35-Minute Total Body Workout (Pyramid Format)

Build strength, burn calories and challenge your endurance with this total body workout. Six of the best dumbbell exercises are combined in an effective and challenging pyramid format. This type of strength and conditioning workout is guaranteed to raise your heart rate and leave you sore, whether you’re a beginner or advanced.

 

This post is brought to you in partnership with the Minnesota Beef Council.

Pyramid workouts are a true “learning to love it” workout for me. These are notoriously challenging workouts – but I love the feeling of accomplishment when they’re completed.

The pyramid format was found in the first workout we filmed with our farmer friends at the Minnesota Beef Council, and quickly became one of our community’s favorites.

Combining total body dumbbell exercises in this stack-on pyramid format not only builds strength, but also pushes our heart rates into the HIIT zone.

This is an effective method of training because it allows us to reap the benefits of both strength training and HIIT (high intensity interval training) in one total body workout.

three people performing a dumbbell shoulder press as part of total body workout

35-Minute Total Body Workout

Build strength, burn calories and increase endurance with this efficient total body workout at home.

A complete dumbbell workout targeting every muscle group in the body: the lower body (quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and thighs), upper body (biceps, triceps, back, shoulders, and chest) and core.

Add full body conditioning workouts like this one to your home workout plan one to two times a week to improve cardiovascular health, increase endurance and build strength.

Workout Instructions:

Follow along with the guided Total Body Workout Routine on YouTubeled by certified personal trainer, Lindsey Bomgren. 

Your Workout Looks Like This:

  • 6 Total Body Dumbbell Exercises
  • Timed Intervals (30 seconds of work, 30 seconds rest; complete as many repetitions as you can in the timed interval)
  • Pyramid Format (we’ll add on moves as we work “up” the pyramid, and then drop off moves as we work our way back “down” the pyramid)

How To Complete A Pyramid Workout:

  • Set 1: Perform move one for 30 seconds (as many reps as you can), followed by 30 seconds of rest.
  • Set 2: Perform move one for 30 seconds and then move two for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of rest.
  • Set 3: Perform move one for 30 seconds, and then move two for 30 seconds, and then move three for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of rest.

Continue this stack-on, pyramid format until you complete moves one through six. Then go back down the pyramid in reverse order, dropping off move one, then move two, then move three and so on.

Workout Equipment:

Medium Pair of Dumbbells. I recommend between 5-25 lbs depending on your fitness level. We used 10 to 20 lb dumbbells in today’s workout.

three people performing a dumbbell hammer curl as part of total body workout

Workout Outline

  1. Staggered Squat Pulse and Switch
  2. Hammer Curl and Front Raise
  3. Bent Over Back Row, Dumbbell Clean and Reverse Lunge
  4. Push Up and Lateral Bear Walk
  5. Dumbbell Burpee, Clean and Overhead Press
  6. Lateral Squat and Standing Crunch

6 Total Body Exercises

Staggered Squat Pulse and Switch

Targets: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, hips and core.

three people performing a staggered squat pulse as part of total body workout

How To Do Staggered Squat Pulses

  1. Start standing, feet shoulder-width distance apart and slightly staggered so your right foot is in front of your left foot. Hold a dumbbell in your left hand between your legs.
  2. Lower down into a staggered squat position, lowering your hips down parallel to your knees. Drive your knees out toward your pinky toes.
  3. Pulse for a two-count, standing up an inch, then down an inch.
  4. Then, drive through your heels to power up, transferring the weight from left hand to right hand as you switch legs, stepping or hopping your left foot forward and your right foot back to find a staggered stance on the left side.
  5. Continue this pattern, alternating sides with each two-pulse staggered squat.

Hammer Curl and Front Raise

Targets: Biceps, forearms, shoulders, chest and core.

three people performing a bicep hammer curl and front shoulder raise as part of total body workout

How To Do Hammer Curls and Front Raises

  1. Start standing, feet hip width apart, core engaged. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing in towards each other (hammer curl grip, or neutral grip).
  2. Squeeze your bicep muscle to curl the weights up to shoulder height, keeping the elbows locked into your sides as you curl the dumbbells up.
  3. Slowly and with control, lower the dumbbells to your hips, completing a hammer curl and returning to the starting position.
  4. Then, maintaining a neutral grip, slowly lift the dumbbells straight in front of your body, raising the weights until they reach shoulder height. Keep your arms relatively straight, with a slight bend in the elbows.
  5. Slowly and with control, lower the weights, returning to starting position.

Bent Over Back Row, Dumbbell Clean and Reverse Lunge

Targets: Lower body (glutes, hamstrings, hips, quads, calves), upper body (trapezius, deltoids, lower back), abs and core.

three people performing a back row, dumbbell clean and reverse lunge as part of total body workout

How To Do Bent Over Back Rows, Dumbbell Cleans and Reverse Lunges

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Grip a set of dumbbells, palms facing in towards each other.
  2. Hinge forward at the hips until your body is in a straight line, neck in line with your spine, flat back, and belly button pulled back towards your spine.
  3. As you pull the weights back towards your hips in a rowing movement, squeeze your shoulder blades together. Stop when your elbows are in line with your hips.
  4. With control, slowly lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position. Repeat, performing two back rows.
  5. Then, drive through your heels to stand tall. As you stand, ‘clean’ the dumbbells up towards your shoulders. Think about getting under the dumbbells to catch them at shoulder level — this is a dumbbell clean.
  6. Step your left foot back into a reverse lunge, lowering down so both knees form 90-degree angles.
  7. Press through your front heel to drive your hips forward, returning to a standing position.
  8. Then, alternate legs, stepping your right foot back into a reverse lunge, both knees bent to 90-degrees.
  9. Press through your front heel to stand tall, stepping your back leg forward to return to the starting position.

Modification: Omit the dumbbell clean, performing two back rows then two reverse lunges while keeping your weights at your sides.

Push Up and Lateral Bear Walk

Targets: Chest, triceps, back, lower back, deep transversus abdominis muscles, oblique muscles, hips, shoulders and core.

three people performing a push up and lateral bear crawl walk

How To Do Push Ups and Lateral Bear Crawl Walks

  1. Start in a standard high plank position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists, weight evenly distributed amongst all 10 fingers. Pull your kneecaps up towards your belly, feet hip-width apart.
  2. Slowly lower your chest down towards the ground as your elbows fall back towards your hips (not out to the sides, keep elbows tight to the body).
  3. Exhale to push up into high plank position, completing a push up.
  4. Then, step or hop your feet in, finding a hovering table top position, or bear crawl. Knees are bent, hips stacked over knees and shoulders stacked over wrists.
  5. “Walk” your right hand and right toes a step out to the right, following with the left hand and left toes. Keep your back flat and hips as stable as possible. Repeat, completing two “walks” to the right.
  6. Then, step or jump your feet back, landing in high plank position.

Dumbbell Burpee, Clean and Overhead Press

Targets: Legs, glutes, hamstrings, hips, calves, low back, shoulders, abs and core.

The burpee is one of the most famous compound exercises, or exercises that target multiple muscles at once.

three people performing a dumbbell burpee as part of total body workout

How To Do Dumbbell Burpees, Cleans and Shoulder Presses

  1. Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold a set of dumbbells between your legs, palms facing in towards each other.
  2. Bend your knees as you lower your hips towards the ground, performing a wide squat. As you lower your hips, lower the dumbbells towards the floor, placing them on the ground outside your feet.
  3. Then, keep your hands on your dumbbells as you step or jump your feet back, finding a high plank position. Shoulders are stacked over wrists, core engaged.
  4. Jump your feet in, landing softly inside the dumbbells in a low squat position.
  5. Then, press through your heels to stand tall, pulling the dumbbells up your body as you stand.
  6. Bend your elbows to curl the dumbbells up to shoulder height, thinking about “getting under” the weights to perform a dumbbell clean.
  7. Slightly bend your knees, dropping your hips about two inches to prepare. Then, press through your heels as you use the power in your legs to push the weights straight overhead, performing a push press.
  8. Then, slowly and with control, lower the dumbbells first to your shoulders, then to your hips, returning to starting position.

Lateral Squat and Standing Crunch

Targets: Gluteus medius (the outer part of your butt used for side-to-side movements), quads, hamstrings, hip adductors and abductors, core and shoulders.

three people performing a lateral squat with a standing oblique crunch as part of total body workout

How To Do Lateral Squats and Standing Crunches

  1. Start standing, feet wider than shoulder-width (lateral squat stance), with toes facing forward or slightly turned out. Hold one dumbbell horizontally at your chest.
  2. Sit your hips back, bending your right knee while leaving your left leg straight. Think of performing a single leg squat with your right leg.
  3. Then, keeping both feet planted on the ground, drive through your right foot to reverse the movement, shifting your hips to the left as you bend your left knee, performing a lateral squat on the left.
  4. Immediately push to the right side, bending your right knee while driving your left knee up towards your chest, engaging the core and rotating through your torso to perform a standing crunch on the left side.
  5. Continue this pattern, alternating two lateral squats with a standing crunch.

Total Body Workout FAQs

Are Total Body Workouts Effective?

Yes, dumbbell full body workout routines offer an effective way to build muscle definition, increase strength and improve endurance. Full body workouts are particularly effective for beginners who need to build a solid strength base.

Pin This Workout: Total Body Workout (HIIT Pyramid Workout)

woman smiling in low squat

Beef: High-Quality Protein For Muscle Recovery

One of my favorite parts of our 4-30-10 Method workout plan was the goal of getting 30 grams of protein at each meal. As a trainer, I know the importance of refueling with high-quality protein to repair muscle tissue. And as a mom of an anemic son, beef is a staple in my house!

A 3-ounce serving of lean beef provides 25 grams of high-quality protein, which is the optimal amount to help active individuals recover from exercise (Beef Council Strength Guide).

I believe a balanced diet includes high-quality protein AND other nutrient-rich foods for building and maintaining strength. Which is why I love the list of essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients included in one serving of beef:

  • Zinc — supports the immune system and metabolism function.
  • Iron — supports many vital functions in the body — including energy production, immune system, and regulation of body temperature.
  • Vitamin B12 — helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy.
  • Riboflavin — is needed for overall good health. It helps the body break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats to produce energy.
  • Niacin — boosts brain and skin function.
  • Vitamin B6 — helps the body turn food into energy.
  • Selenium — is important for thyroid health and boosts the immune system.

Heart-Healthy Recipes with Beef

For a wide variety of heart-healthy and family-friendly beef recipes, visit mnbeef.org/recipes.

Or check out these quick links to my personal favorite weeknight dinner recipes with beef: 

5 Simple Dinner Ideas Using Beef

Minnesota Beef Council

The Minnesota Beef Council (MBC) is dedicated to strengthening beef demand by responsibly providing a safe, wholesome, healthy and delicious eating experience.

The Minnesota Beef Council is funded and managed by beef farmers and ranchers. The Council provides beef promotion, marketing, research and education programs for beef and beef products.

Find all of our MBC workouts and workout plans here!

This is a sponsored post in partnership with the Minnesota Beef Council. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Nourish Move Love, making the content you see on this blog possible.

This post includes affiliate links. I do earn a commission for products purchased using these links (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for supporting Nourish Move Love, making the content you see on this blog possible.

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