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01.08.2018


What is more effective? Strength training with a narrow or a wide pyramid system?

What is more effective? Strength training with a narrow or a wide pyramid system?
Bodybuilders and other strength athletes who perform sets with different weights - the pyramid system - probably make as much progress as athletes who perform all sets of an exercise with the same weight. We wrote that a few days ago. Today we read a study in which Brazilian sports scientists from Londrina State University investigated whether it is important how this pyramid is built up.

Study
The researchers got 39 women aged 60 and older to train with weights for 8 weeks. Three times a week the women went to a gym, and then did a full body workout consisting of 8 exercises. Women performed 3 to failure sets per exercise.

In the second set the women used a heavier weight than in the first, and in the third set again a heavier weight than in the second. The women therefore used a pyramid system.

Half of the women used a narrow pyramid system. In the first they made 12 reps, in the second set 10 reps and in the third set 8 reps [NPR].

The other half of the women used a wide pyramid system. In the first set they made 15 reps, in the second set 10 reps and in the third set 5 reps [WPR].

Results
The women in both groups became stronger. There was no statistically significant difference between the increase in strength in the groups.


What is more effective? Strength training with a narrow or a wide pyramid system?



The lean body mass and muscle mass also increased in both groups. Again, the researchers found no statistically significant differences between the groups.


What is more effective? Strength training with a narrow or a wide pyramid system?



When the researchers put all the results together, they discovered the trend that the women who had trained with the wide pyramid system had done a little better on almost all points than the women in the other group. Well, those differences were not statistically significant. But still...


What is more effective? Strength training with a narrow or a wide pyramid system?



Conclusion
"The study showed that pyramid system employing both a wide and narrow repetition range are effective in promoting increases in strength and muscle mass", the Brazilians conclude.

"Although no statistically significant differences were noted between systems, the underlying analysis suggests a potential benefit to performing a wider range of repetitions."

"The implications of our data suggest that different load schemes and set durations may have synergistic, additive effects on enhancing muscle growth. Future studies should attempt to investigate whether outcomes may be mechanistically altered by differences in fiber-type adaptations across repetition ranges."

Source:
Int J Sports Med. 2018 Jul;39(8):613-18.

More:
What strength training system gives the best results? The pyramid system or the constant load system? 28.07.2018
Periodised resistance training just as effective if you surprise your muscles with changing weights 02.11.2017
Full body workout is a teeny weeny bit more effective than a split routine 26.08.2015

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