Samara Donald is: The Gym Coach

Make the most of your workout!

Pyramids (sample with Leg Extensions)

‘Pyramids’ are a great way to build your muscles to form a strong foundation. This technique allows you to add weight gradually, which prepares your muscles for heavier weights. If you’ve been at a plateau, or have been wanting to ‘push it’ a bit, try a pyramid into your routine and witness the great results.

You can use the pyramid technique with any weight bearing exercise (such as bicep curls, shoulder press, etc…); here, I will show a sample pyramid routine using a leg extension machine (see lower image).

To understand the pyramid technique, imagine an actual pyramid shape (like above). You will start with your “normal” weight poundage (whichever would be the weight you’d normally lift 10-12 reps). From here, you are going to gradually increase the weight, but lower the # of reps you perform. You will do 4 ‘sets’ to reach your maximum weight. Then, you’ll begin decreasing the weight and increasing the reps until you reach the same place you started. You’ll do 7 sets total in this routine.

Here is a sample pyramid routine on the leg extension machine:


Muscles Worked: Legs (Quadriceps)
Time to Compete: 10 minutes
You Will Need: Leg extension machine (like below)

Set 1: With your ‘normal’ weight, lift 10 reps
— rest 15-20 seconds

Set 2: Increase weight by about 10% (or one plate), and complete 8 reps
–rest 15-20 seconds

Set 3: Increase weight by about 10% (or one plate), and complete 6 reps
–rest 15-20 seconds

Set 4: Increase weight by about 10% (or one plate), and complete 4 reps
–rest 30 seconds (you made it to the top!!)

Set 5: Decrease the weight by 10% (or one plate), and complete 6 reps
–rest 15-20 seconds

Set 6: Decrease the weight by 10% (or one plate), and complete 8 reps
–rest 15-20 seconds


Set 7: Decrease the weight by 10% (or one plate), and complete 10 reps

Generally, one full cycle of these 7 set routine is enough to wear out your legs and make them feel like jello! But if you are not yet tired or sore, you can repeat the cycle again. Don’t do more than 2 cycles total; if you are still not feeling it, you probably started too light – try starting heavier next time.

Have fun, and remember to fully rest your body 2 days after doing this type of training.

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2 comments on “Pyramids (sample with Leg Extensions)

  1. Pingback: In a rut? Burn it out! « TheGymCoach Blog

  2. Pingback: Get Strong(er). « TheGymCoach Blog

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This entry was posted on November 23, 2009 by in Exercises, pyramid, Training planning, workout.
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