Stair Pyramid Workout

Stair Pyramid Workout - bodyweight exercises and stair sprints

Heads up: If you’re local, make sure to read through to the bottom of this post–I’m giving away a bib to run the Falmouth Road Race!

This workout was a no-brainer–I have to take advantage of the stairs in my apartment while I’m here! No equipment is needed and you can get creative–if you don’t have a staircase, you could go outside and replace the stair sprints with hill sprints and just use a bench for the other exercises.

Stair Pyramid Workout

You’ll complete 10 reps of each exercise, then 9, then 8, and so on, finishing with one rep of each exercise. Go through the pyramid circuit as quickly as you can without sacrificing proper form.

Stair Pyramid Workout - bodyweight exercises and stair sprints

Stair Hop Burpees | Start standing about a foot and a half away from the bottom of your stairs. From here, squat down, bringing your hands to the floor. Hop your feet back out into a plank. Hop them back up towards your hands, releasing your hands from the floor and coming upright into a low squat position. From here, hop both feet onto the bottom step, landing in a low squat and quickly jump back down to the floor in your starting position. That’s one rep.

Stair Step Taps (RIGHT) | Start with your right foot on the second step and your left foot on the floor. Squat down, sliding your hips back as you bend your knees. Your goal is to stay this low on the right side throughout the entire exercise. From this starting position, shift your bodyweight into that right heel and tap your left foot to the first step, back down to the floor, to the second step, and back down to the floor. That combo is one rep.


Stair Step Taps (LEFT)

Stair Push Ups | This is just a traditional push up but with your feet on a step. The higher the step, the harder the push up.

Stair Sprints | Sprint up, jog down. That’s one rep. On the even-rep rounds (10, 8, 6, 4, 2), take the stairs two at a time on the way up. On the odd-rep rounds (9, 7, 5, 3, 1), take the stairs one at a time as you run up.


Stair Workout - wearing Booty by Brabants leggings & Athleta tank

WEARING | tank c/o Athleta (old – shop current selection here) // Booty by Brabants leggings // sneakers c/o PUMA

Enjoy your day! I went to see Guns ‘N Roses last night at Gillette Stadium so I’m off to a slow start–totally worth it though! I rarely go to Patriots games because Gillette is such a pain to get to but to see Slash and Axl in person … hell yes I’ll sit in traffic until 1AM.

And before I end this post, I’ve got an exciting giveaway for local readers!

Falmouth Road Race Giveaway


One lucky reader will win:

Enter using the widget below. Winner will be randomly selected this Friday.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I’ve run the Falmouth Road Race once before and it’s so fun! Great excuse to get down to the Cape for the weekend (as if you need one). 😉

Good luck!


Standing Core Workout

Standing Core Workout - this 20-minute workout will challenge your core stability with standing ab exercises

I’m using a medicine ball for today’s workout, but you could use a dumbbell or other weighted object if you don’t have one. I’m calling this a core workout, but your arms and legs will be feeling it as well–especially if you use a heavier weight. There are two bodyweight exercises thrown into the circuit purposely to give your arms a little breather in the event upper body fatigue is hindering the core work.

While I wouldn’t say this workout is “easy” (the first two sets especially are tough!), I’d consider it easier than some of the other core workouts I’ve shared. It’s a good one if you’re a beginner (just chose a light med ball or even just bodyweight) or have mobility impairments preventing you from comfortably getting down to the floor for crunches and other supine ab exercises.

20-Minute Standing Core Workout

Equipment I Used:

  • Medicine ball (I shot the workout with a 6-lb med ball because it’s all I have at home but would have liked to challenge myself with a 10-lb–next time!)

The structure of this workout is a time pyramid. Each time you go through the circuit you’ll stay on the exercises for less time. Here’s the breakdown:

60 seconds each exercise
60 seconds rest
45 seconds each exercise
45 seconds rest
30 seconds each exercise
30 seconds rest
15 seconds each exercise

Try not to rest in between exercises. Only rest as specified above (after a full set). In total, this workout will take you 20 minutes to complete. The goal is to complete as many reps of the exercise as possible in the specified time interval. That being said, never sacrifice proper form for the sake of speed!

As with all workouts, make sure to warm up beforehand. Always listen to your body and modify when needed.

Standing Core Workout - this 20-minute workout will challenge your core stability with standing ab exercises (follow-along video included!)

Marching Front Chop | Start standing with arms straight, med ball held overhead. Keeping your arms straight, you’re going to chop the ball down in front of you as you lift one knee up towards it (as if you were going to spike the ball off your knee). Raise the ball back overhead as you lower the foot back to the floor and repeat on the other side.

Crossbody Woodchop RIGHT | You want a wide stance for this one with both feet pointing forward. With the lower body, I want you to think side lunge; with the upper body think of tracing a diagonal line with the medicine ball.. Start with the legs straight, med ball held in straight arms up and overhead to the left (you want your torso twisted so that you’re facing the left side of the room). Keeping the arms straight, chop the med ball down towards your right foot as you bend into the right knee (remember, think side lunge) and twist to face the right side of the floor. Reverse the movement back to the starting position.

Crossbody Woodchop LEFT

Standing Bicycle Crunch | Start standing with feet a little wider than hip’s width apart, chest open, fingertips behind the ears and elbows out wide. From this starting position, you’re going to crunch the right elbow down and across your body to touch the opposite knee, which you’ll bend and lift up towards it, squeezing your low abs. Don’t worry if you can’t make physical contact between the knee and elbow; focus on pulling your core in tight and just get them as close as possible. Return to starting position and repeat to the other side.

Torso Twist to Front Chop in Lunge RIGHT | Start in a lunge position with your right foot forward; ball of the left foot planted behind you. Feet should be hip’s width apart (you’re not walking on a tight rope–you want a stable base!). If joint mobility allows, you want to find a 90-degree bend with the front knee. Hold the med ball at chest height, arms straight in front of you. Keeping the arms straight, twist towards the right side of the room so that the ball twists over the front leg. Twist back to center and then chop the ball down towards your back knee, crunching through the core to lower it. Rise back to starting position and repeat.

Torso Twist to Front Chop in Lunge LEFT

Sumo Squat Obliques Crunches | You’ll be in a wide sumo squat position the entire time with the lower body. You want a wide squat stance with your toes pointing outward; knees track in line with the toes. Chest open, have your fingertips lightly behind your head or hovering by the ears, elbows bent out wide to the side. From here, dip your right elbow towards your right knee, contracting the right side obliques. Lift upright and over to the left. As you crunch down side to side, think of staying in a single plane of motion; don’t lean forward as you dip to the side. So picture your torso is sandwiched between two walls, one against your back and one against your chest. Stay between the walls.

Side note: Every time I do this exercise I can’t help singing “I’m a little teapot short and stout…” in my head. Please tell me someone else’s mind goes to that when doing side bend motions?? 🙂

Standing Core Workout - this 20-minute workout will challenge your core stability with standing ab exercises

WEARING | leggings c/o PRISM Sport (30% off with code ACTPERRY) // shoes c/o Puma // bra c/o Forever 21 (old but shop current selection here)

It is such a game changer living in a space that’s well lit enough to shoot videos!! I’m sad I’m only here for the summer but plan on taking full advantage of that conveniently placed concrete wall next to the windows. Let’s see how many workouts I can shoot before August 31st… 😉


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.