Day 9, 10, 11, 12 – Why our Ramping method sucked!

Posted: June 6, 2011 in The Ramping Method

Title is an attention-grabber, I’ll detail the origin later in the post.

I’ll keep these brief, there’s a fair bit to get through – I’ll focus on the main realisations.  Particular attention was given to accessory work as it was missing in previous weeks.

Day 9 – D/L + MP (2 reps)

Deadlift ended at 170 (which is usually a total doddle) because the bar kept slipping out of my hands in a very warm gym setting. Cue to action – I’m buying chalk soon.

OHP I’m unsure – I think it ended at 1 rep of 60Kg

I’m afraid I cannot remember Ross’ numbers.


Day 10 – Squat + Weighted Pull-ups (2 reps)

Squat – still hammering away and gradually increasing the weight of the front squat (around 100kg atm – more on this later)
Weighted pull-ups – Finished at 35kgs (this is a pretty solid gain from 25)


Day 11 – Bench + Bent-over row

Bench ended with 1 rep at 90 and 1 (not 2) at 87.5kg. Not happy with these at all.
Bent-over rows (maxed at 100kg for 2 reps)


Day 12 – Deadlift + MP

Deadlift was a  big win – 180kg for 2 reps (previous 1RM)
MP ended at 60kgs for 2 reps (a nice gain here)


Now what?

That’s 4 weeks of work and the gains are as follows:

– Bench – No gain
– OHP – 2 reps @ 60kg (previously 1)
– Bent-over row – unable to tell (suspect no gain)
– Weighted pull-up – 2 reps @ 35kg (previously 3 @ 25kg)
–  Squat – decrease*
– Deadlift – 2 reps @ 180kg (previously 1)


So what the hell happened? We made our gains via the 5×5 programme and then the only visible gain was in the Deadlift. I’m afraid I do not have Ross’ numbers as we spent a lot of the last month training at different times due to university commitments.

Here’s my crack at it:

We’ve discovered a dynamite maintenance routine while looking for gains.

Bench – no gain but no loss either. It was practiced often, maxing out and reaching 90kg for a single rep every time.
OHP – First session was rushed as the gym was closing, the following served as a real example of our 5×5 gains, no gains thereafter.
Bent-over row – As for Bench.
Weighted pull-up – new movement, gains are more geared towards movement adaption than neural strength.
Squat – The only move we DIDN’T practice, as we changed to the front squat.
Deadlift – Improved technique and genuinely improved strength – the only real gain in the 4 weeks of the ramping method.

So what can we take from all of this?

1. Lifting maximally once a week in a range of reps from 4-2 will MAINTAIN strength gains
2. Not practicing a movement regularly will cause a decrease in performance of that movement
3. Deadlift is (as it always was) the most neurally taxing training exercise and requires training only once a week to improve performance.

At this moment in time, I need to create a programme with increased volume. That’ll require me to put a few things on hold (maintenance) while I focus on the rest. I’ve already got something in mind, just need to make sure all the pieces are put together.



My own recent realisations:

Squatting – do what you want to do!

If you ask me, the most relevant squatting movement for most is the front squat. Why? Because the carry-over to explosive activities and other explosive endeavours is better than with other squatting modalities. Unfortunately, the rule for me goes like this:

Relevance: Front Squat > Oly’ Squat > PL Squat
Enjoyment: PL Squat > Oly’ Squat > Front Squat

In the end, what matters is that you ARE squatting and that you’re enjoying it. If I were to continue on front squats, I’d lose interest and my lower body pushing movements would weaken as a result.

Well, to hell with that! I’m going back to what I love doing the most. Wide-stance, breaking parallel (not ass to grass) and enjoying my squat!


I’ve been off for the last week and now face a challenge – lots of work needing to be done and not a lot of time to do it. New regime will be posted up in the coming few days…alas, the blog is again up and lifting.

  1. Tommo says:

    Hi Sean,
    Glad to see you’re back!
    Regarding your front squat/ low-bar squat conundrum, I think you’re on the right track. I’ve read on several online sources that Mark Rippetoe uses mainly the PL squat for general strength training, and has said that the front squat is a sport-specific training for olympic lifting (i.e. the olympic clean).
    Best wishes, train hard,

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