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ramping weight VS constant weight



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  #1  
Old 09-11-2007, 05:11 PM
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Default ramping weight VS constant weight

this is something ive wondered about ever sence i started reading this site. what's the advantage to ramping up the weight used each workout as opposed to keeping the same lower weight and useing it for each set. i was thinking about doing a 5x5 twice a week till football's over, but i dont want to go through all the hassle of ramping up the weight after every set. this is what a was thinking of doing.

monday-
JV football game (i actually play in this)

tuesday-
hell practice

wendsday-
5x5 rows
5x5 front squat
5x5 cleans

thursday-
5x5 bench
5x5 deadlift
5x5 lat pulldown

friday-
Varsity game (dont play more then PAT unless 2 guys get hurt)

and weekends the weightroom isn't open. i know im kinda asking 2 questions in one but, what do you think? it should be good enough for the next 6 weeks untill football's over and i can get back into the swing of things.
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  #2  
Old 09-11-2007, 07:11 PM
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If you're doing a 5x5, the point of ramping it up is because if you really want to get hypertrophy (---> build mass), you need to use a very challenging weight. I know this isn't what you meant, but for example, if if I did 5 sets of 5 at 120 (my max is 280), I wouldn't get anywhere - just because my muscles weren't being challenged. The ramping up is because the weight you should be achieving by the 5th set probably isn't something you can do for 5 straight sets (or shouldn't be, the way 5x5 works).

The 5x5 is designed to help you achieve new PRs, so you want to increase it each set - remember, the program emphasizes that "back off the weight if you need to, but hit all your reps and sets at each workout".

Just my thoughts, hope it helps. Good luck with football.

-Connor
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Old 09-11-2007, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
if if I did 5 sets of 5 at 120 (my max is 280), I wouldn't get anywhere - just because my muscles weren't being challenged.
Actually, I think it's just the opposite. And if you're max is 280, you'd more than likely be closer to 245 lbs static LOL.

Personally, when I'm pyramiding to a top set, the first THREE sets aren't bad at all.. Fairly easy, which is good. All that matters is hitting your TOP set of however many reps. Increments could be spaced out more or less depending on your goals. On the other hand, keeping the weight constant for all the sets is MUCH more challenging from beginning to end. I'll refer to last week in my journal (bench). On my ME day, I had a 3 set pyramid to a top set of 365 x 3. (295 x 3, 330 x 3, 365 x 3) The first two sets weren't bad at all. The 330 went up fast (video posted). Now, later on that week I had to do 345 lbs for 3 x 3.. Now THAT was a grinder! Now do the math:

295 x 3
330 x 3
365 x 3
-------
2,970 lbs

345 x 3
345 x 3
345 x 3
-------
3,105 lbs!
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:14 PM
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I know I should have been doing 245, heh. I was just exaggerating the point when he said "doing a lower weight for all five sets". What do you mean "it's the opposite" - doing 5x5 of 120 for a guy who maxes at 280 wouldn't do anything... (or would it?! 0311 once again reshapes my knowledge of lifting!)

So, you're saying ramping up ISN'T as good as staying at a static weight? I've always done static myself but the DFHT 5x5 thread seems to indicate that ramping up is the way to go. Maybe I misread?

Ah, well. I've got a lots to learn.
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:21 PM
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BOTH are equally important, although a lot of it depends on goals and individual recovery.

Quote:
What do you mean "it's the opposite" - doing 5x5 of 120 for a guy who maxes at 280 wouldn't do anything...
I meant that keeping the weight static is more challenging than a pyramid to a top set. Then again, it depends on the increments (not that those are imperative either).

If you look at that DFT 5 x 5 sticky, you'll notice that most of them, especially the beginner through intermediate templates all have pyramids. That's not necessarily because it's the most effective way to building mass. It's more to lower the overall volume down enough to where beginners and intermediates can RECOVER from session to session (managing fatigue) while keeping the focus more on strength progressions on a linnear path. And for beginners and intermediates, as they continue doing those pyramids gaining strength, a very big byproduct stemming from that is muscle mass.
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:26 PM
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Gotcha. I always thought static was more challenging, so I'm glad to know that at least in some sense I had the right idea. Thanks for the clarity on the 5x5 thing, I'm looking forward to running that program after wrestling ends and I wasn't sure how to set it up given the different programs on the sticky. I might try pyramiding, though, as I'm still not very experienced in lifting.

Thanks 0311!
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:31 PM
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No problem. For most people, I'd recommend the single factor 5 x 5 over anything else. It's in the sticky. You could do that for a long time and get consistant results. I'm always a bit hesitant to recommend any of the dual factor programs.. Not because they aren't effective (they certainly are!), but because for 75% of the forum, it just isn't needed!
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Old 09-12-2007, 07:17 AM
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I agree with 0311 on the basic differences. It's all about workload and recovery. But talking about which one gives better gains it's not a one is better type of thing and I doubt anyone could even tell you whether it would be more effective for a beginner/intermediate to start with ramped sets or sets accross because you could make arguments either way. In terms of recovery what changes is how you manipulate the intensity.

But BOTH can be used at different times. What it comes down to progress and if you look at it like ramped sets do that and sets across do this you will just be limiting yourself because both make can help you progress and get stronger and when once ceases to work the other might just be the ticket.

For instance if you were to do the 'single factor' (God, I hate that term) 5x5 with ramped sets for while and then reach a point of no progress, but you wanted to keep going, well, you could start doing sets across on monday with a slight back off on weight. That might require some changes to wednesdays workout or whatever. Nothing drastic. You could do ramped sets on Friday with nice wide increments. Manage it as two different "progressions". Boom, your in business again. You're still training intermediate.

On the ramped sets the last set being higher intensity is a good thing. Peak intensity does matter but what really matters is progress. In the end the advantage of the ramped sets is as 0311 said to get the total workload down and make for a simple linear scheme that is easier to recover from.

People make a big deal out of the last set being heavier but you have to keep in mind that the preceding sets count to. When you take those into account you get a much lower OVERALL intensity. Yes you get some work at a higher intensity but the general "intensiveness" of the workout is less. This gives sets accross a seeming advantage.

Using some of the numbers above say your max is 280. Based on that I actually think 245 is a bit high for 5x5 sets across on average. That puts you darn close to 90%. Not that I want to argue that point I’m just setting up my math.

Say a guy with 280 can do a top set of five of 245.

So he does
165
185
205
225
245

So the top set at 245 is around 88% for five reps. So you can pat yourself on the back for that if you were able to do it. BUT the total workload is 5125 pounds. 5125 divided by 25 reps is 205 pounds average. So you’ve just managed an average intensity of 73% or so.

BTW, you can just add the numbers and divide by 5 to get the same answer rather than adding all the sets together. 1025 divided by 5 is 205.

For a beginner who doesn’t need much stimulus that’s fine but for a more advanced trainee it aint going to do much to further weekly gains in and of itself.

Now look at only 225 pounds for sets across. That’s 5625 pounds total. Huge difference don’t you think. And it’s closer to around 80% average intensity. 225 is conservative, of course. More workload at a higher intensity will probably stimulate more gains for an advanced guy.

I am not trying to belabor percentages and math and all that, I’m just trying to put these things in perspective.

For the ramped sets example, if the increments were changed closer together then up goes the challenge. That in itself would be progress.

On the other hand if you started with sets across and in order to continue to progress you switched to ramped sets in order to keep loading the bar you’d get a sort of deload and the apparent gains on the bar would mostly be due to that although you might make a bit more progress before stalling again.

So it would make more sense for someone to start off with ramped sets and back off or drop things here and there in order to continue progress. At some point sets across would be a way to up the anty and continue gains provide appropriate changes were made. Then thing could be further adjusted as needed. That would make more sense than the other way around because in general switching from more work to less work is not a good way to stimulate continued and consistent gains.

But a low intermediate could do either ramped or sets across and get very good results either way. Fatigue is just managed a bit differently.

Which one someone chooses could well depend on their goals and how long they wanted to stay on 5x5 type training. If the goal coming out of the beginner phase is to milk a run of intermediate 5x5 for all it’s worth my recommendation would be to start with the ramped sets and continue to progress by later on going to sets across. Essentially the program would morph into something like the Texas Method at the end.

If you just wanted to get a good run at an intermediate 5x5 for a shorter period, meaning as long as you could progress with one way of programming it, I would actually recommend going straight to the TM for that.
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If you act sanctimonious I will just list out your logical fallacies until you get pissed off and spew blasphemous remarks.
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Old 09-12-2007, 07:30 AM
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I've always thought of it a bit differently, perhaps thats my ignorance on the subject. But I've always used ramping in 5x5 to achieve a higher overall max, where as I would use static 5x5 for more of a strength endurance type of workout. In other words whats more important, hitting 280 for five reps, or hitting 250 for twenty five reps? From a football stand point I'd say the latter, but I could be a bit off ... its been known to happen before
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Old 09-12-2007, 07:40 AM
EricT EricT is offline
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Well the reason your a bit off is because none of that has anything to do with progression. In the end one will work better at different times to stimulate continued gains and progression.

Plus if you can do 280 with ramped sets you can do more than 250 with sets across. It's not supposed to be submaximal work.
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