8 Week Plateau Busting Pyramid Workout Program

Burst through your muscle building plateau with this 8 week pyramid workout program. The pyramid sets in this workout are sure to challenge your muscles!

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
8 weeks
45-60 minutes
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, Machines
download pdfDownload Workout

Workout Description

If you have been struggling to make progress with your current workout routine I think I got the right program for you.

This 8 week pyramid workout routine is a great routine that shocks the body into NEW growth by utilizing higher and lower reps ranges during each exercise to help increase strength and hypertrophy.

With most workout routines, you will either focus on strength (lower rep ranges with heavier weights) or hypertrophy “muscle gain” (moderate to higher rep ranges with moderate weight).

Strength and hypertrophy routines are effective. Although, even the BEST programs start to get stale and the body will soon adapt.

This 8 week plateau busting pyramid workout routine will help you break through that plateau! The pyramid routine is based around the rep ranges you use for each exercise.

8 Week Plateau Busting Pyramid Workout Program

Each exercise will have an odd number of sets 3,5,7. You will start with a lighter weight with a higher rep range. Your middle sets will be heaviest with a lower rep range, and then you will return to lighter more moderate weight again for higher reps.

Make sure when picking a weight you use one that you fail in the rep range laid out for you in the program. And make sure your form is still correct throughout the entire set.


  • Set 1: 12 Reps with 40 lbs
  • Set 2: 9 Reps with 50 lbs
  • Set 3: 6 Reps with 60 lbs
  • Set 4: 9 Reps with 50 lbs
  • Set 5: 12 Reps with 40 lbs

Time to get to work!

Monday: Legs

Exercise Sets Reps
1a. Leg Extension 3 20, 15, 20
1b. Lying Leg Curls 3 20, 15, 20
2. Barbell Squats 5 15, 12, 10, 12, 15
3. Stiff Leg Deadlifts 5 15, 12, 10, 12, 15
4. Wide Stance Leg Press 5 25, 20, 15, 20, 25
5a. Machine Standing Calf Raises 5 20, 15, 12, 15, 20
5b. Seated Calf Raises 5 20, 15, 12, 15, 20

Tuesday: Chest & Abs

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Dumbbell Bench Press 7 12, 10, 8, 6, 8, 10, 12
2. Incline Barbell Bench 5 10, 8, 6, 8, 10
3. Dumbbell Fly 5 20, 15, 12, 15, 20
4. Rope Crunch 5 15, 12, 10, 12, 15
5. Decline Sit Up 5 25, 20, 15, 20, 25

Wednesday: Arms

Exercise Sets Reps
1a. Barbell Curls 5 12, 10, 8, 10, 12
1b. Skullcrushers 5 12, 10, 8, 10, 12
2a. Preacher Curls 5 20, 15, 12, 15, 20
2b. Reverse Grip Straight Bar Pushdown 5 20, 15, 12, 15, 20
3a. Hammer Curls 5 15, 12, 10, 12, 15
3b. Tricep Dips 5 15, 12, 10, 12, 15

Friday: Back & Traps

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Lat Pull Downs 5 20, 15, 12, 15, 20
2. Barbell Rows 7 12, 10, 8, 6, 8, 10, 12
3a. Dumbbell Pullover 7 20, 15, 12, 10, 12, 15, 20
3b. Cable Rows 7 20, 15, 12, 10, 12, 15, 20
4a. Close Grip Lat Pull Down 5 12, 10, 8, 10, 12
4b. One Arm Dumbbell Row 5 12, 10, 8, 10, 12
5. Behind the Back Shrug 5 10, 8, 6, 8, 10
6. Dumbbell Shrug 3 15, 12, 15

Saturday: Shoulders & Arms

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Seated Military Press 7 12, 10, 8, 6, 8, 10, 12
2. Dumbbell Lateral Raise 5 30, 25, 20, 25, 30
3. Rear Delt Machine Fly 5 15, 12, 10, 12, 15
4. Barbell Upright Row 3 12, 10, 12
5a. Alternating Dumbbell Curl 7 20, 15, 12, 10, 12, 15, 20
5b. Close Grip Bench Press 7 20, 15, 12, 10, 12, 15, 20

Dedicate yourself 6-8 weeks of HARD WORK in the gym with this program and you are bound to break through that plateau and get the improvements you are looking for.

As always if you have any question or comments please response below or just email me directly: [email protected] I always answer all my emails and are here to help!

30 Comments+ Post Comment

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 05/03/2018 - 13:37

for increase muscle mass we are doing low rep ranges with heavier weights and this is higher rep rangers workout and Please explain me about rep ranges

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 04/03/2018 - 15:00

Thanks a lot Alex.. This is the best program I have ever seen in my entire gym life..

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 03/18/2018 - 04:27

Hi there,
what are the progressive overload of this program?
Except increasing the load.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 03/19/2018 - 09:04

Hi Enzo,

You don't necessarily need another form?

If you do, I'd recommend cutting down rest periods or changing up the tempo.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 02/18/2018 - 00:48
chris nguyen

Hi i was wondering is this 8 week program designed to just overcome our plateau or are we still able to follow this program after the 8 weeks. Also if we are already holding muscle mass and strength, will the addition of reps and sets ruin our strength and take away our mass?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/19/2018 - 09:20

Hi Chris,

I wouldn't recommend utilizing this program for longer than 8 weeks at a time.

You might experience a decrease in absolute strength while running the program, but overall it'll be a negligible difference and you'll be able to gain it back once you restart your strength building routine.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 02/12/2018 - 11:45

How do I get the full workout routine all that I’m able to view is the 1st five days and the PDF file is not loading to get the whole workout.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/12/2018 - 12:02

Hi Shawn,

You perform the same 5 workouts for 8 weeks. This allows you to track your workouts and move up in weight during those 8 weeks thus making progress.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 02/03/2018 - 16:23

Hi, on the alternating db curls is that 20 reps total or 20 on each arm ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/05/2018 - 09:55

Hi Simon,

20 each arm.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 01/21/2018 - 15:45
Aazim Umar

When figuring out what lighter weight to use, is there a formula to follow or just trial and error to figure out the weight to be used for higher rep sets?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/22/2018 - 09:18

Hi Aazim,

A little bit of trial and error, a little bit of math. Try starting out with 70-85% of your working max and alter depending on how you feel (i.e. move up if it's not challenging enough, down if it's too heavy).

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 01/21/2018 - 00:49
Matthew blake

I injured my shoulder after a powerlifting meet and got “lifters shoulder” it’s getting better but benching is iffy to me and so are dips. So that being said would i be able to switch the dumbbell flat press with a hammer strength machine or a chest press? That’s more comfortable also what can i switch dips out with to still destroy my triceps?

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 01/14/2018 - 19:43

Hi josh, i’m a beginner, can you explain me about supperset please

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/15/2018 - 08:35

Hi Benny,

Sure, a superset is where your perform two exercises one right after another with no rest. After you've finished all of the reps for both exercises, you take your rest period. That is one superset.

With that said, this is far from a beginner workout program. I'd recommend starting with one of these:


Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 01/09/2018 - 00:16

Can i change some of the exercise and increase some reps of the exercise?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 01/09/2018 - 08:35

Hi Ryan,

You're more than welcome to alter this template to meet your individual goals.

With that said, I'd be weary of increasing the volume of this routine as it already has a ton of reps.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 01/06/2018 - 10:17
Moataz Essam

Should i follow this workout arrangement for the 8 weeks or i should start to change the Arrangement after a while

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/08/2018 - 09:47

Hi Moataz,

Follow for 8 weeks before taking a week to deload and reassess your goals.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 01/01/2018 - 22:56
Alex Al

I will try this , thank you

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 12/29/2017 - 10:13

Just wondering that in some of the workouts I see a) and b) (eg. 2a and 2b) are we performing these as a superset or what does the a and b signify? Thank you

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 01/02/2018 - 09:03

Hi Deepak,

You are correct! That signifies a superset.

Hope this helps!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 01/11/2018 - 08:43

Hi Tristan,

You perform 3a and 3b as a superset and 4a and 4b as a superset. Keep the exercise pairing together with this program.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 01/10/2018 - 23:48

Hey josh the super set with 3a and 4b do we do the Same workouts but just the rep range are different or do we do the 3a and 4a after one another ? What do we do ?

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 01/11/2018 - 10:17

Hi Josh,

Thank you for replying back. Had another question for you. In one of your comments you mentioned that after the 8 weeks we should do a week of deload, what do you mean by that? Do you mean take a week of from working out? or perform the same routine but with much lighter weights? or something else all together?


JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 01/11/2018 - 10:38

Hi Deepak,

I've actually written an extensive article on this. Check this out: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-deload

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 12/23/2017 - 14:11

Looking at the program I believe I have figured out the Supersets. The question I have is that there are 7 Sets for barbell squats but only 5 different rep ranges. What are the two ranges that are missing or should we/I do only 5 sets as this may be a typo? Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 12/27/2017 - 09:02

Hi 3Dragons,

That is a typo, good find. I apologize for the confusion there. We'll get that fixed right away.

Thank you again!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 12/13/2017 - 00:52

I will try this. Could you please tell me the rest period between sets?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 12/13/2017 - 10:37

Hi Bijoy,

I'd recommend limiting rest to 30-90 seconds with this workout program.

Hope this helps!