The pyramid workout for weight loss is a type of circuit training. It’s an exercise routine that involves performing a series of repetitions with an exercise, then increasing the difficulty of the exercise, followed by another series of repetitions with the same exercise.

The pyramid technique can be used to increase endurance and burn fat. It’s also used to improve strength and muscle tone. The pyramid workout can be used in combination with other exercises or by itself. It can also be modified depending on your fitness goals.

The pyramid workout consists of three phases:

• The first phase is the warm-up phase, which should include light cardio exercises such as jogging or jumping rope

• The second phase is the building phase, during which you’ll add resistance and increase your repetitions while maintaining good form

• The third phase is the peak phase, in which you’ll reach maximum intensity and perform one final set before cooling down

Pyramid Workout For Weight Loss

Young woman on cross training weightlifting. Wearing sports clothing and hijab.

Pyramid weight training can help you progress with your workouts or get past a plateau, It can fine-tune your workout and add variety in your workload. Pyramid training is not running up and down the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, although that would be an excellent workout if you could get permission.

Pyramid training is a stepped approach to sets and repetitions. A pyramid means big at the bottom and narrow at the top. A reverse pyramid means big at the top and narrow at the bottom. And that’s what pyramid training means in a weight training context. You start heavy and gradually decrease the weights or reps or you start light and gradually increase the weight or reps. Or you can include both in an extended set, but this is an advanced style of training.

How Does Pyramid Training Work?

Like all overload systems, pyramid training suggests that if you create metabolic stress in muscle tissue it will grow bigger.1 Note, though, that this type of training does not hit the sweet spot for strength increases, although bigger muscles will increase strength to some extent.

Warm Up and Cool Down

A warmup should include light aerobic exercise and stretching for 10-15 minutes.2 Before doing any lifting exercise with weights a few repetitions with a lighter weight than chosen for the main exercise is a good strategy.

A cool down may help to reduce muscle soreness in the following hours.3 Pyramid training can make you sore. Cool down with light stretching, calisthenics, or with some modest aerobic work on treadmill or cycle.

Standard Pyramid

Increase the weight and decrease the reps for each set.4 Adjust the weight and sets for the equipment chosen, dumbbell, barbell, machine etc, and for the maximum that you can tolerate in each set. Example:

  • Set 1 – 30 lbs x 12 repetitions
  • Set 2 – 40 lbs x 10 reps
  • Set 3 – 50 lbs x 8 reps

Reverse Pyramid

In this pyramid, decrease the weight and increase the reps with each set.

  • Set 1 – 50 lbs x 8 reps
  • Set 2 – 40 lbs x 10 reps
  • Set 3 – 30 lbs x 12 reps

Diamond Pyramid

In this pyramid, increase then decrease weight in an extended 5-set muscle blast. (Called a diamond from the rhomboid shape.)

  • 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

Step Pyramid

In this pyramid, you flow up and down or down and up (in weight) like an up and down step series. It could look like this.

  • Set 1 – 50 lbs x 12 reps
  • Set 2 – 40 lbs x 10 reps
  • Set 3 – 30 lbs x 8 reps
  • Set 4 – 40 lbs x 10 reps
  • Set 5 – 50 lbs x 12 reps

Or, you could mix and match weight and reps like this, which is probably somewhat easier because you finish low even though reps are higher.

  • Set 1 – 30 lbs x 12 reps
  • Set 2 – 40 lbs x 10 reps
  • Set 3 – 50 lbs x 8 reps
  • Set 4 – 40 lbs x 10 reps
  • Set 5 – 30 lbs x 12 reps

You can probably see from the examples, there are many possibilities for experimentation in modifying the standard sets and reps for exploiting metabolic overload in order to improve your workout. Give it a try.

Reverse Pyramid Training Can Help You Lose Fat And Gain Strength

reverse pyramid training primal lifting squats

Men everywhere want to know the best way to lose fat, get stronger or build muscle. And while the perfect program may not exist, there are certain ones out there that are going to help your reach your goals a lot faster than others. And one of those programs is Reverse Pyramid Training.

What is Reverse Pyramid Training (RPT)?

A pyramid training style is one where you start with a lighter weight and more reps, and continuously add weight while dropping reps in order to work up to a max weight in a certain rep range (i.e. 1-3, 3-5, 4-6, etc.).

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RPT takes the pyramid concept and flips it on its head…literally. With RPT, instead of your first set being the lightest weight with the most reps, it is the heaviest weight with the fewest reps.

RPT is largely credited to Martin Berkhan, the man responsible for Leangains. With RPT, you only perform 3-5 intense sets per muscle group per week. This may not seem like a lot, but each set is performed at very high intensity and near failure.

This gives RPT an advantage for two reasons:

1). While the volume is relatively low, the intensity of each workout stimulates the muscles enough to increase size and strength. This allows you get a full, effective workout done in less than an hour. Because of the intensity however, it is only recommended you train 3x a week with RPT.

2). As long as you are eating enough, RPT works extremely well when trying to lose fat. The low volume doesn’t burn you out, yet the high intensity allows trainees to maintain all of their strength and even see some strength increases.

The Program

There are a couple of variations of RPT out there, but here is a basic one. Remember, it may not look like a lot but when done correctly it will be plenty.

RPT Rules

  1. Warm-up, working your way up to 80% of your first set load.
  2. Put your heaviest set first
  3. For your second set, drop the weight 10-15% from your first set.
  4. For your third set, drop the weight another 10-15% from your second set.
  5. Rest at least one day in between workouts and at least four days in between deadlifts and squats.

Monday

Barbell Deadlift –

Top set: 4-6 reps

Back-Off Set: 6-8 reps

Chin-Up (Weighted) –

Top Set: 6-8 reps

Back-Off Set 1: 8-10 reps

Back-Off Set 2: 10-12 reps

Barbell Row –

2 sets x 5 reps

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Wednesday

Barbell Bench Press –

Top Set: 6-8 reps

Back-Off Set 1: 8-10 reps

Back-Off Set 2: 10-12 reps

Barbell Incline Bench Press –

Top Set: 8-10 reps

Back-Off Set: 10-12 reps

Push-Ups –

2 sets x 10-12 reps

(Place feet on a bench or add 2-sec lowering when it gets too easy)

Friday

Barbell Back Squat –

Top Set: 6-8 reps

Back-Off Set 1: 8-10 reps

Back-Off Set 2: 10-12 reps

Overhead Press –

Top Set: 6-8 reps

Back-Off Set 1: 8-10 reps

Back-Off Set 2: 10-12 reps

Barbell Romanian Deadlift –

Top Set: 8-10 reps

Back-Off Set: 10-12 reps

Considerations

  • Rest 2-3 minutes between sets (closer to 3 minutes after your top set, 2 minutes for other sets).
  • For your top set, you should be aiming to increase either reps or weight each week. Continue using the same weight until you hit the top of the rep range. After that, increase the weight 5 pounds and work towards hitting the top of the rep range again.
  • For your back-off sets, follow the same form of progression as you do for your top set; aiming to hit the top of the rep range first before adding weight.
  • Some weeks you may not be able to progress on your top set, but you do on your back-off sets. That’s okay, you are still progressing.
  • Always include a proper warm-up, such as foam rolling, stretching, light cardio, or anything that gets you ready for your activity.

Reverse Pyramid Training is a great program because its short, efficient, and effective…all the characteristics of an effective workout program. If your training or progress has hit a wall, give Reverse Pyramid Training a try and enjoy the results!

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