The Reverse Pyramid Full Body Strength Workout

There are lots of different rep ranges you can use in your workouts. Traditional rep ranges are 1-6 (max. strength), 8-12 (hypertrophy), 15-20 (endurance/stability).

However, you shouldn’t get stuck on using only those rep ranges or even just a single one of those ranges.

There are lots of other ways to work on strength, hypertrophy and/or endurance and stability.

One great workout set up that I like to use is Pyramid Sets…and in this case, simple Descending/Reverse Pyramid Sets.

Pyramid Sets allow you to work through numerous different rep ranges all in one workout.

pyramid sets

The workout below is a variation of the Descending/Reverse Pyramid Set Workout – This means you will start with lower reps and higher weight and go up in reps as you go down in weight over the sets.

You want to push to fatigue each set. You shouldn’t be able to do the same weight at the end that you used at the beginning!

The Reverse Pyramid Full Body Strength Workout

Stretch and Roll Out:


Rest as needed between rounds. Use as heavy a weight or perform as advanced a variation as you can at each rep range. Push to fatigue!

Start with one rep of each. Each round add one rep until you hit 10 reps on the final (10th) set.

KB Deadlift
Pull Up
Airborne Lunge

Stretch and Roll Out:


KB Deadlift – Kettlebell deadlift. You can do a sumo deadlift, straight leg deadlift or conventional deadlift using a kettlebell (or two). Choose the one that best meets your needs. One of my favorite is the Sumo Deadlift…Set your feet up at least shoulder-width apart. Point your toes slightly out. Set one or two kettlebells down between your legs, centered between your heels. Sit your butt back and hinge forward slightly, keeping your back flat. Grab the handles and keep your arms straight as you sink into a wide squat. Pull the kettlebells off the ground and stand up nice and tall. You almost want to pull up and back so that you don’t lean or fall forward. Squeeze your glutes at the top. Then sit your butt back and hinge over to bring the kettlebell(s) back to the ground. Touch them down and then stand back up. Make sure you are driving up off your heels and not rounding your back. Do not lean too far forward. And make sure you sink your butt. This is not a straight leg pull. TO ADVANCE OR REGRESS THROUGHOUT THE REVERSE PYRAMID, CHANGE THE WEIGHT.
Pull Up – Hang from the bar with your palms facing away (you may also sub in chin ups or a neutral grip pull up). Press your chest out and draw your shoulder blades down and back. Then pull your chin up above the bar. Once your chin reaches above the bar, lower back down. Stay in control. Do not kip or swing. As you fatigue, you may swing a little on the last rep or two, but it shouldn’t be used to do reps quickly. Beginners may want to use a pull up assistance machine or their feet or a band to help them perform their pull ups. TO ADVANCE OR REGRESS THROUGHOUT THE REVERSE PYRAMID, CHOOSE A MORE CHALLENGING OR LESS CHALLENGING VARIATION. Maybe do a plyometric pull up to start and regress to a chin up or even assisted variation as you go.
Airborne Lunge – To do this move, you will bend one knee and you are going to squat/lunge down, dropping that back knee toward the ground. Do not touch the foot down when you drop the knee to the ground. Lean forward as needed to counterbalance but do not round forward. You can add a box or pad under your knee if you can’t hit the ground. Make sure to sink back into the front heel and drive off that heel to come back up to standing. If you need assistance,  you can also hold a weight or a suspension trainer in your hands. TO ADVANCE OR REGRESS THROUGHOUT THE REVERSE PYRAMID, HOLD WEIGHT AT YOUR CHEST TO MAKE THE MOVE HARDER OR USE AN ASSISTED VARIATION/SMALLER RANGE OF MOTION TO MAKE IT EASIER.
Dip – Beginners may do an assisted variation off of dip bars or parallel bars. They may also do these off of kettlebells or a bench. Advanced exercisers will do full dips and may even add weight to challenge them. To do a full dip, place one hand on each bar. Press up to the top so that your arms are fully extended. Then slowly bend your elbows and lower your body down. You want to lower yourself down until your upper arms are parallel to the ground. Then drive back up through your hands until you are fully extended at the top. Keep your core tight so you don’t arch your low back. Do not lean too far forward. To do this move from the bench, place both hands on the bench behind you. Your finger tips should hang over the bench and face you. Stretch your legs out then in front of you. The straighter your legs are and the further your heels are from your butt, the harder the move will be. Bend your elbows and drop your butt toward the ground. Drop so your upper arms are parallel to the ground then press back up. Keep your butt and back right up against the bench. Do not let your body drift forward. TO ADVANCE OR REGRESS THROUGHOUT THE REVERSE PYRAMID, CHOOSE A MORE CHALLENGING OR LESS CHALLENGING VARIATION.


Posted on May 22, 2014, in program development, Workout and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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