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Pyramid Training

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Updated March 01, 2010

Definition: 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

Ascending Pyramids

In this version, you increase the weight and decrease the reps for each set. 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 that you can ONLY complete the desired number of reps.

Descending Pyramids

In this method, decrease the weight and increase the reps with each set. 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 do both ascending and descending pyramids. 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 follow an ascending pyramid two times. 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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