For anybody out there looking for viable methods of packing lean muscle onto their frames, you’ll know right off the bat that the actual art of building muscle is far from simple and it constantly requires you to mix up your training and keep your body guessing what’s going on.
Bodybuilding is far from simple, and anybody who tells you otherwise is either lying through their teeth, or vastly misinformed.
Bodybuilding isn’t simply a sport, hobby, or pastime, it’s a lifestyle that requires constant care and attention.
Training, for example, is not just as simple as walking into a gym, grabbing a set of dumbbells and spending the next 40 minutes curling or pressing.
Not only do the exercises you perform, play a vital role on how much muscle you build, so too does the volume I.E the reps and sets.
Because of this, following a pyramid workout routine could prove incredibly beneficial for anybody trying to build muscle and shape up.
A pyramid workout routine can be adjusted to suit your own preferences and training styles, it is a proven method for building muscle, and above all else, it is very simple to perform once you understand how.
Most people who train at the gym, will follow traditional sets and rep ranges of around 4 sets of 8 – 12 reps, or when training heavier, 4 sets of 6 – 8 reps for example.
Although beneficial, after a while the body will quickly adapt and before we know it, we’ll be stuck in a plateau not gaining any size or definition in the slightest.
There are three different forms of pyramid workout you can try, and they are as follows:
A Descending Pyramid Workout
Descending pyramid workouts will begin with, you are performing your initial working set using the heaviest weight you can handle (after you’ve warmed up of course).
As you’re going heavy, you’ll be aiming for a weight which allows you to perform around 5 – 6 reps before you begin to fatigue.
With your next set you will reduce the weight and perform more reps I.E 6 – 8 reps.
After that, you will again go lighter and increase the reps again, I.E 8 – 12 reps.
You will continue to drop the weight and increase the reps until you’re able to perform 15 – 20 reps before you begin to fatigue.
This form of training is intended to allow you to perform both high, and low reps all with the same exercise.
As you begin with low reps and heavy weights, however, you will be well rested and so will be able to go slightly heavier.
An Ascending Pyramid Workout
With ascending pyramid workouts, the idea is for you to increase the amount of weight you’re lifting with each working set.
So, say for example you plan on barbell bench pressing for 4 sets, with your first set you will go relatively light in weight and aim to perform around 15 reps before you fatigue.
With your second set you will increase the weight and aim for a weight which allows you to perform around 12 – 15 reps before you fatigue.
With your next set, again go heavier and aim for around 10 – 12 reps.
You will continue to train in this way until you reach a heavy weight which allows you to perform around 4 – 6 reps before you fatigue.
This is ideal because again, you’re working with different reps, at different weights, which is a great way of shaking things up.
A Triangle Pyramid Workout
This is the most gruelling form of all pyramid workouts as you will take elements from both the descending, and the ascending pyramid workouts and combine them into one giant set.
You should begin by selecting a light weight and then follow the steps outlined in the ascending pyramid workout listed above.
You should aim for between 4 – 6 reps. As soon as you finish, however, you will then move your way down the weights in the exact opposite way to how you came up it.
So, to give you an example of the rep ranges you should be dealing with, they may look something like this: 18 – 14 – 10 – 6 – 10 – 14 – 18.
Just remember that as you do move down in weight, you probably won’t be able to hit the same amount of reps that you were able to perform with your first few sets, but don’t worry, just aim to get as close to these rep ranges as possible, without compromising your form of course.
Alternatively, you may wish to choose a slightly lighter weight instead.
Obviously you will be performing around 7 working sets, but this added volume will equate to more lean muscle mass, which is exactly what you should be looking to achieve.
Sample Shoulder Pyramid Workout:
If your deltoids are considerably lacking in size compared to the rest of your body, try this shoulder pyramid workout the next time you’re in the gym and after a few weeks you should begin noticing some pretty impressive improvements:
Exercise Sets Reps
Seated dumbbell shoulder press: 4 5 – 8 – 12 – 16
Standing barbell military press: 4 14 – 12 – 10 – 8
Standing side dumbbell lateral raises: 3 16 – 12 – 8
EZ bar upright rows: 3 8 – 12 – 16
Dumbbell front raises: 4 16 – 14 – 12 – 10