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Five-Minute Bodyweight Pyramid Workout Challenge

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Once you reach a certain level of fitness, you may think bodyweight exercises no longer pose enough of a challenge, but you’re just not being creative enough. Try this workout from fitness coach Natalie Voyle and you’ll see what we mean.

“It’s a full-body pyramid using only bodyweight exercises,” says Voyle. “This means you can get a great workout no matter where you are, and exercises can be substituted in and out as you wish. If you have an injury or need to rest a muscle group, you can adapt it to suit how your body feels.”

In a pyramid workout you complete one round of exercises, then increase the number of reps you do for all the exercises in the next round. After a designated number of reps, the pyramid’s peak if you will, you reduce the reps each round. In this workout, you complete three reps of all the exercises in the first round, six reps in the next round and nine reps in the third round, then come back down, completing six reps of each exercise in the fourth round and three reps in the fifth and final round.

But here’s the twist, which adds an extra challenge if that’s too easy for you. “There’s a five-minute cap,” says Voyle, “which gives you that extra push to complete all the volume of work in the targeted time. If you complete the pyramid, start ascending again and use your finishing point as a benchmark for future attempts.”

Reverse lunge

Reps 3, 6, 9, 6, 3

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step back with one foot and lower until both knees are bent at 90º. Return to standing and switch legs for the next rep. Each lunge counts as one rep.

Jump squat

Reps 3, 6, 9, 6, 3

Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower until your knees are at a 90º angle. Then press through your heels and explode straight up into a jump. Land softly and go straight into the next rep.

Press-up

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Reps 3, 6, 9, 6, 3

Support yourself on your hands and the balls of your feet, with your hands directly beneath your shoulders, your arms and legs extended, and your body forming a straight line from shoulders to hips to heels. Keeping your core tight, bend your elbows to lower your chest to the floor. Then press up until your arms are extended.

Sit-out

Reps 3, 6, 9, 6, 3

Start in the top press-up position. Lift one hand and the opposite leg off the ground, twisting your body towards the side whose arm you raised. At the same time, bring your free leg under your body and slowly kick it away from you. Reverse the motion until you’re in the press-up position again. Switch sides for the next rep.

Natalie Voyle (@Natvoyle (opens in new tab)) is a London-based fitness coach who teaches at Psycle London, ONE LDN and the Adidas Studio on Brick Lane

Jake Stones
Jake Stones

Jake was formely an intern for Coach and now contributes workouts from some of London’s top trainers. As well as training in the gym and running, he’s competed in the eight-hours-long overnight event Europe's Toughest Mudder twice and the 24-hours-long World's Toughest Mudder once.