I have been reading a lot of posts about ramping. That concept (under whatever name) has been around as long as I have trained which dates back to the early 80’s. I find that ramping works, but I have found the traditional model of ramping to be problematic in regards to fatigue. And I have learned of a more effective way to “ramp.”
Traditional Ramping example: Assumue you have properly warmed up and are focusing on your working sets. Lets use the bench press and lets say you are stopping about 1 rep shy of technical failure on all 3 sets. Your goal is something like 225x12 reps, then ramp up and get 245x10 reps and then ramp up and get 275x8 reps. Set 1 is 225x12 (could have got 13). If you add weight and go to 245 it is unlikely you will get 10 since you are spent from coming close to failure on set 1. Matter of fact if you stay with 225 it is unlikely you will even get 12 again. So the option is, drop the weight down on set 1 and leave more in your tank for sets 2 and 3 in order to be able to add weight. To me that is not as effective of doing it the way I learned a while ago. Let me explain.
In the early 90’s I was a young aspiring powerlifter and had a few meets under my belt. I used traditional ramping methods by increasing weight while decreasing reps as I progressed through an exercise. A powerlifter by the name of Tony Hardridge worked out at my gym and he pulled me aside and gave me suggestion…and it applied to bodybuilding and powerlifting. In just 8 weeks of using his model I hit PB’s on all 3 of my lifts (SQ, BP, DL).
Here was his theory and it worked for me (and seems to make sense too). To begin with warm up as you usually do. Lets say you are going to focus on that same goal of 275x8 for your top set. So you warm up and then do several weight acclimation singles leading up to 275. Example: 135x10, 155x8, 185x5, 225x1, 245x1, 255x1. Then your FIRST WORKING set is 275x8. Then REDUCE the weight by 92% (in this case it would be around 250 lbs) and add a rep, 250x9. Then REDUCE that weight by 89% and add a rep, 225x10.
Why those percentages? I don’t know…Tony told them to me and I didnt ask. But I do know the results. The results were simple. AS LONG AS I HIT MY NUMBERS ON THE FIRST SET, I WOULD ALWAYS HIT MY NUMBERS ON THE FOLLOWING SETS no matter how many sets followed. And the formula contines to work as you add sets. Every time you add a set, you reduce the weight by 92/89/92/89 but you also add a rep.
This is just some food for thought when it comes to “ramping.”