Progression and intensity may be the key to better gains and endurance
Our muscles are made up of bundles of fibers which contract in various ranges of work. Low weight and a large number of reps will typically only need to recruit the type I slow twitch fibers, while heavier weights and greater intensity requires adding in the Type IIA and IIB faster twitch fibers.
When you structure a series of sets of an exercise to progressively get heavier with each set, it creates the effect of moving through the entire range of all muscle fibers. Doing reps at the apex set to failure also generates the intensity needed to create maximum muscle loads and stimulate growth post-workout. If you also reverse the progression down and do reps to failure in each set on the way down you will further stimulate the deep micro-tears which leads to muscle building and eventual increases in strength, endurance and gains.
Kettlebell Pyramid Training: The Higher and Deeper Training Method
I am linking below to a video by Paul Chek, expert in exercise kinesiology, author and founder of The C.H.E.K Institute. This is a great demonstration of the principles of progression and intensity in action.
Paul spends roughly the first half of the video explaining in detail the science behind why he likes performing these types of set progressions. Additionally he will give tips on how to go through the progression properly to maximize the effects of the progression.
This is followed in the second half of the video by a demonstration of the progression – at the end he barely has enough oxygen left to talk as he finishes the video. He recommends going through the progression from 3 to 6 times for a workout, depending on what exactly you are trying to emphasize in your current training cycle.
Challenge yourself and give these a try – I suspect you will find they are an intense and rewarding addition to your workout routines.