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Old May 1st, 2011, 06:19 PM
superman_86 superman_86 is offline
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Reverse Pyramid Training

Iíve been reading up on a few different programs for gaining strength and found one on Reverse Pyramid Training by Randy Herring. I didnít see anything on this in the forum and wondered if anyone has tried it or has any insight? If you have tried it how were your results? Thanks!
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Old May 8th, 2011, 10:50 PM
superman_86 superman_86 is offline
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I'm looking to put on more size and strength and from the sounds of it it seems to make sense working with heavier weight first while your fresh. I thought it would be a good change of pace as it's completely different than the way I've trained in the past. Before diving in I wanted to bounce the idea off the minds in the forum and see who has used it. Any thoughts?
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Old May 9th, 2011, 10:14 AM
Roland Fisher Roland Fisher is offline
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For size and for strength, training with heavier weights is a great idea. The heavier the load the more motor units you train (more muscle fibers). One needs adequate volume too, and the reverse pyramid does that for you.

I've used it, I like it. Your rational is sound.
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Old May 9th, 2011, 11:32 AM
superman_86 superman_86 is offline
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Thanks for the reply Ronald. How did you, and your clients, responded to the reverse pyramid vs. the regular pyramid style you see in most programs? Did you notice a difference in your energy or strength by moving the heaviest weight early in your sets? What is your opinion on the best way of incorporating this into a routine?
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Old May 9th, 2011, 01:19 PM
Roland Fisher Roland Fisher is offline
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The reverse pyramid shows up in many, many places. In a few forms. The best way I've found in using it is to take between 5 and 8 sets to work up to a relatively fast, heavy triple (well 3 to 5 really). NOT slow grinding reps, use the same speed you would with a lighter weight. On your first set start with somewhere around 50% of what you'll end up lifting on your last set.

Then, get your higher reps in. You can do that in myriad ways. Accessory movement. Same movement, lighter load. Ample rest or very little rest. Strip sets. One lighter load, many sets.

The principle behind the reverse pyramid is where the magic happens, not in any particular execution.

The principle is really this:
Lift heavy when you are fresh. Get your volume work in after. The rest is simply the fun stuff that matters much less than the principle.

How did I and mine respond?
Great. We got stronger and bigger. I like lifting heavier loads too, it feels great.

This reminds me though of a B movie I saw with Nick Nolte called the Peaceful Warrior, I think. The protagonist was talking to his mentor, on a bridge over a stream. The young lad wondered out loud how the water was. The mentor promptly threw him into the water.

Do you believe trying a reverse pyramid on at least one exercise, on at least one training day, would be worth the experiment? If so, do you think you know enough to do it that the one time?
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Old May 9th, 2011, 02:47 PM
superman_86 superman_86 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland Fisher View Post
...The best way I've found in using it is to take between 5 and 8 sets to work up to a relatively fast, heavy triple (well 3 to 5 really).
8 warm up sets seems like a lot but I assume thatís necessary when performing your heaviest set right out of the gate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland Fisher View Post
On your first set start with somewhere around 50% of what you'll end up lifting on your last set.
Were you referring to warm up sets with this statement, or did you mean to say you will end at about 50% of what you started with?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland Fisher View Post
This reminds me though of a B movie I saw with Nick Nolte called the Peaceful Warrior, I think. The protagonist was talking to his mentor, on a bridge over a stream. The young lad wondered out loud how the water was. The mentor promptly threw him into the water.
I like your analogy, and am ready to ďjump inĒ I just wanted to seek a little advice on how to best apply the principles. Additionally, Iím currently training on the 5/3/1 program and in the middle of a cycle. The main principle you mentioned, lifting the heavy weight early and the volume (accessory lifts) in the latter, is exactly how 5/3/1 works. The difference is 5/3/1 uses a regular pyramid for the three heavy work sets. Have you had much success in the past with 5/3/1 yourself?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland Fisher View Post
Do you believe trying a reverse pyramid on at least one exercise, on at least one training day, would be worth the experiment?
Rather than modify 5/3/1 Iíll probably come up with a training plan around the RPT and give it a go. I think Iíll be able to able to gauge my strength and how I feel rather than just one exercise per week.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland Fisher View Post
If so, do you think you know enough to do it that one time?
Let me know if this sounds correct:

Warm up (5-8 sets)
Work sets (3-5 sets)
Accessory work

Do you have a good program already built around RPT you could post to the forum? Since youíve had success Iíd like to see how youíve staggered the exercise and muscle groups, etc... Iíll give it a run and post the results to the forum.
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Old May 9th, 2011, 06:30 PM
yorik yorik is offline
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I'm confused...

How does a plan with 8 warmup sets before getting to your full weight count as a "reverse" pyramid, or as doing your heavy weight first? It sounds like a normal pyramid to me. What am I missing?
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Old May 9th, 2011, 06:39 PM
Roland Fisher Roland Fisher is offline
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I'll give an example, which should clear it up a bit.

Trap Bar DL:
Bar - a few reps to get the groove.
135 x a few

"Warm up" starts here. the first two were warm up too of course, but they are just for feel right.
185 x 3
205 x 3
225 x 3
275 x 3
295 x 3
315 x 3

You don't go from the bar to a heavy 315. The 315 is the first "work set".

Then pyramid down.

225 x 12, or what ever for a few sets.
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Old May 9th, 2011, 06:40 PM
Roland Fisher Roland Fisher is offline
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5/3/1 basically is a reverse pyramid already.

The old pyramid up style was hitting the higher reps hard first and adding weight to each set. All are hard work sets. Pyramid down is hitting the lowest reps hard first, then the higher reps. You still need to warm up to hit that first hard set.
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