If you have been looking for a simple, yet challenging and effective routine to trim your thighs and tone the abs – look no further. What makes a home routine effective? How to stay motivated during such a challenge? Here are the exercises, the routine, and some tips – in short, all you need to start working for the thighs and abs of your dreams.

STEP 1 – Discover the pyramid routine

Pyramid is no more than arranging the reps and sets in a particular way. We can divide your workout routine into several even sets, like for instance 3 sets of 10 reps push-ups plus 3 sets of 10 reps sit-ups. But, we can also arrange the reps and sets in a quite different routine to:

  • increase the intensity of our workout
  • increase the number of total reps and still be able to complete the workout
  • boost our motivation while exercising

And here’s how. The pyramid routine may use various combinations, you can see what exactly in one of the previous articles: Why You Should try Pyramid Training, but the one that seems the most motivating is the mixed descending pyramid.

In this particular one we’re going to combine two exercises. It’s especially great if you descend one by one rep, starting at 10, and alternate the exercises each time. Here’s how it goes:

10 crunches
10 supermen
9 crunches
9 supermen
8 crunches
8 supermen
7 crunches
7 supermen

… and so on down to

1 crunch
1 superman

The crunches and the supermen here are just exemplary exercises to give you the idea what the pyramid is all about. Now that you know, we can move forward to step 2 of our challenge.

STEP 2 – Combine proper exercises in a proper way

The key to a good pyramid is the easiness and speed of transitions between the exercises. You should have time to lose your focus even for two seconds before you go down to the last single rep. In a nutshell – if you start on the ground, stay on the ground. If you start standing, stay standing till the end of the pyramid.

This way the energy is spent almost entirely on the exercises, and not for the transitions between them. You should be fast, thorough, focused and determined to make it to the end.

STEP 3 – The exercises for the Slim Legs & Flat Abs Pyramid

It’s this slim legs and flat abs challenge, so we are going to combine the exercises that focus especially on those two areas. According to the ‘quick transitions’ rule, we will arrange two pyramids to perform interchangeably on four days of the week:

Pyramid A:

1. DIAGONAL LEG BRIDGE

For the hamstrings and glutes. Lie on your back, put your arms along the waist or extended to the sides on the floor. Bend the knees, put the whole feet firmly on the floor. Lift your hips up to the bridge position. Reach with your right foot under the buttocks, and kick diagonally to the right. Continue with the same leg for the whole pyramid.

2. LEG OVERS

Great for our hips and abs. Lie on the ground on your back. Arms extended out to the sides, lying on the floor. Lift up high your left leg (90 degrees with the floor), straight in knee, sweep over to the right to nearly touch your right hand with the left foot. Go back the same way to the starting position and continue with the same leg for the whole pyramid.

Do the pyramid twice, to switch the legs for the second time. The optimal arrangement would be: in the first pyramid, the bridges kicking with the right leg and the leg overs with the left leg, and the second pyramid the other way round.

Pyramid B:

1. PLANK JUMPING JACKS

A complex full-body exercise aiming at both the legs and the abs. Get into the starting push-up position – also known as the high plank – the whole body in one line based only on the hands and toes, shoulders right above the hands, the feet together. Jumping just an inch off the ground split your feet to the sides, and jump back to the center – the hands are on the floor all the time. Make sure your hips don’t go too high, or too low – try to keep them in one line with the back and the hamstrings – the whole body is tense. Out and back in is one rep – so count only the ‘ins’.

2. SWING TABLE

A phenomenal whole body exercise – great especially for the abs, but also for the legs and arms. Sit down with your knees bent and your hands leant against the floor on both sides of the hips. Lift your hips up, so that you’re in the “table” position. Pull back your hips by straightening your knees – your hips should go back over the line of your hands. Keep the hips above the floor all the time, if you manage. Go back to the “table” position. Count only the “tables” – the move back and forth is one rep.

As the exercises within the pyramid B are ‘symmetrical’, you can do the pyramid once, but you can also repeat it, for better results.

STEP 4: Be regular

Four times a week is four times a week. It’s not “I don’t have time today”, and it’s not “oh, I forgot”. I’ve been saying this many times in my articles, and I’m going to say this again: regularity is the key to results. It’s going to take just a few minutes to complete the pyramid, so the lack of time is an invalid excuse.

It’s short, yet intensive workout. If you do the math, you’ll see that within a single pyramid, you’ll perform 10 + 9 + 8 + 7 + 6 + 5 + 4 + 3 + 2 + 1 = 55 reps of EACH exercise involved! It’s like you did 5 series for 11 reps, but you will see that the countdown works miracles in terms of motivation to complete the workout. With each set, there’s a little bit less to do, and you’re one step closer to complete the routine.

Final tips

Don’t do any breaks within a single pyramid. Just roll from one starting position to the other – that’s it. That’s how it’s pumps up the workout intensity.

That would be all for the theoretic part. Now it’s your turn to move on to the practice. Check it out, it’s a fabulously simple trick but it really works. Feel free to share some of your impressions here in the comments after a couple of pyramids done. Stay motivated and work towards your goals!

About Cathy Patalas

The sports soul and the alleged specialist in words of 52Challenges.com. The main 52C Blog writer. A diligent student at the English Department of the University of Wroclaw, majoring in applied linguistics. An ex-acrobat and aerobic gymnast with the 13-year long experience in „training for winning”. A multiple medallist of Poland nationals in acrobatic gymnastics, and academic nationals in aerobic gymnastics. A fan of gymnastics of every existing type. Personally, finds making everyday choices in a healthy lifestyle even more demanding a challenge than making everyday sacrifices in the athlete’s lifestyle.