I have a question regarding HCT. The way I'm reading it is you should ramp up to your 6 rep max. I did that today for bench like this:
My question is, wouldn't it make more sense to just do a few warm up sets than do your max set? I ask this because my previous 6 rep max for bench was 150 lbs. The way I did it was:
95x6 (warm up)
120x4 (warm up)
135x2 (warm up)
150x6 (work set)
So I didn't tire myself out with warm up sets. The way I did it in the context of HCT, the first 3 sets felt like true warm up sets but when I did 135 it more or less just burnt be out with submaximal weight and I couldn't make it to the 150. The same thing happened with bent over rows. My old 6 rep max was 110 lbs and today I could barly make it to 100 lbs. Again the only difference being I used to use light warm up sets prior.
I guess my question is- is it necesary to do ramping sets? Wouldn't it just make more sense to do a few actual warm up sets than just try to blast PR?
I think the ramping works best because it adds volume and lets you feel your way to your top set. You only lost 5 lbs on your top set, but you added more volume. Also, you will be better able to tell in the future when to add weight to your top set by the way you feel working up, which may not be as apparent if you are doing lower reps on your warmups.
The way you outlined how you do it is similar to how I do it. I'll usually hit 2-3 ramping sets and then do my all-out max set.
However, I'm basically using the 4-day template of HCT-12, and that's it. I don't deload every four weeks and I don't autoregulate. So, take what I say as my personal opinion ONLY.
I'm thinking about doing a set slighly under my previous PR and than trying for a PR set. Maybe it's just bench. I suck at that lift.
As long as you keep adding weight to the bar for your work set (6,2,2,2) then i dont see the problem. Ramping up, warm up etc is what it says, to get you ready for that all out set.
This question comes up all the time. Perhaps a comment about it could be added to the article to make it more clear?
I think as you get more comfortable with your maxes and how you feel from day to day (autoregulation), then you can take a shorter route to you max set and be fresher for the efforts. But until then I think that ramping gets you more "in-tune" with your body.
Daniel Roberts, Chris Mason, and others disagreed with me on this in another thread, but it goes to show there are many different ways of reaching the same goals. Just experiment and do what works best for you.
I really wish they maintained the HCT spceific section of this forum. Not much info anywhere else on the web except for WWB.com
Yamar, I agree with OR (I can't actually remember disagreeing with you!).
Warming up/ramping up (the lines blur as the weight gets closer to your max) is to prepare you for lifting the heaviest final set you can for that day.
It's up to you how many sets you take to get there. If you're particularly strong then the load is proportionally higher and therefore the volume can be reduced i.e. fewer sets.
If you're benching 400lbs plus then is it really necessary or optimal to hammer a load of sets prior to hitting your top set? No. Unless you're amazingly gifted.
Now you're example is a 150lbs bench. The load is proportionally low and therefore the volume component then becomes a more significant requirement.
You need the volume, because the load is low. You will get better at this as your work capacity increases.
As for changing the article, best ask Chris or Daniel Clough. Explaining auto-regulation is tricky and there is no set template - you have to figure it out for yourself.
Listen to Steve Colescott's podcast and his interview with Mike Tuscherer, who's RTS is all about autoregulation. Well worth it.
Something I have experimented with a few times, with very painful results( DOMS), and might even try a whole cycle with is more a myo reps approach where the volume is added in the clusters rather than the ramping sets. Example, warm up with ~50%x5-6, 70%x3-4, 90%x 1-2, then hit the top end set and do more clusters until you hit RPE of 9 or so. Some days you'll get more clusters, some less. So your auto regulating on the clusters. But because you are no longer ramping in sets of 6 trying to feel for your 6RM that day, you end up working in a more traditional 'rep range' of say 6-8RM (when you get to 8 reps add weight to the bar and drop back down to 6RM). Of course, this is no longer HCT-12 so can't complain if it doesn't work or I die...which ever comes first!
Last edited by Dazza; 02-07-2011 at 06:55 PM.
Anyways your idea sounds awsome!! What I decided to do it sort of split the difference. It worked out well today on leg day. Sets 1,2 and 3 I consider warm ups, than instead of building up to my previous weeks PR I went like 5% under than made the next set a new PR set(5-10 lbs over last workout). So I'm still getting 2-3 solid sets @ 10-15% under my max, than the max set + clusters. I figure if the 10-15% under set sucks I'll autoregulate from there, maybe even just cluster that or whatever.
At any rate I'm going to start a log so I remain consistent with this as written. I have this strange urge to put my own spin on everything and honestly IDK WTF I'm doing.