Pyramid Volume Training

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

Build Muscle
Single Muscle Group
Intermediate
4
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, Machines
Male & Female

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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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.

697 Comments+ Post Comment

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 01/11/2011 - 12:34
Steven
Hi Esho, A 6 day per week routine really isn't needed. I would stick with a max 4 day workout for quite some time. You can make great gains training only 3-4 days per week. Check out this article for some great split ideas: http://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/the-ultimate-muscle-building-split-reference-guide.html
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Posted Fri, 01/07/2011 - 12:23
Tom
i want to make a 4 or maybe 5 day split... could you break it down? and would it be alright if i did the same muscle group twice in one week? for example if i did tri's on monday and again on friday?
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 01/11/2011 - 12:35
Steven
Hi Tom, Check out this article for some great split ideas: http://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/the-ultimate-muscle-building-split-reference-guide.html The above article too will help you understand the relationship between volume and training frequency.
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Posted Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:08
Matt
Hello Steve, I would guess like some guys, I loathe doing legs workouts. However, I do know that it is necessary, I just don't know why exactly. Can you briefly explain? Thank you
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 01/11/2011 - 12:37
Steven
Hi Matt, Leg workouts help strengthen the leg and improve athletic performance, and help to balance a physique so you don't end up with "chicken legs".
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Posted Fri, 01/07/2011 - 21:27
Rich
Can i do low intensity cardio after all this workouts? and on my days off as well for only 30 min.
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 01/11/2011 - 12:47
Steven
Absolutely!
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Posted Sun, 01/09/2011 - 01:26
Marion
hi, I'm 24 at 6'5 and 380 pounds. i bought a gym pass today and im in desperate need of help on what kind of muscle building routine and how much weight i should be lifting. and when i should add more weight and if i should change up the routine. i'll be starting my loading with creatine in the morning. so please help me out. p.s what kind of warm ups should i do before working out?? thanks
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 01/11/2011 - 12:51
Steven
Hi Marion, You want to focus on two things to maximize results: 1) Pushing yourself in the gym. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight. 2) Eating to maximize muscle retention while cutting fat. Here are two articles that can help: http://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/your-go-to-guide-for-cutting-fat-while-keeping-muscle.html https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-diet.html You can change workouts every 12 weeks or so if you'd like, but there is no urgent need to change as long as you are making good progress. As far as warmups, for the first exercise for each bodypart I recommend performing several non-taxing wamrup sets like this: (For example, if you start bench press with 200 pounds) Bar x 15 135 x 10 185 x 3-5 200 x ...First working set.
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Posted Fri, 01/28/2011 - 20:06
Aram
im not an expert but i suggest you do a lot of cardio in the begging then start working out. at least thats what my cousin did and he started off 6'2 280lbs now his 6'2 210 beast
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Posted Mon, 01/10/2011 - 14:04
soddy
for this work out should i start high and decrease per set
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 01/11/2011 - 12:52
Steven
Hi Soddy, Yes.
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Posted Mon, 01/10/2011 - 23:37
jordan
do you work out from the highest reps to the lowest reps or the lowests reps to the highest for ex. 14,12,10,8 or 8,10,12,14?
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 01/11/2011 - 12:53
Steven
Hi Jordan, You work from low reps to high reps, which will also be training from heavy weight to a lighter weight.
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Posted Wed, 01/12/2011 - 17:15
fernando
I tried for more de 15 months to build my body but I don't find the correct routine. I have my supplements but I'm lost.I needs help!!!!
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 01/24/2011 - 13:14
Steven
Hi Fernando, What does your muscle building diet look like, and do you focus on progressing in weight?
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Posted Fri, 01/28/2011 - 17:15
fernando
I tried,I'm not eat junk food and also eliminate the sugars(soda,ice cream,candies etc.).But for me maybe is better to star over.If you can help me with some tips.
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Posted Thu, 01/13/2011 - 11:19
hank
i want to gain strength and muscle but i have this beer belly in the way. so i am doing a lot of cardio to take care of that how can i incorperate the two on the same days.
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 01/24/2011 - 13:16
Steven
Hi Hank, You can do cardio after lifting, but the primary way of losing your stomach is diet. Here are some articles that can help: http://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/your-go-to-guide-for-cutting-fat-while-keeping-muscle.html https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-diet.html
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Posted Fri, 01/14/2011 - 22:03
AC
can you recommend a workout with a four-day split? I want to focus on my chest, shoulders first. and my back next. Thank you!
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 01/24/2011 - 13:18
Steven
Hi AC, This article has some great suggestions: http://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/the-ultimate-muscle-building-split-reference-guide.html
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Posted Mon, 01/17/2011 - 14:57
mike
Hi, what can i replace the preacher curl, Reverse Grip Tricep Pulldown, and Pec Dec excercises with? I dont have those machines.
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 01/24/2011 - 13:19
Steven
Are you training at home or at a gym? Pec dec can be replace with dumbbell flyes.
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Posted Tue, 01/25/2011 - 00:02
mike
im training at home. i have the equipment for all of the other exercises.
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Posted Tue, 01/18/2011 - 23:59
josh
I am starting to work out at a gym and i would like to know how much weight should i start out with on this work out.
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 01/24/2011 - 13:20
Steven
Hi Josh, Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.
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Posted Thu, 01/20/2011 - 14:45
Junaid
I need a quick clarification, under back it says pullups superset with Lat pulldowns, what does this mean? just a little confused. Thanks.
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 01/24/2011 - 13:21
Steven
Hi Junaid, Perform both exercises back to back without resting.
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Posted Sun, 01/23/2011 - 21:24
David Smith
I am 57 yrs. old and working out nearly all my adult life in some form. I am presently doing body pump and swimming. I am building some mass and losing weight...drinking protein and eating to lean down. Could I incorporate your your plan in my workoot...mwf,,,bodypump/swimming/2 miles on tread Tues Thurs treadmill and swimming. When or how would you fit in your plan? thanks also for the videos , they helped me correct some mistakes.
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 01/24/2011 - 13:22
Steven
Hi David, Yes, absolutely you can use this plan. Perform the weight training first before swimming or cardio.
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Posted Sun, 01/23/2011 - 22:47
Drew
So are u saying to start with a heavier weight and go down in weight as the reps increase?
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 01/24/2011 - 13:22
Steven
Hi Drew, In general, yes.
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Posted Mon, 01/24/2011 - 02:56
jude
hi all What part of my body should i do first ? shoulder or arms,i mean this days im doing only biceps and triceps,so i like to know is that good after that do for shoulders or shoulder first and arms second? Thank you, jude
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 01/24/2011 - 13:25
Steven
Hi Jude, Always work the largest bodypart first...so shoulders before arms.
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Posted Mon, 01/24/2011 - 10:53
Christopher Leiva
Hey Steve, I am going to start the pyramid routine and wondered what your opinions are on daily push-ups, sit -up, and pull ups before bed? Will it be too much for the body? Will I be taking away from the Mass I am trying to gain?
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 01/24/2011 - 13:27
Steven
Can I ask why you want to perform daily pushups, situps and pullups? Are you preparing for military service? In general they aren't a great idea if you are trying to build muscle. It's better to limit rest days to minimal physical activity beyond your job of cardio session.
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Posted Mon, 01/24/2011 - 13:58
stephen
6, 8, 10, 14 reps?.. do i need to increase the weight for every set?
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Posted Tue, 01/25/2011 - 15:35
marlon
on rest days (tuesday, sat, and sun) can i do cardio and abs..is that alright?
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Posted Tue, 01/25/2011 - 22:04
rick
hey steve, im a 240 pound college student that just got off christmas break and i want to start to lift again and put on muscle mass, should i use this routine or a beginner routine? i also bought protein powder, how much should i use everyday? and lastly, should i do cardio in my workout? or wait for off days? thanks
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Posted Wed, 01/26/2011 - 21:38
Emil
I have one question on the amount of weight to use. Should you change weights between sets or use the max weight. for example if bicep curling 130 lbs. Should i do 3 sets of the same max weight or should i start max and work lower with more reps? My question is for all exercises not just bicep curls. thank you.
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Posted Wed, 01/26/2011 - 22:03
Emil
hey its me again. i probably shouldve just read other comments. i found my question answered a number of times lol. thanks anyway
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Posted Wed, 01/26/2011 - 22:15
Emil
heres my weekly routine tell me if you approve please.... Monday Shoulders/back Tuesday Legs/abs Wednesday chest/triceps thursday off friday biceps weekend off. is this an ok routine? and will this above workout work with my routine? how can i change it to make it work?
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Posted Fri, 01/28/2011 - 20:02
Aram
hey, im 18 and im really cut but i never gain mass im 5'7 156lbs can anyone tell me what to do besides taking protein or supplements or anything.
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Posted Sat, 01/29/2011 - 10:23
Robbie
love the looks of this workout, it there any way for me to purchase this workout with descriptions of each "how to" exercise so I am able to perfect the form of each exercise. Or is there a training/ exercise manual you sell? Thanks Rob
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Posted Sat, 01/29/2011 - 12:27
Chris
Steve, What would you recommend for incorporating Cardio into my weekly workouts if I am fallowing the 3-day split example cycle under the workouts? Also, IS there anyway I can speed up the healing process, the DOMS is killing my daily routine, I can barely walk. Thanks. Chris
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Posted Sat, 01/29/2011 - 19:06
Chris
Steve, Is replacing the dead lift with seated rows on a cable machine just as good, if so, how many reps and sets should I do? Thanks
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Posted Sun, 01/30/2011 - 15:45
Ben
hey steve, Im in the process of trying to gain mass.ive heard different things about how to shock the body.Is it benificial for me to change up my sets, rep ranges,and excersises frequently?Ive heard by doing this you will continually make sizeable gains.If this is true could you give me maybe a plan that will help me?For example lets take the chest.Ive heard to go heavy one week(rep ranges from 3 to 6) then maybe the next week go to rep ranges of 8 to 10 or 10 to 12 and along with that change the excersises from week to week.I this true?
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Posted Mon, 01/31/2011 - 07:21
P.J.
Hi Steve, I just wanted to find out a few things regarding this programme. 1. What kind off rest period do you take between sets? 2. How long should it take you to complete a daily workout? 3. Can you give this programme to a begineer weight lifter if you drop some exercises? Any help would be much appreciated, Kind regards, P.J.
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Posted Mon, 01/31/2011 - 13:44
Hank
I like this workout. I will give it a try when I complete my current mesocyle. Always looking for ways to change up my routine. Thanks again!
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Posted Tue, 02/01/2011 - 23:31
swade
Steve I am in a plateau which is why I chose this routine it looks good but would you recommend me to take supplements. I'm not looking to gain a lot of weight I like the range I am in now and I am looking for strength because I have been having troubles improving that.

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