Why Does Pyramid Training Work?

Man finds unique 14 lbs dumbell

Why does pyramid training work? Consider this scenario. Newbie bodybuilders are keen to make an impression on other lifters in the gym. So they swing and flap their arms as they walk towards the bench. Then they load the bar with more weight than they can handle with correct form. Finally, they give their spotter a better workout than they give themselves.

When you are at the gym you need to be concerned with laying good groundwork. Pyramid sets achieve this in two ways. First, they warm up the targeted muscle groups as well as the joints involved. Second, proper form is essential. You not only call upon the targeted muscle but a host of supporting muscles as well.

Pyramid Training Example

Pyramid training is just like it sounds. You start off at the base with light sets and work your way to the top. This style of training is actually one of the safest.

Bench press example:


  1. 135 x 12 reps
  2. 150 x 10 reps
  3. 165 x 8 reps
  4. 180 x 6 reps
  5. 195 x 4 reps
  6. 210 x 2 reps

It’s Been Around A Long Time

Pyramid exercises have been around for a long time. They are still the most popular way to train the bench press. The above example is just one of the numerous ways a pyramid workout can be designed. The underlying principle of all pyramid workouts must remain the same. Warm up with a light set, do increasingly heavier sub-maximal effort lead-in sets up to a 100% set. If that goes well, add five pounds and try to create a new 1-rep max.

Pyramiding overloads the muscle effectively and works very well. This method is suggested for beginners, as it is very basic. That doesn’t mean people who have been lifting for a while should not do pyramid sets. These sets are excellent in all routines.

The idea of pyramiding is that your muscles use more weight. The more weight you use the stronger you become. And the stronger you become the more weight you can use. Each week you need to increase the weight you use based on your ONE REP MAX for that exercise. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you use a spotter. Make sure that you are warmed up properly before trying to perform your 1RM.

Pyramid Training Program

The pyramid training principle can help someone unfamiliar with weight training. It helps you discover the equipment and weights they are comfortable with. This in turn will help you achieve a personal level of weight training. This personal weight program will be a reflection of your own goals and lifting style. To create this program,

  1. Decide on a goal
  2. Set your weights and repetitions
    1. A building program will use high weights and low repetitions
    2. A cutting program will use low weights and high repetitions
  3. Experiment with the program to be sure it is the right one for you. It should target your goals.

The Advantage Of Pyramid Training

The advantage of using pyramiding is that it gives you a detailed system. This system will push you to work your muscles to true fatigue. The deeper you dig into your muscles, the better results you will see. Always remember that form comes before rep completion. Expect some muscle soreness. This is completely normal to a certain extent. While you are strength training you are causing micro-tears to your muscle. When it recovers, it is stronger.

Pyramids & Critics

Pyramid training is not without critics. The debate is not on whether or not they work: they do. The question is whether or not other types of sets are better for enhancing strength and growth. For now, pyramid sets are a time-tested and proven method of safely building mass and strength.

Power Of The Reverse Pyramid

Conservative training techniques as old as the pharaohs at times need a little change. To comprehend Reverse Pyramid Training you first need a briefing on its mirror image, the Pyramid System. As we know, most conventional workouts are structured.

The Pyramid System doesn’t let you do a lot of exercises in each workout. Otherwise the total number of sets gets absurd. The system also calls for lots of energy. This means that your training intensity will also suffer. There’s an inverse relationship between training volume and intensity. Pyramid training involves more energy expenditure during the workout. It also takes more energy after the workout in terms of recuperative ability. Hence, pyramid training can lead to overtraining for many bodybuilders. This is because their bodies aren’t able to recover from the workload.

Reverse Pyramid Training Focuses On Your Heaviest Sets First

Reverse pyramid training means turning around the conventional technique for building muscle. To get maximum results in the least amount of time you must:

  1. Cut down your training time to make it more efficient and fruitful
  2. Increase your understanding of recovery and performance nutrition, including supplementation
  3. Learn how to train hard, not long

Reverse pyramid training is both basic and specific to any level fitness enthusiast. This is the beginner, intermediate or advanced individual. The reason behind the reverse pyramid routine is the same as any other regimen. To gain as much lean weight or modify body composition in the least amount of time. Reverse pyramiding has been around a long time, for over 25 years.

To start your regimen with reverse pyramiding, you have to thoroughly warm up. Ideally, this will be 2-4 sets of light weight and higher reps. You can also include some whole body warm ups. Keep the weight light. Once you are warmed up, go to your heaviest set first. Rest, then drop poundage and reps.

Here’s A Reverse Pyramid Training Example

Bench press example:


Set 1-3 – 135 x 12-15 reps

Here’s your working sets:

210 x 2 reps

195 x 4 reps

180 x 6 reps

As you can see, pyramid training is the way to go if you want to make good progress.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *