Fit for Life: A beneficial pyramid scheme

A beneficial pyramid scheme
December 11, 2007
Written by Aaron Brouwer
aaronbrouwerWe have all at one point in our lives been asked to join a pyramid scheme business opportunity. Well, here is one pyramid scheme everyone can benefit from. This type of exercise program encompasses the warm-up, workout and cool-down all-in-one simple program and will push your muscles to their exhaustion limit. The way it works is simple: pick an exercise then set your repetitions in this pattern (1-2-3-4-3-2-1). For example, if the exercise is push-ups, do five push-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 push-ups, 20 push-ups, 15 push-ups, 10 push-ups and finish with five.

The key to a pyramid workout is that you pick your highest rep number to be at your point of exhaustion. Do not sacrifice proper form for more reps! If you can only complete 18 proper reps then make that your maximum number. Do not cheat your way up to 20. Improper form will not work the muscle you are focusing on and could lead to injuries.

Here is a sample pyramid workout program that focuses on improving your upper body core muscles, primarily arms and abs. The only equipment needed is a set of dumbbells, an exercise ball and a chair. This program is designed so that you can move from one exercise right into the next with no break; this is done by alternating muscle groups (rotating between abs and arms). The breaks are between reps, while balancing on top of the exercise ball. Instead of just taking a break by sitting or standing, work on improving your balance. Standing on top of the ball will not drain you physically, but will help improve your balance and agility while allowing you time to recover for the next set of reps. If you want a longer break, balance for a longer time.

Sample pyramid workout
3 reps (v-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, dips, flutter kicks or dumbbell presses on ball), then stand on exercise ball and balance for one minute.
6 reps (v-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, dips, flutter kick or dumbbell press on ball), then stand on exercise ball and balance for one minute.
9 reps (v-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, dips, flutter kick or dumbbell press on ball), then stand on exercise ball and balance for one minute.
12 reps (v-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, dips, flutter kick or dumbbell press on ball), then stand on exercise ball and balance for one minute.
9 reps (v-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, dips, flutter kick or dumbbell press on ball), then stand on exercise ball and balance for one minute.
6 reps (v-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, dips, flutter kick or dumbbell press on ball), then stand on exercise ball and balance for one minute.
3 reps (v-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, dips, flutter kick or dumbbell press on ball), then stand on exercise ball and balance for one minute.
 This program takes about 30 minutes and you end up doing 48 repetitions of each exercise.

Exercise descriptions
V-UPS:
• Sit down on the ground, back straight and your legs straight out in front.
• Lean your upper body back about 45 degrees, placing your hands on the ground just forward of your shoulders to maintain balance, and lift your
feet approximately six inches (15 centimetres) off the ground.
• Raise your feet to eye level (or what your current level of flexibility allows) and bring them back down to the starting position to complete one rep.
• Remember to keep your abs tight
to prevent excessive curving of the spine!

PUSH-UPS:
• Place hands on ground shoulder width apart or slightly more. Keep feet together and back straight throughout exercise.
• Lower the body until the upper arms are at least parallel to the ground.
• Push yourself up to the initial position by completely straightening arms.

SIT-UPS:
• Start in bent-knee sit-up position, with both legs up off the floor, so both your hips and knees are at right angles. Place both hands behind your head.
• Raise shoulders and upper back off the floor, then lower and repeat.
• Do not pull against your neck.

DIPS:
• Place hands behind you on a chair with feet straight in front.
• Bend arms and lower body in a controlled manner until the upper arms are parallel with the floor.
• Straighten the arm to return to the starting position.

FLUTTER KICKS:
• Placement of the hands: have a fist, with thumbs facing up, under butt (be sure to place hands under butt, by placing them under the back creates a huge arch and can lead to injuries).
• Keep your legs extended and slightly bent, bring your left leg up so that it is perpendicular to the floor (or as much as your flexibility allows).
• Keep you head up; if you lower your head your back could come off the ground and this is not good.
• Raise right leg to match left leg, then lower left leg to complete one rep.

DUMBBELL PRESSES:
• Raise two dumbbells to your shoulders.
• Palms facing up and forward.
• Push both dumbbells upward towards the roof.

Program is creative
The pyramid program can be used with any exercise and you can just as easily substitute leg exercises into the sample program to work your lower body core muscles. This is a fun and creative way of setting reps and sets for your program. If you do the same workout over and over and over, it is easy to become bored with it and start to skip out on training. Change your program around, be creative. A simple change of doing your exercise program in reverse order may be all you need or implement the pyramid scheme. Whatever you do, do not stop training.


Reference: V-ups and flutter kicks descriptions have been taken from www.trainforstrength.com .

Aaron Brouwer has 17 years of combined experience in structural and wildland fires. A graduate of Trinity Western University with a Bachelor’s of Human Kinetics, he is an instructor with Canwest Fire. E-mail him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Subscription Centre

 
New Subscription
 
Already a Subscriber
 
Customer Service
 
View Digital Magazine Renew

Most Popular


We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. To find out more, read our Privacy Policy.