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
8 weeks
45-60 minutes
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!

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
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 4 4, 8, 12, 20
Stiff Leg Deadlift 3 6, 8, 10
Leg Extension 4 12, 8, 6, 12
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
Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Curl 3 6, 8, 14
Hammer Curl 3 8, 10, 12
Preacher Curl 3 8, 10, 12
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
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
Exercise Sets Reps
Behind the Back Barbell Shrug 3 8, 12, 14
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!

704 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Fri, 07/21/2017 - 13:13

You didn't explain about the weight, the rest between sets?

It's suppose to increase the weight or decrease between the sets?

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Posted Tue, 10/18/2016 - 07:49

Just started training When it says 3 sets does that mean I do 14,10,8 or 14,10,8 14,10,8 14,10,8

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 10/18/2016 - 09:09


Do 14,10,8.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 10/18/2016 - 11:08

Yes that does cheers

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Posted Mon, 08/03/2015 - 09:26

How long should 1 workout take?

MikeWines's picture
Posted Mon, 08/03/2015 - 14:12

It depends on how you set up your split. If you're doing more muscle groups, obviously it'll take longer.

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Posted Sun, 03/15/2015 - 08:39

could you recommend a rest period for between sets and between exercises? 60 seconds? 2 minutes? as long as it takes?

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Posted Thu, 08/21/2014 - 16:46

Hi steve thanks for all the information I've just read the fat loss guide , would this workout help me with my fat loss goal currently at 22% b/fat ?? R would you advise a different one cheers

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Posted Sat, 03/29/2014 - 08:44
Georg Egger

Are you supposed to do these with the same weight each rep ??? Everytime I see pyramid it is done with either progressivly heavier weigths / less reps or the other way around. The instructions miss this important part..

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Posted Tue, 03/11/2014 - 02:02

I know this is a split workout but is working out chest & shoulders as the workout recommends a good idea?

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Posted Tue, 03/11/2014 - 01:52

Well I've been working out for about 2.5 yrs and I'm thinking about doing this workout but I do have two question. Ok since the reps start frm high to low should I start with heavier wight then drop dwn in weight as the reps get higher? Also can I choose the workout for the days I workout instead of chest fri can I do chest tue? Ty for ur time

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Posted Sun, 03/09/2014 - 08:30

Hey Steve,
i have really stubborn triceps and i hope that this arm split will help me, but i have one question. You mentioned in one of your posts that you shouldnt do deadlift after squat day and other way arround ,but this split is the exact opposite of the advice you have given. Should i try to change that or is it good like that?

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Posted Sun, 12/29/2013 - 23:03

if i'm not on a plateau is this program still recommended, or is it catered towards plateau busting only?

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Posted Sun, 12/29/2013 - 10:35

for how many weeks could i follow Pyramid Volume Training???

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Posted Sun, 12/15/2013 - 02:42

I am 5'10 and weigh about 155lbs
I want to build muscle and strength and looks like this is the work out for me..
My question is so we start out heavy and then decrease the weight every set?

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Posted Sun, 06/23/2013 - 01:47

hi so my chest, shoulders, and arms are my weakest points so how would i split up the workouts?

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Posted Sun, 06/09/2013 - 09:48

for Pullups superset w/Lat Pull down Reps> Max / 8, 10, 14,
does it mean 14 pullups superset with 14 lat pulldowns or 7pullup/7 pull down?

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Posted Thu, 05/30/2013 - 23:03

This workout is going great so far.
What is the rest time between each set?

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Posted Tue, 05/21/2013 - 15:47

what % of 1RPM should you start with on ur first set and how much weight should be taken off each set ?

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Posted Sun, 05/19/2013 - 12:01

Does this sound ok ?
Week 1 A,B.A
Week 2 B,A,B
A:Squat 4-6-8-10-12 DeadLift 4-6-8-10-12
BentRow 4-6-8-10-14 InclineFlys 4-6-8-10-12
BenchPress4-6-8-10-14 Pullup/Down3-8-10-12
ShoulderPress4-6-8-10-14 LateralRaise3-8-10-12
BarbellCurls3-6-8-14 HammerCurls 3-8-10-12
TriPushDown3-6-10-14 CGBenchPress 3-8-10-12
Extension 3-8-12-14 RussianTwistExtension3-8-10-12

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Posted Fri, 05/17/2013 - 06:31

How long shall I keep going with this program? 3-4 months?

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Posted Sun, 03/24/2013 - 16:19
Tommy P

Hi Steve I like this reverse pyramid thanks for posting it and for the follow ups on the questions.

I'm looking to build some mass while aiming to have a more athletic look. I also run 3 times a week usually 5km runs will this impact on the results of the pyramid program? And is it okay to run on rest days?

mnsjason's picture
Posted Tue, 03/26/2013 - 17:27

It's perfectly fine to run on your off days; just make sure that your diet can support this program with the addition of your runs. Mass gains will stall if you don't ingest enough calories, and a run can certainly cut into your daily calories.

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Posted Fri, 03/22/2013 - 18:20

What do I do after 3 months?
I been told to change my workouts every 3 months.
So if I repeat this to 3 months, what do I do then?
How do I change it properly?

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Posted Wed, 02/27/2013 - 09:49

Hey steve! How long would you recommend me to do this workout split?

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Posted Tue, 02/12/2013 - 13:49

I cant stand doing legs so to help offset that i have been doing one leg a day at the end of each workout, monday 4 sets of seated quads, tuesday 4 sets seated hammys, wednesday, 4 sets of calf raises, thursday 4 sets of leg press, friday 4 sets of squats. Is this going to be beneficial or just a waste of my time?

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Posted Mon, 01/14/2013 - 14:26

Hi why do your reps start from lowest to highest, instead of of highest to lowest like most work out plans?

For instance, with Back the Deadlift exercise has 4 sets and the reps are...

6, 8, 10, 14

Can I start with 14 and go down or must I do it in this order?

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Posted Wed, 01/09/2013 - 13:56

hey i wanna be a bodybuilder kan u give me a routine ?

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Posted Tue, 01/08/2013 - 23:29

So for this routine, for example, you do 6,8 and then 10. Going down in weight each time.. Then you go back up to the starting heavy weight and do it again each time? Can i just do 3 set of 6 reps then 3 sets of 8....and so on?

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Posted Fri, 12/28/2012 - 10:24
James Matthews

Amazing workout ! The gains I've made off this are brill !

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Posted Tue, 11/27/2012 - 05:17

Hi, i am wanting to switch back to pyramid training as i find it more enjoyable and its suited to developing the weaker muscles. i noticed in your workout plan you've but 3 exercises per body part can i add more or will this cause over training? and is it low rep heavier weight and high rep lighter weight building up to the heavy lowest rep?


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Posted Sat, 09/29/2012 - 10:59

Hey Steve.

Im interested in startig this routine as soon as im done (4 day Power Muscle and Burn) which by the way is beast. My concern is in regards to the pull up superset w/ lat pull downs. Using 2 machines at the same time in a very popular ultra busy gym, is not really much of an option. Is the superset a crutial part of the routine? If not, how would you change it? Thanks in advance.

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Posted Thu, 09/20/2012 - 20:38

Just wondering if you change the weight after you complete the set because I'm seeing the different rep numbers for each exercise. Thanks jz

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Posted Sun, 09/16/2012 - 14:20

hi i was wondering if you could design a split for me i want big arms big shoulders big chest dont want my back massive just sculpterd like hercules and i dont want my legs too big

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Posted Fri, 09/14/2012 - 16:47

Hi i was wondering if you could design a split for me my arms are of good size after switching a few things up i made my arms better but im after a certain look like herculeas with big arms massive broad shoulders sculpterd back and big chest im wondering how can i design this into a split i dont want ma chest to lag behind and i dont want my legs to be too big if that makes sense

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Posted Sun, 09/02/2012 - 19:22

hello,the number of sets 6 8 10 means first set shoulb be done 6 reps only 2nd 8?

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Posted Mon, 08/06/2012 - 17:43

doing this routine, how much weight should i use per rep? Im 240 lbs.

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Posted Wed, 08/08/2012 - 10:55

Hi Nelson.Everyones body is different, There is no set weight to start off with it all depends on how such you can lift.

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Posted Mon, 08/06/2012 - 13:54

How long until i see resaults

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Posted Wed, 08/08/2012 - 10:45

Hi Spencer. Depending on your body it could be as soon as a month. Of course it won't as dramatic but you will see and feel a change. Remember it all depends on your dedication.

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Posted Sun, 08/05/2012 - 15:15

Hi, Can this be done on a cut?

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Posted Wed, 08/01/2012 - 01:48
steve hogg


Do you start of your set with heavy weights, short reps increasing to high reps lighter weight to finish?


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Posted Tue, 08/07/2012 - 22:21

Hi Steve. Yes, To finish I decrease the weight and increase the amount of reps.

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Posted Thu, 07/05/2012 - 03:16

Hey. Great workout! but do you start heavy and lift heaver along the way?

6 reps = 50kg
8 reps = 60kg
10 reps = 80kg
12 reps = 100kg


Thanks for the help :)

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Posted Thu, 07/05/2012 - 11:07

Hi Alexander The way my workout is. I start heavy with 10 reps and as I go I decrease the weight by 5lbs and increase the amount or reps by 2.

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Posted Fri, 06/22/2012 - 21:13

should i do this workout if i am a hard gainer ?

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Posted Thu, 06/21/2012 - 15:51

I need to know if my workout days are helping me or hurting me. I work out all upper on Monday, all lower on Tuesday, cardio on Wednesday, and all upper again on Thursday. All workouts consist of 1hour including small rest times. Thanks.

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Posted Mon, 05/14/2012 - 12:24


I have started the program a week ago. I have 2 questions:

1) Since there is always queue in Lat Pull Down machine, can i substitute Pullups superset w/Lat Pull down with Pullups and Row?(not superset)

2) Since i have puberty gyno and therefore i avoid doing bench press, is it ok doing decline/incline/Pec Dec in chest workout?

thx a lot in advance

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Posted Sat, 05/12/2012 - 15:18

i was wondering if i could do 3days on/ 1 day off? how does this sound? day 1 bi/tri day 2 back/chest day 3 legs/shoulders. then take a day off, then repeat. is this to much? if it is what would u suggest?

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Posted Sat, 04/07/2012 - 02:48
Trevor Williams

How should I encorporate ab work into this split?