I have been heavy weight lifting on and off for several years. I have most recently been focusing on squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press, and sometimes rows. Because I also do other workout classes, HIIT or cardio, I do these lifts once a week.

Below is my current plan:
Starting with squats and deadlifts, the first set (0) is always an "empty set" with the bar or 135lbs on deadlift. For sets 1-3, I add ~5lbs to the base from the week prior. Sets 4 & 5 are ramped, adding ~5lbs from week prior.

Here's what Sunday's workout looked like:

enter image description here

My goal is to build strength, and I have been impressed with setting PRs weekly (only ~4 weeks in). My gut is to do this ramping for 12 weeks, test a 1RM, and stabilize at some point. I'm really curious about how to determine when to stabilize, and what I mean is when to do the same amount of weight for X amount of time. I found this question on when to test/train a 1RM, but I'm more curious about when to stop/start ramping in one's training.

Edit for more clarity: I guess what I'm most concerned about is straining and muscle fatigue with ramping weekly for extended periods of time, thus assuming some period of stabilization. I assume this could lead to other problems over time. I know a short answer could be to "stop ramping once you've reached desired strength," but again, it doesn't acknowledge a stabilization period between increasing weight load.

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    I would say that most people never want to stabilize. Most weight training is ramps followed by deloads to more ramps. People stabilizing because they're content with their strength are few and far between. Most stabilize because the effort required to break past whatever plateau they're at is in excess of the effort they'd like to put into it.
    – C. Lange
    Commented Jul 31, 2021 at 18:01
  • Welcome Darla. Which app generated the image you posted? Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 9:00
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    Thanks Darla. Is it this app: play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=io.strongapp.strong ? Commented Aug 5, 2021 at 8:47
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    @RockPaperLz-MaskitorCasket Yep! That's it. I like the simplicity of it most. It is helpful that it includes a diagram for what each exercise is.
    – sillydarla
    Commented Aug 5, 2021 at 17:37
  • 1
    Thank you Darla, and thank you for the additional helpful details too! Commented Aug 6, 2021 at 1:49

1 Answer 1


What you're describing as "ramping", adding 5lbs per week, is usually referred to as a "linear progression". Such programs are usually aimed at novice lifters, and typically last a few months before the lifter experiences a "stall", in which they are unable to complete the same number of reps in each set, or are unable to complete the lifts with the same range of motion that they had previously been using. An individual program may have a prescribed method for what to do in the case of a stall, but usually this indicates the need to progress to a more advanced program which can facilitate the slower rate of progress that would be expected in a more experienced lifter.

So you would never actually aim to stabilise, but rather continue progressing indefinitely, just at slower and slower rates of progress as you become more experienced.

Since you mentioned concern about increasing levels of fatigue, this is something that is probably unnecessary in novice programs, given their relatively low training workloads, but is usually handled in more advanced programs through a "deload", in which the trainee takes a period (most commonly a week) of reduced training stress by reducing either their volume (the number of sets they perform per exercise per week), their intensity (how much weight they're lifting) or both. Deloads can be either proactive, in which they are scheduled at regular intervals, often around every 6 weeks, or reactive, in which the trainee simply begins a deload week whenever they start feeling unusually fatigued or beat up.

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