How to Do a Total Body Pyramid Workout

How to Do a Total Body Pyramid Workout

Total Body Pyramid Workout

For those that are into any kind of resistance training, a total body pyramid workout is a great way to structure your workouts. And they can seriously kick your butt.

How to Do a Total Body Pyramid Workout

In short, a basic pyramid workout consists of taking a single exercise and starting with lightweight and more reps, and as you progress up the pyramid going up in weight and down in reps.

Then, once you reach “the top,” going back to increasing the reps and decreasing the weight.

Quick Pyramid Example: Squat Pyramid

  1. 30 reps – 15 pounds
  2. 25 reps – 20 pounds
  3. 20 reps – 30 pounds
  4. 15 reps – 35 pounds
  5. 10 reps – 40 pounds
  6. 5 reps – 45 pounds – Top of the pyramid
  7. 10 reps – 40 pounds
  8. 15 reps – 35 pounds
  9. 20 reps – 30 pounds
  10. 25 reps – 20 pounds
  11. 30 reps – 15 pounds

Please note that this is just an example of a pyramid. Pyramids should ALWAYS be customized to the individual and their current fitness level. Furthermore, please note that pyramids do not need 11 sets. They can consist of however many sets you would like them to have/is safe for you to complete.

Benefits of Pyramids

Pyramids are all about repetition; I’m a big fan of repetition when it comes to fitness. Repetition will not only help muscle growth and endurance but also gives one ample time to work on their form thus improving their overall performance.

Repetition also helps to foster mental focus and discipline. It takes a lot of patience and mental stamina to complete a full pyramid correctly. Total focus is needed for this type of workout to be effective and to avoid injury.

How to Do a Total Body Pyramid Workout Starting TodayExpect a pyramid to last somewhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on the exercise, weights used, and the number of sets.

Again, only attempt pyramids when you have ample time to do so. It should not be rushed.

Lastly, pyramids give an individual a range of gains from one exercise. The lighter weight sets provide great cardio and the moderate-heavier sets provide muscle growth.

Do I Need To Warm Up and Cool Down?

Another great thing about pyramids is the warm-up and cool-down can be built into the pyramid since you are starting with lighter weights and ending with lighter weights.

However, feel free to add an additional warm-up and cool-down methods such as stretching, cardio, and/or, foam rolling.

The above can never hurt, only help!

Modifications of Pyramids

Now, I know many of you are super busy and don’t have the time to complete a full pyramid. That’s totally okay!

You can always complete half a pyramid (just make sure to properly cool down after if you are going to end at the top of the pyramid with heavyweights). Feel free to go from the top of the pyramid to the bottom as well (just make sure to properly warm up beforehand).

You could also do an abridged version of a pyramid. For example:

Mini Chest Press Pyramid

  1. Lightweights – 25 reps
  2. Moderate Weights – 15 reps
  3. Heavy Weights – 10 reps
  4. Moderate Weights – 15 reps
  5. Light Weights – 25 reps

Or you could even do super-set pyramids. A superset is two exercises done back to back. For example:

Bent over rows and shoulder press

Superset #1

  • Lightweight bent over rows – 25 reps
  • Lightweight shoulder press – 25 reps

Superset #2

  • Moderate weight bent over rows -15 reps
  • Moderate weight shoulder press – 15 reps

Superset #3

  • Heavyweight bent over rows -10 reps
  • Heavyweight shoulder press – 10 reps

Superset #4

  • Moderate weight bent over rows -15 reps
  • Moderate weight shoulder press -15 reps

Superset #5

  • Lightweight bent over rows – 25 reps
  • Lightweight shoulder press – 25 reps

Again, the above two examples are merely examples, and any type of workout should ALWAYS be customized to the individual and their current fitness level. Rep ranges, weight amount, and exercises should be modified if needed.

Diversity is Key

Pyramids are great, but I am a huge believer in doing all different kinds and types of workouts.

Doing different kinds of activities keeps the mind sharp and trains the body in different, yet beneficial ways.

Feel free to incorporate pyramids into your weekly workout routines, but don’t forget about other workout structures and methods such as yoga, circuit training, hiking, spinning, Pilates, etc.

If you would like more information about what type of workouts are right for you, please do not hesitate to reach out. Everyone needs something a little different when it comes to fitness. I am happy to help anyone I can find what’s most beneficial.


I hope this article has given you all a new type of workout to implement into your fitness routines. If you have any questions and/or are interested in personal training please do not hesitate to email me.

As always, thanks for reading, and stay tuned!

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Alexis was trained in Russian Ballet for 12 years before finding her love of bodybuilding and fitness. She also graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s in Psychology, and has extensive work experience in the Mental Health Field, which allows her to approach fitness and training from a mental health standpoint.

Alexis is grateful to be a NASM-certified personal trainer and a Mad Dogg Athletics-Certified Spin Instructor. Her mission is to help all individuals achieve their best selves, and have the happiest and healthiest lives possible. Her specialities are resistance training, TRX, bodybuilding, HIIT/VIIT/LIIT, spin, corework, functional moment, nutrition, and weight loss.

She is honored to be a guest contributor for DIY Active and wishes to inspire and motivate all readers. Please feel free to email her at [email protected] for more info about wellness, fitness, and personal training including virtual options.
Alexis Mallery
How to Do a Total Body Pyramid Workout