Last weekend Tim and I went for a run, and afterward we did some core work in our apartment.  We rarely get to work out together anymore since we work different hours.  Plus, he prefers working out later at night once the peak hours crowd has died down a bit.  Anyways, as we were finishing up our ab work in the living room, Tim asked me why I haven’t done pyramid pushups in a while.

OMG I forgot all about pyramid pushups.  And by “in a while,” Tim meant in YEARS.  I used to teach them when I taught outdoor bootcamp.  Like all the time.  Maybe every week.  It’s actually kind of hard to believe that outdoor bootcamp days were years ago now.

Bootcamp 001

Anyways!  I need to share the wonders of pyramid pushups with you guys.  Tim actually taught me this move when we started dating and he was trying to impress me.  I guess his soccer team used to do them all the time.

How to do pyramid pushups

It’s pretty self-explanatory:  basically you switch back and forth between doing a pushup (your choice on modified versus regular pushups) and doing a seated overhead arm raise (without weights to start), working your way up to 5 reps and back down again as you alternate between the two moves.  For the seated overhead arm raise, you simply raise your arms up overhead and then lower them so they look like this:

Pyramid Pushups

Pardon my sweaty drenched back.

The key to making pyramid pushups effective is switching up the tempo.  And slowing them down.  So many people tend to just rush through reps, which actually can be less effective then slow and controlled movement.  So after you do your pushup, hold it there in your straight-arm plank a little longer than you normally would.  Or maybe you do a few quick reps in a row, but then do one slow one and hold your arms down with your elbows in line with your shoulders.

This may be harder to do on your own, because I feel like you get better results if you have someone all drill sargeant-ish telling you when to switch, but give it a whirl anyways.  Just be your own drill sergeant.  And fellow instructors… do this in your classes.  If you are like me, you’ll appreciate the grunts of your class around rep 4 on the way up as they realize these aren’t as easy as they sound.  They’re a shoulder burner.. for sure!

Hey class, think we can do 10?!  How about weighted?

We’ll work up to it.

Ever done pyramid pushups before?  Did you do them with me years ago?  If you haven’t tried them yet, leave a comment if you do.  I want to know how they go!