Coming off the Foundation Phase, we roll right into pyramid training. Phase Two of Get Swole is all about pushing heavy iron. Many of the rep ranges in this phase start at 20 and drop all the way down to 2, which helps you build strength and muscular endurance.
This phase dials back the clock for me. I trained pyramids in high school, when my body really started to change and I built some serious strength. You'll feel some deep muscle soreness throughout the Pyramid Phase, making recovery meals and supplements even more important. You will add phenomenal lean tissue in this phase, but you have to be ready to work.
Get Swole: Phase Two!
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Phase Two Pyramid Phase
During Phase Two, we introduce high-intensity interval training (HIIT) cardio on one of your rest days to offset your workouts and keep you lean. The main focus of this phase, however, is heavy iron. Some endurance components remain, because some of the reps are still high. Say goodbye to supersets for now. Just push heavy weight, push it often, and gain muscle.
You may notice some different results in this phase, like increased deep muscle soreness. The strength gains come fast, but you have to learn how to lift heavy weight. Mentally, you have to get up for it. When it's time for heavy benching and squats, you have to be ready. To ease your mind, the supplementation and diet don't change much. Except for some minor tweaks, your kitchen and supplement habits are already established.
You'll see substantial physique changes at the end of this phase, like increase chest and back density. You'll get a little bit thicker, a bit more round, and a bit more solid. You should feel like you fill out your T-shirt better than you did after Phase One.
Phase Two Training Overview
Pyramid Training starts with a light weight for high reps. As you work, your sets increase in weight and decrease in reps. Make sure you go to failure on every set. I want you to push as much weight as possible with clean form. You need to lift heavy, but don't lose your focus on safe form and full range of motion.
Unlike Phase One, where almost everything was superset, you won't be pyramiding the entire phase. When you are not pyramiding, you'll lift with a variety of techniques and templates like partial reps and pause reps. This training will give you a crazy burn, but also gives a nice fullness to your muscles.
On one of your rest days, which doesn't necessarily have to be day six, you'll perform 30 minutes of HIIT cardio. Alternate one minute of high-intensity work with one minute of low-intensity work for a total of 30 minutes. This quick cardio session will keep your gains lean throughout the Pyramid Phase.
Pyramid Phase Cardio ///
- HIIT any machine of your choice.
- 1 minute high intensity
- 1 minute low intensity
- 30 minutes total
Because the exercises don't change from week to week until Phase Three, key in on proper form and add weight to each movement in each workout. Track your progress to ensure you progress. You're going to add strength in this phase, and it will be fun to push some heavy weight.
Phase Two Nutrition Overview
Since the goal to this phase is to increase mass and strength, we increase your calories by increasing your carb intake. Remember, this is not a dirty bulk, so the calorie intake isn't drastic. Once again, this program was built with Dr. Mike Kim, MusclePharm's Director of Medicine.
Phase Two has 200-300 more calories than Phase One to keep you growing and help you deal with the increased intensity of each workload. More weight moved per workout requires more energy, and clean carbohydrates are your body's preferred energy source.
You can add more carbohydrates to your breakfast and before your workouts, but the biggest addition to your meal plan is a cup of fruit right before you go to bed. If you eat carbs before bed, it increases your serotonin levels to give you a nice transition into sleep. You still eat the same quality foods as in the Foundation Phase, but the quantity is slightly turned up.
You have to rotate your meat and vegetables sources. If you eat turkey all the time you're going to get tired of it. Rotate turkey, chicken, fish and beef. Rotate vegetables, too: asparagus, broccoli, green beans, and more. Keep everything varied and use the foods listed to your full advantage.
Pyramid Phase Sample Meal Plan ///
Ex. Time: 1:00 p.m
Choose from food list:
Ex. Time: 7:00 p.m
Choose from food list:
Phase Two Supplements Overview
You'll use some of your supplements with meals, and others as meals. Then, obviously, for recovery, we'll have your pre- and post-workout windows covered. You also take nighttime recovery supplements. Your body will be able to recover, grow, and add the lean muscle tissue we're after.
Training Day Supplements ///
Rest Day Supplements///
Because of the pyramid-style training, you'll be moving more iron and using more energy, which makes the pre- and post-workout supplements crucial. Make sure your performance is at a high level so you can push more weight after every workout. Follow the recovery schedule so you can quickly repair, build, and grow. The rest is up to you.