Pyramid Set Workout: What It Is & How To Do It

by Zahara Chowdhury

There are a variety of ways to weight train and a pyramid style of training is a very effective and efficient way to improve and gain strength.

The theory behind a pyramid style of training is that we increase resistance (weight) and decrease the number of repetitions as we complete
a pyramid set.
Just like the shape of a pyramid, we start with a lighter weight and more repetitions, gradually increasing the resistance and decreasing the repetitions during the workout.

How to do it:


An example of a pyramid set format looks like this:
10-12 repetitions (light to medium weight; around 40-50% of your max effort)
8-10 repetitions (medium weight; around 60-70% of your max effort)
6-8 repetitions (medium to heavy weight; around 80% of your max effort)
4-6 repetitions (heavy weight; around 90% of your max effort)

You can then reverse the pyramid to maximise the time and efficiency of your workout (and develop your strength!):
4-6 repetitions (heavy weight; around 90% of your max effort)
6-8 repetitions (medium to heavy weight; around 80% of your max effort)
8-10 repetitions (medium weight; around 60-70% of your max effort)
10-12 repetitions (light to medium weight; around 40-50% of your max effort)

Pyramid sets are so versatile - the above is a model format, but you can easily build your own workout plan or routine. However, you might choose to start with really light weights, performing up to 16 repetitions at the start of your pyramid set and ending on a one rep max (the most weight you can manage, safely, performing one repetition) at the end of your set. Either way, it’s still pyramid training. You can keep a track of the resistance you are using in the Tone and Sculpt app, which can help you keep track of your pyramid sets as you aim to increase resistance every 2-3 weeks.

There are so many benefits to pyramid training and below we have listed some practical pointers and advice about them:
Pyramid sets can be used in all types of weight training, from barbells to cable machines. However, just assess the amount of time you have when training. For example, constantly changing the plates on a barbell to do deadlifts may not work if you are short on time, but increasing and decreasing the weight when using a cable machine to perform tricep pushdowns or cable rope face pulls is quite time efficient.