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Ramping Up Sets or Straight Sets?

I am doing an upper/lower split that looks like this:
mon-flat bench, incline bench, chest supported rows, chin ups, shrugs, front raises, curls, tricep pushdowns
tues-squats, rdls, leg press, glute ham raise, donkey calf machine
thur-repeat mon
fri-repeat tues

I am using a 6x4 for sets and reps. So is it better to do straight sets or ramp up the weights in each set? Right now I do two warmup sets, then do my 6 work sets. What are the advantages of ramping up versus straight sets? I have searched the site and have not really found a whole lot of answers about which is optimal. Thanks for any help.

Ramping vs. straight sets depends on what your goal is. For pure maximal strength, you should ramp with low reps (6x4 is fine, although you don’t absolutely have to limit your number of sets), utilizing near-complete rest between each set, finishing the ramp with a near-max set of four.

If you’re more interested in size, I’d still recommend ramping, but I’d stop around a six-or-seven-rep max and do two or three sets of four, and maybe add a back-off set at a lighter weight instead of a third heavy set. I never really got anything out of 6x4 or anything like it using straight sets, but that’s just me.

As for your routine, I see some major redundancy. On the upper days, I’d make the first bench heavy (6x4), use DB’s for the incline at a slightly-higher rep range (6-8), apply these two rep ranges to the two main pulls (pick one for each), then do shrugs at an even higher rep range (8-12), drop the front raises for lateral raises because you’re already hammering the front delts with the two earlier presses, and hit the raises with 8-12.

Then, on the other upper day, make your first press a more shoulder-oriented press (6x4), then move to flat DB bench (6-8 reps), some different rowing movements than the first day, then either front raises or some direct bicep and tricep work. I’d then make similar changes to the lower body day.

Just my opinion.

How long does it take you to do that routine?

I do an upper/lower, and I do

mon-barbell bench variation (1-5 reps, ramping), db bench variation or dips (6-10 reps), chest supported rows (10-12 reps), face pulls (12-15 reps)

tue-box squat or speed pull (5-10 reps), unilateral movement (12-18 total reps), posterior chain movement (6-15 reps … depends what I’m doing)

thur-bench variation for max reps, chins/pull downs (8-12 reps), shoulder press variation (10-15 reps), tricep isolation (8-15 reps), curl variation (6-10 reps)

fri-squat or deadlift variation (1-5 reps ramping weight), unilateral movement (8-12 total reps), posterior chain movement (6-10 reps)

Right now I’m trying to keep my sessions shorter. Otherwise, I’d do abs on upper days and calves or grip on lower days. This is pretty much the WS4SB original template with the extra lower day thrown in there.

[quote]gabex wrote:
How long does it take you to do that routine?

I do an upper/lower, and I do

mon-barbell bench variation (1-5 reps, ramping), db bench variation or dips (6-10 reps), chest supported rows (10-12 reps), face pulls (12-15 reps)

tue-box squat or speed pull (5-10 reps), unilateral movement (12-18 total reps), posterior chain movement (6-15 reps … depends what I’m doing)

thur-bench variation for max reps, chins/pull downs (8-12 reps), shoulder press variation (10-15 reps), tricep isolation (8-15 reps), curl variation (6-10 reps)

fri-squat or deadlift variation (1-5 reps ramping weight), unilateral movement (8-12 total reps), posterior chain movement (6-10 reps)

Right now I’m trying to keep my sessions shorter. Otherwise, I’d do abs on upper days and calves or grip on lower days. This is pretty much the WS4SB original template with the extra lower day thrown in there.[/quote]

It takes me about an hour for each session. I do bench, rest 60 seconds, then do the rows, then rest 60 seconds, and then repeat. Same with the incline and chins, and raises and shrugs. I leave the squats by themselves, and alternate rdls and leg press, then ham curls and calves.

[quote]leon79 wrote:
Ramping vs. straight sets depends on what your goal is. For pure maximal strength, you should ramp with low reps (6x4 is fine, although you don’t absolutely have to limit your number of sets), utilizing near-complete rest between each set, finishing the ramp with a near-max set of four.

If you’re more interested in size, I’d still recommend ramping, but I’d stop around a six-or-seven-rep max and do two or three sets of four, and maybe add a back-off set at a lighter weight instead of a third heavy set. I never really got anything out of 6x4 or anything like it using straight sets, but that’s just me.

As for your routine, I see some major redundancy. On the upper days, I’d make the first bench heavy (6x4), use DB’s for the incline at a slightly-higher rep range (6-8), apply these two rep ranges to the two main pulls (pick one for each), then do shrugs at an even higher rep range (8-12), drop the front raises for lateral raises because you’re already hammering the front delts with the two earlier presses, and hit the raises with 8-12.

Then, on the other upper day, make your first press a more shoulder-oriented press (6x4), then move to flat DB bench (6-8 reps), some different rowing movements than the first day, then either front raises or some direct bicep and tricep work. I’d then make similar changes to the lower body day.

Just my opinion.[/quote]

I am training more for strength(with size as a pleasant side effect) and I guess I forgot to post that I do switch the reps up for my later exercises. I do 6 reps for incline and chins, and 8 for shrugs and raises. Thanks for your input.

[quote]raindrops wrote:

I am training more for strength(with size as a pleasant side effect) and I guess I forgot to post that I do switch the reps up for my later exercises. I do 6 reps for incline and chins, and 8 for shrugs and raises. Thanks for your input.[/quote]

Since you’re using higher rep ranges for your secondary exercises, I think you are getting enough hypertrophy work to support the maximal strength you’re developing. With that in mind, I would definitely recommend ramping the weight on the 6x4 lifts.

My personal opinion, those “6x4”, should be 6 sets of 4 with your work weight. They shouldn’t include your warm up sets. But it really depends on your program.

I think the workout becomes a lot tougher when you do your work weight for all sets you intend to do. Why waste 3 sets with lighter weight.

The one advantage I see is VOLUME. You get more reps at a higher weight vs the same reps with less weight.

Hope I understood the question.

I do a similar split but I use straight sets:

Currently doing 5x5 but will switch to 10x3 when I feel I am nearing a plateau. I also superset a lot to save time. I work calves a lot because they are a weak point

All sets are done with the same weight to just below failure on the last couple sets. All workouts are done in about an hour and ten minutes.

Monday (Leg Day!)

Squats 5x5 —> seated calf raise superset
Deadlifts 5x5 —> lateral raises superset
Incline DB press 3x10
Ab workout (whatever I feel like)

Wednesday (Horizontal)

Flat Bench Press 5x5 —> 1 arm bent over DB row superset
Standing straight bar curl 5x5 (slow negatives) —> Abs
Machine Flyes 3x10 (at the end of my workout these feel awesome…better than DB flyes do)----> donkey calf raise

Saturday (Vertical)

Medium width pronated pull ups -----> standing DB shoulder press 5x5
Decline bench press 5x5
Standing EZ-Curl bar curls 5x5 ----> Abs
Dips (leaning forward for chest) 3 sets to failure----> standing calf raise

[quote]tw0scoops2 wrote:
My personal opinion, those “6x4”, should be 6 sets of 4 with your work weight. They shouldn’t include your warm up sets. But it really depends on your program.

I think the workout becomes a lot tougher when you do your work weight for all sets you intend to do. Why waste 3 sets with lighter weight.

The one advantage I see is VOLUME. You get more reps at a higher weight vs the same reps with less weight.

Hope I understood the question.
[/quote]

Yeah that is what I was doing, but I think there is a point where you cant do straight sets with higher amounts of weights. I was doing a 6x4 of bench at 295 pounds each set, which just wiped me out.

I think as you advance in your training, less volume becomes needed, and is more quality over quantity.

Today I did this:
1st set: 135x4
2nd: 225x4
3rd: 245x4
4th: 275x4
5th: 295x4
6th: 315x4

It depends entirely on your intensity level and the work you can put into an exercise. This is the reason why most people start out in bodybuilding doing straight sets and as they get stronger and progress more and more they switch over to either ramping, or pyramidding to a top set with their working weight.

If you can give your all and trash the target muscle group with that top set, then you probably shouldn’t be ABLE to do more sets with it afterwards. However if you aren’t at that level yet, straight sets are a perfectly good option.

Gotta make your own judgement call.