In pursuit of always trying out new routines and set/rep/rest combo’s, I came upon an article that talked about Ladder Sets. I had never heard that term before and at first I thought it was similar to a breakdown set. It kinda is and kinda isn’t.
It is in the sense that you continue to perform the exercise within a certain time constraint but it isn’t in that you do not reduce the weight, what you do instead, is vary the number of reps being performed while keeping the weight the same.
This can be done for just about any exercise on any body part. Let me explain how it works.
First, you pick a weight that you can do for a maximum of ten reps.
You perform that weight for two reps only and place the bar/dumbbell back….you rest for 10-15 seconds…
then perform the same weight for three reps, return the bar/dumbbell back…rest for another 10-15 seconds…(now you see why they call it a ladder set)
then perform the same weight for another five reps, return the bar/dumbbell back, rest for another 10-15 seconds…
then try to finish by performing the same weight for ten reps.
The logic behind all this is to tax the muscle more than what would ordinarily be done by trying to get 20 total reps out of a lift that you normally can only do for ten reps. Of course you get to rest 10-15 seconds between each ladder set but trust me, this isn’t enough time to come close to recovering. This is sort of like the 4X principle explained here.
The only difference is that you are doing it with slight more weight since you are using a ten rep maximum weight versus a 15 rep maximum weight in the 4X principle.
Do not worry if at the last step of the ladder set you can not perform ten reps. That is the goal. Do not attempt to reduce the weight the next time you do a ladder set. Keep the weight the same until you can perform that last ladder set for ten reps.
Trust me, your muscles will acclimate themselves to be able to do this and thus, where growth and strength comes in.
I have tried it with shoulders and back and can tell you, they can be a real killer and there is nothing I like more than trying to kill a muscle group in a safe way!
So give this type of set a try. Variety in your workouts is the only way to be…Fit Forlife!