T Nation

Ramping Reps Instead of Load


Hey CT,

Not sure if this has been covered somewhere on the site or forum before, I have searched extensively to no avail. My question is this:

If one wishes to ramp their sets instead of using straight sets, can one ramp the number of reps instead of the load? Or rather, would ramping reps - while keeping the load constant - produce the same physiological results as ramping the load while keeping the rep range the same.

For example: 3 sets of Bench Press - 200x8, 200x10 and then finally 200x12 (or something similar).

As opposed to: Bench Press - 150x12, 175x12 and finally 200x12 (or something similar).

Just to be clear: I am not asking if ramping is superior to straight sets and I am not wishing to discuss pyramid routines (where both the load and number of reps descends and/or ascends). I am asking, if one intends to ramp to an all out blast set, can it be done by ascending reps rather than ascending load? Because I honestly can not find any information dealing with this question.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!! Cheers


  1. Ramping works mostly with lower rep ranges. It is best suited for sets of 6 and less. So your example is not really a good one.

  2. Ramping reps might work, but not for the same reason as ramping the weight. There would be much less neural activation. I have used the technique (ramping reps) with my wife a few times, but it's not the best method... maybe as a change of pace. And even then, it would still work best for sets of 6 reps or less otherwise there would be too much fatigue build-up from set to set for the technique to be of any worth.


Cliffs Notes = No


Bottom line yeah