Improve Your Workout Warm-Up With Ramp-Up Sets

Ramp-up sets allow you to complete your warm-up with minimal rest while increasing the load and keeping reps low.


Using ramp-up sets is the best way to make your workout warm-ups meaningful for strength movements. The idea is that you complete your warm-up sets with minimal rest while increasing the load and keeping the reps low or decreasing as you progress. Not only is it a great way to warm up, it allows you to be dynamic with lighter weights as you progress to your work sets. Nothing primes your system like a ramp-up set.

RELATED: Stop Static Stretching: 6 Warm-Ups That are More Fun and More Effective

You may have actually done this type of warm-up inadvertently in the past without knowing it, but I'm here to provide instruction so you can get the most out of ramp-up sets in the future.

Benefits of Ramp-Up Sets

Improve Your Workout Warm-Up With Ramp-Up Sets

  • Increase overall volume and training density because of the amount of work you can do in a short time.
  • Help you gauge how the weight feels that day.
  • Enhance neural output and activation.
  • Enable you to focus on form with sub-max weight.
  • Increase rate of force development.

Ramp-up sets will prepare you for constant work with heavy loads on a frequent basis with the goal of progressively getting bigger, stronger and more explosive. As a weightlifter (and athlete), you should evaluate your warm-up to push through plateaus and break away from the monotony.

RELATED: Five Ways to Keep Progressing and Avoid Training Plateaus

Ramp-up sets can be used for efficient warm-ups in addition to dynamic warm-ups to pack on muscle and increase force development. In the video player above, a lifter is warming up with 225 pounds on a Hang Clean and doing a few sets to give you an idea of what it looks like and to show that it can also be used for Olympic weightlifting movements.

Keys to Effectively Using Ramp-Up Sets Correctly

Improve Your Workout Warm-Up With Ramp-Up Sets

  • Keep the intensity (load) low to ensure good bar speed.
  • Beware of pre-fatigue before your work sets. This can alter your performance if done improperly.
  • Keep the amount of sets in the ramp-up to a minimum.
  • Don't use too big of an increase.
  • Apply this technique to any heavy lift you do in a workout. You can ramp up more than once.

Sample Ramp-Up Set

  • 50% x5
  • 60% x3
  • 65% x2
  • 70% x1


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: WARM-UP | WORKOUTS