Pyramid training is an advanced technique for experienced weightlifters who have plateaued with their current routine and are looking for a new challenge. Pyramiding involves multiple sets with the repetitions decreasing for each set while the weight increases. You can follow some popular applications of that basic pattern to increase strength and overall conditioning.
Start with eight repetitions at 60 percent of your one-rep maximum and, for each of the following three sets, drop the number of repetitions by two while increasing the resistance by 10 percent. For example, if your one-rep max in the bench press was 100 pounds, you would complete eight reps at 60 pounds for the first set. The second set would be six reps at 70 pounds, then four reps at 80 pounds and finally two reps at 90 pounds.
Select a weight that is 60 percent of your one-rep max and complete 12 repetitions for the first set. For the second set, increase the resistance to 70 percent and decrease the reps to 10. For the third set, do 80 percent and eight reps. Increase resistance to 90 percent and decrease to six reps for the fifth set. Next, reverse the pyramid by repeating the resistance and rep scheme for the fourth, third and second sets and end with the first set's resistance and reps.
Complete four sets for each of the following exercises, increasing the weight while decreasing the number of reps from 15 to 12 to 10 and finishing at eight: barbell curls, close-grip bench press, cable curls, triceps press downs, standing calf raises and seated calf raises.