By Curtis Child
DHAC Exercise Physiologist
Not enough time in your day for a full workout? No problem! What’s the answer to the time crunch we all face? Pyramid sets.
What are pyramid sets? They are a rotation through various exercises exerting more effort with more weight each time through. If you “pyramid” through these top 5 exercises, you’ll be just fine!
Pyramid type sets will burn calories, warm you up, and allow you to work on strength and endurance. People are so focused on doing three sets of 10-15 reps. Why not switch it up and try 5 to 6 sets and increase your weight as you decrease your reps?
What moves should you makes sure you cover? Squats, deadlifts, seated row, shoulder press, and chest press. They cover the major muscle groups: Legs, Chest, Back, Shoulders, & Abs. Conveniently, all exercise can be performed with either a barbell or dumbbells.
When you are strapped for time then it is important that you use it wisely. Get a good warm up by walking, biking, or light jog for up to 5-to 10 minutes. If you are not sweating by then don’t worry, the first couple exercises should exert enough energy to ensure a good warm up. Here is an examples of pyramid sets using squats
Set 1: 15 reps (light load)
Set 2: 12 reps (▲weight)
Set 3: 10 reps (▲weight)
Set 4: 8 reps (▲weight)
Set 5: 6 reps (▲weight)
Set 6: 4 reps (▲weight)
You might also want to circuit your workout. Yes, generally speaking you should have a one minute rest in between sets, but not if you are working on different muscle groups.
So, an example of a pyramid circuit might be:
Squats: light weight for 15 reps
Chest Press: light weight for 15 reps
Squats: ▲weight for 12 reps
Chest ▲weight for 12 reps
Squats: ▲weight for 10 reps
Chest: ▲weight for 10 reps
Continue this method until pyramid is completed
The same can be done alternating deadlifts and shoulder press or rows and sit-ups, or many more alternating options.
Have fun with your workout but most importantly be safe. Never compromise your form or try something new if you are unsure of how to execute it properly. We are always available for assistance to don’t be shy…ask an exercise physiologist!