Reverse Pyramid Training Routines

by Lee

Want to trick your muscles into lifting more? Reverse pyramid training promises to electrify your workouts.

Your Heavy Set First?

If you are like most gym-goers, you don't perform your heavy set first. Instead, the more common protocol practiced in weight rooms up and down the land is to build up to a heavy top work-set.

Yet did you know performing your heavy work-set first is a terrific way to trick your muscles into lifting more? Just like Boris Karloff's Mummy, this style of training can electrify your workouts and bring them to life!

Here is what happens when you lift heavy first:

Lift Heavy Set First to Boost Hypertrophy

When you perform heavy low-rep sets first then follow up with higher-rep sets of the same exercise with a slighter lighter load (say 10% less), this lighter load actually feels a LOT lighter. Why is that? The reason is because of a cool training phenomenon called postactivation potentiation.

So what is postactivation potentiation and how does it work?

Writing in Maximum Strength, author and coach Eric Cressey explains how reverse pyramid training creates a priming effect which prepares - or "potentiates" - the muscles to work harder. The benefits to you? You set the stage for increased muscle growth.

Want to try this next time you visit the gym? Here is what you do:

  • Follow your warm-up with your heaviest work set.
  • Rest 3 minutes.
  • Reduce your heavy work set load by 10% and perform a second set. (In our example, this would see a heavy work set of 100 kilograms followed by a second lighter set of 90 kilograms.)

As promised, this second set will feel a LOT lighter when compared to the typical training regimen of working up to a heavy top set.

By lifting heavy first, you now find yourself able to lift more weight as you optimize each set for greater gains. seems Mummy really does know best!

Want more training tips? Discover why fully understanding how to exercise will improve your progress and performance.

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