Climbing the Pyramid of Gains: Pyramidal Training | Biolayne
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Climbing the Pyramid of Gains: Pyramidal Training

Pyramidal resistance training: A brief review of acute responses and long-term adaptations
Cardozo et al. (2023)
Climbing the Pyramid of Gains: Pyramidal Training


What did they test? The study investigated the effectiveness of pyramid strength training compared to traditional training methods.
What did they find? They found that pyramid training protocols did not show superiority over traditional training methods in terms of acute physiological responses, strength gains, or muscle hypertrophy.
What does it mean for you? For individuals and trainers, the results that the choice between pyramid training and traditional training methods can be based on personal preferences, motivational factors, or periodization needs rather than effectiveness.

What’s the Problem?

I’m not sure if you’re aware by now but lifting is indeed, great for building muscle mass and strength. Shocking, I know. As you also probably know, training volume, intensity of effort and load are among the key variables that need to be manipulated in order to maximize training induced adaptations. 

As it stands we know that training volume and hypertrophy seem to have some sort of dose-response relationship. Additionally, we know that training close to failure is beneficial for hypertrophy and that lifting heavy is ideal for maximizing strength development. 

For those well-versed in lifting, the principle of progression is a cornerstone, emphasizing the potential need for evolving training strategies to sustain progress. As one advances in their quest to maximize strength and hypertrophy, advanced training strategies begin entering the picture. Among the plethora of advanced training methods, the pyramidal approach often stands out 1. This method varies the load and repetition count across sets, distinguishing itself in two forms: the crescent pyramid, where weights increase and repetitions decrease, and the decrescent pyramid, which inversely reduces the weight while increasing repetitions. Such variation introduces a dynamic range of training stimuli, theoretically offering superior outcomes in strength gains and muscle hypertrophy compared to traditional training methods.

Despite its popularity, the superiority of pyramidal training in achieving strength and hypertrophy goals remains a subject of speculation within the scientific community (much like many advanced training methods). However, a recent review is about to change that by synthesizing all the current available evidence in one singular paper.

Enter: Pyramidal resistance training: A brief review of acute responses and long-term adaptations

Purpose & Hypothesis

The aim of the study was to look at both the acute and long-term effects of pyramidal training on strength and hypertrophy adaptations.

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About the author

About Dr. Pak
Dr. Pak

Pak is the Chief Editor of REPS, an online coach and a researcher. Pak did his PhD at Solent University in the UK on “the minimum effective training dose for strength”. As a Researcher, Pak is a Visiting Scholar in Dr. Schoenfeld's Applied Muscle Development Lab in New York City. Pak's research focuses on all...[Continue]

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