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9 Comments

  1. Tyson
    June 12, 2012 @ 11:15 am

    Great article. I have been doing reverse pyramids for awhile now and love the strength gains. Quick question regarding the rep range you outlined above. Depending on your goal (size vs strength), do you pick a category based on your first set or your last set? For example, if pure size was my goal, would my first set be in the 11-15 range or would I want to adjust so my last set was in the 11-15 range? Currently I do 4-6-8 on most lifts and have gotten really strong but now I am looking to add some size along with my strength gains.

    Reply

    • Kevin
      August 2, 2012 @ 8:01 am

      Tyson,
      If you’re wanting to continue to gain strength and add size as well I would try 6-8-10. See how your body responds and if you need you could bump it up to 8-10-12.

      I hope that helps!

      Reply

  2. Siddharta1979
    June 13, 2012 @ 1:28 am

    Good article! I’ve used the system from time to time, and I like it but I like to change.
    Some questions, if you don’t mind:
    1) Would you keep 2-3 min rest even if going for pure size, or less than that in such a case?
    2) Would you do 3 sets or more than that?
    3) Do you recommend a tighter range such as 8-9-10 or wider, such as 6-8-10?

    Thanks a bunch!

    Reply

    • george super bootcamps
      September 17, 2012 @ 3:23 am

      Hey Siddharta,

      I’ll take a pop at answering your questions, having just come to this post by Kevin.

      1: 2-3 mins rest will allow you to balance rest and muscle fatigue. If you opt for shorter rest periods you’ll get greater occlusion (which will lead to greater sarcoplasmic hypertrophy – showy muscle gains), and if you go for longer periods you’ll be able to lift greater weights, which will promote myofibrillar hypertrophy – hard muscle gains. As with the next two questions, the key is balance. It’s another variable to play around with. Have you done 2-3min rests for a while? Change it around and drop it to 45-60 secs for a bit, then change again to take it up to 4 mins and give your body a chance to adapt to both. Neither is wrong, per se, but each can be more appropriate.

      2: I’d opt for a second exercise rather than more sets. Train a different movement pattern and a slightly different set of muscle fibres.

      3: I’d go for whatever the weight drops give you; I prefer to think in rep ranges rather than specific numbers, after all, your body doens’t know about numbers, it just knows the tension and fatigue you’re putting it through. So if you follow Martin Berkhans method and drop 10% or so each set, you determine your rep range by your starting rep and your ability to recover (which is where the variable in q1 comes in; if you take shorter rests you’ll end up either keeping the reps the same over the sets or only increasing by 1 rep or so, whereas if you have bigger rest periods you’ll be able to crank out higher rep numbers each set).

      I hope this helps, feel free to ask any more questions you might have.

      Good luck,
      George

      Reply

  3. Greg - Kinobody Fitness
    June 14, 2012 @ 11:57 am

    Very well written article Kev!

    Reverse pyramid training is my favourite way to lift! Strength gains have been incredible. Your method of reverse pyramid training seems more geared towards hypertrophy. Would definitely be ideal during a maintenance or muscle gaining phase.

    Since I’m dieting I like to keep the volume/work a little bit lower for reverse pyramid training. My first work set is always max effort and then I will do 2 more sets reducing the weight by 10% each time and only adding 1-2 more reps.

    When I’m off my dieting stint I will definitely look into trying it your way with smaller reductions in weight and more volume.

    Reply

    • Kevin
      October 12, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

      Thanks Greg! Yep, RPT is the way to go.

      Reply

  4. Madhusudan
    November 17, 2012 @ 8:27 pm

    Hi in every work out I ll do from heavy weight to lower weight 4 sets is it good and tell me good work outs for back muscles

    Reply

  5. Petros
    April 2, 2013 @ 10:32 pm

    Nice article Kevin,
    I followed a 3days full body routine over 3 motnhs and i can say than worked perfect on me. I almost double my total workload. Due to work reasons i had an abscence of 2 months from the gym and now i start over again and i am tochange to 4days routine, 2 times uper body and 2 times legs + arms per week. My question based on the sets while going from one excersice to the other.
    For eaxmple, i press on bench 2sets of 6,8 reps then go to incline bench and do 6,8 reps and then do dumbbell flyes 6,8 reps or should 6,8 > 8,10 > 10,12 and make one pyramid of 3 exercises ?

    Reply

  6. Andrew Lawson
    November 7, 2015 @ 4:27 am

    Although some of what is stated in this article is true, through self experimentation, reading studies and discussing it with other long time fitness experts I’ve come to the conclusion that it depends on you’re own personal abilities. For example I find building strength really easy (maybe its genetic) but I find I really struggle when I get to my 8 to 12 reps (the muscle building reps as some people would put it) and the 12 to 15 reps (my own muscular endurance exercise). When I chose to do endurance first on gym sesscion I had much better results because I need a lot more energy to do my endurance and muscle building sets heavier when it came to my strength sets I still made the progress I was expecting to make when doing my reverse pyramid set! For me building strength is easy so I can put it last! But if you find increasing strength the hardest thing to do then do that first!

    Reply

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