Beginners > What Are Pyramid Sets and How Can They Help You?
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What Are Pyramid Sets and How Can They Help You?

16th May 19

When it comes to weight training, you are spoilt for choice in your workouts. There are so many little things that you can do to spice up your training, it can be hard to choose a good workout for your next training session. Sometimes though, the slightly more obscure workout strategies are the best ways to go.

Variety in your training is always a great way to push your progress and get out of plateaus anyway! Pyramid sets are one of the best examples of this. We’re going to breakdown what they are and how you can use them to help turbocharge your training.

You may not have even heard of pyramid sets, but they are a proven and effective training method, and they even combine with drop sets in a lot of cases to push your muscles to failure and beyond, forcing muscle growth and development. You can use them for any workout, and any exercise, making them super flexible.

What pyramid sets are

woman and trainer at the gym lifting dumbbells

Surprise, surprise, the basis of a pyramid set is to follow the structure of a pyramid! You work from the bottom and get fewer reps as you head upwards. Well, transfer that to your weight training, and you get a workout.

Starting with a lighter weight, your first set should be looking at around 16-20 reps. Once you’re done you move the weight up. Maybe something like 12-16 reps… and then 8-12, 4-8, working your way back to the higher reps and lighter weights. It’s going to be hard work, but it will pay off.

How they help your training

As you start with a smaller weight for more reps, you are allowing the blood to circulate to your muscles more effectively and preparing them for the heavier weights that are to come. From here, as you gradually increase the weight, you’re putting them through their paces.

You’ll begin to micro-tear muscle (needed for hypertrophy) and overload. This is standard in weight training, and it’s what is going to help you build muscle. Keep on going past the usual set styles stops at a certain point though. As you get to the top of your pyramid, you’re only doing 1-2 reps. This is where strength building comes in. Low reps and high weights are the formula for building strength. The combination of the two is what is so incredible!


man on a weight bench lifting dumbbells

So, the basics are covered, but it doesn’t have to stop there either. What makes pyramid sets even better is that they can reverse themselves too. Once you reach the top of the pyramid, to take things to the next level, you can include a drop set on the back end of the training as well. This means dropping back down to the lighter weights and cranking a few more reps out. This is what will cause serious strength and muscle building but will almost definitely lead your sets to failure. It is seriously hard work, but it pays off in the long run.


Ultimately, as we said in the beginning, variation is key to success. You need it to be able to keep things moving in the right direction in the best way that you can. They can also help bust any plateaus! Find what works best to suit your personal fitness goals and see which tools you need to get there!

Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.