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Sets, Reps, Low High, Max, AHH!!!

Discussion in 'Weight Training/Bulking' started by Gance, Aug 28, 2008.

  1. Gance

    Gance Active Member

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    Here is the deal. I recently modified my work out a bit to mix things up and keep things changing and fresh after about 2 months of the same. The change was to drop a few iso exercises and focus more on compounds. I also dropped to only doing two sets of about 6-8 difficult levels of weight. Difficult to the point where at the end of the set I can't do another rep.

    However, I was wondering if this was a good way to go about gaining muscle and strength. I've seen many exercise routines with as many as 5 sets, or some with 3. The reason I'm trying 2 is because I believe the MAX OT routine had a few weeks set to only 2 sets.

    Really I wasn't sure what way to go, but I wanted to check to make sure I'm not making a misinformed mistake with the change I made.
     
  2. chicanerous

    chicanerous Elite Member
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    To an extent, total volume and load is more important than the division into sets and reps. Don't get too bogged down in the specifics.

    You might find this article interesting:

    http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding/the_setrep_bible

    I'm not that article's intended audience any longer, but I used its broad recommendations for many years to great success.

    HIT would tell you that a single set is sufficient. I don't buy it. 2x6-8 is also much too low for me. If I'm going to failure or close to it in that rep range, I will perform at least 3 sets with 4 being about my optimal number. It's easier to see why when you look at the volume:

    2x6-8 = 12-16
    3x6-8 = 18-24
    4x6-8 = 24-32

    Consider that an 8-RM is usually about 80% for me and I think a 5x5x80% is just about the perfect amount of volume at that load (performed 2-4x per week), so that makes the 4x6-8 pretty much my favorite choice.

    Max-OT uses 6-9 sets of 4-6 reps per muscle group at a frequency of every 5-7 days.
     
    #2 chicanerous, Aug 28, 2008
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2008
  3. Gance

    Gance Active Member

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    Well, I'm definitely not at failure. I guess maybe I should consider upping things maybe, not that I need to hit failure but it seems like I should be at least closer.
     
  4. kevin_in_ga

    kevin_in_ga Active Member

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    Sets, reps, and % of your 1RM are all part of the equation, but so is TIMING.

    1. You can make your workout more challenging by SLOWING DOWN THE SPEED OF EACH REP (the cadence up and down), taking a little more time in each phase while the muscle is under tension. To do this properly, you will need to drop either some weight or reps.

    2. You can also make it harder by REDUCING THE REST PERIOD BETWEEN EXERCISES. This is what I am currently doing, and trust me, it is HARD by the end of your routine to even stand without holding on to something. You will be dripping with sweat by the end of your workout if you keep the rest period short (less than a minute, but even better is to be at 30 seconds or less). This works well for circuit training, where you jump quickly between different exercises.

    These two strategies will defintiely make your workout more productive and physically demanding.
     
  5. RTE

    RTE Well-Known Member

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    sets 1-3 per exercise
    Reps 8-12 right in the sweet spot for muscle mass
    Rest 30-60 sec between sets for a cardio effect.
    The closer to failure, the fewer sets.

    Your body works as a system not in pieces. Your whole body is at rest at night. Food goes to nourish all parts of your body. Do whole body workouts, you can't split your body. A 3 day schedule leaves 4 for rest and repair. For the busy student or worker, it is easier to devote 3 days a week for a lifetime then 4-6 days.

    I know I don't go with the masses and suggest new age things. My ideas are old school but they worked then and they work now. Give them a try.
     
  6. Nowhereman

    Nowhereman Well-Known Member

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    :lol: I never thought of it as new age before. But I agree with RTE, even if I don't follow the routines he sets forth. I don't do them because I don't have fun with that type of workout. Doesn't fit my personality.

    CA$ON is trying it and it seems like he really enjoys it, other people like Olympic lifting (which has a different set of rep and rules). There many different types of workouts to fit anyones style. Try one out, if you like stick to it, if you don't move on.
     
  7. Eagle Tree

    Eagle Tree Active Member

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    Last month I cut over to HST. The program I came up with was virtually the same I'd done on a 5x5, a full body of all compounds with two ISOs sort of after the fact. The big difference was doing only 2 sets though also coupled with the HST rep ranges calculated out for 15, 10, 5, and 2RM (negatives) in two week cycles of progression. This has been extremely effective for me. The gains are coming better than my noob gains ever did. I hadn't had much of anything positive out of a 5x5 and a split prior. I attribute a lot of it to the frequency without overwork and I think that may just match my age and genetics. Whatever is causing it, 2 sets done well is working for me much better than 5 and 6-8 on the other programs. I can actually measure gains now rather than just squinting to see them in the mirror.

    I should mention that I'm doing those two sets one in the morning and one in the evening 3 days a week. That may also be a factor because they are always perfect sets. I should also mention that this is NOT time efficient. A lot of plate swapping.

    I don't think single or double sets would work if the weight isn't spot on. If you aren't intentionally lifting the right weight and progression it would be easy to end up getting no bulk at all.

    It's probably very situational whether low sets work better or much worse. Most people who gravitate toward weight lifting probably wouldn't get much from it. I sure do though.
     

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