If variety is the spice of life, then the average gym-goers menu is a pretty bland affair. If you’ve been on a diet of “Three Sets of Ten” for years then it’s most definitely time to add some masala powder to that recipe. Changing your reps will spark new progress and give your brain a break from the same old same old.
Here are three great options.
Five by Five – A classic set and rep scheme to add a mix of size and strength for the intermediate trainee. Pick a big exercise to do first in your workout, ideally a squat or deadlift for the lower body, a bench press or chin up for the upper body. In fact, pairing the bench press and chin up for five alternating sets of five heavy reps is a fantastic upper body workout in itself.
Twenty rep breathing sets – These are a little more advanced and gruelling, and best reserved for the squat. After a few warm up sets, pick a weight that you know is normally tough for ten to twelve reps…
And then do twenty. How? By taking tests between reps when it starts getting tough, WITHOUT re-racking the bar. Keep the bar on your back, take a few deep breaths, then do a few more reps until you hit twenty. Do this right and you won’t need more than one set, trust us. 7/3/7/3 – This one is a little more fancy, and takes advantage of something called post-tetanic facilitation, which is a fancy way of saying that moderate weights feel a lot lighter after you’ve lifted a heavy weight, meaning you can get more reps.
Here’s how to use it. After a few warm up sets, pick a weight you think you can only manage seven good reps on. Then rest two minutes before upping the weight to something that will be heavy for just three reps. Then rest and repeat that process, this time with HEAVIER weights on each set. If you’ve got the weights right, you should be able to lift 3-5% more on both the seven and three rep sets, as if by magic.
Try one of these techniques out for 4-5 weeks and we bet you’ll see some great progress. As ever if you have any questions just drop us an email or chat to one of us at the studio.
by @Zackcahill for BodyStudio.