Unison of Mind, Body, and Soul
Essential Lifting technique
Build Muscle Fast with the Pyramid Workout (Part 2/3: Workout Strategy and Lifting Guide)
Welcome to my explanation of the core lifting technique that I’m ecstatic to share with you! Here it is. In order to generate these big bulky muscles, we have to push our bodies to the limit so our muscle fibers will increase in size. To accomplish this, our main goal is to lift the heaviest weight possible! Yes, those of you that dislike long repetition workouts are in luck. Let me explain what low repetitions (reps for short) do as compared to high reps.
Low rep workouts will provide you with the most muscle mass generation. Although this type of workout is more risky due to the heavier weight that we will struggle with, pound for pound it is the most effective. This type of workout will get you those large bodybuilder type muscles. The opposite end of the scale will lead me to high repetitions.
High rep workouts will burn the most calories and help develop those beach body abs and chiseled biceps. This type of workout is low risk, but is the type that makes you, “feel the burn”, if you will. Because both low and high rep workouts have their pros and cons, we want to find a middle ground that will build muscle mass most efficiently. This is how our main lifting technique comes into play.
The Pyramid Workout
Pyramid lifting is in my opinion the most efficient form of weightlifting and builds the most muscle mass. I’ll tell you why. Our muscles are smart. They are also composed of muscle fibers. When doing a lift, muscles will naturally find the easiest way to complete the task. Meaning, they won’t expend extra energy to engage muscle fibers that aren’t needed. They also get use to your workout routine if it is all completely the same. We do not want them to get use to the workout because they will not be stressed into working harder. We need them to get stressed out like someone with three jobs, 10 kids, and 2 unruly dogs! When muscle fibers are too stressed, others will jump in and help with the lift until there are no more. This is the state that we want our muscle to be in. It is at this point that we can be most effective in our lift. Since there are no more extra muscle fibers to call for help, they will begin to tear on a microscopic level. However, do not fear, this is supposed to happen. They will heal, and when they do they will become much stronger because they do not want to tear again. But they will… This is why we get so sore the next day after a workout, but hey, “what doesn’t kill them makes them stronger”. Right? With this in consideration, we can truly understand how the following pyramid workout method works.
Pyramid workouts are all very similar in regards to the number of reps. The amount of weight used will definitely vary by person. Start out by using extremely light weight that you can do very easily and establish your lifting technique doing maybe 12-20 repetitions. You should not be tired at all after this. This is mainly to get your form together as well as start waking up those muscle fibers, getting them out of bed, and sending them to work. A few pushups can be a good alternative.
- 12-20 reps, super light weight.
Now for the main structure of the lift we will be doing repetitions in the order below, starting with 12 reps. The weight you will start with is one that you can complete eleven reps completely by yourself. Yes, 11 reps. Remember when I said the spotter had a few different jobs? They are not only there solely for your protection. They’re there to help you work! They will also provide extra motivation, even if they don’t know it! Just their presence will give you more confidence and strength to complete your lift on a psychological level. If you could already do twelve reps with the weight you have on, what’s the point of doing it? Doing the total workout by yourself will not make you stronger, but simply maintain the strength you already currently possess. We have to work for this twelfth rep. Make sure your spotter knows that you need him/her to help you keep the bar moving on that last rep. The last rep is the most important, so give it everything you’ve got!
- 12 -> 10 -> 8 -> 6 -> 4, decrease # of reps, up the weight each set.
It is the same idea with every set thereafter. For example, when attempting 10 reps, put weight on the bar that you know is do able by yourself 9 times and so on. Yes, you read that right. This means we will be adding weight each time we go down in number of reps! The amount of weight you add will be up to you. There is no baseline or percentage of weight to add simply because everyone is different. It all depends on how tired you got yourself with the first set of 12, whether you’ve eaten enough that day, if you’re hydrated enough, if you got enough sleep, etc. In your first few weeks of conducting this workout, the number of reps above is the goal. However, this workout is completely different from others especially if you haven’t done anything like this before. You may not even be able to reach your fourth set. This is completely normal. If this is the case, keep dropping down in reps while doing whatever amount of weight you can. For example, if you find you’ve done the set of eight, but can’t complete the set of 6, just do 4 reps and don’t worry about the remainder of the set of 6. You will become stronger over time. The goal is to get your lifts to a point where you can do a maximum rep of one while utilizing all muscle fibers without hurting yourself. That’s what I call powerful!
- 12 -> 10 -> 8 -> 6 -> 4 -> 2 -> 1, when you can do this whole set in one workout session, you’ll be nearing a plateau where in order to get stronger you will have to start doing things like cutting back on rest periods between sets in order to continue progressing.
Hold on a minute! Before you head over to the gym, you have to understand what foods to eat as well as know what to do after the workout. Without those tools, you can easily set yourself back quite far, making your workouts less meaningful.