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Thread: Bench Press Pyramids

  1. #1
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    Bench Press Pyramids

    Does anyone have a lot of experience doing these? So far I've been going for:

    8 reps 60%
    6 reps 65%
    4 reps 70%
    3 reps 75%
    2 reps 80%

    with a max of 255

    Frankly, I just started doing them and they happened to coincide with the largest strength increase I've ever experienced. So, if anyone has had a lot of success with a different version of a pyramid bench press workout then I'd like to hear it...

    Codeguru
    Last edited by Codeguru; 01-28-2011 at 12:19 AM.

  2. #2
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    I find your percentages (or reps that goes with the percentages) a bit low, imo you should be able to get at least 5-6 reps with the 80%. The 80% and above section is were you want to be. That is the place were you build both muscle and strength, but than again if it works keep doing it! As far as the pyramids there are numerous ways to do that. You could even try a reverse pyramid. Start out heavy/low rep and decrease weight while increasing reps on the way down.

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    I did it when I was new and it worked well. It got me confident lifting heavier weights.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffreyXL View Post
    I find your percentages (or reps that goes with the percentages) a bit low, imo you should be able to get at least 5-6 reps with the 80%. The 80% and above section is were you want to be. That is the place were you build both muscle and strength, but than again if it works keep doing it! As far as the pyramids there are numerous ways to do that. You could even try a reverse pyramid. Start out heavy/low rep and decrease weight while increasing reps on the way down.
    Well the whole deal is I've been doing a few new things like starting or now continuing my Creatine cycle, bulking seriously, circuit training cardio, and pyramid bench press workouts. And I'm trying to find out exactly what combination of those suddenly shot me up 30lbs on my max bench press, maybe even more like 35-40lbs now, I haven't tried to max in a week or so. Maybe I didn't get those percentages right, the last pyramid I tried ended with me doing 2 reps of 230 lbs which is a lot more than 80%. Heck, it could even be the fact that I backed off a bit on my bench press lifting schedule as I was almost doing 6 sets of 8-10 reps every mon/wed/fri, 3 in the afternoon and 3 at night. Now it's just 3 sets. I guess this is just me looking for what the hell is working so well and trying to replicate it or perfect it...

    Codeguru

  5. #5
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    Ive done a lot of experimenting like this in the past.... Sometimes it works to an extent, but it almost never goes on consistantly. You'll hit platues pretty often.

    Here are a few things to consider:

    1) You are basically ramping to a near max. Some people do well with more repetitions ramping up, and others do not.

    8 reps 60%
    6 reps 65%
    4 reps 70%
    3 reps 75%
    2 reps 80%

    If any of the earlier sets are at all near failure, you are potentially hurting your strength gains on the top sets. This could be one of the possible reasons why you were only able to get 2 reps with 80%.

    A better, or maybe different way to ramp up might be:
    5 reps 50%
    3 reps 60%
    1 reps 70%
    1 rep 80%
    First working set 1-6 reps with 80-85% depending on what you can do.

    You can hit a couple of sets of 3-5 maybe, and then if you still want more volume, drop it down to 60-75% and do some higher rep stuff.

    The way you did it has some use, but I think if you always do it that way, you'll be sacrificing some strength in the long run. I'd at least mix in some workouts where you minimize fatigue during the warm-ups

    Another thing I have done which is similar was to alternate "heavy" and "volume" workouts. The "heavy" workout I might ramp up to a very heavy set of 5 reps. I would use minimal reps during my warm-ups and basically find a 5RM.

    Then on the "volume" workout, i'd use about 90% of that 5RM, and do something like 5x5.

    The thing I found with these methods, is that they would work for a while, but ultimately i'd stall. I believe it can work very well, but you have to monitor your volume and recovery very carefully to continue progressing. Also, consider that training with %'s isn't always a good idea. Your daily max and therefore daily 80% of max will tend to vary.

    I think its good though to tune into your training and try to figure out what works, but just consider make sure to consider what works quickly will likely not work for long. Otherwise everyone would be gaining 30lbs per month on there bench, and we'd all be at 1000+ lbs.

  6. #6
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    Pyramid is a great way to lift because it gets you properly warmed up. I always do some type of increasing pyramid for every exercise. Warm muscles are strong muscles.

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    lol, Dan gets so carried away with his responses. Its nice to see so much effort put into helping others though.

    Nice post Dan.
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    I think a reverse pyramid is better, personally. Your top (important set) is compromised due to the volume of the lower sets. You can warm up in reps of 2 or 3 until you feel comfortable for your top set, then just pyramid back down to get your volume in.

  9. #9
    Wannabebig New Member
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    I just started doing them and they happened to coincide with the largest strength increase I've ever experienced.
    Last edited by Off Road; 02-10-2011 at 07:06 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Codeguru View Post
    Does anyone have a lot of experience doing these? So far I've been going for:

    8 reps 60%
    6 reps 65%
    4 reps 70%
    3 reps 75%
    2 reps 80%

    Codeguru

    I agree that your percentages are too low for the rep range. My general experience has been I can get 70% of my maximum 8 times, 80% 4 times, and 90% 2 times. On a really good day I might be able to add a rep to all of those. So I would suggest either add two reps to every one of those percentages or increase the percentages by 10% for those rep counts depending if you want more volume or heavier weight.
    Last edited by Floid; 02-10-2011 at 06:07 AM.

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