Starting with the first exercise pair, complete 12 reps of both exercises, moving from one to the next without rest. Immediately return to the first exercise and repeat, this time competing 10 reps of each exercise. Continue this pattern until you complete the entire pyramid set. Rest a few seconds, then move on to Pair 2 and repeat. Continue until you've finished five sets for each exercise pair.
PAIR 1: Move 1 and Move 2
PAIR 2: Move 3 and Move 4
PAIR 3: Move 5 and Move 6
"Power Pyramid" reps: 12-10-8-10-12
Focus on performing the reps slowly and with control. How to do it: Count 2 full seconds as you're raising the weight, and then 3 full seconds as you're lowering it. Also, if you have different dumbbell weights available to you, increase in weight for every set. You should experience muscle fatigue 1 to 2 reps before you complete the prescribed set. If this happens, rest for a brief moment, and then finish the reps off.
MOVE 1Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Stand holding a pair of dumbbells just outside your shoulders, with your arms bent and palms facing each other. Set your feet shoulder-width apart, and slightly bend your knees (a). Keeping your core braced, press the weights upward until your arms are completely straight and the dumbbells are directly above your shoulders. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to starting position (b).
MOVE 2Lat Pullovers
Grab an EZ-curl bar with an overhand grip, and place your hands a little less than shoulder-width apart. Lie faceup on a flat bench and hold the bar straight over your chin with your elbows slightly bent (a)
. Slowly lower the bar back past your head until your upper arms are parallel to the floor (b)
. Pause, then slowly raise the bar back to the starting position.
Note: You can also use dumbbells in place of the EZ-bar.
MOVE 3Dumbbell Front Squat
Hold a pair of dumbbells so that your palms are facing each other, and rest the dumbbell heads on the meatiest part of each shoulder (a)
. Keep your body
as upright as you can at all times. Drop down into a squat, without letting your elbows drop and keeping your body
as upright as you can (b)
MOVE 4Dumbbell Straight-Leg Deadlift
Standing with your feet hip-width apart and your knees bent, grab a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip, and hold them in front of your thighs(a). Without changing the bend in your knees, bend at your hips, and lower your torso until it's almost parallel to the floor (b). Pause, then raise your torso back to the starting position.
MOVE 5Cable Woodchop
Attach a rope handle to the high pulley of a cable station. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Rotate your body to grip the rope with both hands, about 18 inches apart (a)
. Brace your core, and, in one movement, pull the rope down and past your right hip as you simultaneously rotate your torso (b)
. Reverse the movement to return to the starting position. Do half the prescribed reps, and then repeat the move on the opposite side to complete the set.
Note: If you don't have access to a cable machine, use a resistance band instead.
MOVE 6Single-Leg Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise
Place your left hand on something stable—a wall or weight stack, for example, and grab a dumbbell in your right hand and stand on a step, block or 25-pound weight plate. Cross your left foot behind your right ankle, and balance yourself on the ball of your right foot, with your right heel on the floor or hanging off a step (a). Lift your right heel as high as you can (b)Pause, then lower and repeat. Do half the prescribed reps, and then switch legs to complete the set.