What is Pyramid Training?

If you’re a regular at the gym, the chances are that you’ve already heard of pyramid training, but even for people who’ve tried it, understanding how to structure a pyramid workout can be difficult – not to mention understanding how and why it works as part of your training plan.

What is Pyramid Training?

At its simplest, pyramid training is a workout in which you start off with a low weight and high reps, and then gradually increase the weight with each set while simultaneously doing fewer reps.  Then, once you’ve reached your maximum, you work back through the weights and rep counts to get back to where you started and finish the exercise – like this:

simple pyramid Training

There’s another common way of doing pyramid training in which rather than working your way back down the stack of weights, you simply repeat the ascending phase – like this:

double set pyramid training

What Exercises Work with Pyramid Training?

If you’re just starting out with this kind of workout, then you might be wondering what kind of exercises work with pyramid training.  Well, you can do a pyramid of pretty much any kind of resistance exercise such as bicep curls, shoulder press, dead lifts.  If it involves a weight, then you can turn it into a pyramid.

How Much Should I Lift?

You need to do a bit of preparation before you start pyramid training if you want to get the best possible results from it.  Spend a little time learning your limits so that you know what the maximum number of reps you can do at a particular weight are.  The idea is that you really challenge your muscles with each step of the pyramid, so if the maximum weight you can manage 10 reps at is 5KG, and for 8 reps it’s 7KG, then those are the weights that you’d start of with.

muscle definition cutting diet

The goal is to push yourself hard, but not destroy yourself.

What are the Benefits of Pyramid Training?

For the most part the main benefit of pyramid training is that it allows you to develop strength a lot faster than with conventional 3×10 sets in the gym where you’re limited to a lower weight that you can manage.  With a Pyramid set you’ll lift much more on the highest level than you would if you were sticking to more reps.

Another major benefit of this model is that it warms you up as you go along.  You’ll stretch out the muscles and get the blood pumping at the lower weights before ramping up to the heavier loads.

Lifting more in the gym will give you a powerful endorphin rush at the end of your workout that’ll make you feel great.


  1. […] on building strength aim for either 3 sets of 10 reps with an weight that’s tests you, or a pyramid set with increasing resistance.  For toning  or to build endurance do a smaller weight and more […]