You want to be big, but also strong? You hop onto Google and do a quick search for strength training. No doubt the further down the online rabbit hole you go, the more confused you will become! With so many programs and protocols out there, which is the best? Which one should you use? It is possible to gain by using traditional resistance training methods?

For the purpose of this blog post I am going to focus on 3 styles of training; traditional, pyramid and drop sets. The reason for this is that these 3 have all been tested in one study!  We can get into other methods in later posts!


Traditional Resistance Training

For the study I am discussing, traditional resistance training followed the following protocols:

  • 3 – 5 sets
  • 6 – 12 reps
  • 75% of 1 rep max

Crescent Pyramid Training

  • 3 – 5 sets
  • 6 – 15 reps
  • 65 – 85% 1rm

Drop Set Training

  • 3-5 sets
  • 50 – 75% 1rm
  • Train to muscle failure

Participants completed a 12 week program using one of the protocols. They were all tested across 1rm strength and a cross section analysis of the muscle itself.

The Results?

All forms of training elicited significant increases in strength and muscle mass! So the this piece of research suggests there is no special formula when looking to improve your strength and size. If you are looking to curly improve your strength then the sets and reps will differ, meaning you may get a different result. However for general training the results show you can use any method you favour.

As an expert Personal Trainer in Richmond, London, I feel this is great news! Training can often become boring, so mix things up without missing out. All three of these types of training will give you similar gains, use this to your advantage and avoid getting bored.

Want a visual of the study? Click here.