Is ramping recommended for body weight exercises? What if we are doing something like 3-4 sets for 10-12 reps on chins, but can't use a lot of external loading? Would straight sets be better in this case?
What if we can't even do 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps using body weight only?
I would probably do straight sets and explode to the top as fast as possible. Do some chinese DB Rows (explosive 1-arm row with the opposite arm supported on quad) and braced 1-arm hammer curls before hand/in between to prime the nervous system if you like. Thibs has suggested these lifts for chin-ups before..
Like I said in the other thread, ramp up with a similar exercise and then use the bodyweight exercise for the last 1 or 2 sets.
To get strong in pushups, dips, and pullups, it's usually best NOT to go near failure at all and aim for a total number of reps. So instead of doing work sets in pullups of 8, 4, and 2, it would be better to just warmup with lat pulldowns and do 4 sets of 4 (nowhere near failure) and aim to increase total reps next time. Within a few weeks, you might be able to do 2 sets of 6 to 8. I did this with chinups and pullups by doing 6 to 8 sets of 3 reps.
The way I described is very popular and works very fast.
Usually when someone has to increase their pushups or pullups very fast--like if that was some particular aim--it would be best to get the most volume in those exercises they can EVERYDAY - NOT going to failure. Like having a chinup bar in an office or at home and just banging some out (FAR AWAY from failure) as often as possible.
You can go to failure for those 3-4 sets or you can do it like me: for all sets before the last set, stop 1-2 reps shy of failure, but it should still be a hard set. And then the last set is all out failure booyah.
yeah thats a good idea. I used that before with pull ups and had great results. On my last deployment we pull up bars outside the "gym" and we'd start/end every workout with 10 pull ups... by the end I was hitting up sets of 20 behind the neck pull ups before and after each workout. Its a very good technique IMO.
Interesting, I remember Chad W. explaining that his clients recovery lasted much longer when they went to failure on those types of exercises (like way longer than was justifiable). So for the sake of an extra few reps (which was the "failure" reps), the clients had to wait a few days extra, which he concluded wasn't worth it.
I have also found this to be the case especially with pullups (when going to failure it's hard to progress on them). Obviously, I'm talking about as close to proper failure as possible which requires plenty of ramping sets (not just when it feels hard or like I'm near failure).
Like you said, the better idea is to aim for "accumulative fatigue" whereby the fatigue is built up over higher volume as opposed to very high intensity sets to failure. So the OP could do something like this:
Day 1 - 8 sets of 3 Day 5 - 8 sets of 4 Day 9 - 8 sets of 5
From there on you could decide to do high rep sets, or add weight to the waist. Obviously, it probably won't be that straight forward (you simply stop doing the sets when failure gets close) but you'd aim for that type of max/volume...