Reverse pyramid training (RPT) is great training option to use when looking to gain muscle size and strength. This type of program design features high-intensity sets but low volume workouts. Reverse pyramid training is simply a lifting style. RPT involves the heaviest weight used early in each overall sequence of sets for a particular muscle group. The reason this type of training works so well is because it takes advantage of a persons high energy level early in a workout. As a result, the muscles are not fatigued (yet) and, therefore, have the ability to handle heavier loads early in the workout. The idea is to do as many repetitions as possible (AMRAP) without going to failure during each set.
Reverse Training Pyramid Example
Here are a few examples of what an upper and lower body RPT would look like following an efficient warm-up. This would be an example for an intermediate lifter who is looking to build strength and hypertrophy. Rest between sets is approximately 2-3 minutes using a tempo of about 4-seconds/repetition, 2-seconds each for concentric and eccentric phase. Decrease the weight between subsequent sets by approximately 10-15 percent.
1A – BENCH PRESS
(*Perform 2-3 warm-up sets for each exercise*)
225 x 6
185 x 10
160 x 12
1B – INCLINE BENCH PRESS
155 x 8
125 x 10
105 x 12
2A – SQUAT
(*Perform 3 warm-up sets for each exercise*)
315 x 3
275 x 6
235 x 8
2B – DEADLIFT
345 x 4
295 x 6
250 x 8
Research Review on Reverse Pyramid Training
There are few studies in the research literature that look at the benefits of RPT. But in that same breath, know that RPT is not better than traditional training. It offers you another training option but with a nice caveat – it can be used to help break through training plateaus. According to research published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, training with repetitions around the 8-12 range allows for gains in muscle size compared to training with less repetitions, such as 2-4 repetitions, will elicit more of a strength gain. The outcome, as it relates to RPT, is the lifter receives both benefits (size and strength).
Changing Training Stimulus is Important in Reverse Pyramid Training
One way to bust through a training plateau is to change the training stimulus. This could be done by switching in/out exercises, changing repetitions, sets, or adjusting volume or rest between sets to name a few. This could also be a good time to add in RPT. Every few months, think about how changing things up a bit could benefit your overall program. Remember, the body continually adapts to the training stimulus provided. Your goal is to periodically measure how you are doing on the program, adjust, pivot if necessary, and continue to push through.
Stay Strong with Jefit
Jefit was recently named best online strength training workout for 2021 in an article published by Healthline. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and features to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit
Download the Free Strength Program on Jefit App
Please visit the Jefit app to download the free, beginner Reverse Pyramid Training program that is mentioned in this article. You can find it here.