloppily.

Bodyweight Pyramid Workout Targeting the Obliques

Rotating Crunch to Side V Up

For these, you just alternate between a full-body crunch and a side v-up crunch on the target side, rolling from center to your side, back and forth. For the reps on the right, start laying on your left side with your left arm stretched outwards on the ground for support. For comfortable positioning, you want to be on the side of your butt rather than directly on the hip bone. Do a side v up, lifting your legs up straight to meet your right 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 full-body crunch, bending your knees in as you sit up through the torso, chest coming up and in to meet knees. Slowly release back down onto your back and roll over to your left side for your next side v up.

The side v up + full body crunch in center = 1 rep. You’ll do the given number of reps, rolling to the left hip for each side v up. You’ll then repeat, rolling to the right hip for each side v up.

Windshield Wiper Sliders in Plank

Start in a plank position, hands stacked under shoulders. From here, you’re going to crunch the right knee in towards the right wrist. This is your starting position. Keeping the knee in as close to the arm as possible (make physical contact if you can), slide the knee up towards the elbow. From there, swish it across to the left elbow (touch it if possible). Swish the knee back to the right elbow and then slide it back down to wrist height. That’s 1 rep.

Side Plank Bottom Knee Crunch Hold

In a side plank position with your bottom hand stacked under the shoulder, press your top foot into the floor for support and then crunch the bottom knee into your chest. Hold it there for 20 seconds. The key is to keep the hips stacked as you do this–don’t let the top hop roll forward!

MODIFY: If your wrists are burnt out from holding a high plank in the previous exercise, you can totally do this one on your forearm!

Terez skull leggings -- get 25% off with code nicole25

WEARING | leggings c/o Terez (get 25% off with code nicole25) // Athleta tank (old but you can shop their current tank selection here) // Nike sneakers

Side note: I LOVE the skull leggings I’m wearing in today’s post! If you look closely at the pattern it almost looks like someone beadazzled jeggings. Which actually sounds awful, but it’s not haha. You can get 25% off ANY Terez leggings or apparel with code nicole25.


Rowing + Burpees Pyramid Workout

Rowing & Burpees Pyramid WorkoutI’ve got a simple but super challenging workout for you guys today. But before we get to that, let’s talk about what I’m wearing (priorities!). In a past life, I think I was a trendy teenage boy who slept outside specialty sneaker stores the night before the freshest new kicks dropped. There’s no other explanation for the way in which my vernacular morphs from grown adult to teenager when I see a pair of sneakers I like. Dope. Fresh. Ill. Who am I?? Not to mention I was first introduced to the PUMA Fierce because I follow Kylie Jenner on Instagram. I’m 28 going on 18.

But c’mon–these sneakers are dope. Puma Fierce Collection

The Fierce is a lightweight trainer and PUMA’s most progressive and design-driven training product yet. It fills the needs for both fashion and performance. I love the look. Sleek but bold, and the high tongue is totally on-trend. The looped tabs on the tongue and back of the shoe make them easy to slip on and off, and while I was initially worried they wouldn’t fit tight enough without laces, I actually love the no-lace design. Easy to put on and remove, and so comfortable. I have narrow feet, so the fit is slightly looser than I’d normally wear lace-up sneakers, but I’ve tested them out in a couple boxing classes and HIIT workouts and my feet feel totally secure in them. I probably wouldn’t wear them for a workout with a ton of extreme, quick lateral movement changes (basketball for example), but other than that they’re great.

Also from PUMA are the leggings, tank and bra I’m wearing. I love the sheer detailing on the back of the leggings, and the high waist makes for a flattering fit. The bra has a fun strappy back and removable bra cups for added support if you want it (I always take those things out immediately though). And low arm holes = obviously I’m into the tank. 😉 Puma Fierce Collection Puma Fierce Collection

You can easily take the PUMA Fierce shoes and PUMA apparel from the gym to the street. Layer a leather bomber jacket over a hoodie, throw on a hat and you’re good to go for brunch with friends.

Rowing + Burpees Pyramid Workout

If you really hold yourself accountable to pushing through this workout as fast as you can (without sacrificing proper form) it is a total butt-kicker. It’s pretty simple: You’ll alternate between rowing sprints and burpees. The distance of the sprints and number of burpees gradually decreases as you go in a pyramid structure. Here’s the breakdown:

700m row sprint
20 burpees
500m row sprint
15 burpees
300m row sprint
10 burpees
100m row sprint
5 burpees

Rowing & Burpees Pyramid Workout

ROW SPRINTS | THIS is a super helpful video on proper row form. For my competitive friends, my personal fastest times for those sprint distances are: 0:17 sec 100m // 0:57 300m // 1:48 500m // 2:35 700m (<– I don’t do this distance often but gahhh it’s awful in a good way).

BURPEES | There are a ton of burpee variations–let’s do chest-to-floor burpees for this workout. From a standing position, squat down, bringing your hands to the floor. Jump your feet out to a plank, fluidly lowering your chest to the floor. Press back up through plank, hopping your feet up towards your hands and then jumping up into the air. Puma Fierce Collection

What does being #ForeverFierce mean to you? Show me your fiercest looks in and out of the gym on social and share using #ForeverFierce.


Disclosure: This post was sponsored by PUMA through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about PUMA, all opinions are my own.

Weighted Core Workout (Time Pyramid)

20-Minute Weighted Core Workout

Are you guys sick of core workouts? I know I post a ton, but the reasons I love them are many:

  • It all comes back to the core. Even when you’re isolating the legs or arms in an exercise, your core is working — they do attach there, afterall! Core strength and stability leads to better posture and alignment, reduced back pain, better control of the extremities and so much more.
  • Your form in other exercises improves if you have a strong core. Continuing my first point, I’ve noticed a huge difference in my ability to properly do exercises like push ups, deadlifts–the list goes on–as my core strength has improved.
  • Core workouts are great to pair with cardio. Especially with the long runs I’ve been doing for marathon training, I love having quick(er) core workouts on hand that don’t exhaust the legs.
  • It’s personal. My stomach (low belly specifically), has admittedly always been a bit of a frustration for me. Everyone’s body distributes weight differently (yay genetics), and that area happens to be the last place from which I lose fat. I swear if I gained 10 pounds, 8 of them would go to the five inches below my belly button. Something that’s helped me accept and love this part of my body is focusing on what it can do rather than how it looks. Sure, you can’t see a six pack, but my core is strong AF and I’m damn proud. I love working to improve my core strength and function!

Weighted Core Workout (Time Pyramid)

Equipment I Used:

This workout will take you 20 minutes to complete. You’ll go through the circuit three times, each time through reducing the amount of time spent on each exercise. Here’s a breakdown:

60 seconds each exercise (no rest between exercises)
Rest 60 seconds
45 seconds each exercise (no rest between exercises)
Rest 60 seconds
30 seconds each exercise (no rest between exercises)

The flow of the workout is a method used on the megaformer: Focus on one side of the body, center the work, focus on the other side, center. 20-Minute Weighted Core Workout

Thread the Needle Plank Rotation RIGHT | Start in a plank position with hands underneath shoulders, right hand gripping the dumbbell. Once you start the movement, you won’t return to this position (dumbbell won’t touch floor again). Rotate your body open to the right, dropping your heels so that you’re on the edges of your feet in a staggered side plank position. As you do reach the dumbbell up to the ceiling. Twist back to center plank, rolling back to the balls of your feet and squaring your hips as you wrap the dumbbell through the space between the floor and your chest, reaching it across your body to the left side of the room (like you’re giving yourself a one-arm hug). Reverse the movement, rotating back open into side plank, extending the weight back up to the ceiling.

This one will work both sides of your obliques (right as you twist through center threading the needle), left as you twist open and support your bottom sidebody. I always feel it more in the side holding the weight though.

Russian Twist Sit Ups RIGHT | Start laying on your back with legs outstretched and hovering a couple inches off the ground. Holding a dumbbell in your hands, arms should be outstretched overhead and hovering as well. From this starting position, crunch up, bringing your knees in towards your chest as you lift your shoulder blades off the ground and bring the weight up and over to the right of your legs. Twist through your waist as you do this, stopping the weight a couple inches off the ground and then extending back out, lowering to starting position. Repeat, crunching and twisting in the same direction the whole time.

The goal is to never bring the legs and/or med ball to rest on the ground when you extend out and crunch up.

Side Plank Row and Leg Left RIGHT | Start in a side plank position, right hand stacked under right shoulder, dumbbell in left hand (start with a straight left arm, weight held a few inches off the ground. From here, row the left elbow straight up towards the ceiling, bringing the weight up towards your upper ribs/armpit. As you do this, lift the top left leg up to a hover (without letting your hips sag down!). Pause at the top and then lower the weight and leg back to starting position.

Even though it’s the top left arm and leg that are moving, the right obliques are targeted as you work to keep the hips lifted in the side plank position.

Weighted Sit Ups (weight to chest) | Simple move, yet so challenging! Start laying on you back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor about hips width apart. Hold a dumbbell at your chest. From here, you’re going to do a sit up, crunching your shoulders then full back off the floor, bringing your chest in towards your knees. The challenge? Keep the dumbbell touching your chest the entire movement and keep your feet touching the ground.

You’ll be tempted to extend the dumbbell out in front of you to facilitate the sit up. Your heels may want to lift to a hover. Don’t let either happen! I’ll actually flip my grip on the weight so that i’m holding it secure into my chest and don’t have the option to extend it away.

Thread the Needle Plank Rotation LEFT

Russian Twist Sit Ups LEFT

Side Plank Row and Leg Left LEFT

Full-Body Crunch | Start laying on your back with legs outstretched and hovering a couple inches off the ground. Holding a weight in your hands, arms should be outstretched overhead and hovering as well. From this starting position, crunch up, bringing your knees in towards your chest as you lift your shoulder blades off the ground and bring the weight up and over towards your shins. Extend back out, lowering to starting position. The goal is to never bring the legs and/or weight to rest on the ground when you extend back out. 20-Minute Weighted Core Workout

WEARING | tank c/o New Balance // Lululemon leggings (old but you can shop their current selection here) // Nike Flex Supreme TR 3 sneakers (on sale now … kinda–like $5 off haha)


Shop and save for a cause!

ToeSox is offering my readers 15% off any purchase with code pumpsandiron. A portion of the sales go to my Boston Marathon fundraiser benefiting the Massachusetts Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired. The code expired tomorrow afternoon so if you haven’t taken advantage of it yet, get shopping! 😉

Lokai SnapChat Takeover

Tomorrow I’m taking over Lokai‘s SnapChat! I’ll be sharing some at-home workout moves and a yummy smoothie bowl recipe. Follow along @livelokai!