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*Great benefits for Endurance, Hypertrophy, and Strength.

* Don't lock arms during bench press
(maintain mass building and stress)

* Use comfortable Weight increments for Pyramid sets
(No need to add heavy weight EVERY set)

Check out Chris Jones of Pumpchaser performing an Incline Bench Pyramid Set.


Most Preferred Exercises to Use Pyramid Workouts With
(Courtesy Jim Stoppani, PhD)

"If your goal is to maximize fat loss, I recommend replacing one minute of rest between sets with one minute of cardioacceleration. Cardioacceleration involves replacing your rest periods with your choice of cardio activity. For example, instead of resting for 2-3 minutes after set 3, do 1 minute of squat thrusts, followed by 1-2 minutes of rest.


If your goal is to maximize fat loss and minimize time in the gym, replace your entire rest time with cardioacceleration before moving on to your next set."


  • Legs: squat, leg press, machine back squat, deadlift, Romanian deadlift
  • Chest: bench press, dumbbell bench press, machine press, reverse-grip bench press
  • Back: barbell bent-over row, lat pulldown, seated cable row, machine row
  • Shoulders: barbell shoulder press, dumbbell shoulder press, machine shoulder press, upright row
  • Biceps: barbell curl, dumbbell curl, incline dumbbell curl
  • Triceps: close-grip bench press, dumbbell overhead extension, lying barbell extension
  • Forearms: barbell wrist curl, dumbbell wrist curl, reverse EZ-bar curl
  • Traps: barbell shrug, dumbbell shrug, smith machine shrug
  • Calves: standing calf raise, seated calf raise, leg press calf raise
  • Abs: rope crunch, cable woodchopper, machine crunch


Take a look at Jims Power Pyramid Routine below

Ascending Pyramid: This pyramid starts with light weight and high reps, and with each successive set the weight gets heavier and the reps get lower.

Descending Pyramid: This pyramid starts with heavy weight and low reps, and each successive set gets lighter while the reps get higher.

Ascending/Descending Pyramid: Also known as a "triangle pyramid," this pyramid starts with weight increases and finished with weight decreases. If the order is reversed and you start with weight decreases and finish with weight increases, it is known as a descending/ascending pyramid.

Thanks to Jim and Bodybuilding.com for the below information

For each exercise in the Power Pyramid, you'll do a total of 6 sets.
The rep counts of these 6 sets will be: 8, 5, 6, 6, 12, 15.


Set 1: 8 Reps

Goal: Power


Do the first training set with a very light weight that allows you to perform 30 reps or more—but just do 8 reps and stop. You don't want to start out by fatiguing your muscles when you're training for power. The fatiguing sets will come later.


Perform these 8 reps as quickly and explosively as possible during the positive portion, then slow and controlled on the negative portion. This first stage will serve as both a warm-up and a power-building set.


Set 2: 5 Reps
Goal: Power


For set 2, increase to a weight that will allow you to perform 15-20 reps, but stop at 5. As in the previous sets, do these 5 reps as explosively as possible on the positive portion of the rep, then slow and controlled on the negative. This stage will serve as a second power set and will help you build more explosiveness in the muscle group you're training.


Sets 3 And 4: 6 Reps Each
Goal: Strength


For sets 3 and 4, jump up to a weight you can do for 6 reps. Perform as many reps as possible, ideally reaching failure at or around the sixth rep at set 3.


For set 4, don't worry about how many reps you can do. Keep the weight the same as in set 3, and do the best you can. Try to perform your set 4 reps quickly and explosively, even though the heavy weight will prevent you from moving very fast. Just trying to lift a heavy weight as explosively as possible can help increase both power and strength, which is the purpose of this stage.


Sets 3 and 4 are the peak of the pyramid. From here, you'll descend back down the pyramid.


Sets 5, 6, And 7: 12-15 Reps
Goal: Hypertrophy


This stage is really made up of 3 dropsets, with set 6 including the possibility of an extra dropset.


For set 5, choose a weight that allows you to complete 10-12 reps. Complete as many reps as possible until you reach muscle failure, which should be between 10 and 12 reps.


Begin set 6 by reducing the weight 40-50 percent and doing as many reps as possible until you reach failure. Your goal should be to complete at least 15-20 reps. If you can't complete at least 15 reps, move on to dropset 7.


Begin set 7 by reducing the weight by another 10-30 percent, depending on how many reps you have left. Complete this dropset until you reach muscle failure. Do your reps for these two final sets at a slow and controlled pace on both the positive and negative portions (about 1-2 seconds on the positive and 2 seconds on the negative). Your combined rep count for sets 6 and 7 should be at least 15.


If you couldn't do 15 reps in set 6 this week, your goal for next week should be to either complete 15 reps at last week's weight—or reduce the weight a bit and see if you can get your 15. Once you can do 15-20 reps at a weight, try to do more reps week after week at that same weight.

Other sources, like T-Nation.. feels that Pyramids involve repeatedly using the same amount of weights, just simply decreasing rep count.

They also provided a pretty interesting weekly programming using only pyramids. See below

Day 1 Chest & Back


Bench Press 12 working down to 8
Bent-Over Row 12 working down to 8
Incline Dumbbell Press 12 working down to 8 .
Seated Row 12 working down to 8
Push-Up 15 working down to 1

Day 2 Off


Day 3 Shoulders & Arms


Dumbbell Shoulder Press 12 working down to 8
Front Raise 12 working down to 8
Side Lateral 12 working down to 8
Barbell Biceps Curl 12 working down to 8
Lying Triceps Extension 12 working down to 8
Preacher Curl 12 working down to 8
Triceps Push Down 12 working down to 8

Day 4 Off



Day 5 Quads, Hamstrings, Calves


Back Squat 12 working down to 8
Stiff Leg Deadlift 12 working down to 8
Leg Extension 12 working down to 8
Hamstring Curl 12 working down to 8
Standing Calf Raise 15 working down to 1
Toe Raise 15 working down to 1

Day 6 Off


Day 7 Glutes & Core


Hip Thruster 15 working down to 5
Ab Roll Out 15 working down to 5
Single Leg Hip Thruster 15 working down to 5
Knee Up 15 working down to 5

Here is the original source along with more information on T-Nation