Something has been playing on my mind recently about pyramid training, and it’s the fact that the majority of articles I’ve read online about it say that whilst you may be pyramiding, it is only the LAST set which is a true work set, and one that you should go to failure on. The articles I’ve read about pyramiding claim that the sets before the last are basically just built in warmups getting your body primed to lift the heaviest last set, therefore you shouldn’t take any of the preceding sets to failure as you’ll be too fatigued to lift your optimal weight.
The way I’ve been using pyramids though is by taking every set to failure or at least close to failure. Granted, doing this may cause me to have to use lower weight for my heaviest set, but from a volume point of view I get a lot more volume doing it this way than I would if I treated the first several sets as warmups. I tend to keep my warmups separate from my work sets, and don’t like the idea of having them built into the exercise itself, and only having ONE true work set right at the very end.
So even though I’m already in a fatigued state by the time I reach my last set, and having to use lower weight than usual, does that mean it’s just not going to produce results? It was my assumption that when training for hypertrophy it doesn’t matter how much weight you use, just that you create enough volume for growth. Yes, intensity IS important where hypertrophy is concerned, although it was my belief that it’s not AS important as when training purely for strength. Obviously if I wanted to lift as much weight as I possibly could on the very last set and were training purely for strength then I wouldn’t take the sets before that to failure, but as hypertrophy is my goal does it really matter?