Static Weight Max Pyramid HIT Workout

I’ve done the Max Pyramid leg press many times, but never with a static weight. The traditional way it is done is by increasing the weight (pyramid up) and then decreasing the weight (pyramid down). Static holds of about 20 seconds are held at each point. You can also use a constant weight and vary the TUL in each position.

Before I headed to the gym, I decided I would do the same static weight Max Pyramid approach on the chest press machine as well. For the back, I performed two static holds for each repetition of a chin up.

  1. Leg Press – 20 second holds (3 positions up, 3 positions down)
  2. Chest Press – 20 second holds (3 positions up, 3 positions down)
  3. Chin Up – 20-30 second holds top position ( 2-3 repetitions)


Photo by Yasin Hassan

3 Exercises, 1 Set Each

This workout is just 3 exercises, one set each. I used a lighter weight. It didn’t matter. This workout destroyed me. I suspect that ectomorphs will benefit tremendously from moving the position of the static hold up and down. One workout per week is all that is needed. If you can do two of these workouts a week, you either have superior recovery skills or you didn’t reach a high enough level of intensity. Give it a try. You will be humbled.

A quick note on breathing during static holds. Unlike traditional weightlifting where we time our inhale and exhale with the repetition, with High Intensity Training, you decouple the two. As the set progresses your breathing rate will increase. At times you might be tempted to hold your breath to squeeze out extra effort. Don’t do it. Relax your jaw so you don’t clench your teeth and let your breathing accelerate naturally.


Add yours

  1. I just tried this at the gym today and it was pretty incredible. I work out alone so I sometimes struggle with making sure I’m at a high enough intensity, but this really helped. Maybe we all have different structures that are helpful for raising intensity, but after a single workout using the 2 pauses in the middle of the rep, I’m pretty impressed. Thanks!

  2. @Karl – 2.5 days later and I’m still feeling this workout.

  3. Glenn Whitney

    Jun 16, 2012 — 2:33 pm

    Thanks. I definitely will try this and get back to you. Alas I won’t be hitting the gym again for about 10 days. (I’ll be using the indoor rower, though, every day).

  4. @Glenn – I did a 2nd version of this same workout using static holds max pyramid style for biceps, triceps, shoulders. It destroyed me. I was a zombie the rest of day and my sleep was rough as well. I don’t understand the bio-mechanics, but I suspect this is what ectomorphs could really benefit from.

    Nobody in my gym used the one rower until I started. Now it is popular and I often can’t get access to it. And unlike my 2 minute Tabata style approach, other patrons are doing slow and long workout on it while watching TV. The curse of the Glitter.

  5. I hugely looking forward to trying this. Currently I do 25 reps with one leg at the maximum weight on the leg press at my gym – not a particularly elite level machine…

    But at least my gym has five rowing machines – Jeesh! Mainly I use the rowing machine at home, which I keep on the terrace – so outdoor workouts – the best!

  6. Wow, that was tough. I did the following five exercises: leg press, bench press, shoulder press, horizontal row and lat pull down. I divided each exercise into 3 segments and held each position for 20 seconds. Then I repeated the process. Although I failed at 10 seconds on a few exercises. My body quivered under the strain.

  7. @JM – I usually recover in 5 days from a normal HIT workout. This one takes me 7 days.

  8. Glenn Whitney

    Jul 2, 2012 — 5:21 am

    I did these twice last week – on Tuesday and Thursday. Three machines: Leg press; mid row; lat pulldown. Each divided into 4 segments; holding for 20 seconds each segment.

    I definitely experienced the quivering. However a day later – nothing. I’m not sure this is working for me…

    I’m going to try it again this week – on Wednesday and Friday.

  9. @Glenn – No offense, but if you were able to to return to the gym to perform a 2nd HIT workout just two days later, your intensity was too low. Maybe you need to increase the weight?

    Since I started this training method, I have had maybe 2-3 sets where I felt I still had some strength left after the last hold. In these cases, I complete one SuperSlow rep. 10 seconds up and 10 seconds down. Usually the down goes faster at this point. I’m toast.

  10. Glenn Whitney

    Jul 2, 2012 — 8:39 am

    I’m trying, I’m trying. The second day I really thought I had the right weight settings.

    But I’ll persist this week and try to ratchet up the weight.

  11. My wife and I used to do Super Slow workouts at a local physical therapists facility. We did so because he had Nautilus Nitro. My wife struggles with the shoulder press. One afternoon I had her give these a try. We started light and off she went. Then a few weeks later I began doing them for shoulder press. They are intense. And yes, once a week is plenty!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.