T Nation

Any Experience Using the Rule of 10 Reps Routine?


I want to continue strength training while I train for several endurance races (road 10k, obstacle course race, marathon) through February of next year. I came across a post by Pavel Tsatsouline called “The Rule of 10 Reps.” It’s based on the principle of lifting heavy but not hard. The goal of the program is to build as much strength as possible while staying as fresh as possible for your sport. It’s a program for athletes.

Key points are:
1-Use two to three global compound exercises (e.g. deadlift and bench press)
2-lift 3 times per week. Do conditioning
3-Focus on sets of 2 or 3 reps
4-In all cases, complete approximately 10 reps per lift per workout (e.g. three sets of three, five sets of 2, etc)
5-Never train to failure
6-Rest 5 minutes between sets
7-Finish your workout feeling stronger than when you started.

Any opinions regarding this program?


yeah there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Quite a lot of routines recommend similar. The basic principle is lifting heavy enough, often enough, to get stronger without burying yourself under a ton of volume.

The key point is avoiding going to technical failure, so the minute you perform a rep slower than the others or your technique breaks down in some way then you stop then and there.


Are you an athlete that needs to stay fresh for their sport?


yeah can work well, 5 mins between sets is overkill IMO 2-3 mins is plenty


Way, WAY back, when I did track, we did something similar. The 5 and 10 km guys did 20.

If it interest you, why not give it a try and post your thoughts?


I want to use a program like this when I am in a serious endurance training phase. There are some big races (road 10k, obstacle course race, marathon) towards the end of this year and beginning of next year where I will have to put in a good amount of race specific training. But I don’t want to lose strength and think that at least maintaining my strength would help my endurance.

For now I’m just doing base aerobic training and a modified starting strength (A: front squats, overhead press, deadlifts/hang cleans (alternate); B: front squats, bench press, pull-ups/chin-ups) in order to build my aerobic base and strength base.

I’ll post my thoughts on this after I give it a go.


I am a big Pavel / Dan John fan, and I have done (relatively) well with a similarly principled routine from StrongFirst for the last couple of months (the Daily Dose deadlift program). I suspect it could do fairly well for you. You can check out my training log if you like.


Interesting. I’m going to have to flag that daily dose deadlift program for the future.