Lifting... Start heavy, End heavy, Stay heavy?

Question for the weightlifting community!

After your warm up sets... Do you?

Start with your heaviest set and drop the weight over the proceeding sets...

Start light and gradually build up to your final and heaviest set...

Start with your heaviest set and use that same weight for all proceeding sets while trying to maintain the same number of reps...

Any opinions as to which method is best?

I know Ahnold says he would start heavy and remove plates after each set and max out his reps, but he was also juicing so there's that lol...

Replies

  • rheddmobile
    rheddmobile Posts: 6,841 Member
    I'm pretty new to lifting and don't have an opinion, posting because I want to see what others have to say.
  • Keto_Vampire
    Keto_Vampire Posts: 1,679 Member
    Traditional pyramid style (personal preference) mostly for trying not to injure myself/longevity
    Occasionally, I do drop sets to failure (end of workout usually)
    Can't say one method is necessarily better than the other, but stick to a program/be consistent so you can assess yourself...still boils down to what your goal is (strength, hypertrophy, fatloss, etc.)
  • sardelsa
    sardelsa Posts: 9,826 Member
    It depends. Sometimes I do drop sets, ascending sets, pyramid sets, if it is a programmed linear set, and I am struggling with a rep range, I will either drop a rep or lower the weight (depending on how it feels and what I am doing). If a set feels too easy, I will typically add more weight on the next set and see how it feels, maybe add more weight on the last set or make a note for next time. If I am nearing my max range on a main lift especially ascending sets can help if I can't complete it in a linear set.

    I don't typically do ascending sets on accessories.

    I don't think there is any best method, I would follow what your program indicates and what you enjoy and allows you to make the best progress over time.
  • Mr_Healthy_Habits
    Mr_Healthy_Habits Posts: 12,578 Member
    Thanks for the advice...

    I've started out lifting the same weight on each set but decided to increase the weight in ascending fashion, trying to lift heavier over time...

    Now I'm starting to think, I might get better quality reps out of my heavier sets if I start with the heaviest set rather than finishing with them...

    However, injury is always in the back of my mind... As the sole bread winner who doesn't get paid for this *kitten*... I've got to be mindful, and it just feels safer to gradually build up to that heavy set, rather than a large increase in weight right after a warm up.... But then again, maybe that's not the safest way

    Thanks again!
  • mutantspicy
    mutantspicy Posts: 624 Member
    Thanks for the advice...

    I've started out lifting the same weight on each set but decided to increase the weight in ascending fashion, trying to lift heavier over time...

    Now I'm starting to think, I might get better quality reps out of my heavier sets if I start with the heaviest set rather than finishing with them...

    However, injury is always in the back of my mind... As the sole bread winner who doesn't get paid for this *kitten*... I've got to be mindful, and it just feels safer to gradually build up to that heavy set, rather than a large increase in weight right after a warm up.... But then again, maybe that's not the safest way

    Thanks again!

    Its not a bad idea. I think the biggest thing is making sure you have plan and stick to it. But I do something similar to what you are asking. I put my big lifts towards the beginning so I can focus on them. Usually 2nd and 3rd move of the routine. And yes you need to warm up really well to avoid injury, but honestly I feel safer with DL's etc at the beginning because my form is more likely to not slip up due to fatigue. I'm kinda doing a strength, hypertrophy combo. Strength at the beginning with compound lifts trying up my weight as much possible and then the rest of the workout is more volume and hypertrophy.
  • psuLemon
    psuLemon Posts: 38,058 MFP Moderator
    The way I designed my current program is to do linear periodization. Once my buddies and I start to struggle with making gains, I will begin doing undulating periodization.
  • Davidsdottir
    Davidsdottir Posts: 1,295 Member
    For me, it depends on the week, the day, and the lift if I'm doing a pyramid, drop sets, burnouts, linear periodization, etc.
  • AEC50
    AEC50 Posts: 124 Member
    Following for advice....I've been lifting for just a year and have been doing ascending sets to failure each time. My program runs through 12 weeks, starting with 12 reps and ending with a 1RM. I do feel like based on my 5RM numbers, I should be able to do higher 1RM, but maybe that's because I'm lifting at 80% then 90% then 95% before I try to max out.
  • ijsantos2005
    ijsantos2005 Posts: 306 Member
    They can all work for the most part, but there are trade offs to consider.

    Same weight “sets across” - most effective (imo) but very time consuming (long rest times required).
    Ascending sets - can be tricky to use correctly (too small of jumps and you burn out before reaching your top set).
    Descending sets - a solid balance of time and intensity.
    Drop sets - least effective but quickest to do.

    I mainly use sets across, modified sets across (reps in a range), and back-off sets (sets across followed by a small drop in weight for more sets across).
  • quiksylver296
    quiksylver296 Posts: 28,206 Member
    My program utilizes undulating periodization.
  • ijsantos2005
    ijsantos2005 Posts: 306 Member
    However, injury is always in the back of my mind... As the sole bread winner who doesn't get paid for this *kitten*... I've got to be mindful, and it just feels safer to gradually build up to that heavy set, rather than a large increase in weight right after a warm up.... But then again, maybe that's not the safest way

    Make sure you’re using a warm-up protocol that prepares you for your work set. Never jump straight into a heavy set before you’ve primed your mind/body/soul for it.
    The method I use is to do warm-up sets that gradually increase in weight while tapering off in reps with the last warm-up set about 5-10% away from your work sets.

    [Example]
    Warmup: 45 x 5 reps x 2 sets
    Warmup: 95 x 5 reps x 1 set
    Warmup: 135 x 3 reps x 1 set
    Warmup: 160 x 1 rep x 1 set
    Rest ~3 minutes
    Work sets: 170 x 5 reps x 3 sets
  • jamesakrobinson
    jamesakrobinson Posts: 2,151 Member
    I usually pyramid up with more weight and less reps per set up to my 4th set then back down in weight and up in reps for 1 or 2 more sets... Last set I often (but not always) "rep out" to failure.
  • bubblegum7000
    bubblegum7000 Posts: 3 Member
    I carry most of my weight in my lower body...just want a fat booty and snatch waist
  • Chieflrg
    Chieflrg Posts: 9,081 Member
    edited April 2018
    Question for the weightlifting community!

    After your warm up sets... Do you?

    Start with your heaviest set and drop the weight over the proceeding sets...

    Start light and gradually build up to your final and heaviest set...

    Start with your heaviest set and use that same weight for all proceeding sets while trying to maintain the same number of reps...

    Any opinions as to which method is best?

    I know Ahnold says he would start heavy and remove plates after each set and max out his reps, but he was also juicing so there's that lol...

    Impossible to answer this since there are so many variables to each lifter and what amount of muscle stimulas they require to meet there goals.

    For general fitness 3-5 sets at a medium weight will produce the best results for a longer period as long as the volume is appropriate to drive adaptation. It will help control fatigue yet give enough stimulas to disrupt homeostasis.

    Once again it's really dependant on the lifter's experience with whice ever lift we are talking about, fitness, age, etc.

    Example currently I do on average 25 sets of squats/deads a week to accumulate stress. A beginner for the same lifts would only need 10-11. So my weight would be more taxing for recovery purposes. No reason to go heavy unless I'm preparing for a powerlifting meet.