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What Are Pyramid Sets? Guide to Pyramid Workouts and Training

What Are Pyramid Sets? Guide to Pyramid Workouts and Training

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If you feel like your muscles are not growing or you are not progressing anymore, it means your body muscles are not responding. They have gone into a state which is called a plateau.

In this state, body muscles stop responding or growing because of some reason. In simple words, your routine workout is not helping you anymore.

Here comes the pyramid workout training. Pyramid as the name refers to the ancient Egyptian Giza, works in the same way.

You begin with the big and take it to the narrow (top) that is how the pyramid set works. And if you reverse the process upside down, it becomes big from the top and narrow from the bottom, which is called a reverse pyramid. 


There are different ways that you can get muscle growth. But pyramid sets create metabolic stress in muscle tissues that help to grow bigger muscles.

In this pyramid workout guide for beginners, we will discuss pyramid training, how it works and what the benefits of pyramid sets are.

What are Pyramid Sets and how does it work?

Pyramid training is a group of sets, of identical exercises, that begin with the lightweight and higher reps, escalating to a heavier weight and fewer reps.

A full pyramid training is the extended version of this, decreasing the weight after you have reached the peak until you complete the pyramid. 

Like all other complex systems, pyramid training proposes that if you create metabolic stress in muscle it will grow bigger.

But pyramid training does not hit the sweet spot for strength training, however, bigger muscles will increase strength to some extent.

What are the Benefits of Pyramid Training?

Pyramid weight training is quite time-efficient. However, it depends on the number of sets you choose to complete in a workout.

The benefit of longer sets is that you fatigue the target muscle group through a variety of reps and different weight ranges. In that way, you encourage your muscle group to adapt and grow.

Well, your hard work pays out when you feel the pain and hear your muscles screaming. You’ve got a really good body shape… people will pass this comment.

Do not forget the key point, keeping intensity high by limiting the rest time between sets. This keeps your muscles staying active and under tension for longer, causing more micro-tears in the muscle fibers.

All you need to do is to promote muscle protein synthesis, which helps in the rebuilding process for stronger, new muscles.

Pyramid training is the best way to stimulate your muscle growth if you’ve hit a plateau in the gym. Whenever you feel your progress is slowing, the pyramid is the best remedy for shocking your muscles with a new stimulus. It promotes muscle growth and development.   

Tips for Successful Pyramid Training?

Don’t push your body hard in the start by lifting heavyweights. Pyramid training is the ultimate workout that covers all bases, hypertrophy, strength, and muscle endurance. Though, picking a weight that is too heavy from the beginning will end in early fatigue and a loss of form.

Proceed with a starting weight of approximately 60% of your 1RM, and increase the weight gradually according to your strategy.

Though, if you are thinking of doing a 7-set pyramid, try smaller weight increments, to make a start, and build this over time.

If your form starts to waiver or stagger, decrease the weight and try to maintain your form. Also, try to keep the target reps per set to ensure you are still achieving the volume required.

Although, if you have any energy left at the end of your workout session, push for absolute failure on the last set. However, there is no need to follow the restricted plan of organized reps.  

Warm-Up and Cool Down

It is always vital to warm up your body before the workout session and cool down after your workout session.

What makes it so essential? Effectively, they help prevent your muscles from intense damage.

A before-session warm-up, make your muscles ready for the intensive workouts or training. Rope jumping, pull-ups, sit-ups, and jumping jacks are the most common pre-workouts. So, doing a little stretching for 10-15 minutes can also be considered before lifting heavyweights.

Moreover, if aerobic exercise is not your cup of tea, you can start with a lighter weight before lifting heavy weights for training.

A cool down is a strategy to prevent muscle soreness in the following hours of a workout. Pyramids are an intensive training technique and can make you sore. Freshen up with light stretching, calisthenics, or with some modest aerobic work on the treadmill or cycling.

Types of Pyramid Sets

Standard Pyramid

Standard Pyramid Training

Increasing the weight and decreasing the reps for each set, is how the standard pyramid works. Adjust the weights (dumbbells, barbell, machine, etc.), set them in a sequence you are planning to do them.

For Example:

  • Set 1: 30 lbs x 12 repetitions

  • Set 2: 40 lbs x 10 repetitions

  • Set 3: 50 lbs x 8 repetitions

Reverse Pyramid

Reverse pyramid sets are counter to standard pyramid sets and go bottom-up, decreasing the weight by increasing the reps with each set.

For Example:

  • Set 1: 50 lbs x 8 repetitions

  • Set 2: 40 lbs x 10 repetitions

  • Set 3: 30 lbs x 12 repetitions

Diamond Pyramid

Diamond Training

In a diamond pyramid, increase the weight first and then decrease it in the same order. Diamond sets are the extended 5-set muscle blast. These sets are called diamond sets because of the rhomboid shape they consisted of.

For Example:

  • Set 1: 20 lbs x 12 repetitions

  • Set 2: 25 lbs x 10 repetitions

  • Set 3: 30 lbs x 8 repetitions

  • Set 4: 25 lbs x 10 repetitions

  • Set 5: 20 lbs x 12 repetitions

Step Pyramid

Step Pyramid Training

In this pyramid set, you flow up from down or down from up weight ranges, same as an up and down step series.

For Example:

  • Set 1: 50 lbs x 12 repetitions

  • Set 2: 40 lbs x 10 repetitions

  • Set 3: 30 lbs x 8 repetitions

  • Set 4: 40 lbs x 10 repetitions

  • Set 5: 50 lbs x 12 repetitions

Moreover, you can mix and match reps and weight like this, which is probably the easiest and most sequenced way to perform pyramid sets. The step pyramid technique makes you finish low even though reps are higher. 

Step Pyramid Training 2

  • Set 1: 30 lbs x 12 repetitions

  • Set 2: 40 lbs x 10 repetitions

  • Set 3: 50 lbs x 8 repetitions

  • Set 4: 40 lbs x 10 repetitions

  • Set 5: 30 lbs x 12 repetitions

By considering the examples you can get an idea about the variations you can make with pyramid sets. Whether you can enjoy your personalized combinations of pyramid sets.

Give it a Try

What holds you back to proceed with your workout? Is plateau the reason you are not growing anymore? Pyramid sets worth giving a try.

Begin with an apt warmup and proceed gradually towards your ultimate goal. If you feel any hindrance throughout your workout session or feel anything wrong, stop training instantly. Figure out the right way to gain muscle.

The rapid growth of muscles is possible but can be a misfortune too if you push your limits too hard. You can personalize your own pyramid set, which is a source of joy. Conclusively, pyramid sets are effective and worth trying for bigger muscles groups and strength.

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