What Is A Pyramid Workout?

Working out can be pretty monotonous sometimes. You can easily get into the habit of doing the same workout, the same number of reps every single day.

It can be boring after a while, so how can you switch it up?

A pyramid workout may be just the thing you need to add some variety to your workout regime. It’s also great for giving you even more strength gains. 

So, what is a pyramid workout? Here’s everything that you need to know.

What Is A Pyramid Workout?

A pyramid workout is what it sounds like, essentially. In a pyramid workout, you typically alter the amount of weight that you are lifting based on the set that you are on.

So in an ascending pyramid, you would start off with a light weight and more reps, and you would finish on a heavy weight with fewer reps. 

There are also descending pyramids that start off with the heavy weights and the low number of reps and then finish off with the light weights and high reps.

The Benefits of a Pyramid Workout

There are a number of benefits to doing pyramid workouts. If you begin with a higher number of reps and a lower weight, you are essentially giving your body an endurance workout.

As you continue through the workout, you’re using a heavier weight but fewer reps and this further helps with building the strength in your muscles.

You’re providing a challenge for the muscle. The fatigue that your muscles will experience will help the muscles to grow and get stronger.

The first couple of reps and sets essentially end up acting as a warm up to the heavier sets which means that the heavier sets become a little easier to do as a result.

As we’ve already mentioned, pyramid workouts can also help you to avoid the boredom that can come with doing the same set over and over again.

It’s a great change of pace and it can be quite helpful with keeping you motivated.

Pyramid workouts can help you to figure out what you can and can’t do in a workout, too.

As you build up the weights you can figure out whether the next weight level will be too heavy for you or if it’s going to be just right.

This is important as it can help you to avoid over-straining yourself, which can prevent injuries in the long run. 

Examples Of A Pyramid Workout

Examples Of A Pyramid Workout

Pyramid workouts come in a range of different forms. The most common form of pyramid workout is the ascending pyramid.

As previously mentioned, in this form of pyramid workout, you start with a lighter weight and high reps. As you continue, you increase the weight and decrease the reps. For instance:

  • First Set – Lightest Weight – 12-16 reps
  • Second Set – Light to Medium Weight – 10-12 reps. 
  • Third Set – Medium Weight – 8-10 reps
  • Fourth Set – Heaviest Weight – 4-6 reps

You could also do a descending pyramid, which is essentially the formula listed above but in the opposite order. 

You can do these exercises with whatever equipment you like in order to create a tailored workout routine that works for you.

You can also further vary the routine based on what you want to do on the day.

Do You Rest During Pyramid Sets?

As with any kind of workout, it’s always important to rest in between your sets. It allows you and your muscles a chance to recover, and this is vital for healthy muscle growth.

The best thing to do is to rest for anywhere between 20 and 30 seconds in between each individual set. 

When you finish the entire pyramid workout for the first time, you should take a longer break of around 1 to 1 and a half minutes. 

It’s always best to do a couple of rounds of pyramid workouts in order to get the most out of it.

Performing 8 rounds should be ideal, but it’s best to do what works for you rather than pushing yourself excessively. 

How Many Calories Can I Burn By Doing a Pyramid Workout? 

It’s very easy to get hung up on calorie burn when it comes to doing exercise. After all, we want to be able to quantify what we are doing in order to gauge whether we are effective.

Of course, when it comes to strength training such as in a pyramid work out, it’s better to use a different performance metric.

Calorie burn isn’t the immediate goal of strength training. Typically, muscle growth does tend to lead to more calorie burn over time but in the short term it isn’t the most effective way to burn calories.

Instead of focusing on calories, it may be worthwhile to focus on the amount of weight that you can lift and how many reps you can do at each weight.

The great thing about pyramid training is that it can often help you to lift weights that are heavier than you could even realize you could lift before, and that in itself is a satisfying realization.

Are Pyramid Workouts Good for Hypertrophy?

If you are looking to increase your muscle size and want an exercise regime that’s good for hypertrophy, the pyramid workout may be just the thing that you need.

With certain pyramid workouts you are essentially sending your muscles into overdrive.

For instance, a pyramid triangle workout in which you start low, then go for a high weight mid way through and then work back to the low weight, can be great for hypertrophy since it results in muscle failure more often.

Likewise, pyramid workouts are also good for fat loss and conditioning. They can be used for pretty much all of your strength based goals.


So that’s everything that you need to know about pyramid workouts!

As mentioned, these workouts are ideal if you’re looking to switch up your workout regime, so why not give pyramid workouts a try?