Calibrating your Poundages for the Pyramid Program

Check out my latest video on the elbows out dumbbell row, which will work the teres major muscle and give you the wide shoulder look:

Q: "If you have time could you please clear up a few things for me? First let me say thanks so much for doing the article. It’s going to be very helpful for me, since I’m a slim framed guy. I’m about 5’10 150 and can rep 160ish once or twice. I guess that 160 at my weight isn’t bad, but I want to add size. 

"I’m a 6 year Krav Maga practitioner, so my build is more lean and built for speed, what I consider the martial artist build. I may have missed this, but how much weight should I be trying to do for each set? Should I try to add a little weight each time the number of reps goes down? How much should I try to lift on my 15 rep set?"


My Answer: Look over the Q&A section of the article. I answer this question in there. For the first set, use a weight based on your 10 rep max. Add weight with each set as the reps get lower. How much you increase the weight depends on the exercise, as smaller muscle groups require smaller increases while larger muscle groups require larger increases. But if you want to play it safe, then use the smallest incremental increases. So if your gym has 1.25 pound plates and 2.5 pound plates, then take advantage of them. Over time, those small increments of weight will add up, and you'll be hitting new maximums.

Try adding weight to all your sets, but use the first set as a barometer. So how much weight you add or subtract on sets #2,3 and 4 depends on how you perform on the 1st set.

In other words, it's better to try a weight for a set and calibrate your poundage based on your performance. Don't get stuck on percentages. Focus on performing the reps outlined for each set in the program and recording the weights.

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