Reverse Pyramid Training (RPT) is a style of training where you perform your heaviest set on the first set and then “pyramid” down to lighter weights on the second and third set.
RPT Bench Press Example:
Warm Up Set 1: 30 kg, 3-5 reps
Warm Up Set 2: 55 – 60 kg, 1 rep
Set 1: 70 kg, 4-6 reps
Drop the weight by around 10 %
Set 2: 62.5 kg, 6-8 reps
Drop the weight by 10 % again
Set 3: 55 kg, 8- 10 reps
Note: Don’t do as many reps as you can on warm up sets, you want to start fresh on your first set.
Benefits of RPT
You get a complete training stimulus with low volume training! This is because you are training with very high intensity, and you are lifting very close to your limits on all 3 sets.
Keep in mind that the first set is the most important one. The first set is the one that stimulates your muscles the most which will lead to more muscle gains.
This style of training is not recommended for beginners though, since it requires good technique and/or form on your exercises.
How to Progress with RPT
When training RPT style, you should always keep track on your lifts. Know how many reps and how heavy you lifted last time, and improve your self by setting new personal records. Here are the different methods on how you can progress your lifts:
#1 Micro Loading
This method would be the easiest one out there, but it requires micro plates which most gyms don’t have. When you micro load you simply add around 0.5 kg – 1 kg to all of your sets in one workout keeping the same amount of reps.
Workout 1: 75 kg x 5, 65 kg x 6, 55 kg x 8
Workout 2: 76 kg x 5, 66 kg x 6, 56 kg x 8
#2 Independent Set Loading
In this model, you alternate adding 2.5 kg on your third and second set, before adding it to your first set.
Workout 1. 75 kg x 5, 65 kg x 6, 55 kg x 8
Workout 2: 75 kg x 5, 65 kg x 6, 57.5 kg x 8
Workout 3: 75 kg x 5, 67.5 kg x 6, 57.5 kg x 8
Workout 4: 77.5 kg x 5, 67.5 kg x 6, 57.5 kg x 8
#3 Double Progression
In the double progression model, you are focusing on increasing the reps before increasing the weight.
Workout 1: 75 kg x 4, 65 kg x 6, 55 kg x 7
Workout 2: 75 kg x 4, 65 kg x 7, 55 kg x 8
Workout 3: 75 kg x 5, 65 kg x 8, 55 kg x 8
Workout 4: 75 kg x 5, 65 kg x 7, 55 kg x 10
The amount of reps on the sets should be:
Set 1: 4-6, Set 2: 6-8, Set 3: 8-10
Video showing how Reverse Pyramid Training looks like on the first, second and third set
If you are planning to start using this style of training, remember the following things:
- ALWAYS track your progress (weight and reps)
- You can use 3 different method to progress on your lifts.
- Only use this style of training on your main exercises (compound exercises)
- The first set is the most important
- Requires good technique and/or form
- Never compromise form in order to lift more weight. This will actually lead to plateaus not better gains
- This is a style of training that we use in the Kinobody Programs
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