T Nation

Ascending and Descending Micro Reps

Hello, I’ve come with technique that I haven’t heard anyone talk about before and am wondering what coach Thibaudeau’s thoughts were (or anyone else’s…).

I wanted to come up with a way to maximize local growth factors and mTor response in the same exercise while keeping time under stress to a minimum in order to avoid burnout doing full body workouts every other day.

I’m calling this technique Ascending and Descending Micro reps (small partial reps). You could do it with just about any lift but it seems more suited for isolation/upper body exercises than something like squats or deadlifts. It works like this:

If the first portion of the lift is concentric start at the bottom and do a (very small) partial rep up and down but not quite to very bottom, do another partial rep and again don’t go quite as low as the beginning of that rep, keep doing this until you get to the top - it should take around 10 micro reps. Now at the top do the exact opposite - about 10 micro reps until you get to the bottom. The whole time the muscle should be flexed/tensed. The above would then count as “1 rep”. Anywhere from 1 to 3 sets of 5 to 8 reps each seem to be sufficient (depending on tempo). Basically short up/down reps higher and higher until you get to the top, then short down/up reps lower and lower until you get to the bottom. If you were doing curls or tricep pushdowns the hand would move about 1.5 inches per micro rep. Slower tempo requires less sets/reps.

Now I haven’t done a thorough experiment of the efficacy of this technique in comparison to other techniques but I’ve found that I’m able to use relatively heavier weights creating significant tension while getting a serious burn (lactate/local growth factor accumulation) and I’ve definitely seen some gains using it for the past 4 or 5 weeks. With the small ROM of each micro rep there is also an isometric component as well which I think could be of benefit…

I’m sure I’m not the first person to come up with this but I haven’t heard of it before, in either case any thoughts, comments, suggestions?

It’s a technique that exists. I’ve used it myself and, if I’m not mistake I think there was an article about them on T-nation recently. I’ll try to find it.

They are called “Elevator reps” and Ben Bruno came up with the technique. You fragment it a bit more and use a slower range of motion progression per rep, but it’s the same principle.

Ah I figured I couldn’t be the first person to come up with it. I’ll check out the article. Glad hear yourself and others consider it a legitimate technique.

Actually it looks like the Elevator Reps are a bit different. It’s not just the range of motion that is different but also in an elevator rep each partial rep goes to the bottom. In this case you don’t change the range (by shifting the end position) of each partial but maintain the distance of the range by changing the start and end position. I’ve noticed it’s quite a unique feeling because even once the muscle is so fatigued you can’t really do another full rep ‘normal rep’ you can still get to the top - like a ratchet…

Yours are hereby dubbed escalator reps!