T Nation

Wave Ladder Questions


hi CT, juts have a few questions about the wave ladder form of training

1) i think i saw you mentioned it was ok to do this method with more than one lift a session but i was wondering if thats with or without the density work. or maybe one lift you include density but not on the other

2)if i do two lifts a session, do you recommend doing two upper body pressing movements on the same day or splitting them up?

3)assistance work - do we do this after the main lifts or do you prefer a whole other day for it? (im thinking mostly for back and biceps)


I don't remember saying that since my method utilize ONE main lift per session. I said that you can use it for more than one lift during the week.

I'm not someone who recommends assistance work, but if you do it you do it at the end of a session.

My sessions are like this:

  1. Loaded jumps or jumps

  2. Main lift for strength (this is where the wave ladder can be used)

  3. Main lift for density (e.g. 80% of 1RM for as many total reps as possible in 5, 8 or 10 minutes)

  4. Loaded carries

I have other methods, but they all involve focusing on one main lift per workout and using minimal, if any assistance work.


thanks for clearing that up CT!


another question actually, i read your article on violent jump squats and was wondering what other type of loaded or unloaded jumps you start your workout with



Would you recommend the same type of weekly split for the ladder system as we have done for the original layer system?

i.e High Pull, Decline Tilt, TBDL, High Pull, Incline Tilt? (just one example)


Would you recommend extra pulling/rowing work for a lifter with sporadic shoulder problems? Since I've switched to doing twice as much pull work as push, usually anyway, most of my shoulder problems have disappeared.


There is no such thing as the ladder system.

Wave ladders are simply a strength loading method. For example it can either replace the ramp in the layer system OR be performed after the ramp, where the clusters would go in the original layer system.


Gotcha CT. Thank you.

My wording came out wrong on the question. I knew the ladders weren't a system in and of itself. My fault on the wording!!


In the wave ladder article you mentioned only increasing the starting weight every third workout.

What if one is cycling methods, for example like this:
Day 1 - Full bench press wave ladders
Day 4 - Slight incline bench from pins wave ladders
Day 8 - Full bench press ramp to 3, 2 or 1RM (depending on the week)
Day 11 - Slight incline bench from pins ramp to 3, 2 or 1RM
Or maybe just full ladders - slight inc. ladders - full ramp. (so roughly a 10-11 day cycle)

In cases like this, would one increase the starting weights more frequently? Since there would be 2 weeks between each full bench ladder workout, it seems like one could increase the starting weight each time, so in effect every 2 weeks? Or 11 days if rotating 3 methods.



Well, I do think that you are overcomplicating things. While you can change loading schemes during a cycle, I prefer to at least give the body a chance to progress on a method. There is actually a risk of lowered progress by trying to include too many different ways to progress.


Thanks. So I guess I'd better do:
Day 1 - Full bench ladders
Day 4 - Full bench ladders
Day 8 - Full bench 3, 2 or 1 RM

And in this case, would the "increase weight on ladders every third ladder workout only" still apply, or can I increase it on Day 11?


CT, what other types of loaded and unloaded jumps do you start your workout with other than the violent jump squats?


It's mostly jump squats if you have the level for it... it is the superior exercise. I don't get the need to do a ziliion different things if you find what works best.

I use unloaded jumps either as an intriduction to jumps in the workout or when I feel like I need a rest.

Sometimes I use depth jumps with advanced athletes, but for no more than 2 or 3 weeks.