Tag Archives: low reps
Three ways to progress without adding weight to the bar –
1: Add Reps
2: Add Sets
3: Reduce Rest
We all love lifting more weight, it’s very rewarding, however it’s not always possible and because of that reason we need other ways in which we can keep progressing.
Above are three simple adaptations that we will cover.
1 – Adding Reps
Say you’re doing 5×5 at 60kg, yet you can’t hit the same 5×5 at 62.5kg.
Now you can add in fractional plates to your training that weight as little as 0.25kg however if you don’t have those then adding reps will be your best bet.
Perhaps you set out to add a rep each session until you are doing 5×7, or perhaps 5×10, the choice is yours, however what you will find is that by adding reps and setting a rep goal you’ll be able to add weight easily once you hit the added reps with ease.
2 – Adding Sets
Similar to above except the reps stay the same, so 5×5 might end up being 10×5 and so on.
You could even choose to combine the two and start off at 5×5, work to 5×7 then add a set and go back to 6×5, build that to 6×7, then on to 7×5 building to 7×7 all the way until you hit 10×7, you get the idea.
3 – Reducing Rest
This falls in to the category of Density Training with increases Oxygen debt and EPOC, getting the same amount of work done in less time is a great way to not only make progress in terms of strength and lean muscle mass but also stripping fat off.
If you’re doing the standard 5×5, the rest might be say 5min, you can easily make a dent by taking it down by 15-30 seconds each session until you’re at just 1min rest between each set. From here you’ve got the choice of adding weight or perhaps even utilising one or both of the methods from above if you’re still finding adding weight a tall order.
The three options above are simple and very easy to apply, however it will retire you to stay on the same workout protocol for a while, at least on your main lifts and this can be an arduous task for some people, you’ve been warned.
If in the event that you can’t add any more weight, you’ve hit your limit for that move, you can change the exercise to a different variation, so perhaps overhead press turns in to incline press, or incline press in to close grip bench press and so on.
When you stall on a weight drop it by say 5-10% and then utilise the methods above, you won’t regret it.
The secret to progress is progress, achieve it in any way you can.
High reps, low sets are popular for getting in a lot of volume, however you can do the same by using submit weights and lower reps and we shall look at why you should be doing this.
Why use low reps higher sets to hit a daily volume goal?
1 – You use a higher % of 1RM – say 85% (a technical 6RM) for multiple sets of 2-3 reps until you hit perhaps a 50 rep target. 16-25 sets required.
2 – It stimulates more muscle due to it being a higher relative load, more muscle fibres used means more adaptive need, this means more progress.
3 – Lifting heavier weights is more fun and provides what is called ‘functional hypertrophy’ – essentially you’re strong and look good, rather than just looking good with nothing back it up.
4 – It’s way more fun.
Here is a simple structure to use:
High volume workout – 80%+ 1RM – 50 reps – 3 lifts per session: these don’t have to be the sam lift each workout, cover the following movement patterns across the week for optimal results.
– Full body – snatch, clean/jerk etc)
– Loaded carry – farmers walk, sand bag carry and so on
– Hinge – deadlift
– Squat – umm well… a squat, obviously
– Pull – Chin up or row perhaps
– Push – Press or a dip
^^ The options are endless, just pick a moment and find a lift to go with it.
Train movements for miracles.
Moderate volume workout – 80%+ 1RM – 30 reps – 3 lifts per session
Low volume workout – 80%+ 1RM – 10 reps – 3 lifts per session
This volume cycling will allow you to get some much needed recover if you start feeling beaten up, you can utilise the H-M-L as you see fit. A weekly loading high look like this:
M – H
T – M
W- L – or off
T – H
S – M
S – L or off
Aim for 80-210 reps of volume per movement per week.
If you lift heavier weights more often you will find a lot of benefit to strength, muscle mass, fat loss and less boredom from doing endless high rep pump sets.