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.

698 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Wed, 11/03/2010 - 07:40
Pradeep B

Hi Steve,

Can I take the Vassive NO before workout? Can it be taken with the protein+waxymaize++creatine shake or should I need to keep a time difference between the two.How do I supplement with Amino Tabs.

I am in my 7th week of the Pyramid program. Do let me know how long should I continue. I have increased my power and mass.Do also recommend a program post this schedule.

I am 5'7" and body wt is 71kgs.

I plan to pack some good quality muscle and build a defined body.

Pradeep B

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 11/05/2010 - 11:56
Steven

Hi Pradeep,

Yes, you can take that nitric oxide workout before lifting. I would take it about 10 minutes before your whey, etc.

For aminos, I generally take a few with each meal, and some post-workout. If they are BCAAs you can take them intra-workout and post-workout.

Stick this this program at least another 5 weeks, or as long as you are making good progress.

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Posted Fri, 11/05/2010 - 13:17
Pradeep B

Hi Steve,

Thank you for the reply.

I shall follow the inputs and seek your guidance post the time frame suggested.

Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Diwali!!

Pradeep B

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Posted Tue, 11/02/2010 - 16:44
Ben

Hi, i do not have pec dec, calf raise, and reverse grip tricep pulldown. What could I do instead of these?

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 11/05/2010 - 11:50
Steven

Hi Ben,

Dumbbell flyes, standing dumbbell calf raises and two arm seated dumbbell extensions.

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Posted Mon, 11/01/2010 - 21:15
John

Hello -

Would there be anything wrong with reversing the rep ranges, to pyramid "down"? Example: Instead of 6, 8, 10, 14, I'd start with 14 and work down to 6, progressively adding weight?

Thanks!

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 11/05/2010 - 11:48
Steven

Hi John,

That's a solid approach.

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Posted Thu, 10/28/2010 - 07:31
Matt

Hi

Was just wondering with the reps for the hammer curls. Is that the reps for 1 arm or both ars put together, as in 4 each side for the first set?

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 11/01/2010 - 12:38
Steven

Hi Matt,

The reps are for each arm - so 8 each.

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Posted Wed, 10/27/2010 - 23:15
Kippersjc

Hello, i have been using this workout for a few weeks now and love it. I am considering using heavy bag training as cardio and conditioning on my off days. Right now i work legs on Saturday, chest and abs on monday, shoulders and back on tuesday and biceps and triceps on thursday, so i would be doing the bag work on wednesday and friday. Would you consider the bag work over training or a reasonable add-on to the workout?

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 11/01/2010 - 12:38
Steven

Speed bag work should be fine as long as you are eating enough to add muscle.

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Posted Wed, 10/27/2010 - 19:04
jerry

I have been using this method of training for 6 or 7 weeks. I used the split in your example because I wanted to focus on arms. I have been impressed with gains in strength everywhere, but size gains are minimal and can't help but think diet is the big factor. Where can I get advice for what and when to eat carbs...protiens...fats....so that I give my workout the best feed.

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Posted Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:22
Steven

Can you explain Pullups superset w/Lat Pull down?

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:32
Steven

Hi Steven,

You perform pullups and then without resting immediately perform lat pulldowns.

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Posted Tue, 10/26/2010 - 21:57
Joe

Hi, I'm wondering what work outs do you recommend for your stomach. Thanks Joe

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 10/27/2010 - 08:51
Steven

Hi Joe,

Here are several ab workouts that might help:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/ab-workouts.html

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Posted Mon, 10/25/2010 - 20:14
ram010

Whats up guys? I was wondering i have kinda of a gap in my chest and my bench is really good and im wondering if there is anyway if i can get my chest closer together? i try and do the chest workouts that catch my attention on here, and my chest has gotten bigger but not that much closer, so if you could i would greatly appreciate your advice, Thanks

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 10/26/2010 - 09:35
Steven

Hi Ram,

You can't change that gap, you can only make your chest bigger. Sorry to say that gap won't change no matter what you try.

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Posted Tue, 10/26/2010 - 11:38
ram10

oh okay, what can i do to try and get my chest bigger? right now im taking dynamatize elite mass with usplabs prime and jacked as my pre workout

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 10/27/2010 - 08:50
Steven

Hi Ram10,

3 tips:

1) Make sure you are eating properly. If you don't eat properly your hard work in the gym won't pay off. Here are 2 articles that can help:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/your-go-to-guide-to-gaining-m...

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

2) Push yourself in the gym. https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/your-go-to-guide-to-gaining-m...

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

3) Stay persistent! Never miss a workout.

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Posted Mon, 10/25/2010 - 09:31
Nick

Hey man,
Nice workout just got a quick question for you.
When do you increase the weight, is it when you reach the desired reps on every set or just when you hit each rep goal e.g. if you get 180 for 6 reps do you increase it to 185 for do you wait until you hit your rep goal on every set before you increase the weight?

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 10/25/2010 - 10:35
Steven

Hi Nick,

If you hit 6 reps, increase the weight the next time in the gym.

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Posted Sat, 10/23/2010 - 14:10
Ben

I don't have leg extension, so what could i replace it with?

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 10/25/2010 - 09:18
Steven

Hi Ben,

You could try barbell or dumbbell lunges.

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Posted Sat, 10/23/2010 - 02:04
Jesse

where would you throw in workouts and what exercises would you recommend for abs with this program

Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 10/23/2010 - 08:23
Steven

Hi Jesse,

I would recommend abs 1-3 times per week after weight training.

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Posted Tue, 10/19/2010 - 20:54
Chris Rosenberg

Im trying to get cut, more definition while building muscle. I would prefer not to gain alot of weight in my belly by bulking up. More reps less weight is what i was told. Im thinking about giving this system a try, do you have any tips or advice for how i can get more definition by using this system.
I am currently 5'8'' 145lbs

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 10/20/2010 - 12:19
Steven

Hi Chris,

Low weight with high reps isn't a good muscle building approach. You want to use moderate reps (5 to 12). Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

As far as definition, here are a couple articles that can help you eat properly:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/your-go-to-guide-for-cutting-...

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

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Posted Tue, 10/19/2010 - 15:03
Jason

hey I was wondering when should I work in running time during the week?

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 10/20/2010 - 12:16
Steven

Hi Jason,

You can run first thing in the morning, post-workout, or on off days.

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Posted Mon, 10/18/2010 - 12:09
grego

I know that over working your muscles is a bad thing we grow with rest and hard work. My problem is I cant not help but work my arms each time I work out, I love how they blow up. How bad is this and am I hurting better gains?

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 10/20/2010 - 12:15
Steven

Hi Grego,

If muscle mass is your goal, you need to avoid frequent training sessions with a lot of volume. If it were as simple as adding volume for better gains, lifters could stay in the gym 4 hours per day and make great progress.

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Posted Tue, 10/12/2010 - 11:57
stuart

Hi there
I'm just about to start this routine,but i don't see any exercise for forearms in it,could you advise on forearm training and how to fit it into this routine,thanks

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:18
Steven

Hi Stuart,

You can add in 1-2 lifts for forearms if you consider them a weak area. I would perform them after bicep work, and possibly use a combination of a static barbell hold for max time along with reverse wrist curls or reverse barbell curls.

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Posted Mon, 10/11/2010 - 21:44
Jeremy

Yea. I'm 18 and I've been the same weight pretty much since my junior year. Now im in college and have a full gym to use. I'm tryin to get cut and get stronger and bigger. I float around 160 or 155. And I'm 6'1". I'm fit jus not very big. But I still want to keep some sort of cardio and ab workout in my routine. What do you reccomend? And do you have any pointers for my situation?

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:15
Steven

Hi Jeremy,

Keep charging hard in the weight room. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

To shed the extra fat, you need to make sure you are eating properly. Check out these articles:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/your-go-to-guide-for-cutting-...

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

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Posted Sat, 10/09/2010 - 22:17
Edd

I´m underage but i want to gain some muscle definition
so my question is if doing this routine will stop my growth?

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 10/11/2010 - 14:42
Steven

Hi Edd,

No, that's a myth. Weight training does not stunt growth.

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Posted Sat, 10/09/2010 - 16:20
Alexandru

Hello my name is Alex and Im going to atempt to do this pyramid workout. I was just wondering how long should you do it for before you switch it up?

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 10/11/2010 - 14:41
Steven

Hi Alex,

You can use this workout at least 8-12 weeks, or as long as you are making good progress.

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Posted Sat, 10/09/2010 - 15:09
Michael

Hey I was just wondering how to get an ab workout in with this routine? Should I just pick one day a week and do and then? For example would it be ok to do abs on the day I do back?

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 10/11/2010 - 14:40
Steven

Hi Michael,

You can work abs 1-3 times per week after any workout.

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Posted Fri, 10/08/2010 - 23:08
James

Hey steve I've got a question about preacher curls...if you are doing 3 sets of preacher curls, do you do both the inside and outside of the bar 3 times or mix it up? Thanks!

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 10/11/2010 - 14:40
Steven

Hi James,

I would use the same grip, with palms towards you.

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Posted Fri, 10/08/2010 - 15:44
alex

hello, i took a look at this workout and tried it. its kida tough
im just wondering how long it will take to see results and anyone whos tried had results

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Posted Fri, 10/08/2010 - 08:14
Jota

Hi

I realized that began with heavy loads for the first sets and the weight went down to the other sets right?

Another doubt about rest time between sets?

Thanks for your time

Good practice

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 10/11/2010 - 14:37
Steven

Hi Jota,

Yes, you start heavier and progress to lighter weight. rest about 90-120 seconds between sets, or a little longer if the set is very taxing.

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Posted Thu, 10/07/2010 - 13:37
Adam

how does the weight go?

if your reps start out 8 10 12 lets say,

do you start with a light and go higher, or start high and go low?

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 10/11/2010 - 14:36
Steven

Hi Adam,

As a muscle fatigues you will be able to do less and less. So in generally you will need to drop weight after each set.