MTI Biotech

Q&A: Pyramid vs. Straight Sets

Blog Article ImageQuestion: “Which types of sets are better for strength… pyramiding your sets or straight sets?  Example 5 sets at 100 kg or set 1 at 80 kg, set 2 at 85 kg, etc…”

I typically always set up my 5x5 programs using the same weight for all 5 sets.  The training weight is determined each week by following a percentage of 1 rep max in 4-week mini-cycles.  These 4-week mini-cycles make up an 8-16 week training cycle.  This method of training is a great indicator of where an athlete’s strength levels is at, and helps to determine how their strength is progressing over time.  For example an athlete is obviously stronger if he/she can bring his/her 5x5 squats up from 5x5x405 to 5x5x505.  This progression may take 3-5 or even 10 years accomplished through gradual improvements in the top sets of 5x5 towards the end of the cycle.  As I have gotten older… at times I will go to an increasing weight through the 5x5 if I have an injury, or during extreme cold winter periods in Minnesota, when I feel I need a couple lighter sets to warm up.

-Brad Gillingham


Posted on April 21, 2014


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