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Ramping Up Once Already Warmed Up?


I have been using the method of ramping up (aka first set light weight, then gradually increasing weight after each set until the last set or two are to failure)
and I see how it benefits me as far as making sure the muscle is properly warmed up on the first exercise, but is it really necessary to ramp up once your warmed up on a similar exercise? Seems pointless.

For example, on arms day (just random numbers for the weight):
EZ bar curls, ramped up: first set: 60 8 times/ second set: 80 5 times/ third set 95 3 times/ fourth set 115 6 times (failed)/ last set 115 3 times

...so that exercise was ramped up...

then I move to dumbell curls...
my biceps are already warmed up and it seems pointless to grab a light ass 30 pound dumbell and gradually increase the weight. I feel like IM bullshitting. Cant I just go straight to grabbing the 50s and go to failure on the first set?
Obviously that would only be one set, but after all, isnt only one or two sets to failure anyways? i just feel like using light ass weight is such a waste of time. I mean, when you say your doing "four sets" of an exercise, and 2 or 3 of them were light as fuck, do they really count?


I mea


Correct, ramping is only necessary on the first exercise in a session provided that the rest of exercises are similar movements.


If the situation warrants it, do a light 'feel' set or something.

If I just got done doing a barbell bench press, and I'm moving to a machine that I'm likely to use a good amount of plates on, I will definitely do at least a set at 2/3-ish of the weight for a couple reps, if not something a bit lighter.

But no, if you're doing a curl or a kickback or something silly like that there's absolutely no reason to keep ramping the sets.


Agreed with SSC.

If it's an iso movement, doesn't necessitate a lot of weight or isn't the type of movement that requires too much coordination, I don't see why not if that's your cup of tea.

But if I ramp up (warm up) for flat bench, then move on to dumbbell inclines, I'm not hoisting the 120's my first set. I like to start with about 3/4 weight and jump up by feel keeping the reps around 3 - 5. Lighter weights and lower reps = little need for extended rest during this time, so it doesn't eat up a lot of time.

But, sometimes for iso movements I like to ramp up anyhow just to use the lighter weights/higher reps as a way of getting some blood and feeling into the target muscle for that exercise. I have trouble activating my biceps, so even if I do warm up with BB curls, I'd need to warm up/ramp on incline DBs so my body gets used to firing the target muscles for that exercise.

If you don't need to, then more power to ya. But it might cause trouble down the line if you try it out with the heavier money movements by jumping right into a top set without taking a few minutes to feel your way up.


Agree with SSC--it's a matter of 'feel.' Once you're ready, go for it--there's no need to stick slavishly to an extended warm-up regimen once you're warmed up. But it's better to be safe than sorry, so if there's any doubt, I will always do at least a couple of reps with a lighter weight just to make sure I'm truly and completely ready to handle the heavier weights.

As for your other question--"when you say your doing "four sets" of an exercise, and 2 or 3 of them were light as fuck, do they really count?"--my answer is 'no.' I consider any set short of positive failure to be a warm-up, and do not count it toward my workout. My preferred approach has always been to warm up completely via several progressively heavier warm-up sets, stopping well short of failure on each. Then once I'm ready, my first set (ie, the first time I will go to positive failure) is with the heaviest weight I'm going to use on that exercise that day. Hope this helps.




Your 2nd and 3rd exercises should still be ramped, to a degree. Obviously you dont need to start as light. But you shouldnt be doing straight sets to failure for all of your subsequent sets.

Unless youre training is aided by the use of anabolic steroids I dont think it's a good idea to do so many sets to failure.


What is going on here?

Ramp sets are not 'warming up'. Yes, they prepare you to lift heavier weight on the top sets but that doesnt make it a warm up.

Shit this already getting retarded. Call things whatever you want, just dont take a majority of your sets to failure if you want to make progress as a natty.

I just lol when I hear someone say that sets not to failure 'dont count' towards their workout, as if the body has any idea that you only consider them to be a warm up. These 'warm up' sets should absolutely factor in when measuring how much volume youre doing.


It's a matter of how hard you push a set. The body can certainly tell whether you stop one rep short of failure vs 15 reps short of failure.

Not sure how you can object to doing "so many sets to failure" when I didn't specify a number of sets to be done that way.


i enjoy your username


Thanks big man!


I clearly "objected" to doing a MAJORITY of sets to failur. I didnt give a specific number either. Nor did I say that that you advocated doing a majority of sets to failure, although it's quite obvious that if you dont count 'non-failure' sets as actual sets, then you do ALL of your 'sets' to failure.

This is what I mean about labeling certain sets as 'warm up' and 'working' sets. Your body doesnt know the damn difference. ALL sets, regardless of the name you give them, comprise the volume of your workout.

This is drifting away from the original question and I must have covered this issue a half dozen separate times already. Enjoy your convoluted explanation of this shit. No skin off my back.


Thats what I meant, I guess I was a little short in my response. Ramp yes, but to a lesser degree as the first exercise.


would definitely do a few feeler reps working up to whatever weight just to make sure your form is correct, MMC is on, and to check if ANYTHING feels funny during the movement.

that "light ass 30 lb DB" is more useful than you think.


Alright so its safe to say that once warmed up, one lighter set to "feel" is ok.

BONEZ-How many sets, on average, do you recommend taking to failure for each exercise?



I take 1-2 sets to failure per MUSCLE GROUP.


Im with bonez obviously, this isnt exactly a difficult concept

I ramp up to a deggree on every single exercise, I also dont go to failure a lot


I don't get that. How is that considered good intensity? I had a forum a while back and people were suggesting that I need to up my intensity in the gym, and I do way more than 1-2 failure sets per muscle group. Obviously you know what works for you due to your physique, but how is that enough? I would feel like I'm half assing if I stop the majority of my sets with more reps in me (not saying you half ass workouts)


So do what you want?

This is not a 'right vs wrong' issue. If you like how youre progressing then dont worry about anyone else.

I have one movement per muscle group that I focus on strength gains and explosive concentrics. Thats the movement I take to failure. Its usually the second movement for the muscle group. All the other movements I focus on stimulating the target muscle to best of my ability.

If you do things another way, great.


1 set to failure on each exercise is a good start for most people.

Remember "stimulate, don't annihilate" ~Lee Haney

As far as ramping on exercises after the first, the purpose is not necessarily to warm up the muscle further but to "prime the movement," nervous system activation/accilmation or w/e. I've played around with it and noticed that a lot of times (pretty much all the time...) you can lift more weight on a subsequent exercise if you do a lighter set or two first and then hit the heavy set to failure as opposed to just moving to that exercise and starting with your heavy weight.