Reverse Pyramid Interval Training on the Heavy Bag

I just uploaded my video called “Reverse Pyramid Interval Training on the Heavy Bag”, which is part of the training I’m doing to keep in shape.

I’ve been doing a lot of this type of training lately both in class and by myself. The main reason is that I don’t want to burn out. Here’s why:

As the Tabata Protocol on the heavy bag is my benchmark for my personal conditioning, I need to work on anaerobic conditioning. This is fine, because I enjoy that a lot more than aerobic training. However, doing Tabata too often wipes you out. It’s so intense that you need a long time to recover 100% from it. If you don’t take that time (and especially if you have a high training workload), you head straight into overtraining and injuries. And that’s where I was almost at after four weeks of increasing my training sessions in both volume and intensity.

I felt tired a lot and started having excessive tension in my legs, aches, and other pains. Stretching didn’t help, neither did sleeping more. In other words, I was overdoing it. So I decided to take a different approach. Enter reverse pyramid interval training. The concept is relatively simple:

  • The work-rest ratio is 1:1. This means that each round, you work just as long as you rest.
  • Duration per round starts at 15sec and then you add 5sec every round until you hit one minute. So round one is 15sec work/15 sec rest. Round two is 20sec work/20sec rest. And so on until you do a 1 minute round.
  • Intensity is around 80% of your perceived maximum. Tabata protocol means going at 100%, no holding back. Here, you try to go at around 80%, maybe even 85% of that. If you crank it up more than that, you’ll look like crap after five minutes of working out and then you’re not even halfway through. Now’s not the time to do that this is sub-maximum interval training, not maximum.
  • Be consistent. “Work” means you consistently work as if you’re sparring or actually fighting in the ring or cage. Rest means just that: resting. Personally, I prefer to go relatively easy in the first couple rounds to avoid injuries and I crank it up near the end, but that’s just me. However, I don’t take breaks during the work part, nor do I waste too much time running around the heavy bag. I imagine I’m fighting a tough opponent who keeps me busy.


There are other ways of doing this type of interval training but this is the way I like to do it. Here’s what it looks like: [Read more…]