Thanks for your reply!
The 4 reps I got at 185 were because I failed. I planned on getting 5 and moving up but I guess that didn’t work out. The thing is, if I made bigger jumps I could get 195 for 5. I mean it would be hard but doable.
Following CT’s advice, I am not aiming for any particular number of sets. I think I haven’t figured out how to “jump” appropriately which is why I may be fatiguing. I usually take about 2 mins between sets, reason being I feel like its plenty and I want to take advantage of the CNS activation (the previous explosive reps). In that case, what kind of jumps would you recommend so that I don’t get tired before I reach my max set?
In the interview CT stated that he believed that worksets should start at 70%. Right now I am basically doing as many feels sets as I feel is necessary before that 70% mark. From there, I’ll make 10-20 lb jumps. I’m just having trouble finding that sweet spot where I get activated and not drained.
I kind of feel like 5 reps is a lot to ramp on. As I understand it, the closer you get to your max, the more fatigue you accumulate. In that case, wouldn’t making 10 lbs jumps towards the very end of the spectrum cause more fatigue than activate?
First, ditto on Grinder’s recommendation of reading what CT and C_C had to say in that thread. Good discussion.
Second, I think it would make things clearer to be explicit that there is not just one way and one situation for ramping. Perhaps there are more than two, but the two that I think are important are the approach that CT is talking about – low reps, and really aiming for strength and improvement of neural recruitment – and volume. With the latter not being invalid for bodybuilding.
It sounds like you are aiming for the first type. If so, what CT describes is right on the money, as personal opinion. I’ll also add an example that is pretty well detailed from a post I did a while back on what I call the “Volkov progression,” after the Russian powerlifter that I am getting it from, via Pavel Tsatsouline:
[quote]Let’s say that you don’t have an exact target top work weight in mind, for example because you’ve never done this before.
If you don’t, start with about 55% of what you guess for your 1RM. The exact value is not important. Either for your estimate being exact, or the figure having to be exactly 55%. But shoot for about that.
Decide how many reps you want to be doing per set. I recommend 2 or 3, though Volkov did anywhere from 1 to 5, though most commonly 2 or 3.
All sets are the same number of reps, unless unintentionally unable to do that many in the last set.
Then add some modest amount of weight per set, the same amount each set. The interval Volkov uses is about 4% his 1RM but again this need not be exactly followed. For example, if that would calculate to say 16 lb, don’t worry, 15 lb would be fine.
End the sets when judging it unlikely that an additional increment can be handled.
Volkov does not do it, but if I think I probably can’t get another set with the full increment but could do so with a little less, I’ll make the last increment smaller.
So, example workout for estimated 500 lb 1RM. I pick this value for the sake of round figures. Let’s say you plan to do doubles.
- Very light warmup if desired.
- 275 for 2
- 295 for 2
- 315 for 2
- 335 for 2
- 355 for 2
- 375 for 2
- 395 for 2
- 415 for 2
- 435 for 2
- perhaps 455 for 2.
The article says nothing of Volkov’s rest times and I have no other information on it. I take about an hour for this, allowing 1 minute rest at the very beginning, then fairly soon 2 minutes rest, and pretty soon getting into 3 and 4 minutes rest. By the last couple of sets, 6 minutes rest.[/quote]
This is an example of the closely-spaced sort of ramping at low reps. Of course, having this close spacing results in higher volume. If one wanted less volume, solutions would be:
- Starting at a higher percent 1RM, as CT does, and/or
- Using bigger jumps overall, or using bigger jumps at first and then small jumps near the top.
Now, regarding rest, I don’t know whether CT would agree with allowing as much as 4-6 minutes on the final sets, as he has talked about CNS activation lasting for 3 minutes. For myself, it sure seems to last longer. For me, six minutes is a reasonable rest for the top set. And for sure we could find any number of powerlifters who would disagree that their best performance is after only 3 minutes of rest.
And secondly we have the volume approach to ramping, which could well be wider-spaced, as more than one exercise will be done for the bodypart if so. (Obviously, if wider-spaced and NOT doing another exercise, volume is less.)
There can be overlap between the two: I think the description I gave previously fits into that category.
A volume approach to ramping can also have no particular focus on acceleration and be at higher reps than 5. The weight interval chosen is usually something convenient, such as for a very heavy exercise adding a plate per side each time; or adding alternately a 25 and then swapping it for a plate; or adding 15 lb per side each time, etc. Again, I think a reasonable value is about 10% of the planned top work weight but many do it wider than this.
On the rest: for what CT is aiming for, he doesn’t want performance on the top set to be compromised. There is also a valid approach in bb’ing where gains are achieved by working as hard as possible with the muscle fatigued. E.g., in doing a DC-style three sets (what anyone else would call three sets, anyway) with about 30-40 seconds rest inbetween, all with the same weight, the second and third sets are certainly thought to (and do) add to gains, but most certainly performance hasn’t been fully restored – nowhere near it – and deliberately so.
So this does not mean that from the bb’ing perspective it is a disaster for the rest to have been short enough that a rep, or even more, was lost from what could have been done in the top set.
But from the standpoint of focusing on acquisition of strength, whether for that direct purpose or as the means of gaining size, as CT says you want to rest sufficiently so that performance is not compromised. (Though in my case, a 3 minute figure, for movements such as squat, deadlift, or bench, is not enough to achieve that.)