The Schmooze

Pyramid Training Principle

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

There are several principles and methods that you can incorporate into building your strength workout and I am going to share with you one of my personal favorites.

 

Pyramid training is one of the principles I use on my leg days and I am obsessed with it. It is a great way to incorporate heavier loads and more reps into my workout to consistently work on strength and muscle gains.

 

Pyramid training is defined as a training protocol incorporating upward-then-downward progression of weight, rep-per-rep or set-per-set.

 

There are three different ways in which you can incorporate pyramid training:

 

1. Ascending pyramid includes increasing your weight and decreasing your reps.

An example would look something like this:

 

Set 1 = light weights x 10 reps

Set 2 = light/medium weights x 8 reps

Set 3 = medium weights x 5 reps

Set 4 = heavy weights x 1 rep

 

In this example I have increased the weight and then decreased set 2 by 2 reps, set 3 by 3 reps, and set 4 by 4 reps. You can structure your rep decrease however you like. I use this exact model and feel it works best for me.

 

2. Descending pyramid includes decreasing your weight and increasing your reps.

An example would look something like this:

 

Set 1 = heavy weights x 1 reps

Set 2 = medium weights x 5 reps

Set 3 = light/medium weights x 8 reps

Set 4 = light weights x 10 rep

 

This is the exact opposite sequence of the ascending pyramid.

 

3. Triangle pyramid includes both ascending and descending pyramids.

An example would look something like this:

 

Set 1 = light weights x 10 reps

Set 2 = light/medium weights x 8 reps

Set 3 = medium weights x 5 reps

Set 4 = heavy weights x 1 rep

Set 5 = medium weights x 5 reps

Set 6 = light/medium weights x 8 reps

Set 7 = light weights x 10 rep

 

A triangle pyramid includes a lot of reps and incorporates both light and heavy weights, therefore making it a great way to overload the muscle/muscles you are working.

 

In order to gain strength and muscle in my lower body I typically include in my workout  on leg days both triangle pyramids and ascending pyramids. The way I do this is by incorporating a triangle pyramid for an exercise that includes double leg movement and an ascending pyramid for an exercise that includes a single leg movement.

 

Here is a sample leg workout for quads and hamstrings that includes this type of workout structure:

 

Straight leg deadlift (double leg movement) - triangle pyramid

Single leg deadlift (right leg) - ascending pyramid

Single leg deadlift (left leg) - ascending pyramid

 

Squat (double leg movement) - triangle pyramid

Single leg squat from bench (right leg) - ascending pyramid

Single leg squat from bench (left leg) - descending pyramid

 

Seated Cable Leg Press Machine with both legs (double leg movement) - triangle pyramid

Seated Cable Leg Press Machine with one leg (right leg) - ascending pyramid

Seated Cable Leg Press Machine with one leg (left leg) - ascending pyramid

 

Seated Cable Hamstring Curl Machine with both legs (double leg movement) - triangle pyramid

Seated Cable Hamstring Curl Machine with one leg (right leg) - ascending pyramid

Seated Cable Hamstring Curl Machine with one leg (left leg) - ascending pyramid

 

This workout includes double leg movement and single leg movement allowing both legs to work together and also allowing each leg to work individually without compensation from the other leg. The reason I do just an ascending pyramid with the single leg movement is because the muscles have already been taxed with the double leg movement and the single leg movement is harder to do.

 

You can incorporate pyramid training into any of your workouts and structure it however you like. You can choose how you increase and decrease your weights/reps and whether you put an ascending, descending, triangle or combination into that structure. You can also decide to do it in only a few sets or in several sets depending on how you increase or decrease your reps. There are so many possibilities with this type of training that you can constantly change it to challenge your muscles.

 

Learning different principles and methods to training and incorporating them into your workout routine is a great way to challenge your muscles in a new way. I will be sharing other principles and methods with you in the future, but for now try to incorporate this one  into your next workout day.

 

Let me know how it goes and how you felt during and after that workout.

 

 

 

JOY KUBELKA

 

•  ISSA Certified Personal Fitness Trainer

•  AFFA Certified Group Fitness Instructor

•  NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist

•  Specialize in: - Kickboxing - Strength Training - High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

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