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Thread: Pyramids/Reverse Pyramids - any benefit?

  1. #1
    Just watch me ... Built's Avatar
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    Pyramids/Reverse Pyramids - any benefit?

    I see people "pyramiding" (and sometimes, reverse pyramiding) their weights from time to time.

    I've never bothered, but are there any particular benefits to this technique, or is it just another gimmick?

  2. #2
    Om. Avocado. MM's Avatar
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    I think it's just another way to organize your routine to keep track of progress.
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  3. #3
    Just watch me ... Built's Avatar
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    Somebody told me about "stripping" (don't get too excited, folks), where you load up the bar, do your sets, strip off weight, keep going, strip off more...
    Any benefit to doing this, with no rests?

  4. #4
    Matt04
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    would it help with muscle endurance?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    I don't think that there is anything particularly special about pyramids, reverse-pyramids, and strip sets. They are all nice for a change of pace, to break up the monotony of straight sets, or maybe to break through a plateau. Pyramids and reverse pyramids are a different way of manipulating volume within and among training sessions.
    Particular benefits to strip sets? I suppose if you were looking to really boost your training volume, it would be a quick way to do that. If you wanted to improve your muscular endurance or just really, really liked pain and soreness then occasional strip sets might not be a bad idea.

  6. #6
    Proud Father Maki Riddington's Avatar
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    It depends on why you're using the method. It can be used in hypertrophy phases and/or as a way to increase the volume in your workout. This means that you'll be working under capacity for the first few sets. It's only in the last two sets that you should be nearing muscular fatigue.

    I use it to gauge if I'm on par to hit a PB in a certain movement. I also find it allows me to gauge what my workout is going to be like so I can change it if need be.
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    So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
    Romans 7:14-25

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  7. #7
    Just watch me ... Built's Avatar
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    Thanks guys.

    So, it's a way to work up to a PR or to increase volume, but not something you'd want to do on a regular basis seems to be what I'm hearing. I can see how intensity would suffer except for the last couple of sets.

  8. #8
    Proud Father Maki Riddington's Avatar
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    You can do it all the time but there are better ways to approach your training. It just depends.
    Maki Fit Blog

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    "Soli Deo Gloria"
    "Test all things; hold fast what is good.": 1 Thessalonians 5:21

    "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
    So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
    Romans 7:14-25

    "Judo is not about strength. Yet in the learning curve, all Judokas get strong. Only with time do you learn where to apply that strength."
    The Art of Judo

  9. #9
    Just watch me ... Built's Avatar
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    It seems to be a very "old-school" approach I hear from time to time.

    By "better ways", I assume you mean periodization?

  10. #10
    Om. Avocado. MM's Avatar
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    I use pyramids frequently on my "big" movements (i.e. squats, bench press, whatever my big back movement is). Like Maki said -- and what I was getting at -- is that it's a useful way for me to track my progress (i.e. PRs). I don't really do a strict pyramid, but here's what I did last week:

    8/8x50
    8/8x75 God these seemed hard
    8/8x90 (PR) (Yeah bitch)
    3/3x95 (PR) ouchie
    8/8x80
    7/7x75 Almost went through my frontal lobe
    So now I'm not going to move any different weights until I can hit 8 on the 95's, and then I'll move to 100's.

    But yeah, I agree. I don't think there's anything special about doing it this way as opposed to arranging sets in another way.
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  11. #11
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    Mine is similar to the above apart from i dont come back down unless its a drop set i usually move on once i reach my last heavy set of say 4-6. I have always used pyramiding and never anything different but maybe i should try. What do you do instead Built????
    my journal
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    weight 202 - (bf around 14%)
    PR's
    Bench - 286
    deadlift - new pr on the 23/12/06 190 kilo (430 pound)
    squat - 264 ATF

    Goals

    200 pound at 10% bf by next summer

  12. #12
    Go Heels! MixmasterNash's Avatar
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    I think these are all simplistic variations of what is essentially single cycle wave loading.

    The journal / I live here.

    If I were to start from scratch as a young 13 year old again, I would do every press, squat, and perhaps deadlifts, for my entire career with chains. -- Dan John

  13. #13
    Just watch me ... Built's Avatar
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    Hill - usually I'll do heavy compound work in short sets, followed by accessory movements in higher rep-ranges, but I'm always open to suggestions.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MixmasterNash
    I think these are all simplistic variations of what is essentially single cycle wave loading.
    To be completely honest, I don't know what "single cycle wave loading" is... Could you explain it?

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  16. #16
    Go Heels! MixmasterNash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sensei
    To be completely honest, I don't know what "single cycle wave loading" is... Could you explain it?
    Well, I mean that most of these schemes are basically limited versions of wave loading, and done for one wave period, hence single cycle. Multiple wave cycles are rarely performed with the same exercise, but we often see multiple cycles performed over a workout. It's really just a general term to classify this sort of changing load/rep cycle for some sort of neuro-msucular facilitation, versus a constant rep/load scheme (e.g., 5x5).

    From:
    http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do...ydra?id=579577
    Size based single wave:

    1 x 10 @ 60kg
    1 x 8 @ 70kg
    1 x 6 @ 80 kg (descending)

    Strength based single wave:

    1 x 6 @ 80kg
    1 x 8 @ 70kg
    1 x 10 @ 60 kg (ascending)
    We see many trainees performe something like one of these for, say, flat bench, and then move onto incline presses in a similar cycle, and then maybe flies, which is effectively a three cycle wave.

    After more careful consideration, I would reclassify pyramids or reverse pyramids as one and a half cycle waves.

    The journal / I live here.

    If I were to start from scratch as a young 13 year old again, I would do every press, squat, and perhaps deadlifts, for my entire career with chains. -- Dan John

  17. #17
    Go Heels! MixmasterNash's Avatar
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    I also think if you're going to pyramid up for facilitation purposes, it's a waste of energy to do high reps in any sub-maximal sets on the increasing side of the pyramid. In other words, warm up properly.

    I don't know how hypertrophy effects are altered by this approach, but I know I can use much higher loads on the decreasing side of the pyramid than I could otherwise, and so I'm guessing that this is close to near optimal for hypertrophy effects as well.

    E.g.:
    6 reps @ 60%
    4 reps @ 70%
    2 reps @ 80%
    1 rep @ 95%
    5 reps @ 85% <-- probably could not do this without the facilitation from high load single
    8 reps @ 75% <-- same
    Or something.

    The journal / I live here.

    If I were to start from scratch as a young 13 year old again, I would do every press, squat, and perhaps deadlifts, for my entire career with chains. -- Dan John

  18. #18
    Proud Father Maki Riddington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Built
    It seems to be a very "old-school" approach I hear from time to time.

    By "better ways", I assume you mean periodization?
    Yes. Many people use various methods without a proper structure thinking that they will see a result. It's the structure that you should be concerned with.

    Develope your phases (structure) then choose the methods you'll be incorperating.
    Maki Fit Blog

    At Large: Optimize Your Body | Dynamic Conditioning |
    My articles on Wannabebig

    "Soli Deo Gloria"
    "Test all things; hold fast what is good.": 1 Thessalonians 5:21

    "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
    So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
    Romans 7:14-25

    "Judo is not about strength. Yet in the learning curve, all Judokas get strong. Only with time do you learn where to apply that strength."
    The Art of Judo

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