T Nation

So Confused..


Ok i understand perfectly the concept of ramping. You warm up with light weight until you get a near your working weight or feel your muscles are ready to lift hard. Then you ramp to a weight that is either rather easy or moderate depending how many sets you have and then you could either ramp up to a close to failure/failure set. What i dont understand is how do i actually progress. Read this thoroughly so you can what i mean..

Ill use bench for example-

Bench press 4x 6-10
10 x 100lb(easy)
10 x 110lb (moderate)
8 x 120lb (failed at 8)
6 x 130 (failed at 6)

Ok from what i've been told is i need to keep lifting the same weight until i reach the last number of the rep range which is 10. So supposed i did 120 x 10 on the 3rd lift and only got 8 x 130 on the last set . Do i add 5 pounds to my 3rd lift and leave the 4th set a lone until i get 10 on it as well or wait untill i reach 10 on all sets?or is not neccesary to get the last set to 10 and its ok to add weight once i reach 8 reps on it instead of 10. And also when do i ncrease the weight of my first 2 sets ?

thanks in advance.

P.S. I have read the Body Building Bible and tons of articles by C.W. and C.T.


You shouldn't reach failure before your top set. If your failing at 8 reps on your third, do five or six, then go to your top set and go to failure.

When adding wheight and progressing, use common sense. If your shooting for six reps on your top set and get seven, then up the wieght next workout. If you get five, keep it the same. No need to overcomplicate things man.


I didnt know i should be going to failure once person exercise. I receive this routine by an expereinced lifter from these forums..


its make sense to me now. I didnt know im only supposed to go to failure once per exercise?


You can do another set with the same top set wieght to failure, or drop the wieght and do another set to failure. You just dont want to reach failure before your top set.

Look at Kingbeefs thread "Do this Routine Instead of That Dumb One" and he explains it well in that also.


thats exactly where i got my routine from . In the thread it saids something like this.

10 x 100
10 x 120
8 x 130(f)
6 x 150(f)

i've reached failure before my top set. So i dont know who to follow lol.


Hmm Ok. Don't reach failure before your top set.


The way I thought of it, the whole point of ramping is just to make the top set be as good as possible. So you don't want to lift to the point of feeling fatigue before the top set. (this would usually mean only doing 2-3 reps as the weight approaches the working weight)

Though by what you described sounds like the person may have been using ramping for a different purpose. Might be more than one way to go about it


Yeah that whole topic me left sort of confused.. Well thanks for clearing up ramping and the progression thing. I think they should really make a sticky about it btw..


What Maiden describes is what most people think of as ramping, however the sets at 100, 110, & 120 would have only the number of reps to qualify as a 'warm-up' not a working set.
I suspect the intention of this program is to complete 4 sets of ten(volume directed) with a slight increase in load (30% in this case) across the 4 sets. If that is the case....the objective is to work those 4 sets until you can complete all 4 at 10 reps, then you increase each set by 5 lbs and repeat until you can get all four at ten again.


Depends a bit on my split, but I would ramp up like this on a 3 or 4-way: (Hypothetical numbers)

1 plate per side x 10
2pps x 6-8
3pps x 3-5
4pps x 6-10 (failure)


1pps x 6-8
2pps x 6-8
3pps x 6-8
4pps x as many as possible (6-8)

The first method saves energy for your top set, and works well especially on a 3-way split. Cephalic_Carnage has written a lot about those on here. For the second ramping method, I would do a little less reps in general than if I were using the first method.

Another way to go about it is to do a light warm up, and then do feeler sets of 1-2 reps as you build up to your working sets, then do working sets with loads that are close together. I didn't explain that well... here:

Bar x 12
Feeler set 60kg x 2
Feeler set 80kg x 1
Feeler set 85kg x 1
Working sets:
90kg x 5
92.5kg x 5
95kg x 5
97.5kg x 5
100kg x 5

This last variant is something that CT has written a lot about.

For me, I like the first method best but will use the CT ramp on some lifts as well. There is no substitute for getting in the gym and trying this stuff out for yourself and see what works for you. When you hit the top of your prescribed rep range, up the weight.


All these methods are NOT meant to confuse you or make you have to extensively think. Don't ramp, just do straight sets with a certain weight and try to hit more than you did last session. Do this enough times and you'll arrive where you want to go.