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45 Minute Full Body Pyramid Workout With Dumbbells

Advanced Total Body Pyramid Sets To Bust Through Your Workout Plateau

On today’s episode of Live Lean TV, we’re showing you a challenging 45 minute full body pyramid workout with dumbbells.

This one is a doozy.

It’s time to check your ego at the door.

This advanced pyramid sets workout is called “Gainz”, and it’s one of the workouts from our 30 day Trifecta workout program.

This is just one of the 10 unique workouts from the program.

You can get the full 30 day Trifecta workout program here.

If you’re a Team Live Lean inner circle member, you can also get access to the full program here.

What Is A Pyramid Set?

During this workout, you’ll be doing “Pyramid Sets” for all the lifts.

Pyramid set training is a great way to shock your muscles into new gains.

pyramid sets

A pyramid set is a range of sets that starts with lighter weights and more reps, then you work up to heavier weights, with less reps.

This means you start with the lightest weight, then you go to a medium weight, a heavy weight, then back to a medium weight, and then finish the pyramid set with the lightest weight again.

As you move up the pyramid, the weights get heavier and the number of reps decrease.

To complete a full pyramid set, you would then come back down the other side of the pyramid by decreasing the weight and increase the reps, after you reach the heaviest weight at the peak of the pyramid set.

Here’s an example of a full pyramid:

  • First set: lightest weight x 12 reps
  • Second set: medium weight x 10 reps
  • Third set: heaviest weight x 8 reps
  • Fourth set: medium weight x 10 reps
  • Fifth set: lightest weight x 12 reps

In this example, a full pyramid equals a total of 52 reps.

45 Minute Full Body Pyramid Workout With Dumbbells

I’m not going to lie, this total body workout will be tough and challenging.

If you’re stuck in a workout plateau, this is sure to bust it.

However, as we always say, it takes change, to make change.

This is why we’re always throwing these new challenges at our Team Live Lean members.

So get ready to bust through your plateaus, with this 45 minute full body pyramid workout with dumbbells.

Good luck Live Leaners, we believe in you.

Here’s the breakdown of today’s 45 minute full body pyramid workout with dumbbells.

Total time:

45 minutes.


Pyramid sets:

  • First set: 12 reps
  • Second set: 10 reps
  • Third set: 8 reps
  • Fourth set: 10 reps
  • Fifth set: 12 reps

With this 12-10-8-10-12 pyramid rep scheme, you’ll be completing 52 reps per exercise, before moving on to the next exercise.


20-40 seconds between sets.


1 x 5 set pyramid per exercise.


There are only 4 exercises to complete.

Click the step-by-step exercise demonstration videos below to see how each move is done.

A. Dumbbell Flat Bench Press

The first exercise is a pyramid set of the dumbbell flat bench press.


  • First set: 12 reps
  • Second set: 10 reps
  • Third set: 8 reps
  • Fourth set: 10 reps
  • Fifth set: 12 reps

Rest: 20-40 seconds

Sets: 1 x 5 set pyramid per exercise.

Coaching cues:

  • After you finish your first lighter set of 12 reps, grab a pair of medium weight dumbbells, and sit down to give yourself a 20-40 second rest, as you take a couple breaths to mentally get back in the game.
  • Once the rest period is over, start repping it out again for 10 reps.
  • The main thing is to fight through it and not give up when you begin to feel the muscle burn.

B. Wide Grip Pull Up

The second exercise in this workout is the wide grip pull up.


  • First set: 12 reps
  • Second set: 10 reps
  • Third set: 8 reps
  • Fourth set: 10 reps
  • Fifth set: 12 reps

Rest: 20-40 seconds

Sets: 1 x 5 set pyramid per exercise.

Coaching cues:

  • Pull ups are a tough and exhausting exercise when completing all the reps in a pyramid set training workout.
  • If you’re advanced at pull ups, try to complete all the reps with your bodyweight.
  • To get the most out of the exercise, keep your form tight, by engaging your lats and focusing on keeping your body in a straight vertical line.
  • You can also do a machine assisted pull up if bodyweight pull ups are too difficult for you to get through all the reps in the full pyramid. When the reps are higher, move the pin down to add more weight. This will help you complete the higher reps portion of the pyramid.
  • If you don’t have an assisted pull up machine, or you fail before completing all the bodyweight pull up reps, you can finish the reps by completing a jumping pull up.
  • Even though you can use some of the momentum from the jump to help pull you up, it’s important to control the tempo, and feel the burn in your muscles.
  • The jumping portion of the pull up will also give you a good cardio workout for overall conditioning.
  • For the final 12 rep finisher set, be sure to give it all you got, burn out your muscles, and leave nothing on the table.

C. Dumbbell Sumo Squat

The next exercise in this pyramid workout is the dumbbell sumo squat.


  • First set: 12 reps
  • Second set: 10 reps
  • Third set: 8 reps
  • Fourth set: 10 reps
  • Fifth set: 12 reps

Rest: 20-40 seconds

Sets: 1 x 5 set pyramid per exercise.

Coaching cues:

  • To do the dumbbell sumo squat properly, it’s important to take a nice wide stance and point your knees and toes outward.
  • Grab the dumbbell vertically by the edge, then squat down and stand up, while squeezing your butt.
  • If you want to increase the range of motion of the squat, you can stand on two level benches or steps.

D. Alternating Dumbbell Forward Lunge

The last exercise of this pyramid workout is the alternating dumbbell forward lunge.


  • First set: 12 reps/leg
  • Second set: 10 reps/leg
  • Third set: 8 reps/leg
  • Fourth set: 10 reps/leg
  • Fifth set: 12 reps/leg

Rest: 20-40 seconds

Sets: 1 x 5 set pyramid per exercise.

Coaching cues:

  • Since we’re doing 52 reps per leg, this is going to be a burn out.
  • After your last set, allow your heart rate to recover, then put all the weights away.

How Much Weight Should I Lift During A Pyramid Set?

One of the most common questions we get asked is, “how much weight should I use?”.

The answer definitely depends on:

  • the person, since different people have varying levels of strength
  • the style of workout you’re doing

In other words, there is not one correct answer that works for every one.

If you have to quit early because you can’t get through the entire pyramid set, it is a sign you went to heavy.

If you get through the entire pyramid set and you still feel like you have energy left, it is a sign you went too light.

With pyramid set training, you may be surprised that you have to go lower in weight than you’re used too lifting.

For example, if you normally select 40 pound dumbbells for 3 straight sets of 8 reps, you may need to select 35 pound dumbbells as your heaviest weight during the 8 rep portion of the pyramid set.

Don’t worry, this is okay.

By the time you get to the heaviest weight for 8 reps, you will already be pre-exhausted.

It’s Important To Not Let Your Ego Get In The Way

Remember, it’s more important to get through the full workout, rather than giving up because you feel bad about the amount of weight you can lift.

With any new style of workout, there is always a learning curve.

If you’re just beginning, it’s okay to start with lighter weights, then work up to heavier weights over time.

We always recommend you feel things out, and test yourself.

It will get easier to find the right amount of weight, as you get better at it.

Can I Lower The Weights In The Middle Of A Pyramid Set?

If you are a beginner, your weight selection is going to be a trial and error test as you start learning your strength capabilities.

When needed, it’s also okay to lower the weight if you started too heavy, or increase the weight if you start to light.

For example, if you started with 20 pound dumbbells for 12 reps at the beginning of the pyramid set, it’s okay to drop down to 15 pounds for the final 12 reps at the end of the pyramid set, if the burn becomes overwhelming.

The Feeling Of Muscle Burn Is A Good Thing

This means you are challenging your muscles, which is ultimately accelerating you forward towards incredible results.

Remember, you can’t stay in your comfort zone, if you want to see change in your body.

So push yourself to your limits, and enjoy the results.

This is meant to be a difficult workout because we’re looking to shock your body, and get you outside of your comfort zone.

This new training stimulus will help you build muscle.

That’s exactly what this workout will do.

The Insanity Of This Workout Is Why It’s Genius

Once you get to the last set of the pyramid, you’ll think it’s absolutely insane.

However, since you know it’s coming to an end soon, it’s important to keep pushing forward.

When you know it’s insane, but you just go for it and do it anyway, that’s what makes it great.

Once you put in the work and reap the results, you’ll feel great after overcoming something you originally thought was absurd.

That’s your pyramid sets workout.

They’re obviously not easy, but this is how you bust through workout plateaus, and get yourself to the next level.

We’re proud of you.

Keep Living Lean.

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If you haven’t done so yet, join all the other Live Leaners, just like you, over at Team Live Lean.

As a member, every month you’ll receive our:

  • monthly 30 day fat burning and muscle building workout programs
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It’s the ultimate fat burning combo.

Go to Team Live Lean and join all the other Live Leaners now.

We hope to see you over there.


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Today’s Question Of The Day:

  • Are you going to try this 45 minute full body pyramid workout with dumbbells?
  • Have you ever tried pyramid set training?

Be sure to share your answers in the comment section below.

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15 responses to “45 Minute Full Body Pyramid Workout With Dumbbells

  1. Just finished two rounds of day 1 pyramid workouts….absolute killer! My
    muscles are super fatigued and there was no way a round 3 was happening!
    Great workout and fun style, Brad and Jess! Love being a Team Live Lean

  2. Great workout guys. Is pyramid training the absolute best form of strength
    training in your opinion?

  3. I like this month’s program Towards Gainz! YAY for Team Live Lean!!!!

    The workouts are very tiring though 😛

  4. Love your videos. Just wanted to point out that Brad did not follow
    Jessica’s advice of sharing dumbbells and putting them back on the rack
    when he did his lunges. LOL

  5. Once I’m employed again, I’m going to invest in becoming a Team Live Lean
    member. I’m currently doing your LL15 workouts as well as your tabata
    workouts. I’m also going to finally start working towards becoming a
    certified personal trainer and nutritionist. You guys inspire me!

  6. What sugar is ruining my LIFE, love that comment LOL!! Keep going back over
    the comment and listening again sooooooooo funny lol!!
    Im now heading over to Live Lean on the “inside” for my programme – looks
    like a great one!!! Trying the Insane Burpees tomorrow guys wish me luck.
    If im brave ill get em on video lol!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Looks awesome. It is sure nice to see demos of the moves. Always nice to
    have reinforcement that you are doing them right. Thanks for the vid.

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