T Nation

Another Beat Up Topic


okay guys sorry for the newb question that im sure a lot of you are tired of answering.

I've always done straight sets (3x10,4x8,5x5etc.) all using the same weight ever since i started lifting 3 years ago. I'm pretty disapointed with my numbers and i'd like to blame it on genetics, but i've noticed a lot of the bigger guys or the guys with bigger numbers like to ramp and there are just so many ways to do it. I know ramping is one of those preference things but id like to know if im fucking this up. so this is what i did today on my chest and tri day in the gym.

flat barbell bench press
265x4 (failure)

incline dumbbell bench press
95x8 (failure)

for triceps i just kept 3x10 straight sets.

so next week when i do bb flat bench i do 265 again and try to do more than 4 reps? and if i do then the week after i try for like 270 or 275?

and on the incline DB bench next week i go for 100 as many times as i can right?

one more question regarding ramping, would it be more optimal to lower reps as i get closer to my last set for instance on my flat bb bench press once i hit 245 to lower reps to 2 or 3 so that i can possibly get more reps on my last set?


not sure how others do it, but I don't waste too much effort doing reps at the heavier warmup weights. most of the warming up is done with light weights (ex. bar x15-20 reps, 95x10-15 reps, 135x8-10 reps for incline BB bench) and with the heavier weights I'll do maybe 2-3 reps, or even just multiple singles, just to make sure my bar path remains correct and that the muscles and joints involved feel ok under heavier loads.

my top set has to reach at least 6 clean reps, and when I can hit 10 clean reps then I add another 10 lb. until I hit 10 clean reps, I just try to get at least 1 more rep than my last session, even if I need a RP or a spot to get that extra rep. I also try to get more reps on the sets that I ladder down to.

there are things you can blame your failures on other than genetics.
- diet
- rest/rest periods
- weaknesses (ex if you stall halfway up on a bench press, then you probably need to develop your tris/front delts)

I've stalled somewhat on my incline bench in the past month, and I know that it's because I was incorporating tricep work into my chest day rather than doing it on the dedicated arm day I had been doing. the weight on the bar and my arm measures made it even more obvious.


i think you're spending to much time 'warming up'

i just alwasy try to do more.

i did 120x20 on incline dumbell the other day.


i mean yeah probably its my training but i wouldnt think that it is my diet because i consume like 300+ grams of protein and im always getting bigger and its really only my chest that gains strength slowly.

but the reason why i blame it on genetics is because my dad was a powerlifter and he had a huge squat and deadlift for his weight class but a not so big bench press (265 1rm at 160). sigh but even though i have a bigger bench than him im still like 90 lbs heavier than he was back then so in comparison my bench press is shit.

sigh, but im working on it.


thats crazy, but i feel ya, i guess ill do fewer warm up sets/reps so i can do more on the top set.


eating more could help

rest pause sets could deffinitely help

deffo reduce your reps on your warm ups, the max ot warm up routine is pretty awesome look into that

if thats the same thing u do every week then change it in some way


If you can only top out at 265 for 4 Id suggest starting lighter.

I pre-exhaust with pec deck then start my pressing. But this is how my workout went recently.

Pec Deck
Incline BB press
bar - few 'sets' of 5 reps
135 - a few 'sets' of 4,5,6 reps whatever
185 - 1 set 12 reps
225 - 1 set 12 reps
245 - 1 set 10 reps (1 maybe 2 reps in the tank)
260 - 1 set 8 reps

245 for 10 and 260 for 8 were difficult to accmplish. Needed a spotter on the last rep of the last set. All the other sets I left reps in the tank.

Flat dumbell press
no warm up sets. No need to warm at this point, doing so is just wasted energy.
started with the 90s and worked up to the 110s for 8 reps. 3-4 sets.

then did my finisher, which happened to be more pec deck that day.

Rest periods should be significantly shorter between the early sets compared to the last ones. There may have been 10 seconds of rest between the bar sets and the 135 sets.


I didnt mean "only top out at 265" as an insult btw. May have come across that way, but this is the bodybuilding forum, I dont really care at all about numbers.


Next week I will ramp up to 495lbs for 6-15 reps.



this was a joke right ha?


you said start lower since i could only hit 265 for 4 after all those other sets, so would you suggest maybe doing something like

135 warmup
245 to failure?


in the first place just hear yourself talk, you seem to be so disappointed with yourself, if you are you wont reach your mark, body building is a sport for positive thinkers i mean you just begin lock stock & barrel with what you got & keep inching ahead, so my friend first lose all the negative talk & look at your accomplishment, you'll be amazed at what you really have achieved.

Remember one thumb rule in bodybuilding "everything works" gotta give it some time, just focus on working a tad harder than your last workout, for example lift a lil more weight than the last time on the same exercise even if its 5Lbs do it or get out a couple of extra reps per set with the same weight, for instance if you pushed 235Lbs x say 4 reps in your last workout, press 6 reps with the same weight in the next workout.

I personally target 10 reps with the same weight in a workout & till i'm able to press 10 reps for 5 sets i stick with the weight & once there i jack the weight up by 5Lbs, following this my bench has gone from 180Lbs to 400Lbs in a lil over a year. I lift more I'm stronger than before & I'm bigger than before by that i mean a whole lot. And yes I'm 45 years old.


Ha! I remember that thread...wonder where he went?


paulieserafini - the original idea of ramping that CT talked about was to save energy for the last set, but still perform well on your last set (in fact, you'd be better prepared/stronger because you "ramped up").

My favourite way would be to start off high reps (8-12) with less than half your weight (for the pump/warming), then reduce reps to 3-6 as you add weight to get used to the heavy stuff.

Something like:

Set 1: 15 reps (e.g. bar)
Set 2: 8-10 reps
Set 3: 5-6 reps
Set 4: 5-6 reps
Set 5: 3 reps
Set 6: work set (e.g. 6-12 reps)

Some do a back down set and would strip off say 10% and do another work set. Nothing's written in stone, just go by the feel. And secondary exercises for the same muscle group don't need to be ramped (or just minimal ramping closer to working set).

That example is more lower volume; whereas some (like Bonez's example) like to get more reps/volume in the warmup-work sets. Depends how you respond and whether you want to hit a higher load on the working set.

My thoughts are that ramping is great for high intensity, but every now and then I like to break it up with more volume work (the kind you mentioned - straight sets). IMO this helps you to focus more on form/tension etc when ramping puts your mind into "powerlifting" mode. But again, it often depends on experience/style of ramping.


Sure. Theres a lot of freedom in this.


I used to do the same thing, straight sets. I was doing x weight for 4 sets of 12. When I got all 12, upped the weight. It was slow progress, number wise and probably muscle wise. Then I switched to the Max OT style of ramping that I picked up from King Beef in his "do this routine instead..." thread. I like it a lot more, if for no other reason that I'm using MUCH heavier weights.

Check it out for a better explanation, but basically you have two top sets to failure in the 4-8 range(beef modified it from the original 4-6 I believe), sometimes just one top set. Anyway, check it out.


pretty sure hes still around


This is the problem. You have done the same thing for 3 years. Everything works, but nothing works for long.


Well I mean in terms of straight sets I have. I've obviously change routines and rep ranges workout frequency/volume of course.


By the way I appreciate all the advice guys, I'm playing around with this a lot trying to find my groove and I really like this whole ramping thing and if anyone else has a different method or modification id love to hear it.