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Full-Body Power Pyramid

The full-body version of my Power Pyramid Program designed to enhance all key areas: Power, strength, size, endurance, and fat loss.

Full-Body Power Pyramid

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

For those of you who aren't familiar with this program, 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 drop sets, with set 6 including the possibility of an extra drop set.

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 drop set 7.

Begin set 7 by reducing the weight by another 10-30 percent, depending on how many reps you have left. Complete this drop set 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 are seven Full-Body Power Pyramid workouts total. 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 limitations using the Power Pyramid technique.

Day 1 – Fully Equipped

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.

Day 2 – Barbells

In Workout 2 of the Full-Body Power Pyramid program, I limited the movements to only barbell exercises. This is yet another way to include further periodization in the routine with changes in exercise selection. Most barbell moves work well with the Power Pyramid technique.

Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Pullover 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Reverse-Grip Barbell Row 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Romanian Deadlift 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Standing Barbell Shoulder Press 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Barbell Shrug 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Barbell Lying Triceps Extension 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Seated Barbell Curl 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Barbell Wrist Curl 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Barbell Seated Calf Raise 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Barbell Roll Out 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡

*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.

Day 3 – One-Arm Movements

In Workout 3, I show you how to adapt the Power Pyramid to a few one-arm moves. Sometimes it's more ideal to build power and strength in each limb independent of the other.

Exercise Sets Reps
Machine Chest Press 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Dumbbell Bent-Over Row 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Dumbbell Step-Up 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Standing One-Arm Dumbbell Shoulder Press 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
One-Arm Dumbbell Shrug 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
One-Leg Dumbbell Calf Raise 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Dumbbell Kickback 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Dumbbell Concentration Curl 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Dumbbell Reverse Wrist Curl 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Oblique Cable Pushdown 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡

*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.

Day 4 – Machines

For Workout 4, I’ve crafted an all-machine Power Pyramid workout. Not only does this show you how to adapt my Power Pyramid technique to any gym situation, but it shows you how well machines work with this technique. Machines work particularly well for controlling the weight when doing explosive reps, like in the first two sets of the workout.

Exercise Sets Reps
Machine Chest Press 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Machine Seated Row 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Machine Leg Press 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Machine Shoulder Press 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Machine Rear Delt Flye (middle traps) 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Machine Triceps Pressdown 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Machine Curl 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Machine Calf Press 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Machine Crunch 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡

*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.

Day 5 – Dumbbells

In Workout 5, I limit the workout to dumbbells for variety and to show you how to adapt the workout to any gym (or non-gym) situation. Most dumbbell exercises work well with the Power Pyramid technique ,as they allow for freedom of movement in multiple planes. This can be used to increase explosive power and strength for numerous sports and activities.

Exercise Sets Reps
Reverse-Grip Dumbbell Press 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Dumbbell Power Row 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Dumbbell Bench Step-Up 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Dumbbell Upright Row 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Prone Incline Dumbbell Shrug 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Standing Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Alternating Incline Dumbbell Curl 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Behind-the-Back Dumbbell Wrist Curl 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Dumbbell Crunch 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Dumbbell Standing Calf Raise 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡

*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.

Day 6 – Cables

In Workout 6, all movements are done with cables. Not only does this allow for frequent change in the workouts, but it makes the workout easy to do no matter how busy the gym is. You never need to leave your station to complete all 10 exercises.

Exercise Sets Reps
Standing Cable Chest Press 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Standing Low Cable Row 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Cable Step-Up 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Cable Shoulder Press 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Cable Shrug 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Triceps Pressdown 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Cable Hammer Curl 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Standing Cable Wrist Curl 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Cable Woodchopper 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Cable Standing Calf Raise 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡

*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.

Day 7 – Bodyweight and Strength Bands

In Workout 7, the final Power Pyramid workout of this series, I show you how to take this technique out of the gym with bodyweight exercises and bands. The two bodyweight moves I did are perfect for developing muscle power.

Bands work well for explosive power. For the push-ups, I did set #1 as power push-ups with bands on a bench for 8 reps. Set #2: 5 power push-ups on the floor. Sets #3-4: decline push-ups to failure. Set #5: push-ups on the floor to failure. Set #6: Push-Ups on a bench to failure. For TRX Training inverted rows, I adjusted the straps accordingly.

Finish the Power Pyramid full-body routine strong!

Exercise Sets Reps
Power Push-Up 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Inverted Row 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Band Step-Up 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Band Shoulder Press 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Band Behind-the-Back Shrug 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Band Behind-the-Back Calf Raise 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Band Curl 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Band Triceps Pressdown 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡
Band Standing Crunch 6 8*, 5^, 6†, 6†, 12‡, 15‡

*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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