Pyramid Training

By Rob King

You’re in a slump.

You’re doing the same-old, same-old workouts for a while now.  You’re bored and even worse you’re not seeing results.

We all know that bodybuilding protocols of 3 sets of 8-12 reps work, but after a while change is not only good for results but also for mental sanity.

In order to be constantly losing fat, building muscle and gaining strength you need new to keep pushing your body and your mind.   

With pyramid training you will have a new rep scheme, unlimited exercise variety, and a variety of challenges to keep your training and results moving forward.

Pyramid training is basic, yet effective and very challenging both mentally and physically.  In fact, you’ve probably already seen pyramids in use.

What Is Pyramid Training?

Arnold-dumbells.jpgI'm glad you asked! Right off the bat, you should know that you've probably seen--or perhaps even used--pyramids in your own training, and just didn't know what to call it. Very basically, pyramid training is performing an exercise or two, for a particular rep and then working your way down to 1, intended to fatigue the muscle. This type of training can be employed as an upward or downward sequence in weight or reps.  It works because you wind up with a much higher level of training volume AND training density. 

Pyramid training is something that I have been using with a lot of my clients and my own training and getting amazing results.  Not only does Pyramid training work, it’s fun and challenging. Pyramid Training can be done with any piece of fitness equipment, and if you are stuck you can even use your own bodyweight.  All you need is some creativity and hard work.

Because it's so effective, pyramid training is something that I have been using with a lot of my clients any time someone hits a plateau. It's not a quick fix, but has been effective for my athletes and myself for years. 

The best part is that it's not dependent on equipment--weather you like barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, or lifting small children for reps, you can do Pyramid Training with nearly any fitness implement, or even your own bodyweight. All you need is some creativity, and the balls to put in some hard work.

Pyramid Training Benefits

  • Can be done with any type of training equipment or bodyweight
  • Workouts are short but intense
  • Workouts can be managed for weight lifted, time that you train and more
  • Can be used for bodybuilding, athletic training, fat loss or all of the above
  • Can be done with a training partner or partners or done alone

Pyramid Training Explained

To me the best training programs are simple ones that people will actually follow.  The best programs on paper are no good unless you have iron in hand and sweat on your brow.

Pyramid training is very simple and that’s another reason it’s so effective.

Step 1. Make sure you are warmed up

Step 2. Take any exercise; let’s use Bench Press for example

Step 3. You begin your first “work sets” and your first set will be 10 reps

Step 4. You continue with the same weight on the bar, and the goal of your next set is 9 reps

Step 5. You rest as needed, next set 8 reps

Step 6. You follow this rep scheme all the way to 1 reps

As you can see Pyramid training is very simple, but that i’s the beauty of it. 

Pyramids For Time Challenge

Tumblr m57y6rnPVo1rsyu17o1 500 1.pngThis is where we take things to another level.  Let’s say you bench press on Tuesday (because we know Monday is universal bench press day), and you complete all 10 sets of bench press in 25 minutes.  The goal of your next workout is to beat your own time of 25 minutes.

In doing this you will have to either lift faster, rest less or do both.  This will cause your workouts to become more intense.  You get more done in a shorter amount of time.  Anytime you do this it’s both physically and mentally challenging.

This can also be applied to every exercise.  Try doing pyramid training on squats or deadlifts to take your physical and mental training to another level.

Pyramids & Pairing Exercises

Another amazing way to use pyramids in training is by pairing exercises.

Let’s say you are training chest & back together.  We pick two exercises; let’s use Flat Dumbbell Press and Bent Over Dumbbell rows.

It’s a known fact that training opposing muscle groups will increase strength and pump. 

By pairing muscles you will improve recovery, improve strength and increase blood flow and have a kick ass workout.


Pyramid Training can be used to build muscle, lose fat, or do both.  It’s a great way to add some variety in your training and keep your body guessing.

Define your goal, pick your program, and then let the countdown begin.



Rob King is a entrepreneur, fitness writer, strength coach & body transformation expert. He is a competitive power lifter, martial arts black belt and has been featured in publications such as T-Nation, Inside Fitness and more. He is also CPPS Level 1, BioSig Certified Level 1, Training For Warriors Certified Level 1 & 2.

Website: http://www.robkingfitness.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RobKingFitness