Posts Tagged ‘Pyramid training’

Hey guys and girls…a little late this week but it’s that time again.  I’m going to follow up on a blog I did a couple of weeks ago about pyramid training.  To show you the diversity of this type of training, I’m sharing with you the workout I did for my back this week which includes what I like to call some “super” pyramid sets.  Refer to my blog here if you are unfamiliar with pyramid training:

What I did in this workout was to use the pyramid system with my last set consisting of very high repetitions:

1)  One-arm DB Row (3-way hand position – palm facing behind you and upper arm perpendicular to your body, palm facing body, palm facing forward):

  • 10 reps each position (no rest)
  • 6 reps each position
  • 4 reps each position
  • 20 reps each position (this last set is a total of 60 non-stop reps each arm)

After this first exercise, you’re back should already be nice and toasty!

2)  Wide Grip Lat Pulldown:

  • 20 reps
  • 15 reps
  • 12 reps
  • 8 reps
  • 6 reps
  • 40 reps wide, 40 reps close (no rest)

3)  Seated Cable Row:

  • 15 reps
  • 12 reps
  • 10 reps
  • 8 reps
  • 6 reps
  • 4 reps
  • 60 reps

Last 2 exercises:  Superset

  • Back Flye over Incline Bench
  • DB Pullover

These 2 were performed with usual rep schemes (I did 12-15 reps here)

This routine is fairly unusual for me:  I tend to include many more exercises but trust me, by ending each of the above sets with super high reps (after performing a very heavy weight for 4-6 reps), you will be done!

If you decide to give it a try, let me know how it went!

This week for me has been all about the pyramid.  I frequently change up my routines and rep schemes to maximize either strength, endurance, or power.  Enter, pyramids…with this classic workout scheme, you can get the best of “all” worlds.  Simply put, pyramids follow either an upward or downward scheme of reps, weight, or sets.  If you’re creative, there are an endless number of ways you can create your own pyramid.  The most popular variations are

  • Ascending:  This is where you increase the weight but decrease the reps with each successive set
  • Descending:  You decrease the weight but increase the reps with each successive set
  • “Triangle”:  This will include both ascending and descending

Here’s why I love it:  You can set up pyramids to include as few or as many sets as you want.  The higher reps can increase muscular endurance, the moderate reps/weight can focus on muscle hypertrophy, and the super low reps/heaviest weight can enhance your maximum strength and power.  These rep schemes are mere guidelines for their “intended purpose”…any resistance training you do will build muscle and time under tension is one of the greatest determinants.  Again, another reason to love pyramids.  If you do the triangle version, you can have as many as 7 +sets….increased volume = increased time under tension = gains!


Here is an example of a higher volume pyramid set that you can do:

  • Set 1:  Light weight: 15 reps
  • Set 2:  Light/medium weight:  12 reps
  • Set 3:  Medium weight: 10 reps
  • Set 4:  Medium/heavy weight:  8 reps
  • Set 5:  Heaviest weight: 3-6 reps
  • Set 6:  Medium/heavy weight:  Aim for 8 reps
  • Set 7:  Medium weight:  Aim for 10 reps
  • Set 8:  Light/medium weight:  Aim for 12 reps
  • Set 9:  Light weight:  Aim for 15 reps

Notice for the descending portion, I wrote “Aim for” with the reps.  If you’re working intensely (as you should be!) during your workout, you may be fatigued and not quite able to complete all the reps with good form/safety.

And here is an example of a lower volume “Ascending” Pyramid set:

  • Set 1:  Light weight 12 reps
  • Set 2:  Medium weight:  10 reps
  • Set 3:  Heavy weight:  6-8 reps
  • Set 4:  Heaviest or attempting PR:  2-4 reps

So you see, the only limitation is your imagination.  If you’ve never tried pyramids before, add some to your next workout!