T Nation

Basic Lifting Question

When doing assistance exercises for 3-4 sets, 8-15 reps, what is the best way to choose your weights?

So far I’ve read there are different things like

straight sets - same weight being used for all sets

ramping sets - 2 warm up sets, 1 medium set, 1 very heavy set

pyramid - heavy set in the middle, the sets before and after are lighter

Also, maybe just a few warmup sets with one “all out” set.

Should I just lift the damn weight and work on getting more reps/weight each set, or should I pay attention to this kind of stuff and use it.

My days for lifting usually consist of:

1 compound movement (lower reps, try to gain strength on this consistently)

2-3 isolation/assitence exercises.

I hear all this “training to failure” stuff and I’m not sure what they mean by that either. Most of the time I ramp weights and just bust ass on each one, is there more to it or am I just overanalyzing this whole thing.

In my log you can see what I’m doing for assistance, if that helps.

Thank you,

power_bulker

You pretty much answered your own question.
I think you should do “Starting Strength” tho.

3 compound lifts, 3x per week.
3 sets of 5 reps on all exercises
Pick a weight you can do for 5 reps and then increase it by 20,10,5,or 2.5 pounds each workout.

Squat every workout (deep)
Alternate the bench press and the overhead press
Alternated the deadlift and the powerclean

You will make massive gains in strength and size and be way ahead of the other beginners.

[quote]power_bulker wrote:
When doing assistance exercises for 3-4 sets, 8-15 reps, what is the best way to choose your weights?[/quote]
First of all, 8-15 is a pretty big rep range, so that’s going to confuse things a little more.

[quote]straight sets - same weight being used for all sets

ramping sets - 2 warm up sets, 1 medium set, 1 very heavy set

pyramid - heavy set in the middle, the sets before and after are lighter

Also, maybe just a few warmup sets with one “all out” set.[/quote]
People are successful with each of these. Eventually you’ll figure out which you best respond to.

The bold/underlined is most important, but the second (paying attention to “this kind of stuff”) is also important. That’s why there are training logs.

As long as each workout has you doing more “stuff” - either weight, reps, or a combination of both - you’re on the right track.

Depending on who you ask, muscular failure means different things. Basically, it’s being physically unable to lift the weight for a complete rep with good technique.