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Reverse Pyramid Training

Updated: Oct 13, 2020

Over the years I have literally tried it all when it comes to weight training methods. These methods have ranged from traditional full body routines, classic splits, German volume training, high intensity training. They all have their merits however I have found reverse pyramid training to be the best by far. In spite of all this I still find it surprising that this training method is relatively unknown.


Before we get into it, the first thing I want to emphasis is not to be too overly attached to one training method. The truth is that in many cases, contrasting approaches have built great physiques. Serge Nubret would prefer long routines consisting of a lot of volume and variety. He would even train his abs with hundreds of repetitions every single day. No one could argue with his results, as I still contend he built the most aesthetic physique of all time.


Then you have guys like Mike Mentzer who advocated Arthur Jones's High Intensity training. High intensity training was based on short routines, the philosophy being hit it hard, brief, get out of the gym and grow. Again who could argue with Mentzer's results, one of the greatest physiques ever built.


Personally speaking, am in the low volume camp. I have had superior results with this style of training, but as I said before I try not to become too dogmatic and overly attached to one particular training method. There is always something to learn and I always keep an open mind a listen to what everyone has to say.


This by all means does not mean that a well developed individual with a 20 inch arm possesses a badge of training knowledge and expertise. Some people may be blessed with awesome genetics and as long as they are willing to work hard and consistently, will achieve amazing results. This can be the case even with a below average knowledge of training. Anabolic steroids just accentuate this. Unfortunately if you were to follow the advice of such a person you may not achieve the same results.


With that being said, the best training method I have used to build my physique has been reverse pyramid training. There are other methods that particularly stand out for me personally such as the classic 5 x 5 strength method. But for now lets focus on Reverse Pyramid and why I think it has major advantages to other methods.


One of the major benefits is the time efficiency. If you don't have a lot of time to spend training, don't dismay as I have got your back! You can achieve awesome results without becoming a gym rat. But there is just one with one caveat; you have to train hard. If you are willing to do that, I can assure you you don't need much time in the gym.


The truth is that you don't need to spend long hours in the gym to build consistent strength and muscle gains. What you do need is consistency, correct exercise selection, proper nutrition and rest. I have made fantastic progress training as little as thrice per week using short 30 to 40 minute sessions. Like I have always said, it is not the length of your workouts that are important but the quality of the exercises and overall intensity. Intensity is an essential element to the reverse pyramid method.


So now that you understand that you don't need to live in the gym to build an awesome physique, I am now going to describe the second major benefit. The second major benefit is that reverse pyramid works fantastically well while dieting to lose fat. In other words it works amazingly well to retain or even grow lean muscle tissue while dieting. I have used this method to maintain and even grow muscle while dieting and so have countless others all around the world.


So what exactly is reverse pyramid training and how does it differ from traditional pyramid training?


You may or may not be familiar with traditional pyramid training. With traditional pyramid training you start with a light weight and high reps then work up to higher weight and lower reps. Yes it works fairly well, however there is a major drawback to this method. This major drawback is that after performing your initial sets with lighter weights and higher reps, by the time you get to your heavy sets you are fatigued. I personally find this counter intuitive and not optimal for muscle growth. Let me give you an example:


This is a classic set up using traditional pyramid training for 5 sets of bench press:


Set 1 70 kg x 12 reps

Set 2 80 kg x 10 reps

Set 3 90 kg x 8 reps

Set 4 100 kg x 6 reps

Set 5 110 kg x 4 Reps


As you can see in the example the initial sets are higher reps, lighter weight and subsequent sets get heavier and the reps get lower.


Now the results with this training are good and proven but as you can see there is a drawback: as you get to the heavy main set you are quite tired after all the initial sets. Reverse pyramid training fixes this and that is why I see it is a much better alternative.


So with reverse pyramid you actually do your heaviest set first when you are fresh and reap the benefits. You then reduce the weight by 5 to 10% and increase the reps higher. This method of training is superior for building muscle and strength.


So here is an example to get you to understand better. Let's use the 5 sets of bench press as an example:


Set 1 120 kg x 6

Set 2 115 kg x 7

Set 3 110 kg x 8

Set 4 105 kg x 9

Set 5 100 kg x 10


I just need to make it clear that although you hit your initial set with the greatest weight, you must warm up prior. After performing a sufficient warm up you then go all out and hit your heaviest set when you are fresh. For me personally, I have achieved the best progress ever in my training career. I am still amazed that such and incredible method is still relatively unknown and still has not achieved major adoption.


I urge you to give this cutting edge method a try, trust me you wont regret it.


I hope you have enjoyed this article and found this helpful.





#weighttraining #pyramidtraining #trainingguides

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