Tip: The 100 Rep Pyramid

A new twist on a classic muscle-building method. Check it out.

The Pyramid Method, With a Twist

The pyramid method of organizing sets and reps is a classic. This is what everybody used when I was in high school and it still works. But we can make it work even better by setting a specific number of total reps to shoot for: 100.

Pyramid the weight up for 5-6 sets and then reverse. If you have the energy, see if you can beat the number of reps you did on the way back down the pyramid. This is a nice blend of two great training methods: ascending and descending sets.

Here's an example using the squat:

Up the pyramid, increasing weight on each set while doing fewer reps:

  • 185 pounds x 12 reps
  • 205 pounds x 10 reps
  • 225 pounds x 8 reps
  • 246 pounds x 6 reps
  • 275 pounds x 5 reps

And down the pyramid, dropping the weight on each set but doing more reps:

  • 245 pounds x 8 reps
  • 225 pounds x 10 reps
  • 205 pounds x 12 reps
  • 135 pounds x 25 reps

In that example, the total reps for your squat workout comes to 96. Close enough. See if you can hit 100 in the next workout.

Tim Henriques has been a competition powerlifter for over 20 years. He was a collegiate All American Powerlifter with USA Powerlifting. In 2003 Tim deadlifted 700 pounds (at 198), setting the Virginia State Record. Follow Tim Henriques on Facebook