Does it make sense to start your workout at a light weight and gradually build up to your maximum lift?
I say it doesn’t. I think it’s incorrect and counter-productive for the following reason…
The only time that you have 100% of your strength intact is at the very start of a workout.
We can logically say then that you should begin each workout with the heaviest weight you can lift.
Some people have thought it best to “work up to” their heaviest lift.
But if you do a number sets before this max lift, it WON’T actually be your heaviest lift.
With each successive set you make further INROADS into your strength. By the time you get to that last set, the weight you lift won’t be the heaviest weight you can handle in that exercise.
Perhaps by this stage you’ll only have 88% of your max strength intact.
So you’ll be fooled into thinking that this is your top weight when it isn’t, and by quite a large margin. It should be obvious then that this is a very ineffective way to train, whether your goal is strength and/or hypertrophy orientated.
Reverse Pyramid Training
If this is how you’re approaching your workouts at the moment, you need to FLIP it on its head i.e. from pyramid-style training, to a REVERSE-pyramid – THT-style.
So how do we train?
- You get in the gym
- You warm up
- You then hit a particular body part with the heaviest weight you can handle to positive failure (in your given rep range).
- Take a 2-3 minute break, reduce the weight a little, and do the same again.
Each successive set of the same exercise will be a little lighter.
How much lighter? Well it depends on the amount of load used. If you’re bicep curling 20kg, you’ll only need to drop by 1-2 Kg’s between sets. If you’re benching 100kg, you’ll need to knock off anywhere from 5 to 15 kgs between sets.
There’ll be a little trial and error when you first start THT training. But it won’t be long until you intuitively know how much weight to drop to keep reaching positive failure in your given rep range.
So you start with 100% of your strength intact and make progressively bigger inroads into your strength as the workout progresses.
And this is for good reason. Creating these inroads triggers the body to adapt and bring your strength not just back to 100%, but > 100%. This is OVERcompensating.
So by the time you perform this same workout again, you’ll notice that your max strength has now increased i.e. you’ve gotten stronger and can handle more weight and/or reps.
Now all you have to do, my friends, is keep doing it! Keep progressing. Adding more weight to the bar and/or performing more reps in successive workouts is the 1 fundamental that guarantees muscle growth.
Combine progressive overload with reverse pyramid training and succeed once and for all!
Train With Intensity!
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