Three-Movement 6-Set Wave-Load Pyramid Training for Maximum Muscle Growth
A uniquely effective muscle blasting method which can be used to optimize workout efficiency while ensuring each body part is targeted with full-throttle intensity to stimulate maximum muscle hypertrophy.
This article explains how this system works in relation to bringing up a traditionally stubborn muscle grouping that often responds best to variety of specific movements to ensure its complete development from top to bottom and side to side: the pecs.
Three-Movement 6-Set Wave-Load Pyramid Training is a high-intensity training principle which encourages maximal muscle stimulation while limiting the number of machines needed to effectively target a particular muscle grouping. Designed to work a muscle from all angles in wave-load fashion (where weights are progressively increased and reps are lowered for four sets while for the final two sets, resistance is lowered and reps are increased), this style of training provides the ultimate workout experience despite time constraints and any access restrictions to exercise equipment, problems faced by many gym trainees. By limiting the amount of equipment needed to fully stimulate growth in each muscle group and by employing multiple rep ranges and angles to tax a maximum number of muscle fibers, we may optimize our training efficiency while providing a unique challenge to reawaken the most stubborn of areas.
With 6-Set Wave Load Pyramid training we increase the resistance while decreasing the rep count for the first four sets of an exercise. This ensures that increasingly heavier weights are lifted when a muscle is freshest, which heavily fatigues this muscle while promoting significant microtrauma. As weights are dropped and reps are increased on the pyramid’s downward phase (the final two sets) the pre-exhausted muscles are forced to endure greater volume when they are at their most fatigued. This provides a unique challenge which encourages full blood engorgement within the working muscles and which enables us to focus on perfect technique when form will have traditionally faltered due to an accumulation of fatigue.
While most pyramid systems focus exclusively on moderate to high reps, the Wave Load Pyramid emphasizes the hoisting of heavy iron necessary to simulate maximum muscle growth. In addition, the high rep volume training which activates muscle growth by increasing the pump (by placing optimal mechanical pressure on the muscle fibers) and metabolic stress brought on by lactic acid accumulation, elevated systemic hormone production, alterations in cell-signaling proteins and cell swelling, encourages the complete stimulation and annihilation of a maximum number of muscle fibers. Now you know how this unique training principal works, let’s use it to build some powerhouse pecs.
6-Set Wave Load Pyramid exercise
1: Hammer Strength Chest Press
Since many of us train in crowded gyms and must compete with our fellow gym members for equipment, flipping from machine to machine is seldom an option. By choosing a piece that effectively maximizes muscle stimulation, from which weights can easily be stripped, is an excellent way to complete a 6-set Wave Load Pyramid. And since the first exercise in a sequence sets the tone for the workout to follow and is necessary to warm the target area, there must be few distractions and efficiency must be the order of the day. Here the Hammer Strength Chest Press works perfectly.
- Set 1: 2x 45 lb Plates/side for 12 reps (90 lb/side)
- Set 2: Add 1x 25 lb Plate/side for 10 reps (115 lb/side)
- Set 3: Remove 1x 25 lb Plate/side and add 1x 45 lb Plate/side for 6 to 8 reps (135 lb/side)
- Set 4: Add 1x 25 lb Plate/side for 4 to 6 reps (115 lb/side)
- Set 5: Drop to 2 Plates for 8 reps
- Set 6: Drop to 1 Plate for 10 reps
Due to its patented iso-lateral technology, the Hammer Strength Chest Press is biomechanically advantageous in that it replicates natural human motion. To take full advantage of this benefit, point elbows down and press the handles forward and up on the concentric phase, without raising the shoulders. Do not go to full lockout. While keeping full tension on the pec muscles and elbows slightly bent, slowly return to the bottom position, stretch pecs fully, then immediately press resistance outward following the same natural arc.
To place optimal tension on both pecs, ensure that equal force is applied on each side. Despite our best efforts, a weakness on one side of the body will often be compensated for through additional pressure exerted on the stronger side. Be conscious of any strength discrepancies to ensure that both pecs receive equal stimulation.
2: Multi-Angle Dumbbell Bench Press
The Multi-Angle Dumbbell Bench press ensures the complete stimulation of all areas of the chest complex while integrating progressively heavier weights to force maximum muscle fiber recruitment. Begin this exercise with a high angle on the bench (45-degrees, or 2-3 levels from top 90-degree position) and gradually drop to 30-degrees and on down until a decline of -30-degrees is reached.
- Set 1: 70 lb for 12 reps.
- Set 2: Drop the angle by 1 position: 80 lb for 10 reps.
- Set 3: Drop the angle by 1 position: 90 lb for 8 reps.
- Set 4: Drop the angle by 1 position: 100 lb for 6 reps.
- Set 5: Same position: 60 lb for 8 reps.
- Set 6: Same position: 50 lb for 10 reps
As strength levels become depleted with successive angle adjustments there is a tendency to bounce the weight at the bottom of this movement and a further temptation to bring the arms back toward the head to allow more shoulder recruitment to assist with the completion of the tougher reps. Avoid either of these adjustments, which may more readily occur if the selected dumbbells are too heavy. Rather, use realistic weights and maintain complete tension on the pec muscles at all times.
Be sure to also achieve a full stretch at the bottom of this movement and a good squeeze at the top. The more fatigued a muscle is the less efficient it is at maintaining correct form. Ensure proper technique on the final sets of this movement (yes, even the lighter ones) with no resting at either the top of bottom (this means we must not relax the pecs, shoulders and triceps – the main working muscles – at any point in the set while avoiding complete lockout on the concentric phase).
3: Graduated Wave Load Cable Crossover
Now that the pecs have been blasted from all angles with our key compound movements, the cable crossover will be called upon to finish the job. As bodybuilders, our pecs must be massive, but they must also be detailed and shredded with the utmost separation. An ideal movement with which to complete our chest workout, the point at which the entire pec region should be stimulated and fatigued, is the Cable Crossover, which is designed to fully stretch the pecs from the starting position while promoting continuous resistance and the recruitment of the smaller stabilizer muscles of the chest. And as will soon be demonstrated, this movement also allows us to hit a variety of pec areas.
Using the cable crossover machine with a single-hand attachment, start at the top position on each side and work your way down, as follows:
- Set 1: Starting with the 55 lb setting, with body angled at 45-degrees and arms slightly bent, bring your hands together at a controlled pace, emphasizing optimal time under tension, for 10 reps.
- Set 2: Drop to the 50 lb setting and lower the position by two places. This will change the angle of pec stimulation: 10 reps.
- Set 3: Drop to 45 lb and two positions lower. This should be roughly equal to your chest level: 10 reps.
- Set 4: Drop to 40 lb and 2 positions lower: 10 reps.
- Set 5: Drop to 35 lb and 2 positions lower: 10 reps.
- Set 6: This should be the bottom position. Here you will be bringing the weight from the bottom with your palms up, and contracting the chest by bringing your hands together at a controlled pace. The movement will be completed at roughly chin level: 10 reps.
When completing the cable crossover, the elbows must be slightly bent at all times. This will allow complete and continuous tension to be placed on the pec muscles while keeping the pressure off the biceps and elbows. You must also avoid going too heavy on this movement; instead we must work to flush the pecs with blood rather than force heavy reps, as we would tend to do with the basic compound movements. Finally, keep the shoulders back behind the body when performing this movement. This will help to eliminate momentum while ensuring all of the tension is placed on the pecs, not on the back and shoulders.
Catch the wave to fresh size gains
Most gym trainees have experienced the frustration of cutting their workouts short or staying in the gym longer than expected due to a lack of suitable exercise equipment. Having to wait in line for others to finish their set or feeling pressured to cut a training sequence short during peak times can seriously stifle workout productivity and impede our muscle building progress. With Three-Movement 6-Set Wave-Load Pyramid Training we can smash any body part in minimal time with a modicum of equipment. No more traipsing from one side of the gym to the other and fighting it out for our favorite exercise machine. With the convenience of weight stripping, the unique wave load principle to challenge the most stubborn of muscle groups, and the perfect ratio of rep ranges and isolation and compound training methods we can truly maximize our valuable training time.