Q: Why do you advocate pyramiding the weight on certain exercises, while on others you start with a maximum weight and work down?
A: When I pyramid weights, I’m using a number of exercises for the same bodypart, sometimes as many as three or four. That allows for adjustments on the lighter sets, especially in the seating of the tendinous attachments. Even though I’m doing three or four exercises for the same bodypart, the fulcrum changes with each, so I make only the last two or so sets of each exercise maximum efforts. If you do three exercises for a given muscle group, you should pyramid on each and only go to failure on about six sets total’the last two or three of each exercise.
If you’re only doing one exercise for a given bodypart, which would usually be a compound movement, you should start with the heaviest weight. Because you’re exerting maximum effort on every set, you’re actually working harder when you do one exercise for 10 sets than when you pyramid the weight on three exercises for five sets each, or 15 sets, with only two or three sets being maximum.
Incidentally, when you work down in weight with the one-exercise-per-bodypart strategy, warm up with one or two light sets before you begin your 10-set assault. IM
Editor’s note: Write to George Turner c/o IRONMAN, 1701 Ives Ave., Oxnard, CA 93033. To order his audiocassettes, go to www. home-gym.com.