When it comes to training, it is generally understood that it is both fun and necessary to switch things up periodically in our routines in order to maintain a consistent line of improvement towards our fitness goals.

Switching things like weights used, amount of sets and reps completed, quicker times to finish circuits or intervals, and even advancing different exercises into more explosive versions to burn more calories are all the types of things needed to increase intensity and stimulate the body to accelerate it’s gains.

But there is a very interesting method called pyramiding that can also be a fun and unique little way to structure some exercises to achieve the same objectives with your routine.


Pyramiding is increasing (ascending pyramid) or decreasing (descending pyramid) repetitions of exercises as you go through their sets. For example, you do 5 sets of pushups at 25,18,15,10, and 7 reps respectively.

what is pyramid training2

This method can even be used for groups of exercises and circuits! Imagine doing 5 sets of a pushup, sit up, and rows circuit at those repetitions I just mentioned…

This may seem to some like, “What’s the big deal? Why do that?”

Well, it’s because of the fact that pyramiding allows you to manipulate new intensity levels to put your body through.

So in the example I just gave, decreasing those reps each set lets you do the sets more consecutively without as much rest in between as you would normally need to take if you were trying to hit the same rep goal every round.

The benefit of this is you get to increase your cardiovascular effect you achieve from the 5 sets as well as really burning out and taxing a particular muscle group!

Also, you can get a large volume of work done in a shorter time… Ascending pyramiding affords you those same benefits but with a tougher challenge of having to do more each time you go through a set! Imagine what it would feel like to do 5 rounds of burpees with pushups at the bottom going from 4 to 6, 8, 10 and finally 12 reps!

The intensity and cardio would be through the roof in what would only take a handful of minutes.

And this can also be done with groups of exercises to work on different muscle groups in the same fashion, but the trick to ascending pyramids is to try to rest only as much as needed to make the next number of reps a real struggle to hit.

So here are the great elements to pyramid training in a nutshell!

– Whether increasing or decreasing, a larger volume of work can be done on a muscle group in shorter time.
– Good for intense toning and strengthening
– Descending pyramiding allows less rest between sets to be used
– Increased cardiovascular effect can be introduced due to the previous benefit
– Pyramiding circuits or groups of exercises can really expand your cardio since you can bounce around exercises to exercise with even less rest between exercises and sets if capable
– Very stimulating and challenging especially for those number goal oriented folks out there
– Good way to maintain freshness and targets within your training

Ok then fitness world lets see how you do!

Have a blast and you can really push yourself with this method!

Please let me know what you think and give feedback on your efforts. You can leave me messages right on this page and be sure to do the same for any of my other articles!

I look forward to hearing from you and working with any of you in the near future!

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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
Lost 13 Kg in Total
Mel, 32y Location: London, United Kingdom Working with Pollyanna changed everything. I lost 13kg, got toned and have more energy than ever! Get same results!


Chriz Zaremba Fitness Consultant
Lost 45 Kg in Total
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