Get Shredded: How Natural Lifters Can Use Reverse Pyramid Training (RPT)
Reverse pyramid training (RPT) is a set-rep pattern where you take the traditional pyramid style pattern, and simply reverse it. It’s an intense time-efficient low-volume training style, best suited for big compound lifts.
Reverse Pyramid Training was made popular by the intermittent fasting mastermind, Martin Berkhan, and according to Berkhan himself, it was the pattern that yielded him the best results strength and physique wise…
…Needless to say that reverse pyramid training also goes extremely well together with intermittent fasting (IF).
Here’s the results that Martin himself attained with IF + RPT:
RPT is so effective that we had to include it in the THOR Testosterone Training Program for it’s ability to quickly add strength and muscle while boosting testosterone.
So what does a reverse pyramid training routine look like?
Let’s assume that you can bench press 100 kg’s for 6 reps (max effort)…
…Your bench press reverse pyramid training routine would look like this:
1. Warm up.
2. 6 x 100
3. Rest for ~3 minutes
4. 7 x 90
5. Rest for ~3 minutes
6. 8 x 80
7. Move to next exercise
1. You start with the heaviest (max effort) set
2. Then you reduce the weight by -10% and add +1 rep to follow up with intermediate (medium effort) set
3. After that you reduce the weight again by -10% and add +1 rep to follow up with light (easy effort) set
And that’s exactly why it’s called reverse pyramid training. You’re not going from easy to hard (as in traditional pyramid), but you’re going from hard to easy (which is the reverse pyramid).
So every movement is done like the example above?
Yes the basic idea is that you do 3 sets per exercise and reduce roughly -10% of the weight per set. When you’re more experienced with the pattern you can fiddle around a bit with the numbers. For example, I do 2 sets on deadlifts and 4 sets on some assistance work (bicep curls, calves, etc).
Does this work for wider rep ranges?
Yes, you can work with smaller range (3-6 reps per set) or with wider range (something like 8-12 reps per set)
Here’s an example of a bench press reverse pyramid workout for wider rep range (for wider rep ranges you can add an extra rep when you reduce the weight):
1. 80 x 8 (max effort)
2. 72 x 10 (medium effort)
3. 65 x 12 (easy effort)
How do I progress with Reverse Pyramid Training Routine?
Just like in any other training pattern, when you feel that you can add more weight to the top set, do so.
Conclusion on Reverse Pyramid Training
As you can see, the benefits of reverse pyramid training are quite profound. RPT is a set-rep pattern that can be easily incorporated into any workout routine that will provide massive benefits.
For clarification: All you have to remember is that you start from the heaviest set, and then deload ~10% off the weight while adding 1-2 reps per each following set. Rest around 3 minutes in between sets, and once you’re familiar with the system you can fiddle around with the numbers so that the pattern fits your needs.
Test it out and see how it goes. Works well for me at least.