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How to Build Muscle: Pyramid Training

Add size and strength to your physique with the pyramid training approach.

By Mehmet Edip
How to Build Muscle: Pyramid Training

Whether you want to add some size and strength to your frame, or you're just looking to switch up your workout routine, then pyramid training may be the way to go. This highly effective training technique utilizes an upward, then downward sequence in weight, reps or sets to help you maximize your weightlifting goals.

Along with enhancing your size and strength gains, pyramid training can also assist in the development of greater endurance, and is ideal for beginners who want to gauge their progress gradually.

In addition, by starting off with a light weight (within the pyramid training system); it allows your joints to warm up so your body will be better prepared for the eventual heavier lifts. Another benefit with pyramid training is that it creates an intense routine as the muscles become overloaded.   

Types of Pyramid Training

Ascending Pyramids: Increase the weight and decrease the reps for each set. 

  • Set 1 – light weight: 12-16 reps
  • Set 2 – light/medium weight: 10-12 reps
  • Set 3 – medium weight: 8-10 reps
  • Set 4 – heavy weight: 4-6 reps

Descending Pyramids: Decrease the weight and increase the reps with each set. 

  • Set 1 – heavy weight: 4-6 reps
  • Set 2 – medium weight: 8-10 reps
  • Set 3 – light/medium weight: 10-12 reps
  • Set 4 – light weight 12-16 reps

Triangle Pyramids: With this technique you do both ascending and descending pyramids.  

  • Set 1 – light weight: 12-16 reps
  • Set 2 – light/medium weight: 10-12 reps
  • Set 3 – medium: 8-10 reps
  • Set 4 – heavy 4-6 reps
  • Set 5 – medium weight: 8-10 reps
  • Set 6 – light/medium weight: 10-12 reps
  • Set 7 – light weight: 12-16 reps

Keep in mind that when you go back down in weight (during the triangle pyramid technique), your strength will decrease and you will not be able to complete as many reps as you did at the start of the routine.

Ready to start adding size and strength to your temple? These pyramid workouts below are a great place to start. 

Workout 1

  1. Barbell front back squats - 4 sets: 16 / 12 / 8 / 4 reps
  2. Military shoulder press -  4 sets: 16 / 12 / 8 / 4 reps
  3. T bar row - 4 sets: 16 / 12 / 8 / 4 reps

Workout 2

  1. Barbell deadlifts - 4 sets: 16 / 12 / 8 / 4 reps
  2. Bench press - 4 sets: 16 / 12 / 8 / 4 reps
  3. Weighted pull ups - 4 sets: 16 / 12 / 8 / 4 reps

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