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20 Singles @ 220kg. Is Hypertrophy Likely?


Hello to anybody who happens to read this - i'm a first time poster so it's a curious experience to actually get involved.

I recently changed the way i'm training (as an experiment) because of an article i read here on T Nation that basicaclly suggested that it might make more sense to focus on the total volume of work done in a whole workout rather than reps/set etc. Anyway, i interpreted that in my own way and the result was (as the title suggests) 20 x singles at 220kg. Previously i would have attempted five sets and i would have gotten about 4 reps on the first set - however my strength would rapidly tail off and the subsequent sets would be something like 3,2,1,1 for a total of 11 reps for the workout and burnout.

As i've already said, the new method allowed me to do 20 reps for the whole workout which felt great (no pain in ligaments/tendons)and i could have probably done more but i felt it prudent to introduce artificial limits to the workout at some point.
Now, i can see why this style of training would be great for strength gains but does any body have any experience with high volume singles and did they notice any hypertrophy while doing them? if so, at what number of reps did they experience the hypertrophy ocurring?



I am a firm believer in the idea that lifting weights will make you bigger as well as stronger. I have not tried your protocol, but I see no reason why it would not results in both hypertrophy and strength.


I reckon that'd work, most definitely.


When I read the title I imagined twenty very large individuals who get no sex. Hypertrophy unlikely.

Carry on.


Try it for 6-8 weeks and see what happens. Also, do you have a system of progression in mind? More weight? Less rest? More reps?


IMO.....the rest interval between sets will make a difference. 1 minute or less and I think the odds are good. Start loitering about and I think not.


Cheers for the constructive response.
I'm hoping that some relevant feedback will help inform the system of progression - hence my question about what number of singles is likely to induce hypertrophy (if it's even possible as an adaption to this style).

For example (hypothetically), if 20 singles is enough to induce hypertrophy then i might increase the weight therefore reducing the number of reps possible and work back up to 20 and so on. However, if it turns out that 30 singles would be more appropriate then i would need to focus on getting out more reps with the same weight... it's just a matter of figuring out what the initial taget should be and that's why i asked if anybody has experience of hypertrophy with high volume singles.

Do you happen to know anybody with that sort of experience? I originally tried to post this thread in the powerlifting forum because i though those guys would be more likely to have done this kind of thing...


@BlueCollar - thanks for the response. Would you mind expanding on that for me?


These two articles (from Waterbury and Thibaudeau) talk about programs built around heavy singles:
Waterbury's approach increase the volume each week (adding one set), Thibs' approach manipulates the volume and/or density.

I think you felt that great because the weight was actually a little light for doing singles. If you were previously able to lift 220kg for 4 good reps, depending on how difficult that set was, it's safe to say it was at least your 5RM. Waterbury discusses using a 3RM, Thib's plan has to working up to an actual 1RM, doing work close to that, and then doing more work with a slightly lower percentage of that. Just some things to consider.


Hello Chris,

Tremendous response - that's exactly what i was looking for!

Cheers mate.


Low rep training with an extended rest interval is unlikely to 'accumulate' enough direct fatigue to promote hypertrophy.


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I tried something similar when I was doing Chaos and Pain style training. I kept the rest at one minute or less and I would just do 2-3 compounds and minimal assistance work. A typical workout would like like 10x3 front squats, 15x1 close grip bench, 3x6 hammer curl. Then the next day might be 12x2 deadlift, 10x3 barbell row, ab wheel. etc. I'd go 6 or 7 days a week like this.

I did this for a few months and felt phenomenal, no joint issues, my recovery was pretty good, and I was gaining strength. My endurance was trash which is why I switched it up, I definitely gained some mass on upper back and tris as well as glutes. I think this style of training can be beneficial but I'm not sure if it would replace more traditional training styles for the long haul. Just from my experience with it I would come back to it, but I just see it as another tool in the bag.


What do you feel is more important for hypertrophy? Time under tension per set, or total time under tension per session? Schoenfeld et al put the magic number at 30 seconds. If that holds water, then what also is the magical total time under session? Spread it out over multiple sessions?


Between those two options, my current thoughts are time under tension per session. I also think density is important, and that a high training density at a high intensity, may trump lower intensity with higher TUT.

Somewhere I saw Prilepin's chart adapted for hypertrophy, and I also know Borge Fagerli has done plenty of work and research studying these factors (take a look at myo reps if you haven't before), but I'm still trying to figure this out myself.


I have seen myoreps. I may do a 6 weeks with it sometime soon. I'm just weak after a layoff and I'm thinking hypertrophy focused training now is secondary.


Well, causing hypertrophy doesn't mean causing optimal hypertrophy. I like the ideas you are exploring, but I think there is a huge benefit missing here from 1. a controlled eccentric 2. transition from eccentric to concentric. 1 is not necessary with singles and 2 is non-existent.


Can you elaborate on this? Not about how it's missing (which is obvious), but the value of that transition. This is the first I've heard of that.


What you are missing is concentric to eccentric, not the other way around.


I just realized we are both right and both wrong, lol. It depends on the lift.

Squats, bench press: you get eccentric to concentric, then rack.

Overhead press, pullup: concentric to eccentric, then rack (or whatever you call it for pullups).