There are so many different workouts out there and it can be a challenge to know which one to pick.

Of course, you don’t have to pick any, but if there is one workout model to try, make it pyramid shaped.

Let us explain.

What is pyramid training?

tomb radier pyramid
Image source: Tomb Raider Girl
If it’s good enough for Lara Croft…

In basic terms you start a workout at a rep range, for ease let’s say three reps, and then work your way down to just the one. You may also want to “go back up” through the rep ranges too, and you could even change the weights on each different rep range.

A simple example would be
• 10 squat reps at your 10 rep weight
• Move down through 8 rep, 6 reps, 4 reps and 2 reps
• Then move back up through 4, 6 and 8, finishing at 10

For a more intense example, with differing weights, see this workout, designed by the lads from Matrix who created Kong Testosterone Booster.

Kong Killer Chest Workout 680

What are the benefits of pyramid training?

Perfect for strength training and beating plateaus
With the different rep ranges and weights, you recruit more muscle fibres, which obviously in turn means you engage more muscle. This means that for strength, pyramid workouts are ideal and if you hit a plateau, this is the perfect way to get past them.

Saves time
You can get a lot done in a short space of time with pyramid workouts. (That is if you don’t change weights between sets!) Because you are usually just using one piece of kit, you won’t need to: stop, walk, set up, lift, repeat.

Can be turned into a game
Because you have a concrete plan, it is easy to decipher what your concrete time of doing it is. So if you were to do our example above, with the same weight each time, then you can compare your times and see some progress, other than weights.

Can be doubled up
It is well known, and indeed logical, that working opposites is a good way to maximise your workout. An example would be working quads and hamstrings one after the other. This allows your muscles to rest, and gives you a window to work on another muscle group. By doubling up pyramid workouts you can effectively work different muscle groups in a small amount of time.

Can be used in a variety of ways
There is so much flexibility with pyramid workouts, in terms of reps, set numbers, whether you go up or down, and weights, that you really can tailor the workout to your own needs. You can even adapt it for HIIT, using a model similar model to the Yo-Yo test. Whatever works for you!

Up or down?

Whether you start with your 10 rep max and then remove weight, or work by slowly adding weight, you will see improvements in size. The same can be said with changing rep ranges also. In 2003 there was a study done on the DeLorme (increasing weights) and Oxford (removing) techniques, but they were unable to find any real difference between the two.

So try it, tweak it, and hopefully, this is the right shaped workout for you, and a lifetime of happy gains!