Tone It Up Upper Body Pyramid Circuit

Hi guys!

It felt sooooo good to be back to working out this morning.  I was out of work Monday and Tuesday, didn’t teach Tuesday night, and worked from home yesterday.  The thing about stomach bugs is that they are soooooo horribly bad, but at least they are quick!  Last night I made it to Jen’s last class teaching at Oak Square, but struggled big time through it.  Was winded so easily!  I felt a lot more normal teaching this morning’s class.

Plus, I’m hungry.  That’s how I really know I’m back.

In class today I tried a new Upper Body Circuit that I found on Pinterest:

The overhead tricep extensions were originally dips, but I changed them because I didn’t feel like using benches today or doing dips on the floor.  This was a toughie!  I thought the back to back planks with the mountain climber knees were especially challenging.

Before we did the upper body pyramid workout, we did three other circuits that targeted lower body, cardio, and ab combos:

Standing all in a big circle…


  • Jog 1 minute in one direction
  • Jog 1 minute in reverse direction
  • Lunge Combo:  8 lunge and taps, 8 lunge and knee lifts, 8 lunge and calf raises, 8 lunge and hops
  • 30 seconds jumping jacks
  • 30 seconds jumping jacks + jabs (alternating arms)
  • Repeat Lunge Combo on other leg
  • Repeat both sets of jumping jacks


  • 30 seconds high knees in one direction
  • 1 minute of goblet squats, 10 seconds of squat pulse, 8 counts to get out of the squat
  • 30 seconds jump rope
  • 30 seconds high knees in the reverse direction
  • 1 minute of squats with an overhead dumbbell press
  • 30 seconds jump rope


  • 10 oblique send bends + overhead press (one arm)
  • Shuffle Touch Down + Plank combo (I had class do shuffle touch downs and then I would yell out “Plank!” and have them hold a plank for a few seconds, then go back to the shuffle touch downs, etc.)
  • 3 sets of 10 oblique drops
  • Repeat all on other side

So we did all these three BEFORE we added in that upper body pyramid circuit.  I’m so mean, huh?

And then we had a few extra minutes to spare, so I threw in some booty blasters, inner thigh lifts, and floor Y, T, and I raises for upper back.

Successful class, except Miss Jen couldn’t make it to this morning’s class because she’s sick too! Unfortunately I didn’t get to use the amazing goodbye themed playlist I put together for her.  😦

That would have been awkward right?  Using a goodbye playlist when nobody that was actually there was leaving?  I guess I wouldn’t put it past me.  Instead I used one that I made back in November.  It was still a good one.

I’m off to an exciting meeting, but I can’t tell you guys about it yet!

Enjoy your night, folks.

Anyone have any other good “pyramid workouts” you’d like to share?  What about your favorite dorky goodbye songs?  Or how about anything in general you want to say!?  Comment please!

Don’t forget tonight is the last night to enter my free cookie giveaway!  Do it, you have a good chance of winning!  I announce the winner tomorrow morning. 

Move of the Week: Speed Skaters

Also known as alternate leg bounding, speed skaters are a great way to get your heart rate up, burn calories, and work on your lateral movement and agility.

Speed skaters are one of my favorite plyometric exercises, and I often use them as “cardio blasts” in my Circuit Training classes.  They are great because they target the shoulders, back, abs, butt, and legs.  Gotta love moves that really get your whole body working!

Here’s how to do ’em:

Step 1

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.  Bend your knees to lower your body 8-10 inches and lean forward until your shoulders are positioned above your knees. Even though you are leaning over, you should do so by bending at the waist while maintaining good posture in your upper back.

Step 2

Begin by lightly hopping sideways about 2 feet and landing on your right foot.

Step 3

Hop sideways again so you land back on the left foot, and repeat for the desired amount of time/repetitions.

With these, I would start with maybe 10-20 reps and gage where you are.  Add on more reps as you see fit!

If this is too difficult, I always give the modification of starting out by hopping just side to side until you build up enough that you can add the lean forward and get that real “skating” movement where your non-landing foot goes behind the other.

See how I’m more upright here?

If the move is too easy and you are looking for a more advanced version, try increasing your lateral distance and work your way up from 2 feet.  You can also try putting a resistance band around your ankles to increase the intensity – you’ll definitely feel it more in your outer thighs that way.  I also like to tell my class members they will feel it more if they think about extending their opposite arm toward the foot that is up in the back, as if they are reaching for it.

Some more speed skater pictures, thanks to Ali!

And my personal favorite, the one with the AWK ARMS of course!

(Don’t do them like this)

Speed Skaters – have you tried these before?  Love em or hate em?  What’s your favorite total body targeting plyometric exercise? 

Don’t forget to enter my Mama Micki’s Cookie Giveaway!  You can win a dozen cookies for free by clicking over to this post and following the contest directions.  I’m announcing the winner tomorrow!