Pyramid weight training


 Worksheets (Click the link below to download the class worksheet)


1.   Pyramid Push Exercises


2.  Pyramid Pull Exercises


3. Pyramid Lower body Exercises


            Pyramid Power Strength Training Workout — The Pyramid Workout has been around a long time and is still the most popular way to train the Bench Press according to one of my on-line polls. In addition, it can be an effective way to train your Squat, Incline Bench Press or Shoulder Press. This type of training is considered somewhat advanced and as a result is not recommended for novice or young lifters. Always use a spotter and/or spotting equipment with this workout.


This is just one of the many ways a pyramid workout can be designed, but the underlining principles remain the same. Warm-up with a light set, perform progressively heavier sub-maximal effort lead-in sets up to a 100% set, and if that goes well, add 5 pounds and try to establish a new 1-rep max. The workout finishes with four progressively lighter, but challenging work sets. The complete pyramid workout can usually be performed twice a week. However, anytime you feel you have not recovered from your previous workout, go lighter by doing just the first half of the pyramid ending at 1 x 95%, or take an additional 1-2 days of rest.






1 x 95%

1 x 100%

1 x 100% +5 lb.

2 x 85%


and/or 1 x 95%

4 x 75%

2-3 x 90%

6 x 65%

4-6 x 80%

8 X 50%

7-10 x 70%


Pyramid Power









1. Warm-up with 8 reps at 50% of your 1-rep max. Don't be hesitant to warm-up more if you feel you need to. Some people like to do a light 10 rep set with just the empty barbell as their first warm-up set.




2. Follow the prescribed reps and percentages right up to your 100% or 1-rep max set. Take a 1-2 minute rest between warm-up and lead-in sets. Take a 2-3 minute rest before the 1x 95% set and between every set thereafter. Don't hesitate to take longer rest periods if you feel you need to.




3. Based on how your 1-rep max set felt, decide whether or not to try to establish a new max by adding 5 pounds. If you attempt a new max, it is a good idea to skip the 95% down set.




4. If you establish a new 1-rep max, that becomes your next workout.




5. When you are no longer able to make progress because of reaching a plateau or over-training, you should re-cycle your program. Reduce the weight (your current 1-rep max) you use to determine your workout by 10%. For example: If your current 1-rep max is 300 lbs., use 90% of that as your workout max (270 lb.) for your first workout when you re-cycle. Build up your weights again gradually by adding 5-10 lbs per workout to each previous workout max. By backing off in this manner and building up again, you will allow your body a chance to recover and possibly break through your previous plateau.


  • The idea of pyramiding is so your muscles keep using more weight. The more weight you use the stronger you become, the stronger you become the more weight you can use.
  • The pyramid principle is based on ONE REP MAX (the amount of weight you can perform the exercise with properly one time). Than you use the chart below to figure out how much weight to use for each set.
  • Each week you need to increase the amount of weight you use based on your ONE REP MAX for that exercise. After 6 weeks its time to recalculate your 1RM
  • It is VERY IMPORTANT that you use a spotter, And make sure you are warmed up properly before trying to perform your 1RM


Over time you must increase the of weight you use based on your One 1 Rep Max