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Pyramid Volume Training

Average: 4.2 (200 votes)
4.2 5 200
Are you stuck in a plateau? Do you want to increase your strength, size, and muscular definition? Send your body into an anabolic state.

Workout Summary

Main Goal:
Build Muscle
Workout Type:
Single Muscle Group
Training Level:
Intermediate
Days Per Week:
4
Equipment Required:
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, Machines
Target Gender:
Male & Female
Author:

Workout Description

Are you stuck in a plateau? Do you want to increase your strength, size, and muscular definition? Do you want big arms? A sculpted back? Massive legs? Here is your chance! We all know what over-training can do, and we all try to avoid it. But when do we know if were doing enough? For some, training 3 exercises of 3 sets per body part leaves soreness for days, and DOMS the next! But if you're like me, you have been accustomed to lifting, and you need that little extra boost to send your body into an ANABOLIC state.

With this routine, we will hit every part of the muscle to obtain the most gains in; strength, muscle size, and definition. The problem with most pyramids is they are "pre-fatigue" based. Meaning starting with a high rep (12 or 16) and ending with the low strength building bread and butter range (4-7). Because of this, the heavy compound lifts are sacrificed. This routine works from the ground up to deliver rep ranges that yield results in the three most important aspects of bodybuilding.

Not everyone has body parts that stack-up in symmetry and have equal proportions. The key to any sizeable gains is rest. With this routine, where you place your rest days are completely up to you.

With this YOU become the routine designer! I will give you workouts for each muscle group and YOU make the split. If you only have 3 available days to train, make yourself a 3 day split! Maybe you want a 5 day split! It's up to you!

Back
Back
Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlift 4 6, 8, 10, 14
Pullups superset w/Lat Pull down 3 Max / 8, 10, 14
Dumbbell Row 3 4, 8, 12
Legs
Legs
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 4 4, 8, 12, 20
Stiff Leg Deadlift 3 6, 8, 10
Leg Extension 4 12, 8, 6, 12
Chest
Chest
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press 4 6, 8, 10, 14
Incline or Decline Bench Press 4 6, 8, 10, 14
Pec Dec or Cable Crossovers 3 8, 10, 14
Biceps
Biceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Curl 3 6, 8, 14
Hammer Curl 3 8, 10, 12
Preacher Curl 3 8, 10, 12
Triceps
Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Skullcrusher 3 6, 8, 10
Two Arm Seated Dumbbell Extension 4 6, 8, 10, 12
Reverse Grip Tricep Pulldown 3 6, 10, 14
Shoulders
Shoulders
Exercise Sets Reps
Arnold Dumbbell Press 4 6, 8, 10, 12
Cable or Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3 8, 11, 14
Bent Over Reverse Dumbbell Flyes 3 8, 12, 14
Traps
Traps
Exercise Sets Reps
Behind the Back Barbell Shrug 3 8, 12, 14
Calves
Calves
Exercise Sets Reps
45 Degree Calf Raise 3 8, 12, 14

So you're ready to make a split! If you have a muscle group in mind you would like to bring up to speed, start the split off with it! For example, if you want bigger arms here is what you would do:

Remember, rest is the key to gains! Surround your weakest points with rest days!

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    Average: 4.2 (200 votes)
  • About The Author
    Brad is a HS football strength and conditioning coach and dedicated natural lifter. He motivates his players to improve one aspect of training every day.
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Comments (697)

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john
Posted Wed, 08/04/2010 - 19:25

Hey I wanna do this workout, but Im not gonna be working out legs, with it so, how should the weekly routine go?

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Thu, 08/05/2010 - 08:30

Hi John,

You are completely free to structure the split anyway you'd like. Check out some other muscle building workouts for possible ideas:

http://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/muscle-building.html

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Alok
Posted Thu, 10/21/2010 - 13:26

hey steve i am in India i wrk 16hrs a day just get 30min for workout can u suggest me some suppliments and workout routines to gain size in a short time, i used to workout for 2hrs a day earlier with decca and whey proten can u guide me

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Thu, 10/21/2010 - 17:11

Hi Alok,

I would check out some of the fullbody workouts and cut back on the number of sets to fit your time schedule.

http://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/forget-steroids-5-fullbody-wor...

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william
Posted Fri, 01/14/2011 - 08:27

i would do isolation work out on one muscle at a time like bi's monday tues day tri's legs wed thurs day chest friday bi's sat shoulders and kill them i recomend um 1.5 grams of protien times your weight and taking plasma jet, a natural tes booster and a amino acid and find a prework out that u think is good

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James
Posted Tue, 03/01/2011 - 12:32

Steve do you sargest doing cardio aswell
due to me keeping fit for army?

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bart naylor
Posted Tue, 05/31/2011 - 20:59

hi this is bart i want to build my muscles back from my accident but i ddt no where to start dt want to hurt myselfwhat weight should i start with i would like to get my upper body streanth back

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MrMike
Posted Mon, 08/30/2010 - 19:29

On the days you have off on the schedule fit in your leg routines and on a light day of upper body building fit in your leg work outs during times of cooling down the upper body, thats wut i would do and am currently doing with this schedule.

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cody
Posted Sun, 09/19/2010 - 19:07

i am just wondering for this pyramid when u are done it once do u just keep on repeating it

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mark
Posted Thu, 12/30/2010 - 16:42

hey John, for a while I never worked out legs either but in order to get bigger its a must! your legs are almost half of your body , you wouldnt train biceps without triceps would you?

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mike
Posted Sun, 06/05/2011 - 20:32

you have to incorporate legs or else you wont have any muscle gain. all parts or your body have to be worked on to see results.

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Garrett
Posted Tue, 11/22/2011 - 13:35

Well if you are not goin to be working out legs then you might as well not workout at all. Your legs are the other half of your body. If you want a big, powerful, well built upper body then you need to work legs. Not working legs just doesn't make sense. Your quad is the largest muscle in your body. If you work legs then your chest will grow, and everything else will follow. I used to not work my legs about 5 years ago, and I ended up quiting lifting because I wasn't growing or getting any stronger. My stats then were: age; 17-22, weight; 180, bench; 235, deadlift; ???, squat; ???. 5 years of lifting, and that was a joke. I am now 27, started lifting again in december of 2010, it is now november 2011, and here are my lifts: weight-208, bench-305, squat-395, deadlift-515. I haven't changed much of my workout style except I started doing legs, and in less than a year I'm in better shape, and far stronger. So I can only credit doing legs for the reason of my success, I hated them at first, but now I look foward to squat day more than anyother day. Just give it a try, or you will end up discouraged like me, or like all these amateurs I see working only upper body and never getting anywhere. Here's my program:

Monday-Back

Tuesday-Chest

Wednesday-Legs

Thursday-Shoulders

Friday-Arms

I typically change my lifts every 3 weeks, and I go from light weight bodybuilding style to heavy weight powerlifting style every 6 weeks.

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Javier
Posted Wed, 08/04/2010 - 20:12

Hi, my name is Javier... i don't the tricep pulldown machine, can you tell me another excercire i can use beside this one...

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Steve
Posted Thu, 08/05/2010 - 08:34

Hi Javier,

You could try dumbbell kickbacks.

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Scrutiny
Posted Thu, 08/05/2010 - 03:36

Interesting concept.

The reverse-pyramiding looks cool!

Good luck to those who are going to use it.

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MartinG
Posted Thu, 08/05/2010 - 08:17

Hi there thanks for your idea of pyramid workout. My question is: Do you also increase the weight or just reps? Thanks Martin

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Thu, 08/05/2010 - 08:37

Hi Martin,

You generally decrease the weight from set to set.

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Massoud
Posted Fri, 12/21/2012 - 14:07

Hi Steve,

i dont know from which high weight i suppose to start. do i can increase the weight from set to set ?

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James
Posted Thu, 08/05/2010 - 09:00

I do alot of football meaning my legs are often tired to do leg weights, does not doing leg weights have poor effects of progress on the upper body? I got told that doing legs helps increase the growth of your whole body?

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Fri, 08/06/2010 - 11:30

Hi James,

Not training legs can be very detrimental, especially if you are involved with sports. I would recommend doing low set leg workouts when you are tired - a few sets for squats, a few sets for hamstrings and done. Some will be much better than none.

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Stephan
Posted Fri, 08/06/2010 - 07:20

What about warm-up sets?

It sounds interesting but doesn't starting with lots of weight also increase the risk of injuries?

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Fri, 08/06/2010 - 11:33

Hi Stephen,

Always perform several warmup sets before lifting. Starting with proper warmups is no more dangerous than starting light if you warmup properly.

If you first working set on bench is 225, you could warmup like this:

Bar x 10
95 x 5
135 x 5
185 x 3

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peter
Posted Wed, 12/28/2011 - 21:59

Hi steve,im from indonesia...How many total sets with warm up to do pyramid?

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AlanB
Posted Fri, 08/06/2010 - 10:47

First I love this site, awesome. With regard to the reverse pyramid workout, I am concerned with injury in lifting heavy prior to warming up the muscle. How can I avoid injury and lifting heavy first??

Thanks

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Fri, 08/06/2010 - 11:35

Hi Alan,

I have been using heavy sets first for over 2 decades and never had a lifting injury. the key is proper warmup sets. Always perform several warmup sets before lifting. If you first working set on bench is 225, you could warmup like this:

Bar x 10
95 x 5
135 x 5
185 x 3

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Alan
Posted Sat, 08/07/2010 - 22:19

Thanks for breaking it down, vey helpful.

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ryan
Posted Sat, 08/07/2010 - 16:36

im 15 and wanting to do this workout but at my local gym your not allowed to use the free wieghts so what could i do at home instead of the gyms weights ?

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Mon, 08/09/2010 - 14:23

Hi Ryan,

For pec dec you could perform dumbbell flyes. For leg extensions, try dumbbell lunges. For tricep pulldowns, try dumbbell kickbacks.

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Dave
Posted Mon, 08/09/2010 - 16:54

I'm 58 / 172/ my workout is as mon, chest, trys, tues back, bi, wenday off, thue sho, legs fri bi and try, sat and sun off is this a good combo

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Wed, 08/11/2010 - 13:43

Hi Dave,

Looks like a very solid approach!

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khalil
Posted Mon, 08/09/2010 - 22:09

sounds like and interesting workout, but i was just wondering do you always have to do warm up sets? because i do pull ups and dips and push ups before every workout so does that take the place of warmup sets? or should i do warmups as well as the dips and pull ups?

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Steve
Posted Wed, 08/11/2010 - 13:14

Hi Khalil,

It's a good idea to perform several warmups sets when training a new bodypart, or before training a heavy, compound lift.

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Mark
Posted Tue, 08/10/2010 - 16:33

This site is great! I'm a little guy 5'9 - 145lbs, was wondering how to set up my bench workout, as I can't lift much weight.

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Wed, 08/11/2010 - 13:19

Hi Mark,

You will want to perform several warmup sets prior to lifting. Make sure they are progressively heavier weight, but not taxing.

For your first set, use a weight that only allows you to complete about 6 reps. For the following sets, you will have to drop the weight to achieve the stated rep ranges. As you fatigue, each set will become more difficult.

So your sets might look like:

165 x 6
145 x 8
135 x 10
95 x 14

When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set with a given weight, add weight.

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paul
Posted Tue, 08/10/2010 - 17:16

I want to make a workout plan where i workout each muscle twice a week. How many set per muscle per day should i do, how many workouts per muscle per day, and i should i organize the routine what workout with what?

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Wed, 08/11/2010 - 13:23

Hi Paul,

On a weekly basis, I would recommend a maximum of 9-12 sets for large muscle groups like chest and legs, and about 6 for smaller muscles like biceps.

So for each individual workout, you would perform about 4-6 sets for a large bodypart, and about 3 for a small bodypart.

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paul
Posted Wed, 08/11/2010 - 15:54

so is doing chest-triceps day 1, back-biceps day 2, legs- shoulders day 3, a good idea

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Steve
Posted Thu, 08/12/2010 - 14:36

That sounds like a solid approach.

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lachlan
Posted Wed, 08/11/2010 - 08:01

hey is it bad if you go gym every day?cos i go gym from mon-friday for 2 hrs and sometimes on saturdays. and im 16

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Steve
Posted Wed, 08/11/2010 - 13:24

Hi Lachlan,

It's hard to say without knowing specifically what you're doing each day. in general, a beginner will make great gains on 3-4 days of muscle building each week.

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Dallis Welte
Posted Wed, 07/06/2011 - 01:25

I've been lifting for about 7 years now. I have been doing this reverse pyramid for a while now. Would I get better results by adding more sets or would that be over doing it? Should I be following the advanced workouts opposed to the intermediate since I have been lifting for quite some time?

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Kashyap
Posted Thu, 08/12/2010 - 03:18

The gym I go to doesn't have a squat rack and a 45 lb bar. This means I can't do squats, bench press, and behind the back barbell shrugs. What other exercises could I do to replace these? Also, how often should I be doing cardio and abdominal exercises?

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Steve
Posted Thu, 08/12/2010 - 14:38

Hi Kashyap,

I would do leg presses, dumbbell bench presses, and dumbbell shrugs. or cardio I recommend 3-4 times per week for general health. Abs can be trained 2-3 times per week.

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Albert
Posted Thu, 08/12/2010 - 16:25

HI, What abaout weight for each rep, where do I start. I am 180 lb, how much weiught shoud I start with or how do I determine the appropiated weight? thank you for an awsome program.

Albert

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Steve
Posted Thu, 08/12/2010 - 19:28

Hi Albert,

This is how you set up an exercise based on 6 reps for the first set:

For your first set, use a weight that only allows you to complete about 6 reps. For the following sets, you will have to drop the weight to achieve the stated rep ranges. As you fatigue, each set will become more difficult.

So your sets might look like:

165 x 6
145 x 8
135 x 10
95 x 14

When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set with a given weight, add weight.

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Richard
Posted Fri, 10/01/2010 - 10:02

Hello,

Great source for information. Just when I thought I had it figured out by all those pound pushing self exclaimed gym experts, that in order to gain mass you start with high reps up to 10 with weight that makes you stress the last two reps, second set is 8 reps but add weight, and last set is 6 reps with even more weight, After reading your approach i understand it to be just the opposite. Is your approach more friendly with recovery and less soreness, is one better than the other in gains and attaining mass? I am 44 yrs old and for me I am considered a hard gainer and looking to get the size. Leaning down is not a problem for me, I am just cautious to stay clear of those work outs that will lean more than build. Thanks for any info you can provide me.

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Deng
Posted Thu, 08/12/2010 - 23:49

* Monday - Biceps & Triceps
So doing Biceps and triceps on the same day is a good way to gain big arms? I thought it goes chest and triceps , shoulders and biceps?? I want to gain mass weight , But I dont know a routine that I could do to gain mass.I was wondering if you could help me out.

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Steve
Posted Fri, 08/13/2010 - 13:48

Hi Deng,

Either approach is perfectly fine. Different program splits exists for different schedules, and likes/dislikes.

This routine, along with a solid bodybuilding diet, will help you gain muscle.

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Sam
Posted Fri, 08/13/2010 - 11:38

Hello, I've started lifting and training for a half marathon at the same time about 3 weeks ago. Will it take away from my workout if I do the amounts of running i'm required to do and then do my workout? Also, is my running a proper substitute for a warm up? Thanks!

Sam

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Steve
Posted Fri, 08/13/2010 - 13:49

Hi Sam,

Just make sure you eat plenty, and rest as much as possible on off days. Excessive cardio can impact/slow muscle gains, but food and rest will definitely help.

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