Ladder sets vs sets of 5

Discussion in 'Bodyweight' started by Trever, Apr 17, 2019.

  1. Trever

    Trever Still New to StrongFirst Forum

    Hello all,
    I’m trying to decide if I should use ladder sets or sets up to a max of 5 reps for weighted pull-ups and weighted dips.
    I’m mostly looking to increase strength at this point.

    Are ladder sets used more for hypertrophy? Thanks.
  2. pet'

    pet' More than 5000 posts


    You can look the A. Galpin's video about getting strength without mass ;)

    Some muscles need more reps. military press is a good example of that. This is why ROP existe actually.

    Ladders work well to increase strength.

    Kind regards,

  3. Oscar

    Oscar Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I´m no expert, but this is how I see it:

    At an equal number of total reps per training session, sets of 5 should give more hypertrophy than ladders to 5, since you are working closer to your limit on more sets. It should also require more recovery.

    However, ladders should allow a higher total volume without compromising recovery. For instance, ROP heaviest day calls for 75 reps, which would be 15 sets of 5 with a challenging weight: not easy (maybe not doable?). Since many of the rungs are shorter, therefore easier, you manage to do a higher volume than sets across of 5 reps.

    If you are looking for hypetrophy, I would first do a block of sets across of 5 reps and see where it takes you. After that, switch to ladder ala ROP or something like fighter pull up program. If you want to increase strength you can start with ladders.
  4. George Locke

    George Locke Double-Digit Post Count

    My first post here was about ladders, and I think the answers might be relevant to you: Benefit of low reps rungs in ladders? My takeaway from the answers in that thread was that the low rep rungs provide "quality practice."

    If you're doing ladders up to 10 on a weight that's ~12RM, that would aim you more towards hypertrophy since you're getting a lot of volume at high relative intensity. Reading about ladder sets from other sources outside SF might give you the impression that this is what ladders are about, but ladders up to 5 aren't like that.
    KenKennedy likes this.
  5. Trever

    Trever Still New to StrongFirst Forum

    Thanks for the replies. I’m mostly concentrating on improving my strength in the pull up and dip for now. Later I will probably try to maximize reps at my bodyweight.
    With that in mind I’m thinking I should keep the set reps low, even with ladder sets, and add weight as I can. Just wanted to get some opinions on whether my thinking is correct or not.
  6. Kozushi

    Kozushi More than 2500 posts

    I wonder if anyone has science on this question.
  7. George Locke

    George Locke Double-Digit Post Count

    I've never seen a study with ladders, though I would be delighted to find one. Strength/hypertrophy training studies usually program failure every set for standardization purposes. (Even with BB back squats. It's nuts.)
    Kozushi likes this.
  8. Kozushi

    Kozushi More than 2500 posts

    The Reload program I'm following now has no ladders. There must be a reason for this.

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