Heavy Bag Pyramid and Ladder Workouts
What is a pyramid workout?
Pyramid workouts consist of working your way up to a specific number and then working your way back down. In the case of the video attached to this post the pyramid was 1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2,1. The number chosen is irrelevant, and should be chosen based off your fitness level. Let’s say you’re working your way up on pushups, you could do a pyramid that goes up to 3. You’d do 1 pushup, then take a break, do 2 push ups, break, 3 push ups, break, 2 push ups, break, 1 push up. Done. The break could be a matter of seconds. Or you could go for time, like I did with the heavy bag. 1 push up. Hold. 2 quick push ups. Hold. 3 push ups. Hold. 2 push ups. Hold. 1 push up.
There is a downfall to pyramids, however. If the number chosen for your pyramid is too high, you’ll wind up exhausted at the midway point. Find a number that is challenging for you to work with to accomplish the full pyramid. If you’re doing a boxing / kickboxing routine make sure you work both sides.
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What is a ladder workout?
The ladder workout has a similar concept to the pyramid, but it stops at the highest number. In our example above you would do 1,2,3,4,5. In the push up example there would be breaks inbetween each rep. The ladder works well if you are working with a partner. You go up the ladder, they go up the ladder. In the case of a heavy bag workout this gives you a quick 15 punches or kicks then your partner goes and does their 15 kicks. You would then do another 15, then they’d do 15. You can set a certain number of rounds (let’s say 4 to get 2 rounds per side on a heavy bag) giving you and your partner 60 kicks each with 4 rest periods each.
The benefit of the ladder versus the pyramid is your max set happens at the end followed by a rest period. You can give more on the highest number knowing that it’s the end. There’s no need to worry about working your way back down.
Both methods of training are beneficial and can / should be worked into future training sessions. Maybe mix it up on different days to keep your routine fresh. If you’re at a gym with a heavy bag find a friend to do ladders with. Or find a friend to do pyramids with. You can also race to see who can go up and down the pyramid faster.
Worth noting – I’m seeing google results where the ladder workout is being described as a pyramid where people work both up and down the ladder. For the sake of consistency in this article, I’m calling going up and down the ladder a pyramid.