The Ramping Method

Posted: April 26, 2011 in The Ramping Method

The Ramping Method is a simple concept. Do as much as you can on a given day for a given number of reps.

The twist we’ve put on it is that we’re giving ourselves a “given time” – only 30 minutes per exercise due to time constraints. We’d spend all day in the gym if we could.

You’re given a “one warning” rep – all reps have to make the technical grade and if you miss it, you re-try at the same weight. Another failure and you’re done for the day – you’ve done as much as you can within technical boundaries.

We’re working under the same concept as we always have – every human movement under stress:

Vertical push/pull
Horizontal push/pull
Push with the legs
Pull with the legs

However there is one particular movement we haven’t included in strength training so far, which is rotation. We never included it before as we work these maximally in our sporting endeavours, however now, as we so rarely can train in those sports (MMA, BJJ, Muay  Thai, Rowing) we’ve decided to include it in our training. Furthermore, this article by Bret Contreras came along at the same time we were discussing the idea of rotation, relating to anti-rotational movement…an article in Fighter’s Only from my old MMA coach Paul McVeigh echoed the same sentiments. Seemed like a sign it had to be involved in our training!

We’ve decided to incorporate rotational work in its resistant form – “anti-rotational” exercise. This basically means instead of rotating against a force, you resist the force rotating you. It’s essentially the same as rotational work, except it produces fewer injuries, therefore we went for that route. Furthermore, the general consensus is that your “core” is designed to resist movement and transfer energy betweens limbs – not produce movement itself. Therefore training in such a fashion (anti-rotational movement) seems logical.

The idea is that it improves your stability whilst ironing out any muscle imbalances – the same sentiment behind single leg work (which is also featured in our new regime).

The good news is that for benefits in strength/stability/injury prevention, you don’t need to be doing absolutely tonnes of anti-rotational work. I’ve given a brief 3-day split below.


So, incorporating what we’ve learned over the last six weeks, plus what I’ve learned over the last few years of lifting/reading/watching – for the next four weeks we are training as follows.

Ramping method – 3 day split including every facet of human movement, incorporating anti-rotational movement + plyometric recovery (neural charge). Aim = strength gains in these movements.

Sets vary – Reps change every week (4,3,2,2) with the last two sessions hopefully giving an indicator of fatigue/gain.

This means that in the last 2-rep session, you’ll be able to see a strength gain or (if you’re fatigued) a loss in strength, indicating that a recovery week is necessary. However, this is only effective if you’re giving your maximum effort with each and every session – taking it easy in week 4 and performing poorly could result in a very unnecessary recovery week, which will slow your gains down even more.

The added benefit of the regime is that much like the 5×5’s, you’re able to spot strength gains on a regular basis, except instead of weekly, it’s every 4/5 weeks – you do however get a bit more variety (less boredom) due to the varied rep range. You may discover that you much prefer lifting for 2, 3 or 4 reps – if that’s the case, change up the programme and lift your chosen rep number more frequently, i.e. 4,4,2,2 or 4,3,3,2, etc. Spending too much time on the bottom end of the spectrum (2,2,2,2) can be pretty exhausting, but I’d recommend having at least one session of the 4 weeks at the 2-rep range.

The difference in gains for your average guy  training anywhere between 4-2 reps won’t make much of a difference – the key is that you continually enjoy your work-outs and keep going back to the gym.


– Olympic style squats
– Weighted pull-ups

+ Anti-rotational pushing work + Pushing plyometric recovery (Horiz/Vert)


– Bench press
– Bent-over row

+ Single leg lifts + Anti-Extension/Lateral Flexion work + Leg based plyometric recovery


Romanian Deadlift
– Military press

+ Anti-rotational pulling work + Pulling plyometric recovery (cleans)


I’ll post up today’s session tomorrow as I’m short of time.


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