Effective strength training with pyramid sets

PyramidPyramid training is an effective method of strength training that’s popular both among successful athletes and those of us who train to maintain a good health and fitness for our everyday lives.

What is a pyramid training schedule?

A pyramid is a structure of sets and reps for any exercise you do in a training session. In the basic ascending pyramid, you will start with a light weight and then you will increase the weight for each set that you do. As you are adding weight, the number of reps that you can do will decrease.

What are the advantages of pyramid training?

  • Efficient workout
    You automatically include warm up to your training session. With ascending pyramid training, you will start your training with a light weight that will get the target muscles warm and ready for heavier weights in the following sets. By doing this you will be able reduce the risk of injury during the training.
  • High volume = hypertrophy
    A pyramid set design will give you a high volume workout. When you are following an ascending-pyramid schedule and increasing the weight set by set, you will end up doing a lot of sets and this will give you a high volume of work, which is great for achieving muscle growth, or hypertrophy (1). It’s beneficial to load your muscles in different ways (both higher reps and lower) (1). In addition, change is fun and motivating, feels like the training is going faster than if you do the same thing over and over.

Which kinds of pyramid training can you try?

  • Ascending pyramid
    In this pyramid routine you increase the weight and decrease the reps for each set.
    Set 1 – light weight: 12 reps
    Set 2 – light/medium weight: 10 reps
    Set 3 – medium weight: 8 reps
    Set 4 – heavy weight: 6 reps
  • Descending pyramid
    In this routine you decrease the weight and increase the reps with each set. It’s important that you warm up with a light set before you start your descending pyramid since you start with a heavy set first.
    Set 1 – heavy weight: 6 reps
    Set 2 – medium weight: 8 reps
    Set 3 – light/medium weight: 10 reps
    Set 4 – light weight 12 reps
  • Triangle pyramid
    This routine allows you to do both ascending and descending pyramids during the same workout.
    Set 1 – light weight: 12 reps
    Set 2 – light/medium weight: 10 reps
    Set 3 – medium: 8 reps
    Set 4 – heavy 6 reps
    Set 5 – medium weight: 8 reps
    Set 6 – light/medium weight: 10 reps
    Set 7 – light weight: 12 reps

Once you are able to finish a pyramid at a given weight with good form, you need to progress to a higher weight for the next training.

Did you ever try pyramid training? What pyramid suits you?

If you have any questions before getting started with your new pyramid training schedule, write in the comment section below or book an appointment with me!

(1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=The+Influence+of+Frequency%2C+Intensity%2C+Volume…

5 thoughts on “Effective strength training with pyramid sets

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