Pyramid Training for Weight Training

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Pyramid training is a method of strength training in which you start with a lighter weight for a higher number of repetitions and, for each set, you increase the weight and decrease the repetitions. You can also do the reverse and start heavy, dropping the weight and increasing the reps for each set.

The Benefits of Pyramid Training

By starting light, you give your muscles, joints and connective tissue a chance to warm up, getting your body ready for more challenging weight.

Also, by gradually increasing the weight, you can effectively overload the muscles, exhausting the muscle fibers to create an intense and effective routine.

Types of Pyramid Training

There are so many versions of pyramid training, you could change your workouts for several weeks without getting bored.  This is the perfect kind of training if your goal is to build strength and muscle.  It helps add intensity to your workouts so your muscles spend more time under tension, which is what you need to grow big and strong.

Ascending Pyramids

In this version, start with a lighter weight and higher reps and, for each set, you increase the weight and decrease the reps.  Here's an example:

Set 1 – 20 lbs x 12 reps
Set 2 – 25 lbs x 10 reps
Set 3 – 30 lbs x 8 reps

For each set, choose a heavy enough weight that you can ONLY complete the desired number of reps.  It will definitely take some experimentation to figure out what will word for each set.

Descending Pyramids

In this method, you start with a heavier weight and fewer reps and you decrease the weight and increase the reps with each set. If you choose this, you want to make sure you're thoroughly warmed up before picking up your heaviest weight.  You might start with a couple of sets of the exercise using a lighter weight.

  Here's an example:

Set 1 – 30 lbs x 8 reps
Set 2 – 25 lbs x 10 reps
Set 3 – 20 lbs x 12 reps

Triangle Pyramids

In this method, you really pile on the intensity by doing more sets.  You start with ascending pyramids, your light weight moving up into your heavy weight with fewer reps and then you descend back down the pyramid.  Here you end up with a total of 5 sets. Here's an example:

Set 1 – 20 lbs x 12 reps
Set 2 – 25 lbs x 10 reps
Set 3 – 30 lbs x 8 reps
Set 4 – 25 lbs x 10 reps
Set 5 – 20 lbs x 12 reps

Double Wave Loads

In this method, you add even more intensity by doing the ascending pyramids twice, for 6 total sets.  So, you would start with your lighter weights/higher reps and ascend the pyramid for 2 more sets.  After that you go back to where you started and do it again.  Keep in mind, you might have to lift lighter weights for the second round. Here's an example:

Set 1 – 20 lbs x 12 reps
Set 2 – 25 lbs x 10 reps
Set 3 – 30 lbs x 8 reps
Set 4 – 20 lbs x 12 reps
Set 5 – 25 lbs x 10 reps
Set 6 – 30 lbs x 8 reps

Pyramid Workouts

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