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  1. #1
    Conner P.'s Avatar
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    Unhappy Add or drop weight each set?

    So I have seen people lift weights both ways: starting with the largest amount they can do and taking weight off with each successive set or starting with a smaller amount and adding weight with each successive set.

    What is the focus of each method?

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    yodiewan's Avatar
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    I do 2-3 warmup sets increasing the weight with each one, then my heaviest set, then i decrease the weight each set and try to do 1-2 more reps than the last set (reverse pyramid). I step down for 4-5 sets. This gives a good mix of low and higher rep sets. Other than having a really long warmup, I'm not sure what the point of ending with your highest weight is.

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    federkeil's Avatar
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    you have pyramid and reverse pyramid, one ends heavy, the other ends light (in absolute weight, but feels heavier than it would if you did pyramid)

    The idea behind pyramid training is you progressively load the weight so the heavy set isn't a shock, less chance of injury this way.

    Reverse pyramid starts with the heaviest weight when you're at your freshest.

    Most other programs have warmup sets and then 3 to 5 working sets at a set weight.
    I didn't like the rules you gave me, so I made some of my own.

    Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general. - Mark Rippetoe

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    tfarny's Avatar
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    Too complicated for me - warm up, load the bar with your work set, do three sets of 5. Rippetoe says that pyramids are just a very long warm-up which wears you out for your one work set (the heaviest set), and reverse pyramids are crap - well, some people do a "back off" set after their 3x5. Moving things in life doesn't get progressively easier as you go along, so why not just load up the damn thing and get to business.

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    Bushrat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tfarny View Post
    Too complicated for me - warm up, load the bar with your work set, do three sets of 5. Rippetoe says that pyramids are just a very long warm-up which wears you out for your one work set (the heaviest set), and reverse pyramids are crap - well, some people do a "back off" set after their 3x5. Moving things in life doesn't get progressively easier as you go along, so why not just load up the damn thing and get to business.
    To expand on the Rippetoe bit:

    " The warmup sets serve only to prepare the lifter for the work sets; they should never interfere with the work sets. As such they should be planned with this in mind. The last warmup set before the work set should never be so heavy that it interferes with the work set, but heavy enough that it allows the lifter to feel a heavier weight before he does the work sets. It might only consist of one or two reps even though the work sets are five or more reps.

    – Mark Rippetoe

    The warm-up is important not only to prepare the muscles for the impending maximal load, it's also to get some extra technique practice in. This becomes especially important with Squats, Deadlifts and Power Cleans, where technique deteriorates as weight increases.


    Here is Rips' warm-up template (weight x reps x sets):

    Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe
    As a general rule, it is best to start with the empty bar (45 lbs.), determine the work set or sets, and then divide the difference between them into even increments. Some examples are provided in figure 5." (pg. 196)

    Squat
    45 x 5 x 2
    95 x 5 x 1
    135 x 3 x 1
    185 x 2 x 1
    225 x 5 x 3 <--Work Sets

    Bench Press
    45 x 5 x 2
    85 x 5 x 1
    125 x 3 x 1
    155 x 2 x 1
    175 x 5 x 3 <--Work Sets

    Deadlift
    135 x 5 x 2
    185 x 5 x 1
    225 x 3 x 1
    275 x 2 x 1
    315 x 5 x 1 <--Work Set

    Press
    45 x 5 x 2
    75 x 5 x 1
    95 x 3 x 1
    115 x 2 x 1
    135 x 5 x 3 <--Work Sets

    Power Clean
    45 x 5 x 2
    75 x 5 x 1
    95 x 3 x 1
    115 x 2 x 1
    135 x 3 x 5<--Work Sets

    Sets 1-5 are to warm up, sets 6, 7 and 8 are the worksets. With all exercises (with the possible exception of the Deadlift) the first two sets are warmed-up with an empty barbell for 2 sets of 5, and the following 3 sets are incremental percentages of the workset (ie. 40%-60%-80%). You can rest as much or as little in between warm-up sets as you desire but I usually find the time it takes to swap out the weights is adequate.

    Note that in all cases, as you get closer to the actual working weight, you do less reps in your warmups. The idea is to get the feel of progressively heavier weights in the hands/across the back prior to beginning your maximum weight sets.

    I hate doing math, but I also like to be precise, eventually my hate for math won out and so I designed a Starting Strength Warm-Up Calculator. My calculator attempts to remain faithful to Rip's warm-up template, although I took some liberties with the deadlift. On deadlifts I lowered the warm-up sets/volume because 1) Those muscles were already warmed from the Squats 2) It became a lot of volume once you hit the heavier weights.

    I offer the calculator in 2 formats: http://sites.google.com/site/startingstrength/Home/StartingStrengthWarm-UpCalculator.xls?attredirects=0"

    Taken directly from here: FAQ:The Program - Starting Strength Wiki

  6. #6
    Abu Reena's Avatar
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    I'm a big fan of keeping it simple. 2-3 warm up sets (empty bar, slightly less than half my work set, slightly more than half my work set) then 3 sets with my work set weight. Then I'm done.

  7. #7
    Apex Predator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushrat View Post
    To expand on the Rippetoe bit:

    " The warmup sets serve only to prepare the lifter for the work sets; they should never interfere with the work sets. As such they should be planned with this in mind. The last warmup set before the work set should never be so heavy that it interferes with the work set, but heavy enough that it allows the lifter to feel a heavier weight before he does the work sets. It might only consist of one or two reps even though the work sets are five or more reps.

    – Mark Rippetoe

    The warm-up is important not only to prepare the muscles for the impending maximal load, it's also to get some extra technique practice in. This becomes especially important with Squats, Deadlifts and Power Cleans, where technique deteriorates as weight increases.


    Here is Rips' warm-up template (weight x reps x sets):

    Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe
    As a general rule, it is best to start with the empty bar (45 lbs.), determine the work set or sets, and then divide the difference between them into even increments. Some examples are provided in figure 5." (pg. 196)

    Squat
    45 x 5 x 2
    95 x 5 x 1
    135 x 3 x 1
    185 x 2 x 1
    225 x 5 x 3 <--Work Sets

    Bench Press
    45 x 5 x 2
    85 x 5 x 1
    125 x 3 x 1
    155 x 2 x 1
    175 x 5 x 3 <--Work Sets

    Deadlift
    135 x 5 x 2
    185 x 5 x 1
    225 x 3 x 1
    275 x 2 x 1
    315 x 5 x 1 <--Work Set

    Press
    45 x 5 x 2
    75 x 5 x 1
    95 x 3 x 1
    115 x 2 x 1
    135 x 5 x 3 <--Work Sets

    Power Clean
    45 x 5 x 2
    75 x 5 x 1
    95 x 3 x 1
    115 x 2 x 1
    135 x 3 x 5<--Work Sets

    Sets 1-5 are to warm up, sets 6, 7 and 8 are the worksets. With all exercises (with the possible exception of the Deadlift) the first two sets are warmed-up with an empty barbell for 2 sets of 5, and the following 3 sets are incremental percentages of the workset (ie. 40%-60%-80%). You can rest as much or as little in between warm-up sets as you desire but I usually find the time it takes to swap out the weights is adequate.

    Note that in all cases, as you get closer to the actual working weight, you do less reps in your warmups. The idea is to get the feel of progressively heavier weights in the hands/across the back prior to beginning your maximum weight sets.

    I hate doing math, but I also like to be precise, eventually my hate for math won out and so I designed a Starting Strength Warm-Up Calculator. My calculator attempts to remain faithful to Rip's warm-up template, although I took some liberties with the deadlift. On deadlifts I lowered the warm-up sets/volume because 1) Those muscles were already warmed from the Squats 2) It became a lot of volume once you hit the heavier weights.

    I offer the calculator in 2 formats: http://sites.google.com/site/startingstrength/Home/StartingStrengthWarm-UpCalculator.xls?attredirects=0"

    Taken directly from here: FAQ:The Program - Starting Strength Wiki
    This

  8. #8
    Melody's Avatar
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    1-2x5 with bar
    1x5
    1x5
    1x4
    1x3
    sometimes 1x1
    with ascending weights

    then worksets across, either 3x5 or 5x3 or 1x5 for deadlifts.

  9. #9
    federkeil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tfarny View Post
    Too complicated for me - warm up, load the bar with your work set, do three sets of 5. Rippetoe says that pyramids are just a very long warm-up which wears you out for your one work set (the heaviest set), and reverse pyramids are crap - well, some people do a "back off" set after their 3x5. Moving things in life doesn't get progressively easier as you go along, so why not just load up the damn thing and get to business.
    reverse pyramids are fine, it just depends on your goals. You're not gonna make huge strength gains on a RP program, but it will produce the hormonal responses that most people do LHT for.

    RP ends up being strength endurance as opposed to pure strength.
    I didn't like the rules you gave me, so I made some of my own.

    Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general. - Mark Rippetoe

  10. #10
    Conner P.'s Avatar
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    I was doing the RP for a while, but now (in the essence of Mark Rippetoe) I am just going to stop being a pussy and lift some weights. Giving SL5x5 a go. Felt so good to go after it on squats. I mean, I look forward to gaining strength over all, but I miss my huge thighs. I used to be able to due 285x8 a couple years ago. Today 145x5x5 was a challenge. Hoping I can be in the 300-350 range by the end of summer.

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