After a few questionable months after moving back to
, and then a very brief obsession with 20-rep squats, my own training has been going very well of late. I have been squatting 3/days per week, usually 2 days front and 1 day back (M: Front, W: Back, F: Front), with some occasional variation just to keep it interesting. Texas
The past 2-months I have been experimenting with ladders in the back squat on Wednesday. I am sure the idea of ladders has been around forever, but I first read about them 5+ years ago on the old P&B forum where the idea and routine were written up by Steve Shafley. In his original post, and with my recent training, they are used to allow heavy training with decent volume while breaking up some of the monotony of a standard 5x5.
A ladder is basically performing repetitions in ascending order for multiple sets – a set of 1 / a set of 2 / and a set of 3 is one ladder. I have capped my number of ladders at 3, so a typical ladder on Wednesday would be 1/2/3/1/2/3/1/2/3; 9 sets and 18 total reps. With the increased number of sets, and lower max reps per set, you are able to train at a heavier load than you could with a similar volume but different configuration (6x3, 4x4, etc.)
Working off a solid 3-rep max of 150 kg I performed a few weeks earlier, I started my ladder adventure using 120 kg and was able to complete the entire 3 ladders fairly easily. Each week, I added 5kg and tried to complete the entire 3 ladders. Twice (at 140 and 145 kg), I stopped after 2 ladders and used the same weight the following week and completed all 3 ladders.
My progression was as follows: 120kg – 3 ladders, 130 – 3, 135 – 3, 140 – 2, 140 – 3, 145 – 2, 145 – 3, and this week 150kg – 3 ladders.
So, in 8-weeks I was able to move my squat up a decent amount. Next Wednesday I will work up to a new 3-rep max and report back, but I am something in the 170-175 kg range will fall. Looking back the 150 kg 3-RM was a pretty low estimate, and 120 kg was far too low a starting point. If I decide to do it over again, and work up over another 6-8 week period my 1st week will be in the 85% of 3-RM range and go from there.
Post a comment and let me know if you have ever done anything similar, and end result. If nothing else, I enjoyed trying something new and managed to bump up my squat weights.