A Primer on Ladders

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A Primer on Ladders

Postby Shaf » Sun Dec 11, 2005 9:00 pm

I wrote this up for Lyle's forum, and thought I should post it here as well:

Using the “Ladder” Set/Rep Variation

Let's jump start this shit, it's going to be kind of garbled anyway:

About 4 years ago, Bob (Brock) and I trained together about 6-8 times a week. We'd train at lunch, and then after work. We followed a pretty typical WSB template, but did have ample opportunities for extra workouts.

Once we decided to do a variation of a low fatigue/high volume routine based on the "ladder" technique. We called it "Power Ladders". We chose 3s as our top set kind of arbitrarily. The term “ladder” refers to a progressive repetition scheme. See below. It's illustrated amply.

Testing initially indicated I had a 335 close grip bench. This is how I set it up: Rep range 1-3 or occasionally 1-5. Completion of 3 “ladders” at a set weight would trigger progression.

Note: These numbers are approximations, as I couldn't find my training log from back then to get the actual numbers.

Week 1:
Day 1: 275x1/2/3/1/2/3/1/2/3
Day 2: 285x1/2/3/1/2
Day 3: 285x1/2/3/1/2/3

Week 2:
Day 1: 285x1/2/3/1/2/3/1/2/3
Day 2: 290x1/2/3/1/2/3
Day 3: 290x1/2/3/1/2/3/1/2/3

Week 3:
Day 1: 295x1/2/1/2/1/2
Day 2: 295x1/2/3/1/2/3/1/2/3
Day 3: 305x1/2/3/1/2/3

Week 4:
Day 1: 305x1/2/3/1/2/3/1/2/3
Day 2: 315x1/2/2/1/2/1
Day 3: 315x1/2/3/1/2

Week 5: Tested my CGBP max.
New max was 365.
Bob's results were similar.

30# increase
4 weeks of training.
3 times per week on the movement, often two days in a row
Not one rep went to failure.

Not too shabby.

What do you notice? Higher volume, low "relative" intensity, self-regulating "ladder" pattern, ~4-9 sets per "ladder"

I first read about the “ladder” set/rep scheme in one of those old bodybuilding books by Robert Kennedy. Circa 1988-89. That particular book (and I'll eventually look up which one) gave an example of using ladders to work on chins. Sounded easy enough. Do one rep, take a little break, do 2 reps, take a little break, and so on and so forth until you can no longer improve on your rep count.

Fast-forward a few years. Hell, maybe even a decade.

“Chain Yourself to the Power Rack and Call Me in a Year” appeared in MILO: A Journal for Serious Strength, published by Ironmind Enterprises. It was written by a relatively unknown trainer named Pavel Tsatsouline. In it he described how to “grease the groove” of a movement. This article is now on line, at the Dragondoor website and can be found here:

http://www.dragondoor.com/articler/mode3/69/

The concept of frequent, heavy practice of a lift while staying fresh is the heart of the concept, when applied to strength training.

Why use ladders?

First, they are easy to set up. Pick a rep range. Could be 1-3, could be 1-3-5, could be 5-10-20. Pick the number of times you'd go “up” the ladder, given that you don't reach the point of momentary muscular failure. Pick the condition that will trigger progression. Now do it.

Probably the most important thing is the fatigue management. It's better to start a ladder over than to attempt to force an extra rep out. With ladders you let the volume do the work.

Let me reiterate:

1.Pick your repetition range. Taking your approximate 5 RM and doing a ladder with 1-3 reps is a good place to start.
2.Pick the number of times to run through the ladder. I'd suggest starting with 3 runs through. If you get all three ladders, then you need to add weight next time.
3.It's about staying fresh and crisp. It's not about grinding them out and gritting your teeth.
4.Let the volume do the work.

Other ways to use the ladder:

Bodyweight calisthenics are ideal for the use of a strength-endurance ladder. The most frequently recommended way of using a ladder is with a training partner in a “I go, you go” format. This becomes very competitive. Another variation is the breathing ladder. Do a rep, take a breath, do two reps, take 2 breathes, do three reps, take three breathes....keep adding reps and breathes until you can't add any more. This gets surprisingly hard with stuff like kettlebell swings and even bodyweight squats.

Reverse ladders or countdowns are another useful way. When I do an “EDT” type of workout, I often use reverse ladders to manage my fatigue so I can make or exceed my repetition target. This would look like a 3-2-1 or a 5-3-1 type of rep scheme.

The “ratchet” is a version of the ladder I read about over on Scott Sonnon's Circular Strength Training forum. A ratchet would look like: 1-2-3-2-3-4-3-4-5-4-5-6-5-6-7...and so on. The ratchet is a good way to mix things up and keep you on your toes.

And finally, here's a program I wrote a while back making extensive use of ladders. I think I went a bit overboard, but it's worth taking a look at. I did edit it from the original version. You can see that here:

http://powerandbulk.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=823
First off let's say some things about volume. Too much volume too fast is bad. You'll feel like a pussy, and regress like nothing else. But, greater volume isn't bad, it is good. And it has it's place in every routine much like some HIT-like to failure training does.

Volume is a good way to boost work capacity. Add a set a week for 3 weeks, then back it back down, then ramp it back up. Cycling is the way to success. Life is a cycle. Training should be cycled. Unlike some other unnamed idiots believe, periodization was not invented to coorespond with steroid cycles.

Volume is also a fine way to boost strength. A technique that is tailor-made for pussies is the power ladder, first popularized by Pavel the Latvian Sell-Out. For increased strength, a ladder could be constructed this way:

1. 275x1/2/3/1/2/3/1/2/3
2. 285x1/2/3/1/2/3
3. 285x1/2/3/1/2/3/1/2/3
4. 295x1/2/3/1/2/3
5. 295x1/2/3/1/2/3/1/2/3
etc.

Train frequently, maybe every other day, and don't even approach the point of failure. If you think you might fail on the next set, stop right there, and return to a single. If you have a bad day, the ladder might look like this:

295x1/2/1/2/1/2/1/1

Don't be a pussy and get all wound up over it. The body's capacities change from day to day. Just don't go near failure, and keep up the ladder 2-3 x weekly, and you'll be amazed when your pussed out 315 lb deadlift is now around 355! Amazing. You just have to be prepared for the Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness that accompanies the initial sessions of higher volume work.

So, let's say you want to get stronger now. Stronger than you've ever been, but without getting crazy with the Westside Barbell stuff. Who the fuck can understand that shit anyway, eh?

This program will be a 4x weekly program. Just for shits and giggles, and to assist the average candyass who will do this routine, let's base it on ladders.

Session 1: Leg Strength

Squat Ladder: I don't care if you use the front squat or the back squat. Start out with an easy ladder of 1/2/3/1/2/3/1/2/3. Add weight when that ladder gets easy.
Step Ups: Strictly for assistance. Use heavy dumbbells. Do 3 sets of 10 the first week, 4 sets of 10 the second week, and 5 sets of 10 the third week. If you aren't doing them anywhere else, feel free to sub RDLs here, or good mornings, or even the split squat with the rear leg elevated.
Ab work: Pick two hard ab exercises, superset them, and do 3-5 supersets at the end of your workout.

Session 2: Overhead Strength

Press Ladder: Once again, I don't really care what press variation you use. I'd suggest standing overhead press. Start out with an easy ladder of 1/2/3/1/2/3/1/2/3. Add weight when that ladder gets easy. On your last set, do as many 4-6" lock outs as you can. I got that directly from Dan John.
Weighted Chin Ladder: Oh yeah, you can't get away from the back work you pussies! A pathetic bastard like myself might start with unweighted ladders. Once again, try for 1/2/3/1/2/3/1/2/3, and add weight when that's pretty easy.
Oblique Work: Choose 1 oblique exercise and do 3-5 sets. Do 'em heavy and quit whining.

Session 2: Lower Back Strength

This is where we separate the men from the boys

Good Morning Ladder: Keep the form strict, start off with something you can handle, and follow the guidelines for the squat. You might also consider 5 rep ladder here, depending on how you do with good mornings. You could also sub RDLs or regular deadlifts here as well.
Zercher Squats from bottom position: We'll keep it simple: Do 5s until it gets too heavy, then do 3s. Don't kill yourself, but make it hard.

Just a quick note: This is my least favorite movement, and probably one of the most painful things you can do. Feel free to eliminate this in favor of Glute/Ham Raises done in the methodology I described above for step ups. You should evaluate how you feet before doing this! You could even substitute front squats.
Ab Work: If you did the Zerchers, you don't need to do ab work. If you didn't, follow the above guidelines.

Session 4: Horizontal Pressing Strength

Bench press variation ladder: Perform as already described. Pick CGBP, BP, Floor press, Board presses, or whatever.
Chin Ladder: at this point in the week, you lower back will be trashed. Do another chin ladder to help yourself stretch out.
Oblique work: As above.

As always, feel free to toss in bicep, calf, and grip work AFTER you have done the rest of the workout. Even some interval style cardio or sled draggin' might be in the picture if you manage to grow a dick.

I would do the above workout for 3 weeks. On the fourth week, reduce the volume to a single trip up the ladder or 1-3 sets of assistance work, then on the fifth week, choose different variations of the main movements, and maybe even change up the assistance. Every fourth week should have a dramatic decrease in volume, to let yourself deload, rebound and supercompensate.
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Postby Canadian Bacon 2005 » Sun Dec 11, 2005 9:54 pm

good stuff
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Postby BLACKFLAG » Mon Dec 12, 2005 6:07 am

great stuff. May start over again with ladders in a week or so.
They're unparalleled work capacity builders.
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Postby Brian Amundsen » Mon Dec 12, 2005 7:14 am

I've never done a "ladder" workout per se but I've done the GTG thing quite a few times with singles and a negative at the end. It worked marvelous to peak.
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Postby BLACKFLAG » Mon Dec 12, 2005 7:42 am

I clearly remember from your logs how the high frequency heavy singles + 1 slow eccentric stuff gave you very good results in a matter of weeks, Brian.

For somebody with low natural CNS efficiency like myself, high frequency is a must.
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Postby enee6087 » Mon Dec 12, 2005 9:49 am

"For somebody with low natural CNS efficiency"
Is there a test i can get done for that?!!
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Postby dk35 » Mon Dec 12, 2005 11:13 am

Great post. I'll revisit ladders for my bench, squats, and cleans during the holidays. Last few days I've been going into the garage on an almost nightly basis and just cranking out a lot of sub-failure sets on the big 3. Lots of volume but feeling very fresh. I need some sort of progression pattern- your ideas will give me some direction.
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Postby BLACKFLAG » Mon Dec 12, 2005 4:02 pm

enee6087 wrote:"For somebody with low natural CNS efficiency"
Is there a test i can get done for that?!!


you were/are good at explosive sports at school?

when training a lifts with "normal" frequency (1-2 x week) do you need lots of progressive warmup sets?

is there a big difference between your 3-5RM poundages and what you can do singles with?
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Postby IronDog » Mon Dec 12, 2005 4:52 pm

thanks for the article a lot of good information
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Postby Henry_Adolfo » Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:14 pm

cool article!!!

sounds like something I'd do...
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Postby enee6087 » Tue Dec 13, 2005 4:25 am

BLACKFLAG wrote:
enee6087 wrote:"For somebody with low natural CNS efficiency"
Is there a test i can get done for that?!!


you were/are good at explosive sports at school?

when training a lifts with "normal" frequency (1-2 x week) do you need lots of progressive warmup sets?

is there a big difference between your 3-5RM poundages and what you can do singles with?


1. ??

2. No

3. No (maybe 5 to 3 though... well whats a 'big' difference?
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Postby BLACKFLAG » Tue Dec 13, 2005 7:15 am

CNS efficient guys tend to be good jumpers/sprinters/throwers etc

the more often I train a lift, the less warm-up set I need, so I guess CNS efficiency is a big factor on the lenght of warmups
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Postby dk35 » Tue Dec 13, 2005 8:33 am

Shaf, did you get your best strength results by treating each ladder as an individual rest-paused set (1 rep- rest-2reps-rest-3 reps) with a couple of minutes rest between sets, or by treating the entire 3 ladders as one long rest paused set (1 rep-rest-2 reps-rest-3 reps-rest-1 rep-rest-2reps-3 reps-etc.)?

When it comes to bodyweight exercises (chins) I thought that Pavel's method was essentially to treat ladders as one long set - go as high as you can and then drop back to 1 rep when you know you can't beat your last rep count. For some reason this method did not increase my max chin number as quickly as simply repping out every few days. Don't know why, the idea of increasing volume per workout seems solid.
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Postby Shaf » Tue Dec 13, 2005 8:41 am

For maximal strength:

Get fully rested in between sets of the ladder.

Example:

1 rep/1 minute rest/2 reps/2 minutes rest/3 reps/2 minutes rest....

I tend to rest less with the singles.

For strength-endurance:

You go, I go kind of thing.

Short rest periods.

You can also try "breathing ladders": 1 rep, 1 breath, 2 reps, 2 breaths, etc.
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Postby dk35 » Tue Dec 13, 2005 9:19 am

Perfect, thanks.
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Postby Strongmac » Tue Dec 13, 2005 11:19 am

Great info.

I used ladders to get 100 chins in 30 minutes and 100 headstand push ups in 20 minutes, they do work very well and carry over a lot to a more normal rep/single routine. Think i may try these to really up volume on my jerks, deads and squats when my back is full strength.

Shafman, i think this would work particularly well on my MP, i've pressed 220 but it was a bit ugly, i think starting out at 165/170 and following the same format you used will get me up to a nice smooth 220. I love to hear about routines that work if you stick doggedly at them, 30# was a big pr for your Close grip.

The Robert Kennedy book, was it called "Beef It"? I remember a lot of routines in that book in the 80's.
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Postby Tvs Joyce Dewitt » Tue Dec 13, 2005 11:45 am

Thank you.
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Postby dk35 » Tue Dec 13, 2005 11:50 am

"Beef It" was the first weightlifting book I ever bought - back in about 1982. The black and white photos in it were incredible. At 16 years old I honestly thought that all those guys had built their physiques on lots of food and hard work. :lol: Couldn't understand why I wasn't turning into a monster using the "advices" in that book. Even today the sort of development you see in those old gym pics is my goal.

re: ladders. I find that a concerted ladder workout can be quite taxing if you're using 80%+ of your max weights. The volume is deceiving because it is disguised in the rest-pause format.
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Postby Strongmac » Tue Dec 13, 2005 12:04 pm

I remember "Beef it" and "Reps" from the 80's, I think it was a Johnnny Fuller routine where he did 30 reps a set for every exercise , was in the gym about 4 hours at a time. Thats when i thought like millions of others the longer you trained the more massive you became.
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Postby Incindium » Tue Dec 13, 2005 9:48 pm

An added benefit of doing the ladders that I noticed tonight when I did them with board presses is that if you are doing 3 ladders of (1,2,3) then with the 9 total sets you are getting alot of practice on your benching setup. My setup was all over the place but it was generally improving by the last sets. Figuring foot placement for maximum arch and leg drive can be a nice thing and getting more practice at it as a side effect is pretty cool.
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Postby Brian Amundsen » Wed Dec 14, 2005 8:00 am

Incindium that is an excellent point. I felt the same way with the deadlifts, I also did them beltless too get a bigger boost when I used a belt.
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Postby Incindium » Tue Dec 20, 2005 1:12 pm

Hey Shaf I was just wondering what was the longest period of time you did ladders on a single movement before?


I started doing ladders with 2.5 board presses and military presses.
I did a full 3 ladders(1,2,3) with 295 on the board presses last week and upped it to 305 this week and completed all the ladders again. I'll bump it up to 315 next week. Do you think I should stick with these beyond 4-5 weeks on the same lifts or should I switch to maybe a different board height or maybe just drop the weights and switch over to a 1,3,5?

I'm think I'll just stick with it until I go stagnant and see how long it will work but just looking for input whether that would be optimal or not.
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Postby Shaf » Tue Dec 20, 2005 2:03 pm

4-5 weeks, I think.

If a lift is stagnant 2-3 sessions in a row, then change it.
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Beef it!

Postby stephen sutton » Wed Dec 21, 2005 3:09 am

Brings back memories.

Hard to believe after all those years I look nothing like those photographs...

One of those old books has a picture of one of the Barbarian brothers squatting with a huge row of plates on either side of the bar. That picture really got to me....plus Sergio raising arms. If I could go back then, and train as hard I do now, I really wish I had poured more into the weights.


Still, I train hard now, I love the game more than ever.

Ladders - I used to do hod carrying - carrying bricks, mortar and breezeblocks up ladders. The highest stage of a house was murder...
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Postby RSW03 » Wed Dec 21, 2005 3:32 pm

Nice article. I am currently trying to use ladders with my incline press, and your article really helped clarify a few points.
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Postby Shaf » Wed Jan 04, 2006 2:58 pm

bump
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Postby Shaf » Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:18 am

bump, plus I'd like to add the WJA stuff to this:

Here's an example of how a P&B guy used ladders in his training and some results. The guy is a very knowledgable lifter (and has had success training other lifters), and I think it's slick that he liked the concept well enough to give it a serious run. He's running around 175-185 or so at the start, if I remember right.

The Workout:

M
OHP (2/3/4/2/3/1/2/1) -- pyramid wt on 4th, 6th & 8th set
DEADLIFT (6/6/5/4/3) -- pyramid
WEIGHTED CHINUP (1/2/3/2/3/4)
CGBP (5/3/1/5/3/1) - pyramid

separate M wkout:
ROWS (5 sets of 4-6) - pyramid
KTE/TWISTING KTE (3 sets)

T
100 reps pushdowns or bw dips
POWER CLEAN or POWER SNATCH (4x4)
BB SURGS (8/8/6/6)
DB/BB ARM CURL (2/3/4/2/3/4)
BB "MOST REPS w/ 95 lbs" ARM CURL (1 set each, sometimes 2)
GHR (3x6-8)

W
BENCH PRESS (1/2/3/1/2/3/1/2/3)
WEIGHTED CHINUP (3/4/5/2/3/4/1/2/3) - pyramid wt on 4th & 7th set
DEADLIFT (10/7/4/6/8) - pyramid
BB ROW (4x6-8)
HEAVY CORE CROWBAR (3x6-10)

Th
250 medicine ball throws (4-5 sets each ~90 sec)
20-30 min. stepmill w/ weighted vest or truck pushing/dragging
150 swings w/ 16 lb sledgehammer (sets of 30-50).


F
CGBP (1/2/3/1/2/3/1/2/3)
WEIGHTED CHINUP (2/3/4/1/3/5/2/4/6)
SQUAT (3/4/5/2/3/1/2/1)
OHP (2/3/4/2/3/4)
GOOD MORNING (3x5)

separate F workout:
ALT DB ARM CURL (2/3/4/2/3/4/2/3/4)
DB surg (6x10)
FACE PULLS (3x8-12)

S
Truck Push (5x100 yards)
Truck Drag w/ towrope (2-3x80-100 yards)
150 swings w/ 16 lb sledgehammer
Farmer Walk; 2-100 lb orange home depot buckets! (4x100 yards)
100' monkey bars
100 pushups


His comments upon the results:

Me and two buddies have been doing heavy ladder workouts for about 7 or 8 weeks now. I drew up the workouts using Steve's primer on ladders (posted at Body Recomp) as a model.

Results have been fast and substantial. I'm not setting the world on fire with my weights, but understand that my body's been so shattered the last few years, it's been hard to train consistently or get results.

For the first 5 weeks, I wasn't eating nearly enough. Despite that I'm amazingly up 10 lbs in bodyweight. It's very hard for me to gain weight, and so the last few weeks I've been chowing at least 3000-4000 kcal/day.

The real amazing difference has been in my shoulder health. I've had pussycuff for years now, and haven't been able to bench over 225 w/o pain in a long, long time (best ever was 305 I think). In fact, I had to grit my teeth to rep anything heavier than 185.

Right now I'm back to benching 275, almost totally pain free, and amazingly I haven't been pushing the effort on bench days like other lifts in these cycles (although, I admittedly am pressing more frequently).

Both my training partners are benching 310-320, each having started the ladder cycles ~ 275.

On Monday I pulled 405x5 and 440x1, missed 455. Wednesday my lower back wasn't quite right, so I kept it light and repped out. Pulled 315 and 355 each for 12.

Standing overhead strict press is 185 (cleaned from floor to shoulder), almost bodyweight. Weighted chin is +70lbs x 3 reps. One of my buddies is right at +100lbs x 1. The other is strict pressing 200, although his clean so fugly we let him unrack it at shoulder height.

I've been having hip issues last few months, so my squat hasn't quite breached 405 again (I'm having to lean forward to get low enough; can't stay upright). However, my training partners have each ressurected their pussylegs. They're doubling 335 and 365 (staretd at 205 and 280, respectively).

All in all the training's been very positive. I do have hip injury, and a strange torsional strain in my left forearm (bone), but otherwise I feel pretty good.
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Postby Jon » Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:28 am

I'd also add that using ladders took my conventional deadlift from 275 to 315 in about a month and a half. That's still gaytastic, but foe'ty pounds is foe'ty pounds.

The ladders gave some more moxie to my other lifts as well, but the deadlift was the biggest improvement.
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Postby ccrow » Mon Apr 17, 2006 12:24 pm

THought I'd bump the original post rather than start a new thread.

Let's say you want to use ladders for a while, maybe make them your main strength training for two or three months. Any thoughts on testing a heavy signal every so often? I am thinking take a couple days off after two weeks, test a heavy single, take a few light workouts to deload, and get back into it.
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Postby Shaf » Mon Apr 17, 2006 12:31 pm

Shouldn't be a problem unless you think you are starting to over-reach.

I think if you see progress on a 1/2/3 type ladder format, you are usually going to see an increase of the 1 RM. Maybe not always, but usually, since after a few weeks of ramping up, you should be handling heavier weights more easily.
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Postby musulman » Mon Apr 17, 2006 4:14 pm

At the end of the cycle of ladders, if you want to restart the same again what do you do?...i'm thinking you take a week of and restart at 80% but i am not sure.
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Postby ccrow » Mon Apr 17, 2006 4:19 pm

Well funny you should mention that, I figure if I take a weight every so often I'll know where I am so I can figure a new 80% number and start again there. It seems like a good idea to test yourself every so often - these workouts are productive but you're working well within your limits, they don't test you.
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Postby BLACKFLAG » Mon Apr 17, 2006 4:26 pm

I'm giving another shot to my tonnage-based cycle for deads.
Started with 1-2-3s at 80%, around 15-20 reps per workout.
After a week of ladders, I'm now able to hit 40-50 daily reps, back to pre-injury work capacity levels.
But with a fat bar this time. It's harder not only on the grip but also on the back since shifting the center of gravity slightly forward in front of you.
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Postby Shaf » Mon Apr 17, 2006 5:02 pm

I'd just go by feel. Also, I 'd go by how well they worked for me. If they worked very well, and I felt I still could use that technique to eke out some gains, I'd probably start with an exercise that was different than my first run though.

Example:

First run: 6 weeks of close grip benches. Second run: 6 weeks of regular grip floor presses.
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Postby Frozenkilt » Thu Feb 08, 2007 1:40 pm

Also bump
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Postby tattooed iron » Sun Feb 11, 2007 3:46 pm

damn good post.

i am going to give ladders a try.
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Postby Jim Glover » Wed Feb 14, 2007 8:36 pm

Did these today for my weak ass deadlift.

Used 405 and completed all sets.

I'm going to go back and reread whole thread but is rest time a serious issue. I know on the pull up method you only rest the time it would take to do the self same amount of reps but is that an issue when using ladders for strength training.

Going to use ladders for my weighted dips next workout.
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Postby Jim Glover » Wed Feb 14, 2007 8:52 pm

Okay.

Answered my own question on the rest time issue.

And this will help keep me fresh so I can do a couple of days each week of power conditioning.

I work on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week with a seriously irregular sleep schedule so recovery is a major issue to keep me interested in my training and to keep me from burning out.

I'm going to use this ladder method to focus on my deads and dips for an 8 week cycle.
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Postby BLACKFLAG » Thu Feb 15, 2007 7:44 am

Just rest as much as needed Jim. Go totally by feel.
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Postby BLACKFLAG » Thu Feb 15, 2007 7:45 am

I'm seriously thinking about giving high-volume ladders another shot for both bench and deads, anyway.
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Postby shangers » Fri Feb 16, 2007 12:02 pm

There is more good training info in this post than 2 months worth of T-mag articles.
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Postby Jim Glover » Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:03 am

Man that ain't no shit.

I used to read T-Nation for the Ghost Dog/Ghost Wolf articles but they don't even run that anymore.

T-Nation is quickly turning into a junk science/Metrosexual website.

One of the main homos that run the site made some comment that stated taht they'd rather be lean and look good in their clothes than be bigger and look too bulky. What the fuck? T-Nation used to be a bastion of hardcore training and now they are a bunch of metros and I don't even want to get started on TC trying to show how much smarter he is than all of us every week with his lame ass editorials.

I don't give a fuck what I look like. I don't care about being philosophical in the gym, I care about Pliquin and his quackery, or the latest T-Nation authors flavor of the month junk science.

I care about performance. I can outlift and out perform 99% of the punks at my gym who look like Brad Pitt wannabe's and I look like a pudgy guy with my baggy work pants and sweat shirt.

Someone said "Don't train to look like an athlete be an athlete." I want to be a strength athlete in my own way, shape and form. A Power and Bulk Athlete that is.
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Postby denisbeck » Mon Oct 15, 2007 12:51 pm

Nice write-up. I just started a routine of 7 to 10 sets of triples to try and jump start my squat that I got from Anthony Ditillo's book. After that runs its course I'm going to give ladders a shot. What did the balance of your routine look like when you did your ladder experiment?
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Postby CHAD » Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:29 pm

Thanks, Steve.
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Postby 17Dave » Mon Oct 15, 2007 6:03 pm

I have gotten a lot out of the writings of Rip, Dan John, Siff, even Tsatsouline BUT..... if I had to say what has been hands down the most instantly useful advice it woudl be Shaf's primer on ladders and Bryce Lane's 20/50 program.

If one were a bit OCD, they could probably get to 80% of their heavy lifting potential alternating 6 week cycles of ladders up to reps of 3 and 3 week cycles of 20/50 in the basic big lifts.
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Postby CarnalSalvation » Mon Oct 15, 2007 6:18 pm

BLACKFLAG wrote:Just rest as much as needed Jim. Go totally by feel.


I second this.
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Postby BLOBERT » Mon Oct 15, 2007 6:42 pm

To be fair, Pavel was the inspiration behind the power ladder stuff.
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Postby Frozenkilt » Mon Oct 15, 2007 7:22 pm

Yeah but Steve's cooler.

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Postby Shaf » Mon Oct 15, 2007 8:40 pm

Thanks guys. It's the simple tricks inherent in the concept that do the work.

Ghetto autoregulation.
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Postby CarnalSalvation » Mon Oct 15, 2007 9:16 pm

Shaf wrote:Thanks guys. It's the simple tricks inherent in the concept that do the work.

Ghetto autoregulation.


Shaf is awesome.
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Re: A Primer on Ladders

Postby Terry B. » Thu Oct 18, 2007 5:44 am

In Shaf's post, he suggests going up the ladder until you miss a rep and then ending that ladder.

Shaf wrote:Probably the most important thing is the fatigue management. It's better to start a ladder over than to attempt to force an extra rep out. With ladders you let the volume do the work.


However, in the earlier post he referenced, he suggested returning to one rep if you don't have anything else in you and continuing from there.

Shaf wrote:Train frequently, maybe every other day, and don't even approach the point of failure. If you think you might fail on the next set, stop right there, and return to a single. If you have a bad day, the ladder might look like this:

295x1/2/1/2/1/2/1/1


What have those of you who have worked these for a while done in this situation? Do you favor or see any advantages of one approach compared to the other?
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Postby Shaf » Thu Oct 18, 2007 6:01 am

I'm saying the same thing in each quote, Terry.

Instead of missing a rep, start the ladder over.

You need to set a 'target' to trigger progression, i.e. 1/2/3/1/2/3/1/2/3 all completed means you add weight next time.

It's all open ended. Some folks might find that more ladders or less ladders work better for them.

And, with frequent use, some days are just going to look like shit. Monday you might look like 1/2/3/1/2/3/1/1, but Wednesday looks like 1/2/3/1/2/1/1

(and that's the situation to terminate....if you're just too fatigued to get up the ladder again. The two 1 rep sets in a row are a decent trigger for that)
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Postby Ian McKown » Thu Oct 18, 2007 9:45 am

I've done them a few time. But with 1,2,3,2, go back to the beginning (1)
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Postby Terry B. » Thu Oct 18, 2007 6:42 pm

Shaf wrote:The two 1 rep sets in a row are a decent trigger for that


Got that. Thanks, again, I really do appreciate the write-up.
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Postby Frozenkilt » Sat Nov 15, 2008 1:18 pm

Bump. Cuz its worth it.
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Postby Henry_Adolfo » Sat Nov 15, 2008 4:59 pm

What happened to the archive section of the board?
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Postby Strack » Sat Nov 15, 2008 10:53 pm

Funny because i'm using these again...best thing i ever did for my pressing so i stopped doing them?
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Postby Frozenkilt » Mon Nov 17, 2008 1:27 pm

We all kind of do that. I just started adding these back for pressing and things are already moving forward again.
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Postby Shaf » Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:24 pm

The Archive section is hidden right now. There is an issue with bots crawling the board driving up the server load, so we are trying different things to help reduce this.
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Postby Henry_Adolfo » Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:29 am

Thanks Shaf...I was getting alarmed, so much good info getting lost.
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Postby Shaf » Sun Apr 19, 2009 7:48 pm

bumping it again
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Postby 17Dave » Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:37 am

this: "let the volume do the work"

if this is your mantra, you can make any of those volume based appraoches work. if you're dragging your balls across the pavement to squeeze out your second set of 9 in week one of a smolov...yer sunk.
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Postby Martinez » Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:58 am

Bump and intro.

36, 5'8", 205, two young boys, run a small gym...am always tired.
in spite of this, decided i still had some room as a novice to run through rippetoe's linear prog one last time. got squat up to 280x5x3, press up to 135x5x3 (recent one-rep press at 165).

was pointed to shaf's post on ladders (elsewhere, and here) and tried some out today on squats. i can definitely see where this is perhaps what i should have been doing all along this last run through linear.

two questions:
1) began squats at 205 today just to try it out. should i be looking at 280 for my first real run through? (for ref: first set of five at 280 felt pretty close to a 5RM)
2) how long a rest between reps within the ladder? same as a bodyweight ladder where you'd rest as long as your imaginary partner took, or a bit longer?

thanks for reading. looking forward to learning a lot here.
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Postby denisbeck » Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:22 am

Martinez wrote:Bump and intro.

36, 5'8", 205, two young boys, run a small gym...am always tired.
in spite of this, decided i still had some room as a novice to run through rippetoe's linear prog one last time. got squat up to 280x5x3, press up to 135x5x3 (recent one-rep press at 165).

was pointed to shaf's post on ladders (elsewhere, and here) and tried some out today on squats. i can definitely see where this is perhaps what i should have been doing all along this last run through linear.

two questions:
1) began squats at 205 today just to try it out. should i be looking at 280 for my first real run through? (for ref: first set of five at 280 felt pretty close to a 5RM)
2) how long a rest between reps within the ladder? same as a bodyweight ladder where you'd rest as long as your imaginary partner took, or a bit longer?

thanks for reading. looking forward to learning a lot here.


I'd probably start at 250lbs and work up from there to acclimate to the program. As for rest periods, that varies from individual to individual depending on goals. When I did ladders I kept it simple and rested 1 minute after the first set, 2 after the second and three after the third. The simple answer is to give it a go and see what you feel comfortable with.

There's a rumor out there that Pavel is the father of the Ladder Program, but that hasn't been cooborated yet. Maybe Shaf can shed some light on that. :lol:
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Postby lifter99 » Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:31 am

In terms of rest I'd say take as long as is necessary without being ridiculous- if you need 5 minutes break in between each rep, perhaps the weight is too heavy. Since the whole point is to keep the reps fairly easy and let the volume do the work, you don't want to rest too short and risk a grinder, but you also don't want to rest long enough that each rep is practically a separate workout.... when I did it, I pretty much rested exactly the same as Dennis, although I never went over 2 minutes rest- if you watch a clock the first time you do it, you'll be very surprised how short one minute rest actually is.
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Postby Martinez » Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:32 am

Thanks man. That's helpful. Looking forward to seeing where this goes.
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Postby Shaf » Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:22 pm

In the past, I've said take an almost 5RM, and that's where you start your ladders, but more recently I've liked to start even lower to get acclimated to greater volume and frequency, and then aggressively push the weight up until the last rep of the last set is just a bit of a grind.

So, your questions:

1. Starting at 250 would be good. Once you hit 3x1/12/3 (if you're doing it multiple times a week) then you add weight, if you are only doing it once, you have to work a little heavier (you'll be grinding some of the weights, but not to failure...more on this later)

2. Rest? Take what you need. Between 1 and 2 reps, you might need 30s to a minute, before your last set of 3, you might need 3+ minutes.

On Pavel:

Yeah, I mentioned it in the original post that this was derived from some stuff Pavel said, and some stuff I'd seen elsewhere, in some Robert Kennedy bodybuilding book.

On Justa:

Taking a workman-like attitude to your workouts is a theme that Steve Justa has in his "Rock, Iron, and Steel" book. Using the power ladder require you divorce yourself emotionally from your training. Bad days will happen, just pick your shit up and move on.

My soft recommendations are:

Ladders should be used on any given lift 2-4x weekly. 3 would be ideal for most lifts and most lifters.

Progression is non-linear and you may regress in a given workout due to your state of readiness on that particular day. If you regress, I prefer that you drop the volume, not the weight.

Example:

Your last workout you did: 405x1/2/3/1/2/3/1/2/2
(note you didn't finish the last sequence)

This workout looks this: 405x1/2/3/1/2/-
-if things feel weak, slow, 'off', or whatever, resist the urge to grind, and just conclude that particular lift for the day.

If you feel you have to go balls to the wall on every lift you do to make progress, then using this concept isn't going to work for you.
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Postby Shoot fighter » Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:13 pm

Thanks Shaf for your contributions all these years, I think I will try these out for awhile , maybe take 2 lifts and work them with the ladders, say your working 2 lifts this way, what would you do personally with the other lifts to maintain , maybe work bench and dead with ladders and the other 2 lifts sqt, press etc med weight to maintain once a week? Thanks
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Postby Shaf » Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:29 pm

I'd just hit them with heavy weight, low rep sets to keep the strength up.

Except press. For most the press needs to be worked more than 1x weekly, if not for all.

2-3x for strict press on a weekly basis, or the 1 press, 1 push press schedule.
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Postby The Natural » Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:09 pm

Do not press more than once a week. You will burn out.
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Postby musulman » Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:13 pm

No press more thyan once a week, maybe even everyday but do not go to failure. Do lots of sets.

At the end of session you should feel good. Not drag around like a tired horse.
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Postby Protobuilder » Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:20 pm

The Natural wrote:Do not press more than once a week. You will burn out.


Ladders seem like a recipe for adrenal fatigue if you ask me.
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Postby chadpierce » Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:34 pm

Wow. This thread is a good barometer of how training discussion on this board has changed over the years.
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Postby lifter99 » Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:36 pm

Protobuilder wrote:
The Natural wrote:Do not press more than once a week. You will burn out.


Ladders seem like a recipe for adrenal fatigue if you ask me.


Every time I used ladders I lost my morning wood for months.
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Postby musulman » Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:54 pm

Ladders is the way i say you should train.

This is the way to health and strength.

Ladders is not the way Natural trains cos if he did he would not drag around tired for a day or two like he describes muscles all cramping, tired, depressed, not being able to move.

Ladders is easy, it does not take much out of you but makes you strong, just proves what i was saying all along. How ironic that you are all agreeing with me despite not realising it.
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Postby musulman » Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:57 pm

You should never get injured doing ladders, so there goes your arguments that you got to court injury to be a good lifter. Bullshit and this ladders routine proves it.

at the end of a ladders session you feel good, not tired and drag around lethargic. Its within limits, which is what i said all along.

Ladders does not drain the adrenals as much as other routines which are over taxing.

Using volume, sets and reps is the way to go, im always said pavels ladders and steve justa type routines are the way to go.

I discovered all this years ago before people even knew what ladders were.
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Postby Martinez » Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:55 pm

Thanks guys and Shaf especially...answers all of my questions. Awesome info.
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Postby MightyLouse » Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:05 pm

Every time I used ladders I lost my morning wood for months.


Par for the course with peeping toms.
Try stalking someone on the ground floor.

This was a really excellent training thread.
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Postby The Natural » Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:38 pm

MightyLouse wrote:
Every time I used ladders I lost my morning wood for months.


Par for the course with peeping toms.
Try stalking someone on the ground floor.


HAHAHAHAHAHAHA
[quote="Fanny Baws"]Spirits are detrimental to my training though and I may spend time coming to terms with my actions rather than lifting anything.[/quote]
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Postby lifter99 » Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:37 am

MightyLouse wrote:
Every time I used ladders I lost my morning wood for months.


Par for the course with peeping toms.
Try stalking someone on the ground floor.



That is one of the best things I've read in a long long time
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Postby IainKendrick » Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:08 am

MightyLouse wrote:
Every time I used ladders I lost my morning wood for months.


Par for the course with peeping toms.
Try stalking someone on the ground floor.

This was a really excellent training thread.



:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby Martinez » Sat Jun 25, 2011 5:45 pm

Martinez wrote:Bump and intro.

36, 5'8", 205, two young boys, run a small gym...am always tired.
in spite of this, decided i still had some room as a novice to run through rippetoe's linear prog one last time. got squat up to 280x5x3, press up to 135x5x3 (recent one-rep press at 165).

was pointed to shaf's post on ladders (elsewhere, and here) and tried some out today on squats. i can definitely see where this is perhaps what i should have been doing all along this last run through linear.

two questions:
1) began squats at 205 today just to try it out. should i be looking at 280 for my first real run through? (for ref: first set of five at 280 felt pretty close to a 5RM)
2) how long a rest between reps within the ladder? same as a bodyweight ladder where you'd rest as long as your imaginary partner took, or a bit longer?

thanks for reading. looking forward to learning a lot here.


Following up on this...goal for next phase of training is to drop 20-25 lbs of sloppiness in time for the new year. I've got the diet plan nailed down well enough, but am interested in how I could build a program around the ladders in service of that goal. Secondary goal is to nail down squat movement pattern (have done way too much vacillating btw low and high bar...now at high bar), in addition to working press and power clean.

3 days a week is best for me schedule and recovery-wise...inclination is to hit 3 days of 3 power clean ladders, 3 press ladders, and 3 squat ladders. Enough volume to drive what little part of body recomp that diet and steady state won't address?
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Postby Shaf » Sat Jun 25, 2011 7:17 pm

Do it once and see how long it takes you to get it done.

If it's around an hour, then it should be OK, then I'd say run with it and see what happens.

Unless you are a competitive powerlifter, where the lowbar squat gives you a competitive advantage, I'd just stay away from it. I've never liked it and especially would never recommend an older lifter attempt to modify his style either, not that you're an older lifter.

What are your fat loss plans? Because that will matter in the long run what the rest of your training should look like.
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Postby Martinez » Sat Jun 25, 2011 7:41 pm

Shaf wrote:Do it once and see how long it takes you to get it done.

If it's around an hour, then it should be OK, then I'd say run with it and see what happens.

Unless you are a competitive powerlifter, where the lowbar squat gives you a competitive advantage, I'd just stay away from it. I've never liked it and especially would never recommend an older lifter attempt to modify his style either, not that you're an older lifter.

What are your fat loss plans? Because that will matter in the long run what the rest of your training should look like.


sounds good.

a month ago would have said i'd be fine with a more gradual loss within the context of strength maintenance, but ten pounds of sloppiness and a little more joint pain later and i'd say the fat loss is now the #1 priority, with as much strength maintenance as possible on the squat, pc, and press a not-too-distant #2.
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Postby bencrush » Sun Jun 26, 2011 1:21 am

Shaf, wanted to thank you again for the info (and Blobert for pointing it out to me) on ladders. I used them back in 2005 - your program that is being discussed here again - and hit my first 320lb bench.
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Postby Shoot fighter » Wed Jul 06, 2011 6:32 pm

bencrush wrote:Shaf, wanted to thank you again for the info (and Blobert for pointing it out to me) on ladders. I used them back in 2005 - your program that is being discussed here again - and hit my first 320lb bench.
Awesome!
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Postby jordanz » Thu Jul 14, 2011 8:51 pm

Same here Shaf Thanks, these ladders have my bench and Military presses climbing like I was a newbie.
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Postby Luke » Fri Jul 15, 2011 12:14 am

they're phenomenal.
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Postby denisbeck » Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:44 am

MightyLouse wrote:
Every time I used ladders I lost my morning wood for months.


Par for the course with peeping toms.
Try stalking someone on the ground floor.

This was a really excellent training thread.


You've got that straight ML. Not everyone can combine the use of Ladders and Peeping like the Late, Great John Belushi.

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Postby Shaf » Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:52 am

A guy on IGx is progressing more quickly than he's comfortable with using ladders, so I gave him this suggestion to help slow things down:

He was thinking he wanted to take things a bit more slowly than the autoreg indicated because he was nervous about reinjuring his back.

This can be an issue for other people, especially when they realize that they are in PR territory and that stuff is feeling too easy and progression seems to be coming too fast. This doesn't often happen to an advanced guy, but an intermediate who is seeing work capacity and skillful movement gains might get into it.

Just hardcode a comfortable weight ceiling every 4 weeks or so and then manipulate the reps. Just be wary with increasing the reps in any given set too aggressively and look out for form degradation.

For example:

Let's say you are squatting twice a week and making good gains on it, say 10# a week, but projecting forward, you are nervous as you'll be getting in an area where you will (PR, have injured yourself in the past, get scared of the weight).

It might look like this:

Week 1 of 4:
Session 1: 225x1/2/3/1/2/3/1/2/3/ - easy, add 5#
Session 2: 230x1/2/3/1/2/31/2/3/1/2/3 - easy, had one of those stellar lifting days that come along every other month or so, but....245 is where you've injured yourself in the past, and you can see it coming up quickly.

You decide to put a 240 ceiling in this cycle.

Week 2 of 4:
1: 235x1/2/3/1/2/3 - a bit of a meh workout, which might be expected given last week's session with increased volume and weight in the same session.
2: 235x1/2/3/1/2/3/1/2/3 - bad in business, not hard, but not like week 1.

Week 3 of 4:
1: 240x1/2/1, 235x1/2/3/1/2/3 - ok, due to the fact that you're nervous getting close to 245 again, you didn't have a great session at all. In fact it felt like shit. So much so that you dropped the weight for this session too.
2: 240x1/2/3/1/2/3 - back on track, but you know next that since you hardcoded that 240 as your top weight for the next 4 weeks you aren't going to add any weight.

Week 4 of 4:
1: 240x1/2/3/1/2/3/1/2/3 - good session, felt strong.
2: 240x1/2/3 easy, 240x2/3/4 easy, 240x3/4/5 last 2 sets were tough, but within your parameters, but now that you've got a solid 240x5 under your belt, you are feeling more confident about that 245.
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Postby chadpierce » Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:14 am

Shaf wrote:A guy on IGx is progressing more quickly than he's comfortable with using ladders...


What a foreign thought, but a great selling point for ladders. I like your ideas here - raising the reps/volume towards the ceiling.
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Postby austrian_oak » Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:28 am

Long time lurker.

I have used ladders with success a couple of times after reading this thread. I managed to take my bench from around 285 to 330 @ 198 in about 2 cycles. The only problem I have found, is that once I have taken a new max, and go back to training the bench twice a week, say a heavy and light day, I seem to lose a hell of a lot of what I just gained, am talking going from 3 plates feeling light, to struggling to triple 260. Is there any way of combatting this?

It just seems as soon as the frenquency drops after maxing,so does my strength! The thing is, my bench feels awesome whilst laddering.

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Postby Luke » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:03 am

As crazy as the fast progress thing sounds, to be comfortably repping weights I could hardly single at the start of the year (after a month of these ladders) is pretty staggering.

Seeing your concept has been around for years, Shaf, do you have any anecdotal evidence of when progression will start to slow or cease?
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Postby Shaf » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:08 am

Keep on doing ladders.

Seriously, why people want to fuck with a working system is beyond me. It's that simple. At the very minimum, switch to doing CGBP ladders and then layer that on top of your 1 heavy bench/1 light bench day.

In 25+ years of lifting I've found that

1x weekly works for deadlift
1x weekly works for squat (but is not optimal)
1x weekly doesn't work for bench or press. I regress.

Matt Perryman has a good piece here:

http://www.ampedtraining.com/2011/stren ... -find-gems

Last year I spent five months training heavy five days a week, took a few months off to diet, and now I’m in my fourth month of squatting heavy six days a week. The results?

I feel better. Everywhere. I’m almost always sore somewhere, usually the legs, but the incidences of catastrophic injury have dropped to zero. No soft tissue pains, no warning signs of imminent tears or ruptures. Even my poor shoulders, which have long stunted my bench strength, cooperate more when I load them six days a week.


I've had about 50 people tell me how great they felt training ladders for a given lift 3x weekly, sometimes even more. I've also had about 15 folks tell me how Sheiko type volume and frequency made them sore all the time, but that the condition of their joints felt great.

It's not for everyone, but training 1x weekly for some hard goddamn sets doesn't work for some people, and it often leads to injury.
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Postby Shaf » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:10 am

It stops working when it stops working.

When it stops working, I am leaning towards recommending heavy triples and single done on a frequent basis....more grinding and straining than the ladders.
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Postby Shaf » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:12 am

Listen, for a 45 year old man who is unwilling to drug it up and injure himself, setting a ceiling for the weights is a good idea.

For a guy coming back to lifting, who needs time to polish the skill of the lift and to let his connective tissue come up to speed, setting a ceiling for the weights is a good idea.

This ceiling should be moved when you are comfortable exceeding it.

NOTE: The cases of people getting too strong, too fast using ladders tend to be beginners, half of whom are reaping the benefits of frequent practice and the other half of whom are reaping the benefits of training within an appropriate zone.
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Postby austrian_oak » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:50 am

Shaf wrote:Keep on doing ladders.

Seriously, why people want to fuck with a working system is beyond me. It's that simple. At the very minimum, switch to doing CGBP ladders and then layer that on top of your 1 heavy bench/1 light bench day.

In 25+ years of lifting I've found that

1x weekly works for deadlift
1x weekly works for squat (but is not optimal)
1x weekly doesn't work for bench or press. I regress.

Matt Perryman has a good piece here:

http://www.ampedtraining.com/2011/stren ... -find-gems

Last year I spent five months training heavy five days a week, took a few months off to diet, and now I’m in my fourth month of squatting heavy six days a week. The results?

I feel better. Everywhere. I’m almost always sore somewhere, usually the legs, but the incidences of catastrophic injury have dropped to zero. No soft tissue pains, no warning signs of imminent tears or ruptures. Even my poor shoulders, which have long stunted my bench strength, cooperate more when I load them six days a week.


I've had about 50 people tell me how great they felt training ladders for a given lift 3x weekly, sometimes even more. I've also had about 15 folks tell me how Sheiko type volume and frequency made them sore all the time, but that the condition of their joints felt great.

It's not for everyone, but training 1x weekly for some hard goddamn sets doesn't work for some people, and it often leads to injury.



Thanks for the reply. The only reason I really stopped doing ladders, was due to elbow pain ( the inside of the elbow) which seems to stem from squatting, and especially from trying to combine two squat sessions a week along with multiple bench sessions. I need to find a way round this problem, as when doing ladders, my bench groove feels amazing and 'heavy weights' feel light in the hands.

Also, is it possible to also do ladders for strict press multiple times a week whilst doing ladders for bench? My strict press is dire, around half my bench press max, and I think bringing up this weakness would help my bench. I also wouldnt mind a BW plus strict press!
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Postby Shoot fighter » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:56 am

Great topic discussion, I wish I had that problem getting too strong too fast. Deads once a week is it for me too, I could press and bench more often if my squat and dead is scaled back though, I have been benching 6 times a week at a bit over 70% for sets of 1, I want to see what it will do for my max, if it works great if it doesn't I will try the ladders as suggested here looks good.
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Postby stevein7 » Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:33 am

Alternating a volume 'work' phase with an intense 'lifting' phase seems to be a natural impulse, offsetting each other.
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Postby ev1bl » Fri Jul 15, 2011 5:26 pm

Cool thread..

How would one go about using ladders for squat and deadlift at the same time? If I train squat three times and deadlift once a week.
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