For maximizing muscle growth and strength development there is one training style head and neck above the rest! This training style is so effective that it has the capability to pull you out of even the most drawn out and horrific of all training plateaus.
What’s more, once you start implementing this strategy, you will continue setting personal records, each and every week, like clockwork!
It will be as if all the pulls, all the stops, and all the brakes that were stopping you from progressing have been taken off. This isn’t a protocol to try for a few weeks to swindle you from your lack of gains because to hell with short term bandaid solutions. This is a method that will address all the reasons for your lack of gains, and in doing so, support continual strength and muscle growth.
But first, we need to talk about what muscle building is really about, at the very core!
What Building Muscle is Really About
Most ‘lifting experts’ love to pontificate about what best triggers muscle growth. They go on and on discussing what it is that makes a muscle bigger and how exactly muscle hypertrophy takes place.
Sometimes they even support their penchant for high volume training with pubmed studies on ‘newbie lifters’. Well of course a newbie lifter is going to grow from light weight, high volume training.
Hell they’d grow from anything! Not to mention the fact that newbie lifters aren’t able to lift truly challenging weights without their form breaking down.
But the fact of the matter is that there is one way to reliably and consistently get bigger and that, my friends, is by getting stronger. So as long as you’re lifting with proper form in the 5-10 rep range, progressing in weight is the most powerful driver of muscle growth.
You can be bench pressing 175 lbs all day, but if you’re not getting stronger and not progressing to heavier weights, your muscle growth will come to a screeching halt.
How to Best Support Strength Development
The reason most people struggle to continually see strength gains after their newbie phase, is because they’re training in direct opposition to strength gain.
Invariably, guys will fatigue themselves on light weights before they get to their truly heavy set. This means that by the time they get to their heavy set, they’re not nearly as strong as they should be.
This sets a strong limit on their strength and growth potential. What’s worse, they’ll have their spotter help them grind out rep after rep. Creating more and more neural fatigue and a false standard of how strong they are.
This set’s them up for a long winded recovery, taking one step back for one step forward, running in circles endlessly! Oh and it gets worse. One of these overblown sets isn’t enough, they’ll do several.
When you are performing multiple sets with the same weight, you trigger the pacing syndrome to occur. On an unconscious level, because you know you have to repeat this weight for several more sets, you will cut yourself off, before you get close to your true potential and your true fatigue point.
How on God’s green earth do you expect to make real gains if you’re stopping every set prematurely?
Each set has a purpose. That purpose is simple. Make it better than your last workout. Having to perform tons of sets and improve on them is a huge burden and a burden that will poison your strength development.
Enter Reverse Pyramid Training – How to Stop Sucking at Building Strength & Muscle
The premise is simple. First step is to get rid of all the junk sets! Junks sets are those light weight sets that fatigue you before you get to a truly challenging weight.
That’s right, your first working set is a very heavy weight that you strive to hit a personal record with. I suggest doing a strategic, anti fatigue warm up of 60% of your heavy set for 5 reps, followed by 80% of your heavy set for 3 reps. Rest 2-3 minutes then go into your first working set.
Here’s the beautiful thing, you’re going to be stronger than you’ve ever been. Your muscles will be fresh and ready to lift. That weight you normally struggle with and need a spotter to help you push out, you’ll hammer it with ease.
The weight will no longer own you, you will own the weight. What’s more, because you only have to do that set once, all that burden will be gone.
You will truly and unquestionably be able to pour everything you have into that set. Thus allowing you to trigger real strength and muscle development.
After killing it on the first set. You’ll rest not one, not two, but three minutes! That’s right three minutes. Anything less is triggering substantial fatigue. Meaning, you’ll be progressively getting weaker and weaker.
Lifting is a performance game. You need to be fresh to get better at it. If you’re breaking yourself down too fast with short rest periods, you’ll be getting great at handling fatigue, but you won’t do much to build strength and trigger long term muscle growth.
After resting 3 minutes, you then take 10% off the bar. And for this set you shoot for 1-2 more reps than your first. Next, you rest another 3 minutes, remove the same amount of weight, and go for 1-2 more reps than your second set.
Here’s how it looks! Let’s say that you want to do 200 pounds on bench press for your heavy set…
- Warm up #1 – 120 lbs x 5 (rest 1-2 minutes)
- Warm up #2 – 160 lbs x 3 (rest 3 minutes)
- Work set #1 – 200 lbs x 4-6 (rest 3 minute)
- Work set #2 – 180 lbs x 6-8 (rest 3 minutes)
- Work set #3 160 lbs x 8-10 (rest 3 minutes before going to next exercise)
The beautiful thing is that your strength will sky rocket! That first heavy set will trigger enhanced muscle fiber recruitment on the subsequent sets.You’ll know this because when you drop the weight for the second and third set it will feel lighter than ever before. This is because you’re recruiting more muscle fibers than you normally would.
Triggering more muscle fibers will create a stronger hypertrophy response. For that reason, doing lighter weights following a heavy set produces the most powerful hypertrophy stimulus (muscle growth stimulus).
Furthermore, keeping to only one heavy set per movement helps you train like a warrior without holding back, and it helps limit any neural fatigue.
When you sidestep neural fatigue, you are able to build strength with ease.
RPT in Action!
Here’s a video of me performing RPT on bench press. This training method has been so fantastic, once I started doing it four years ago, I have yet to find something better to replace it.
With this style of training I’m able to gain strength and muscle while maintaining a very low body fat. This is of crucial importance, because gaining muscle and strength is easy if you’re willing to get pudgy.
The true measure of strength is relative strength. How much you can lift proportionate to your bodyweight? Great relative strength is the greatest indicator of aesthetics. This is because in order to have great relative strength you must have a very low body fat coupled with a well developed muscular physique.