T Nation



What type of set/rep progression styles do you all prefer? Ramping to a top set of 8-12, double progression, etc.

Do you find that certain styles lend themselves better to bodybuilding as opposed to lifting for primarily strength?


I honestly never heard the term Ramping until I saw it used on here by a couple of posters and then it seemed everyone else went along pretending their had been using it all along.

My personal approach has always been:
-Make use of as many warm-up of “feel” sets as you need on that given day, being wary not to actually strain or tax yourself in the process
-Once you feel warmed up (physically, mentally etc) grab as working set that will usually see you able to get a GOOD 5-8 reps with great form, constant tension, and no jerking all over trying to get that last rep in, and stay with it for however many sets you’re doing.

Yes, I always make sure I have some movements that utilized a higher rep range, because there is plenty to be gained by the metabolic effect of increased blood flow, and a longer duration TUT, but my meat and potato selections were usually for a lower rep range and multiple sets. Think Reg Park’s old 5x5 approach.



so, does the number of sets vary depending on how you feel or do you follow a double progression in which you do 4 sets in the 5-8 range only adding a set or weight when you get 8 reps across all sets?


I will usually do 5 sets if I’m keeping my reps in that low (relative) range. I’ve seen too many people drop their reps in hopes of stimulating growth (we’ve all read how low reps = mass -lol), but they don’t increase their number of sets.

3 sets of 10 reps (traditional beginner dogma) = 30 repetitions of a movement
3 sets of 5 reps (“I’m training for mass!” dogma) = 15 reps of a movement

So now you’ve essentially halved your training volume. See the problem?

If I find that I’m getting 8, I obviously asdjust the weight, or even just my performance in terms of speed of movement, ensuring I’m maintaining constant tension etc. I’ve always spoken about “perceived weight” vs actual weight. THat means that if you’re handling 250 lbs correctly on the bench, it stands to reason that you will likely get better results than handling 350 lbs inccorectly.

(Cue angry online experts arguing with me on that last comment and how PLers supposedly have more muscle than BBers)



Do you base you working weight on the previous sessions weight or in keeping with “percieved weight” do you warm up and pick a weight that will fall within your given rep range? Using a daily RPE.

This always messes with me if I hit a certain weight/reps in a previous session I feel I have to at the very least hit the same numbers. This of course can have a negative effect on recovery, etc. Even though if I stand back and look at my working weights over time I see I am progressing just not in a strict linear fashion.


I think knowing the weight you got last session is a good indicator of the ballpark you want to be in, in terms of weight you’re working with that day, if you’re doing similar reps and sets from last session.

But consider this:
Maybe you didn’t get to eat as much today as you did last session.
Maybe you didn’t get a good night’s sleep and don’t feel as rested, so not as strong.
Maybe you’re working incredibly hard at your day job and you’re feeling mentally exhausted from that.

All of these things factor into your ability to train to your maximum potential, amongst other things. Keep that in mind when you’re trying to gauge your working weight. Daily RPE is a great gauge for this. Maintaining intensity (unless you’re doing a planned deload) is critical to stimulating growth.

We know linear progression is unrealistic. There are plenty of ways to increase intensity and stimulate growth without trying to add weight to the bar as has been cited here many times.

One thing I’ll do is use about the same weight from my previous session,but instead do pause reps, or do 2-3 second holds, depending on the exercise. This allows you to increase intensity while maintaining form, and not increasing weight.


Perfect answer. NOt all days are gonna be equal, so you adjust and accomodate



I was tempted to join in on the sarcasm but I think I’ll hold off and have concluded the reason why I’m so tempted is because I was burned, by my own volition of course, by following online experts–evidence and research and data based experts, that is. Ok there I go again.

Seriously, imagine reasonably concluding one jipped himself out of like, say 5 pounds of LBM as a BBer. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: It’s a tragedy. Lol.


You’ve already gotten the answers you needed, but I just came to chime in on how I change my training on a crappy day vs good day.

First off, I think keeping a log or at least knowing the sets, reps, and weight you did with a given exercise last time is a great thing. Striving to beat that goal your next workout is great but isn’t always realistic.

If I’m feeling bad (not enough food, bad day, etc), I’ll usually do ramping sets to lessen the workings sets but keep a little volume. Let’s say if last workout I done 4 sets of 8/8/6/6 with 65lbs on the Incline Dumbbell Press, I’ll just do 3 “warmup sets” and 1 working set. Let’s say 35lbs x 8, 50lbs x 8, 60lbs x 6, then an AMRAP with 70lbs.


My two main methods are always either pick a number of reps and work up in sets of that number until I can’t hit that number anymore. This is for my main lift(s) of the day.

Pyramiding reps down as I go up in weight, then sometimes back up when I go back down.

It’s unusual I do straight sets of a weight. Usually if I do it’s because I’m just going for maximum pump and only resting like 30 seconds between sets. It’s not that I think straight sets are in any way inferior - it’s just not how I like to train.


In the past I;ve been pretty dogmatic in my approach, nowadays though I tend to oscillate between: 5 x 2-3 & hitting high rep maxes ie: 10-20RM.