LITE: Pyramid Pump

Pyramid Pump is part of Cathe‘s LITE series but it is a bonus workout that you can purchase on a separate DVD. I am so thrilled Cathe did this. I wish she would go back and do the same with the Muscle Meltdowns in her ICE series. Each LITE workout contains one Pyramid Pump bonus that focuses on a single muscle group. ICE did the same thing and called them Muscle Meltdowns. In LITE, Cathe created this additional DVD that collects all of the Pyramid Pumps onto a single DVD with tons of premixes. Plus, because she created this separate DVD there is also a dedicated warm up and stretch just for the Pyramid Pump DVD. You can do the full 80:30 minute total body workout or use the premixes to separate them into upper and lower body workouts, or different versions of muscle splits. This review is structured as if you just hit “play” rather than going to a premix. The premixes themselves are broken down below the workout breakdown. For each individual Pyramid Pump muscle group I will also list its length in case you want to go to the chapter section and just do that muscle group.

The set pattern is the same for all of the exercises: you decrease your reps as you move up the pyramid then increase your reps as you move back down the pyramid. In addition, you start with your lightest weight and increase the weight of your dumbbells as you move up the pyramid, then decrease the weight of your dumbbells as you move back down the pyramid. Each exercise is done for 5 sets and each set increases in reps then decreases back down the pyramid in this fashion: 1 set of 12 reps, 1 set of 10 reps, 1 set of 8 reps, 1 set of 10 reps, 1 set of 12 reps. There is only one exercise in the entire Pyramid Pump collection that differs from this and that is calf raises. It still pyramids up and down, but you do more reps (30, 25, 20, 25, 30). This DVD also includes 6 Pack Abs #1 which is broken down below the Pyramid Pump breakdown. The premixes are at the very bottom of this review.

The first time I did this workout I used the Timesaver premixes that separate the pyramids into upper and lower body. In addition, I also used heavier weights than Cathe did on some of the exercises (I used heavier weights on all of the lower body exercises except the calf raises and some of the upper body exercises) and got a great workout. The lower body workout really fried my legs and had a major cardio factor. The upper body workout raised my heart rate, too, but not nearly as much. This is another workout that can really grow with you. The first time through I wrote some up arrows on my workout card to increase the weight I use the next time I do the workout. But for some exercises (biceps) the weight Cathe used fried my biceps. I fear they will be severely sore tomorrow (oddly, they weren’t). These workouts move at a brisk pace so make sure you have all of your equipment nearby. I rolled off my stability ball once in my rush to swap weights and get in place!

The second time I did this workout I did the main 80 minute total body workout and put all of the up arrows in effect. This time the only exercise in the entire workout I lifted the same as Cathe was biceps (and it still fried my arms!!!). I also raised my high step to 12 inches for the step ups in the lower body portion. I was really working hard the entire workout and pretty worn out by the end. But I felt well worked. My FitBit says I was even in my peak heart rate zone for 14 minutes during the lower body circuits.

Normally I would also list the weights I used in the breakdown but due to the large number of sets in this workout that will just clutter the breakdown so I am only listing Cathe’s weights. I have already created my own workout cards for all of the workouts, so I don’t need this review to help me remember either. I own dumbbells in 1 pound increments from 1-15 pounds plus 18 pound dumbbells then starting at 20 pounds I own them in 5 pound increments up to 50 pounds–plus I have platemates, so I can increase the heavier dumbbells by 2.5 pound increments! I share all that because I had dumbbells scattered all over my workout room from 4 to 25 pounds this morning! It was a mess and it would make the breakdown a mess if I also listed what I used. I do think that if you are new to the pyramid technique that starting with a lighter weight is wise. I am currently at an intermediate level and I knew right away that I could lift heavier than what Cathe was lifting on some of the exercises (when I previewed the workout). And then when I actually did the workout, I saw that I could lift heavier than what she was lifting on everything except biceps. So make sure you challenge yourself by using the appropriate weight for your strength level–then increase your weight as you get stronger. What Cathe is using is just a guideline and she even says several times that you will need to increase the weights of your dumbbells to continue making gains.

I love this DVD! Although I also love the other two strength workouts in this series, too, this DVD is the best part of LITE. I will use this more than anything else in the program. I am already deciding what premixes I will do next. I think I will do Total Body Up Only (first 3 exercises in each circuit) then another day Total Body Down Only (last 3 exercises in each circuit). Because I can’t do an 80 minute workout on a work day but those are only 50 minutes. I also loved using it as muscle splits–the Timesaver premixes that break it up into Upper Body only and Lower Body only.

Pyramid Pump is 80:30 minutes; warm up 4:30 minutes and stretch 4:30 minutes. Equipment: dumbbells (Cathe uses 3-15 pound dumbbells), sliding device, high step w/ 3 risers, stability ball and a fitness mat. As noted above, I used heavier weights on everything. I also used 4 risers on my high step for the Step Ups (#2).

Lower Body (35:30 minutes) For lower body you need the high step, dumbbells and a sliding device.

  1. Rear Slide Lunges (DBs + sliding device) (Cathe uses 5# DBs for 1st set, 8# DBs for 2nd set, 10# DBs for 3rd set, 8# DBs for 4th set, 5# DBs for 5th set)
  2. Step Ups (DBs + high step @ 10 inches) (Cathe uses 8# DBs for 1st set, 10# DBs for 2nd set, 12# DBs for 3rd set, 10# DBs for 4th set, 8# DBs for 5th set)
  3. Side Slide Lunges (DBs and sliding device) (Cathe uses one 10# DB for 1st set, one 12# DB for 2nd set, one 15# DB for 3rd set, 12# DB for 4th set, one 10# DB for 5th set)
  4. Elevated Lunges (back leg is elevated on step) (DBs and high step @ 6 inches) (Cathe uses 8# DBs for 1st set, 10# DBs for 2nd set, 12# DBs for 3rd set, 10# DBs for 4th set, 8# DBs for 5th set)
  5. Sliding Cross-back Lunges (curtsy lunges) (DBs and sliding device) (Cathe uses 8# DBs for 1st set, 10# DBs for 2nd set, 12# DBs for 3rd set, 10# DBs for 4th set, 8# DBs for 5th set)
  6. Straight Leg Deadlifts (DBs) (Cathe uses 10# DBs for 1st set, 12# DBs for 2nd set, 15# DBs for 3rd set, 12# DBs for 4th set, 10# DBs for 5th set)
  7. Calf Raises (DBs) (Cathe uses 10# DBs for 1st set, 12# DBs for 2nd set, 15# DBs for 3rd set, 12# DBs for 4th set, 10# DBs for 5th set)

Upper Body:  The upper body circuits are done a little differently. You are still doing 5 sets of each exercise in the same ascending/descending pyramid pattern, same number of reps, the difference is you superset exercises. Instead of doing all 5 sets of a single exercises, you do two exercises at each rep set before decreasing/increasing reps. The challenge with these exercises is that you may need different weights for the two exercises being superset but if Cathe uses the same weight for both exercises then you do not have a lot of time to swap your dumbbells out. The only equipment needed for the upper body exercises is a stability ball and dumbbells.

Back (9 minutes)

Pullovers (stability ball and DBs) + Standing Single Arm Back Fly (one DB)

(For pullovers Cathe uses 8# DBs for 1st set, 10# DBs for 2nd set, 12# DBs for 3rd set, 10# DBs for 4th set, 8# DBs for 5th set; for back flys Cathe uses one 5# DB for 1st set, one 8# DB for 2nd set, one 10# DB for 3rd set, one 8# DB for 4th set, one 5# DB for 5th set)

Chest (7 minutes)

Chest Fly + Incline Chest Press (stability ball and DBs for both)

(Cathe uses the same DBs for both exercises: 8# DBs for 1st set, 10# DBs for 2nd set, 12# DBs for 3rd set, 10# DBs for 4th set, 8# DBs for 5th set)

Triceps (6 minutes)

Standing Kickbacks (DBs) + Lying Tricep Extensions (stability ball and DBs)

(Cathe uses the same DBs for both exercises: 5# DBs for 1st set, 8# DBs for 2nd set, 10# DBs for 3rd set, 8# DBs for 4th set, 5# DBs for 5th set)

Biceps (7 minutes)

Standing Sweeper Curls (DBs) + Incline Curls (stability ball + DBs)

(Cathe uses the same DBs for both exercises: 8# DBs for 1st set, 10# DBs for 2nd set, 12# DBs for 3rd set, 10# DBs for 4th set, 8# DBs for 5th set)

Shoulders (6:30 minutes)

Standing Overhead Press (DBs) + Incline Front Raise (stability ball + DBs)

(For standing overhead press Cathe used 5# DBs for 1st set, 8# DBs for 2nd set, 10# DBs for 3rd set, 8# DBs for 4th set, 5# DBs for 5th set; for incline front raise Cathe used 3# DBs for 1st set, 5# DBs for 2nd set, 8# DBs for 3rd set, 5# DBs for 4th set, 3# DBs for 5th set)

Bonus

6 Pack Abs #1 is 10 minutes; 30 second stretch. Equipment: fitness mat. This was an impressive core bonus! I love it and it did an excellent job working my entire core, front to back. It has a lot of boxing inspired moves. I always have a pair of boxing grips nearby and used them for any core move that included a boxing arm movement. I definitely think this is intermediate level–maybe even high intermediate level. It really challenged me but I was able to do every exercise as presented by Cathe, so it isn’t advanced. I loved it!

  1. Alternating Sit Outs (lower into bear crawl position, place one hand on ground and extend same side leg out underneath you and straight out to side while tapping shoulder with opposite hand, alternate sides)
  2. Triangle Choke Reverse Lift (lay on back, extend one leg straight to ceiling, other leg is bent with foot behind other knee, hands are on mat beside hips, do a reverse crunch in this position; do 8 reps then swap legs and do 8 more reps, do 8 more reps alternating legs)
  3. Guard Block Punches (lay on back, knees bent and feet on floor, hands are on guard, crunch up then lean to side, return to center then lower (Cathe calls it “slip side”, alternate sides)
  4. Body Shot Sit Ups (do a full sit up then do a body shot punch, alternate arms)
  5. Boxer Sit Ups (full sit ups w/ 4 cross punches at top of sit up–two high and two low)
  6. Hip Thrusts w/ Upstrike (lay on back, knees bent and feet on floor, do hip raise and punch arm across body toward floor at head level, alternate sides)
  7. V Plank (in straight arm plank, bring foot up outside of same side hand, alternate sides; changes to bringing foot up to outside of same side hand then bring same foot up under body, knee toward chest, alternate sides)
  8. Supermans
  9. Repeat #7 & 8

Premixes: (all premixes contain warm up and stretch)

Basic Premixes:

Main Workout + 6 Pack Abs #1 (90:24 minutes)

Upper Body First (80:27 minutes)

Upper Body First + 6 Pack Abs #1 (90:24 minutes)

Timesaver Premixes:

Lower Body Only (44:51 minutes)

Lower Body Only + 6 Pack Abs #1 (54:48 minutes)

Pyramid Upper Body Only (44:42 minutes)

Pyramid Upper Body + 6 Pack Abs #1 (54:39 minutes)

Total Body Pyramid Up Only (50:12 minutes)

Total Body Pyramid Down Only (50:55 minutes)

Lower Body Pyramid Up Only (30:09 minutes)

Lower Body Pyramid Down Only (29:19 minutes)

Upper Body Pyramid Up Only (29:09 minutes)

Upper Body Pyramid Down Only (30:42 minutes)

One Set of Everything (12 reps lightest weight set) (25:36 minutes)

Scrambled Premixes:

Scrambled Total Body (alternates lower and upper body) (80:50 minutes)

Scrambled Lower Body (44:30 minutes)

Scrambled Upper Body (44:42 minutes)

 

 

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16 thoughts on “LITE: Pyramid Pump

  1. So happy to hear you have been doing well! : )

    I often find Cathe’s reps for Upper Body (especially arms and rear delts) far too quick for me to get a good muscle fibre Pump. How would you compare this to say, Fit Split or Low Impact series? Both of these were too fast for me. Xtrain Burn sets were better, for me.
    Cheers.

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    1. It’s been a year since I’ve done Cathe’s more advanced workouts but she definitely moves faster in this one than she does in Xtrain. She probably moves at the same speed as she did for the Low Impact series. I honestly cannot remember the speed of the Fit Split workouts, other than having no issues with it.

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  2. hi, what do you think of not using sliding discs for the pyramid pump lower body? I have puzzle mats and discs do not work on them. so I did the exercises without them. do you think that make a huge difference? (I hope not)

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    1. I think you are still getting a lot out of the exercises even without the sliding disks. Sliding disks do make exercises more challenging but that doesn’t mean the exercise isn’t challenging without the disks. The disks force you to use stabilizer muscles and they also engage your core during an exercise. And in my experience, I can go deeper into an exercise when using disks. So there are benefits to using them, but again, that definitely doesn’t make the exercise pointless without them! The exercises are still effective without the disks. Though there are a lot of reasons to use them, one of the reasons I’m sure Cathe uses them in this series is because they remove all of the impact from exercises.

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      1. oh thank you! a relief to hear that not using the discs still works. I preordered the set and glanced through it today, it looks like the only time the discs are used is in the pyramid pump lower body. I felt those lower body exercises even not using the discs!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I am glad to hear you also got a high heart rate during the lower body work. I really noticed this in the Stacked Sets lower body as well. I kept thinking, I could go heavier than this (25 lbs for squats?), but my heart rate was quite elevated throughout, so I don’t think I could unless I was sill to pause. So I concentrate on depth and form and going slowly, and my legs still feel it the next day.

    I am so happy to see you writing these reviews and feeling strong! I hope everything is going well with your recovery, and thanks so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the lower body circuits are definitely very metabolic. My heart rate was elevated during the Stacked Sets lower body workout, too.

      And I am doing great, thanks. I think LITE is the best thing (for me) Cathe has done in a long time. It is perfect for building me back up.

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