T Nation

High Volume Autoregulation for Max Hypertrophy


I tried the following last week and it really gave me an amazing training effect.

Basically I follow a ramping system (which you should be comfortable with if you read my latest interview and forum posts) but do a plateau ramp. Each plateau being 2 sets.

Basically I perform 2 sets with a given weight, THEN ramp up.

For example:

My max standing military press is 255lbs (for reference and framework)

I did:

135lbs x 1 (feel set)
145lbs x 1 (feel set)
155lbs x 1 (feel set)
160lbs x 5
160lbs x 5
175lbs x 5
175lbs x 5
190lbs x 5
190lbs x 5
205lbs x 5
205lbs x 5
215lbs x 5
215lbs x 5
225lbs x 5
225lbs x 3 (no more fuel)

That's all I did for shoulders and they were more swollen than I ever remember.

Obviously with the lighter weights I focused on accelerating as much as humanly possible.

Three days later, I beat my record on the standing military by 10lbs (265lbs)


sounds interesting, what were your rest intervals between the sets, do you go by breath or by a certain time? and what other muscle groups did you train that day


I did one set of pulldowns after each set of press. 5 reps, same ramping style.


tried this highvolume ramp today on dips, got pretty swollen in the whole torso area, and whats BEAUTIFUL, one hour after the workout which was, midgrip pullup 5x5, bb rows 5x5, side laterals 6x6 and dips HIGHVOLUME, after getting my postworkout shake in and the shower, i feel pretty alert still, before the workout i thought i'd go to sleep again til i got myself in the zone as u say.... great stuff coach, i cant wait to see how i will look like on new years eve after applying all that knowledge i gained here lately



How are you planning to use this method of ramping in the future? I assume you're not going to use this exclusively from now on, am I right?

How well do you think this ramping method will work on big lifts like squats (front squats in my case), when one is training for both strength and hypertrophy?


I have tried a similar approach instinctively before and it has always worked well. I prefer it on benches, rows, and most shoulder movements. I don't think it would be a good idea on squats, or deads.

I find that when I train like this I get more into my workout and am able to pump out more sets, with bigger weight. It also seems as you said that when I come back my next workout I always seem to increase my max.

Good stuff, I always believed instinctive training was the way to go.


No no, it was just an experiment. Normally it would not be a whole workout for example. But when I'm testing new stuff, I normally do it alone to single out the effects.


I am beginning to understand the idea ramping because it seem very close or just another word for maximal voluntary contractions "attempting to recruit as many motor units as possible to develop force"(Poliquin, 2005). The greater the force used to push or pull a weight will achieve maximum motor unit activation which can in turn translate to strength and size gains.

My question to you Christian is because you were an olympic lifter who focused on explosive movements do you think you were able to adapt faster because of your efficient nervous system compared to the average person? Poliquin has argued that he seen better results following this type of training methodology with those who come from nervous system sports such as the 100 meter sprinter do you agree or disagree?

Thank you


Thanks for answering.

I'll try this with t-bar rows and see how different my back feels compared to usual ramping.


I agree in part. It is true that individuals with a fast-twitch dominance, or a large background in explosive lifting, will feel more at ease with this type of training right off the bat. Because of that, some would argue that this training would work best with fast-twitch dominant individuals.

I prefer to see it the other way around... it can help slower twitch individuals take on a more fast-twitch profile. Case-in-point I never was fast-twitch dominant by birth. Never was a fast kid. But I became very explosive when I started doing olympic lifting and plyo. Even ran a 4.54 forty (electric) and dunked a basketball on 5'8".


I know many aren't concerned with their 5RM on lat pulldowns, but were you stronger on lat pulldowns the next time you did them? A 10 lb improvment on the standing military press is im-press-ive.


Out of curiosity, what prompted you not to simply increase the weight in smaller increments every working set (as opposed to keeping it the same for 2 sets at a time before moving up, as you did in the example) ?



Do you think this kind of volume would have to be reduced on a hypocaloric diet. I was thinking warming/ramping as less as needed possible.


I wouldn't cut the number of ramp sets as they are not particularly draining. And if anything, it is harder to get activated (in the zone) when your calories are lower. The autoregulating nature of the program will dictate the volume anyway.


Simplicity. :slightly_smiling:

And motivation, for some reason increasing the load by 5lbs isn't motivating to me. I prefer to make larger jumps. The two sets for the same weight allows me to really destroy the weight the second time around, psyching me even more before the next jump.

I have used the smaller jumps technique too, but mostly when I have problems getting in the zone.


Coach, is there certain way you would put this type of high volume autoregulation together? For instance, in an upper/ lower split can I just pick one lift per body part and do the ramping like you showed above and then move on to the next body part? Should one lift be enough volume to hit the muscle fully or would you add more exercises to a given body part?

Thx alot I always appreciate the help!


Just tried it yesterday after my strength-endurance sets, same exercise selections. I broke PRs in both seated OH press and Lat pulldown. And felt an amazing motivation during the workout :slight_smile:


Sounds really exciting coach.

I was wondering if you could just simply apply the same technique to leg training? Same parameters, just with a squat?

Thank you.