T Nation

10x3 vs. 8x5

Can anyone comment on how the 10x3 rep scheme compares to the 8x5? Charles Staley recommended the 8x5 scheme to me and it was very effective. I’m wondering if 10x3 would be even better b/c of the increased load?

Rim

Rim,
I think it might depend on your goal (size or strength). Both programs will produce good results in both categories, but you’re apt to see a bit more hypertrophy from the 8x5. The volume is a bit higher, and you’re operating in the strength/hypertrophy zone.

Lets say you bench 200lbs for a 1RM to make the example easy:

On the 10x3 you choose a load of about 80% or 160lbs. If you accomplish all the reps, then you get 160x30=4,800lbs of weight in a certain time frame.

With the 8x5 you also can use 80%, but Charles usually suggests a 10RM so this is closer to 75%. This would be 150lbs. 150x40reps=6000lbs of weight in the same or slightly shorter time frame.

By getting more work in the same/less time and still respecting the fact that you must use at least 70%+ to get a decent number of Type IIA and IIB MU’s to fire, you should get a slightly better growth stimulus.

Now if you use 80% with 8x5, but don’t quite get all the reps (because you ARE avoiding failure as both Staley and Waterbury recommend) then you still get a slight advantage as follows:

set 1: 5 reps
set 2: 5 reps
set 3: 5 reps
set 4: 5 reps
set 5: 4 reps (drop 1 to avoid failure)
set 6: 4 reps (")
set 7: 3 reps (drop 2 to avoid failure)
set 8: 3 reps (")
Total: 34 reps at 160lbs = 5,440lbs.

With this you have the best scenario. You use 80% 1RM, which if you do a “fast” concentric, then you will fire high numbers of the Type II fibers for growth and still get a higher total tonnage moved compared to 10x3.

Hope that helps some,

Disc Hoss

8 x 5 i have found to be the best for me.

As previous post, overall you will do more work (assuming bar speed etc are same) and as such, more energy expenditure. shifting the highter loads = greater FT fibre recruitment = better hypertrophy.

Personally, over 8 and weights are too light, unless you are doing something sports/rehab or gpp

Sounds reasonable, thanks Hoss.

Great post.

Wow. Awesome reponse Disc Hoss! Thanks!

Rim

It’s goal dependant, but if I know Charles he would probably rather you did 30 x 1 to be honest with you.

At least for awhile.

As Charles has said many times, the best program for you is the one you aren’t doing.

ie…Change is good!

Thanks for the kind words, guys. Talking shop is almost as fun as actually doing the workouts. :wink: Almost.

Disc Hoss

[quote]Riminator wrote:
Can anyone comment on how the 10x3 rep scheme compares to the 8x5? Charles Staley recommended the 8x5 scheme to me and it was very effective. I’m wondering if 10x3 would be even better b/c of the increased load?

Rim [/quote]

Note how CWs ABBH starts with 10x3 and migrates to 8x5 (yes, 10x5 to be exact). Note all the raves ABBH gets. Are much of the gains people experience on ABBH due to the fact that very few train within those rep/set ranges? Or? Also, note how f*cking sore I am today from ABBH 10x5 bench/row last night.

Someone mentioned 30x1. Anyone done that for a few weeks? How about 15x2? or 20x2? or 25x2? Those fit in with the hypertrophy prescription for 30-50 reps and could work well with a OLAD program.
Someone mentioned that the best program is the one that you are not on. Yeah, that too.

BFG

Great Post

I was going to post pretty much the same thing this morning asking about those rep and set perametres.

Great reply by disc hoss as well,top work brother.

1 question
Do u guys use only 1 exercise eg-8 x 5 bench press or diff exercises eg-bench press 3 x 5 incline press 3 x 5 dips 2 x 5?
I usually like doing just 1 exercise for each muscle group but can doing more than 1 exercise produce more hypertrophy?

Peace
H

this is a similar issue raised when looking at german volume type training, where there is a huge volume, read boredom of 1 exercise.

The answer i would give would be go with the 1. its not much time on 1, and in changing exercises, just wastes time for that section of sets. also, grinding out those last reps on set 7/8 are just sooo satisfying.

by all means do bench 8x5 and if you can hi incline 8x5 also.

if anyone else has something to add that would be welcome

In a recent post, CW actually advocated sticking with one movement over the course of the prescribed sets. Apparently the advantage is that muscles benefit by “learning” and improving their own performance over the multiple sets. Makes sense as you may have noticed sets 6 - 10 are often times stronger and more “in a groove” than 1 -5.

Great post everyone.

yup, would agree.

seeme like the recruitment patterns seem o refine. e.g my first set bench is p[oor, 3/4 are the best.

similar to what 1,6 training is supposed to do.

agreed, good post.

[quote]homer23 wrote:
In a recent post, CW actually advocated sticking with one movement over the course of the prescribed sets. Apparently the advantage is that muscles benefit by “learning” and improving their own performance over the multiple sets. Makes sense as you may have noticed sets 6 - 10 are often times stronger and more “in a groove” than 1 -5.

Great post everyone. [/quote]

Absolutely. My sets always get better after the first few. I’m glad that others like and have had success with the 8x5. It’s turned out to be my favorite way of lifting weights yet.

Rim

I’ve gotta jump in on this thread. Excellent commentary!

I hate to split hairs, but we’re splitting hairs here. 10x3 and 8x5 are both outstanding parameters. Each method induces similar stimulation of the high-threshold MUs and each method will definitely pack on the mass.

Therefore, don’t get too caught up with considering one better than the other - they’re both awesome.

For the trainees that have spent the majority of their previous cycle with 8-10 reps, I prefer 10x3 since it’s “further” away from their neurologically-comfortable zone, compared to 8x5. But, for those who’ve been employing the 10x3 method, 8x5 is an excellent choice since it’ll allow you to target the same growth-inducing MUs (basically the same) while providing a sufficient parameter change for continued gains.

Good stuff!

Chad,

How long should we continue with a 10x3 rep range? Would it be good to do four weeks then go to 8x5 for four weeks? Should I throw in a few weeks of higher rep? I just don’t want to end up tearing something or causing an injury.

Thanks
Todd

[quote]Todd S. wrote:
Chad,

How long should we continue with a 10x3 rep range? Would it be good to do four weeks then go to 8x5 for four weeks? Should I throw in a few weeks of higher rep? I just don’t want to end up tearing something or causing an injury.

Thanks
Todd[/quote]

I’ve wondered this myself. I’d love to hear what some of the experts have to say about this.

Rim

[quote]Todd S. wrote:
Chad,

How long should we continue with a 10x3 rep range? Would it be good to do four weeks then go to 8x5 for four weeks? Should I throw in a few weeks of higher rep? I just don’t want to end up tearing something or causing an injury.

Thanks
Todd[/quote]

First off, I don’t recommend performing any method all week long. That being said, the “rule of thumb” with hypertrophy training is to switch up the parameters every 4 weeks, or so.

Yes, 8x5 is a great follow-up to 10x3, as I mentioned in my post. To clarify, here are two sample 4 week phases that could be used for an 8 week program. Let’s say you train each body part 2x/week.

Weeks 1-4
Workout 1: 10x3 w/6RM
Workout 2: 4x8 w/10RM

Weeks 5-8:
Workout 1: 8x5 w/8RM
Workout 2: 3x10 w/12RM

That should help clear things up.

Interesting perspective, Chad.

I recently finished a “back-off” week on WM. I felt like I had over-trained slightly and needed to give my body a little recovery.

So, I did the same exercises, but instead of doing 10x3 and 4x6, I did all with 3x10 at 60% of my previous week’s “normal” weight, lifting as explosively as possible.

It was a nice break. Now I’ll have to see what it feels like when I get back to “normal” next week.

[quote]michaelv wrote:
Interesting perspective, Chad.

I recently finished a “back-off” week on WM. I felt like I had over-trained slightly and needed to give my body a little recovery.

So, I did the same exercises, but instead of doing 10x3 and 4x6, I did all with 3x10 at 60% of my previous week’s “normal” weight, lifting as explosively as possible.

It was a nice break. Now I’ll have to see what it feels like when I get back to “normal” next week.[/quote]

Yes, a back-off week is almost always a good idea. Most trainees would do well to incorporate one every 4-6 weeks, whether they think they need it or not.