When it comes to bodybuilding, one of the ways to build strength and muscle is through pyramid training. If you think pyramids are just structures, think again. There’s a whole different meaning to it when it comes to the fitness industry. Know more about what it is and how you can do it.
What is Pyramid Training?
Pyramid training is essentially a set of weights and reps that follow a pyramidal structure. This means that lighter weights get more reps while heavier weights get fewer. There are three kinds of pyramidal sets you can do.
The first is a full pyramid. A full pyramid training starts with lighter weights with more reps increasing to heavier weights. As the weights become heavier, say, 10% heavier, you reduce the reps. For example, if you started with 12 reps at 60% weight, you should end up with 8 reps at 80% weight.
The second is an ascending pyramid. This follows the structure of an actual pyramid where you start with light weights and move towards heavier ones.
The third is a descending pyramid that starts out at the heaviest weight that your body allows and then you decrease the weight while building more reps.
Benefits of Pyramid Training
Depending on the kind of pyramidal training you’ll use, you will have different benefits.
If you are following an ascending pyramid training, you can use light weights as your warm-ups. This helps increase your heart rate while you prep for the other weights that will test your limits. It’s also a great way to wake up the muscles and joints.
Another advantage of doing the ascending pyramid is you reduce the risk of injury. For those who are starting out with bodybuilding, their body might not be ready for heavy weights right at the start.
With an ascending pyramid structure, you can move around more which helps loosen up joints. You will also prevent tearing your muscles with the sudden heavy weights you’ll be carrying.
Lastly, it focuses on strength. If you don’t plan to bulk up, having more reps on lighter weights can challenge your strength than bulk you up.
With a descending pyramid training, you start with the heaviest set first. This means that you get to use 100% of your energy to carry the heaviest weight. By the time you go down to the lighter weights, you can still do the reps properly because it takes less energy.
This structure is also good for building muscle mass and for bulking up. This is because starting with heavier sets can lead to muscle failure right away. Muscle failure is necessary because it tears down the muscle fibers. In effect, you get to increase the size of your muscles in your arms.
Another benefit is that you can train with higher intensity when you go descending pyramid. Since you’ll start out the heaviest, you already hit the highest intensity possible with all your strength. If you were able to complete the required reps, it’s much easier to do the lighter weights faster.