What is “Reverse Pyramid” Training?

build lean muscle faster the reverse pyramid way!

Build lean muscle to enjoy a toned, strong and invigorating body! Having more lean muscle gives you more energy, increases caloric expenditure, keeps you strong and healthy, and feeling good and looking great! Building muscle can be overloading them by an increase in weight or some training technique that makes a set of an exercise harder to complete. Going about it, however, has been a difference of opinion.


The conventional weight training system begins with the lightest weight while increasing the amount of weight and decreasing the amount of reps with each successive set. However, this conventional system of pyramiding up in weight while pyramiding down in reps wastes time, energy and muscular effort. Reverse pyramid training begins with the heaviest weight while decreasing the amount of weight and increasing the amount of reps with each successive set. Therefore, this system is done in reverse unlike the conventional.  This is the most energy and time efficient training method because it can help you achieve maximum results in the shortest amount of time. It is efficient because it shortens your training time. It is productive because it forces you to train hard, not long. Most people train too much and too often, but few train too hard.

Having an adequate amount of lean muscle means enjoying a better quality of life. Muscle is essentially potential energy waiting to being used and actualized. Muscle is activated through some form of work or exercise. Actualizing muscle means producing more energy and increasing caloric expenditure and burning the reserves of fat!

Train harder, not longer to Maximize Results!

Building lean muscle encompasses three basic facts. One, strength precedes muscle. Before a muscle can get bigger it first must get stronger. Two, training hard and long is impossible. You either train hard or long. You cannot do both. Training harder means training at a higher intensity and invariably shortens your workout time. It doesn’t necessarily mean using heavier weight, but rather making a set harder to complete, which brings us to the third fact. Three, the greater amount of force generated yields the most muscle fibers stimulated at one time. The amount of force you make a muscle generate is directly proportional to the amount of muscle growth you'll be able to create!

The reverse pyramid has been around a long time…for 50 years. It was first engineered in the 70s by Mr. Universe, Mike Mentzer. He dubbed his training system “Heavy-Duty.” He based his idea on the known fact among biologists and physiologists that building muscle is directly related to intensity, not duration. Six-time Mr. Olympia, Dorian Yates, became a proponent of Mentzer’s heavy-duty system in the 90s. He adapted it to a one all out “high-intensity” set to failure dubbing it “Blood and Guts” training. Following Mentzer and Yates, the training hard, not long idea made more sense to me than training long. I put this idea into practice in the mid-90s by adapting it to 2-3 sets of an exercise. The results were phenomenal! As a hardgainer, I had built muscle faster in a shorter amount of time than I had before! I was confident that this sensible approach could be adapted by anyone.

Time is a precious commodity that most of us cannot afford to lose. Following the reverse pyramid means limiting your workout to a pre-determined time to meet. It means you are committed to maximizing your workout during that time. Put your cell phones away. There is no texting and no selfie’s during your workout session. Exercise is hard work when you are consistent and train hard because you are serious about getting the results you want! Before you warm up, pause for a moment; it is your time. Get in touch with your inner self, your inner strength. Let your training be first-rate. Concentrate. Stay in the zone. Don’t let your mind wander. FOCUS ON YOU every second, every minute. Train hard. Push yourself. Don’t let up. The pain is temporary. Overcome yourself. Push on. Train hard until it’s over. Overcome yourself every training session to reap the rewards of a stronger and fitter body!