Tuesday, July 02 2019

Pyramid choreography is a Gold Medal standard of group fitness instruction.   Especially effective in the water, the cardio action increases as the moves are changed more frequently.  Just posted!  Pyramid Super Combo features four easy-to-remember and easy-to-teach combinations. 

Pyramid instruction is featured in many Fitmotivation videos, most notably my own.  However, Aquatic Fitness Professional, Miff Hendriksen’s contribution is designed to woo the more choreography challenged instructors.  Admitting that she herself can get a bit befuddled with choreography, Miff teaches a more simplistic version of pyramid in her classes.  The moves in her routines are high intensity but they are designed to be fairly basic so that both the instructor and the participants can enjoy the rollercoaster action of repetition reduction. 


Repetitions in pyramid choreography can either be increased or decreased.  If you increase repetitions, you decrease intensity because you are changing moves LESS frequently.  Decreasing repetitions increases intensity because moves are changed MORE frequently.  Thanks to the Law of Inertia, intensity is progressed with limb inertia as the arms and legs start changing much more frequently during the reduction process.     


Pyramid combinations are best taught with four moves when using music.   The structure of music is broken into four 8-counts to create one 32-count music phrase.  Therefore, four moves can easily be performed in a 32-music phrase.  This would be considered your final cut.  From there you simply expand the repetitions out as far as you want to your starting point.   For example, Miff started with 16 repetitions of each of the four moves in the combination.  She then reduced down to eight repetitions and then four. 


Depending on your population and your comfort level, you can expand and reduce the repetitions as you see fit.   “I don’t typically go below four repetitions because my students don’t do very well with it,” explains Miff.  Similar to Miff, my students don’t all do very well with it either, but I still reduce to the final cut of two or one repetitions each.  Why?   Because it’s fun to watch them TRY and do it and I have taught in this manner for years and so I am comfortable doing so.  


Transitions are important for pyramid choreography as the moves are taught together.   However, transitions become way more important if you are reducing beyond four repetitions of each move.   Cutting down to two or one repetition of each requires an airtight seamless flow of the moves.  


Pyramid instruction is a simple and effective way to deliver fitness results.   The combinations can easily be balanced by selecting exercises in all three movement planes.   Combinations can also be constructed based on muscle groups or themes.  Consider a class that consists of pyramid combinations for quads/ hamstrings, chest/back, biceps/triceps, core and more.  Perhaps you could also build combos on sports themes or Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). 


 Make pyramid instruction a regular part of your class.   Fitmotivation extends a big THANK YOU to Miff Hendriksen for sharing yet another workout and with video viewers.  Check out Miff’s other Fitmotivation videos, Superset Wet, Circuit Overload, Choreo Lite and Aqua CardioFit

Author: Mark Grevelding is the founder of Fitmotivation. He is also a training specialist and consultant with the Aquatic Exercise Association’s (AEA). Mark has been active in the fitness industry for 22 years as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, international presenter and a continuing education provider for AEA, AFAA & ACE.