Pyramidal series: what are they and what are their variants?

When we work with strength training , the search for new training methods that prevent the muscle from accommodating is always a must.

In this sense, seeking to give power to the muscles in their different types of strength and hypertrophy it, the pyramidal series are very popular. It is a training method that improves both mass and intramuscular coordination, which is why many professional trainers use it.

What are pyramid series?

The theory says that if we were able to lift our maximum load from the first set, the muscle development would be very great. However, trying to put this into practice is very dangerous, since working with very high loads without warming up first increases the probability of injury.

In order to work in this line, the pyramid method appeared. It consists of varying the intensity of the training as we progress through the series, so that we warm up the muscle with very light series to end up with maximum or very high loads or intensities in the last one. In this way, the point of maximum development is reached without having worn the muscle excessively before it, but also without risking injury.

This method is valid both with training with weights and without them. Depending on the case, we will simply vary either the weight used, or the number of repetitions. However, this is just the basic pyramid series method – it comes in several variations.

1. Ascending pyramid

This is the one we just mentioned and the most used. We start with very light loads and a greater number of repetitions, and in each series we increase the load and reduce the repetitions, until we reach a final series of maximum load and a single repetition.

If we worked without weights, doing, for example, dominated free, we would begin with few repetitions, which would rise. Typically, the pyramid consists of about 4 or 5 series, although it can be adapted according to objectives and circumstances. The good thing about this pyramid is that it allows us to reach the maximum load series with the muscle ready.

2. Descending pyramid

It is the inverse of the previous one. In this case, we start with the highest load series to gradually reduce the intensity. When using the descending pyramid it is not advisable to include the maximum load series, as the risk of injury is high. If you want to do it, you must have done a proper warm-up beforehand.

3. Truncated pyramid

The truncated pyramid works basically the same as the ascending pyramid, but in it we do not reach the maximum load series. By eliminating the high-intensity, but higher-risk, single-rep set, exercise becomes much more affordable for athletes with a lower level or who have been exercising for less time.

4. Double pyramid

The double pyramid combines the benefits of the ascending and descending pyramid. In fact, it basically consists of carrying out the two, one after the other. Thus, the most common is to start with a complete ascending pyramid, and then continue with a descending one.

As they are exercises with a greater number of series, they are indicated for very large muscle groups. It is also often used in resistance work with higher repetitions.

These are the advantages of the pyramidal series

This type of training routine is one of the most used for strength training. It is a very good method to combine with others, so that we break the muscle routine and optimize its development and growth.

Among its main advantages is the great global muscle development it provides, and its adaptability allows it to work in many different ways. If you want to hypertrophy, add some pyramids to your session.