HOW TO USE REVERSE PYRAMID TRAINING
- You warm up to your heaviest set of the day
- You reduce the weight, or ‘pyramid down’ to either stay in the rep range, or perform more reps
THE BENEFITS OF REVERSE PYRAMID TRAINING
1. You Perform Your Heaviest Set With No Fatigue
When using RPT, you have the advantage of being able to perform your heaviest sets when you’re most fresh. Everything is geared towards your top set, so it’s important you’re utilising an effective warm up strategy to maximise this.
2. Your Focus Is On One ‘All Out’ Set
Since implementing RPT, I’ve found that mentally it’s a lot easier to approach your sessions knowing you have the opportunity to apply maximum effort to one top set.
3. Your Subsequent Sets Feel Easier
The beauty of working up to one top heavy set is that your back off sets will feel so much lighter. During your heavy set, you’ll be able to maximally activate all muscle fibres.
4. It Works Great When Dieting
The number one determinant of muscle retention when dieting is strength. One of the best ways to maintain load on the bar when dieting is to use RPT. I’ve seen it time and time again, and used it throughout my last bodybuilding prep. It works especially well when body fat gets really low and energy levels are dwindling, as the singular focus on one top set ensures intensity is kept high.
5. Break Mental Barriers With New Weights
What I love about RPT is the ability to really challenge yourself and step into new territories of loading.
MISTAKES MOST PEOPLE MAKE WITH REVERSE PYRAMID TRAINING
1. Traditional Pyramids
I’ve never really understood why so many people in the gym perform such high reps in their ‘warm up’ sets, or utilise traditional pyramid rep schemes.
The problem with this is you’re performing your ‘money sets’ under fatigue. This might be fine you’re strong already and looking for ways to minimise joint stress, but for 99% of people, it’s only short-circuiting your strength and muscle building gains.
2. Performing Easy, Submaximal Sets
This is similar to the ‘scenario #1’ I outlined at the start of this article. If your workout calls for 3 sets of 6-8, and you always complete the top end of rep range while never dropping off, you’re just not pushing yourself enough.
3. Performing Every Set To Failure
On the other hand, you have the lifters who take every single set to failure. Every rep of every set is a grind.