What Is Reverse Pyramid Training

What Is Reverse Pyramid Training?


To build strength and muscle, you don’t have to force the body into overdrive. It’s all about using the right tactics, reps, and sets to get the desired result. Whether you are in the mood to bolster your frame or revamp your workout routine, then reverse pyramid training can make for a perfect fit.

With it, you can get past a plateau and get the workout progress you’ve been looking for. But, to really reap the benefits, you need to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. That’s why we decided to compile this guideline for you. Here is a detailed overview of reverse pyramid training.


Reverse Pyramid Training – What Is It, Exactly?

Pyramid training is a stepped approach that uses repetition and sets to amplify the workout routine. The structure of the pyramid training means that it is wide on the bottom and quite narrow on the top. With reverse pyramid training, you are looking at a tactic that’s narrow at the bottom, yet wide at the top.

According to research published by the National Institutes of Health, pyramid training allows people to train with progressive overload for each set and slowly boost their muscle stimuli. This makes their workout more efficient and their training a lot more motivating.

This routine is abbreviated and requires a high level of intensity. This training indicates that if the person creates metabolic stress to their muscle tissue, that tissue will grow larger. The pyramid training system proved to be an efficient tactic at amplifying muscle growth and muscular strength, study shows.

A reverse pyramid starts with a warmup, that’s tailored towards prepping the muscles for heavy loads. A typical warmup consists of stretches and aerobic activities for a span of 10-15 min. Then, you start with heavy lifts and progress to higher rep ranges.

Here is a typical example of a classic reverse pyramid training.

  • 2x Bench Press (2-3 rep range) – around 90% of 1RM
  • 3x Incline Bench Press (4-6 rep range) – around 85% of 1RM
  • 3x Incline Dumbbell Press (4-6 rep range)
  • 2x Dips (8-10 rep range) – around 75% of 1RM

Female fitness enthusiasts, who prefer to focus on their lower body, can start with warm-up sets. Here is a typical example of how reverse pyramid training can look like in cases such as these:

  • 2x Squats (4-6 rep range)
  • 3x Front Squats (8-10 rep range)
  • 3x Romanian Deadlifts (8-10 rep range)
  • 2x Bulgarian Split Squats (13-15 rep range)
  • 2x Hip Thrust  (13-15 rep)

If you want a more general outline then for the first set you can start with 50 lbs x 8 reps. For the second, you move to 40 lbs x 10 reps. And the third set at 30 lbs x 12 reps. Some trainers suggest female and male trainees do different reps.

The idea behind this is to avoid compromising muscle recovery. But, it depends from person to person. To choose the best exercise tailored to your needs, consult with a personal trainer. They can suggest the type of exercise you should go for.


Who Is This Kind of Training Best For?

Reverse pyramid training can be an ideal opportunity for trainees who are sluggish at the gym. They either didn’t push themselves enough or just wanted to see better results. The reason for that is relatively simple.

Whenever people try reverse pyramid training for the very first time, they quickly realize they can do so much more than they previously believed. The training is pushing them to their limit, forcing them to get to the edge of failure every single time and get back up again. 

But, that isn’t the case for novice lifters. If the body is not used to heavy workouts, trainees are prone to failure. They tend to overexert their muscles without getting the desired result. So, reverse pyramid training is best for experienced trainees with a low overall training volume.


How Long To Do This Training For?

This training usually involves three complete body workouts a week, with each lasting about an hour or less. After finishing a set, people should rest for at least 90 sec to up to 3 min. The idea is to do the reps with a full range of motion without asking for outside help.

Finally, add maximum effort to the last rep. Although the length of the training may vary from person to person, this is a general estimate of how most trainees do it.


How to Maximise Reverse Pyramid Training?

For efficient reverse pyramid training, you will put a lot of focus on compound weightlifting, muscle workouts, enough protein intake, and proper rest. Adequate nutrient intake is crucial for every weightlifter, which is probably something you were already familiar with.

But, what most people don’t know is how to maximise their pyramid training and reap the benefits. After doing the first set, rest is crucial. The resting period shouldn’t last more than 3 min so that the body can be ready for the next set.

During the second set, try to finish 6 to 8 reps with around 90% of the weight you lifted the last set. The idea is to work on as much as the body can handle, without overburdening it. For the third set, reduce the weight by 10%.

Those who are ready to take it to the next level can add more weight with each set to boost their muscle mass. Experienced lifters are also reducing resting periods between sets for a little while just to amplify the results.


Final Thoughts

When you want to boost your workouts, the possibilities are endless. With reverse pyramid training, you are gaining a plethora of benefits, which is why many trainees and athletes have been opting for it. Now that you know how to do it, you can make the most of your next session at the gym.










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