Perhaps more commonly used by fitness veterans, pyramid training helps to improve strength and build muscles through two popular types of workout – ascending and descending pyramids.
What is the ascending pyramid?
Considered to be an advanced training technique, many experienced weightlifters use ascending pyramid training to increase strength and improve their overall condition, as it requires multiple sets; however, there is a reduction in the number of repetitions for each set as the weight increases. The weights used during the initial sets are the lightest and these will get heavier and heavier until the heaviest weights are used on the last set – thus, this pyramid training is called ascending.
Why choose ascending pyramid training?
It already includes warm-ups
One of the main advantages of the ascending pyramid method is that it serves as a warm-up for the muscles. Remember that having a progressive scheme of warm-ups reduces the risks of injury, as this prepares the target muscles for the heavier weights to come.
As the increase of weight in the succeeding sets is performed immediately, the ascending pyramid method becomes a natural volume enhancer and an instrument for growth because of the high volume of work that is executed. Furthermore, multiple-set training systems are better than low-volume training to attain hypertrophy.
A good change of pace
If you’re bored of doing the same number of reps every set, pyramid training offers a different routine that helps fuel motivation, while challenging your workout. However, executing many sets can lead to sloppiness. Therefore, be careful with your form to minimise the risk of injury and to achieve much better outcomes.
What is the descending pyramid?
Instead of starting with the lightest weight, the reverse or descending pyramid counters the traditional method for building muscles. As the weight decreases, the number of reps increases. This applies for each succeeding set accomplished. It may be energy-efficient but only the learned few know how to utilise this method effectively.
Why go for descending pyramid?
It goes for the heaviest first
Attacking the heaviest sets early, the descending pyramid seizes the opportunity before fatigue sets in. Suitable for more advanced muscle building, it results in greater growth, as most muscle fibres are being recruited on the heavy set.
The descending pyramid program is often recommended if you are aiming for muscle size. It will help to stimulate muscle tissue to create an environment that is suitable for muscle growth, while increasing the overall metabolic response to help you burn fat…. Well, if it’s good enough for Arnold Schwarzenegger!
Provides more intensity and weight
Once the work volume of both sets and reps of a given routine is considered, a greater degree of intensity and stress on the target muscle is achieved through a descending pyramid approach. While this training promises a high intensity workout, it surely delivers the desired results.
Lifting or pushing heavy weights demands an extensive warm-up but when you go for the descending pyramid training method, there’s no warm-up involved. You should always complete an adequate warm up routine before embarking on this program.
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