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Power Pyramid Workout – Day 1

The first full-body workout in a 7-part series for enhancing all key areas: power, strength, size, endurance, fat loss.

Power Pyramid Workout – Day 1

As JimStoppani.com members, you're probably familiar with my Power Pyramid program. The original version here on the website is a 4-day split. But since these days I'm really big into full-body training, I've recently introduced a full-body version of the Pyramid Program.

This version was unveiled on both bodybuilding.com and my Facebook page, but I'm giving you all seven workouts here on JimStoppani.com so you can download them to your mobile device and otherwise have them handy to look at whenever you want.

Power Pyramid Rundown

In case you didn't read the bodybuilding.com Power Pyramid article, here's a detailed description of exactly how each set will breakdown:

Set 1: 8 reps

Goal: Power

Do the first training set with a very light weight that allows you to perform 30 reps or more—but just do 8 reps and stop. You don't want to start out by fatiguing your muscles when you're training for power. The fatiguing sets will come later.

Perform these 8 reps as quickly and explosively as possible during the positive portion, then slow and controlled on the negative portion. This first stage will serve as both a warm-up and a power-building set.

Set 2: 5 reps

Goal: Power

For set 2, increase to a weight that will allow you to perform 15-20 reps, but stop at 5. As in the previous sets, do these 5 reps as explosively as possible on the positive portion of the rep, then slow and controlled on the negative. This stage will serve as a second power set and will help you build more explosiveness in the muscle group you're training.

Sets 3 and 4: 6 reps each

Goal: Strength

For sets 3 and 4, jump up to a weight you can do for 6 reps. Perform as many reps as possible, ideally reaching failure at or around the sixth rep at set 3.

For set 4, don't worry about how many reps you can do. Keep the weight the same as in set 3, and do the best you can. Try to perform your set 4 reps quickly and explosively, even though the heavy weight will prevent you from moving very fast. Just trying to lift a heavy weight as explosively as possible can help increase both power and strength, which is the purpose of this stage.

Sets 3 and 4 are the peak of the pyramid. From here, you'll descend back down the pyramid.

Sets 5, 6, and 7: 12-15 reps

Goal: Hypertrophy

This stage is really made up of 3 dropsets, with set 6 including the possibility of an extra dropset.

For set 5, choose a weight that allows you to complete 10-12 reps. Complete as many reps as possible until you reach muscle failure, which should be between 10 and 12 reps.

Begin set 6 by reducing the weight 40-50 percent and doing as many reps as possible until you reach failure. Your goal should be to complete at least 15-20 reps. If you can't complete at least 15 reps, move on to dropset 7.

Begin set 7 by reducing the weight by another 10-30 percent, depending on how many reps you have left. Complete this dropset until you reach muscle failure. Do your reps for these two final sets at a slow and controlled pace on both the positive and negative portions (about 1-2 seconds on the positive and 2 seconds on the negative). Your combined rep count for sets 6 and 7 should be at least 15.

If you couldn't do 15 reps in set 6 this week, your goal for next week should be to either complete 15 reps at last week's weight—or reduce the weight a bit and see if you can get your 15. Once you can do 15-20 reps at a weight, try to do more reps week after week at that same weight.

Training Time

There will be seven full-body Power Pyramid workouts total. Below is the first one, and I'll post the others one day at a time the following six days.

For more general information on the benefits of my Power Pyramid style of training, read the program overview. After that it's time to start training.

The first workout (Day 1) exemplifies a typical ideal whole-body workout with no equipment or other limitations using the Power Pyramid technique.

Power Pyramid Workout – Day 1

Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Power Row 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Deadlift 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Barbell Shoulder Press 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Dumbbell Shrug 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Triceps Pressdown 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Barbell Curl 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Dumbbell Revese-Grip Wrist Curl 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Smith Machine Standing Calf Raise 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Smith Machine Crunch 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡

Use this key to determine how much weight to choose on each set:

*a weight you can normally do for up to 30 reps or more (yes, ridiculously light!)

^a weight you can normally do for 15-20 reps

†a weight that limits you to 6 reps

‡a weight that limits you to 12 reps; after reaching failure immediately reduce the weight by about 50% and perform 15-20 reps. If you can't get at least 15 reps on this drop set, after reaching muscle failure immediately reduce the weight by about 10-30% and do as many reps as possible to failure again, which should land you at totaling 15 reps between the two drop sets.

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