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Best Lifting Tempos and Rep Ranges?

Hello T-Nation, members, everybody…after a long absence, I am back, happy, grateful for the responses to my previous post on relationships, fitness and paraphilias and all that, and well, just wanted to get something straight once and for all, even if it means beating my old drum again with the same question banging on your ears.

During the past months, I’ve seen much discussions about training systems, varying from fiber recruitment and speed of lifting to periodization of training routines and biomechanical tweaks on exercises to exploit them more…

But a small issue remains: tempo and rep ranges.

Some say to lift 3-5, others 6-8 others 10-12 or 10-15…some say supersets, some say rest-pause sets, some say dropsets and as Alwyn Cosgrove once said “There are many methods, but very few principles” and I wanted to know your opinions on how to use, when to use (and why using them works) in what refers to these methods I’ve just mentioned, as well as your own personal way to measure a rep speed effect on your body, how do you feel the itch and how do you scratch it so to speak…

Lift as fast as possible while still maintaining control. That shouldn’t be too hard to figure out. For most lifts the eccentric and concentric time should be about the same.

There’s not much reason to go over 100 reps except for Kettlebell Swings and Bodyweight exercises.

I can’t imagine anyone would disagree with what I’ve just said.

Chest 6-8 reps
Arms 6-8 reps
Shoulders 8-12 reps
Back 12-15 reps
Legs 12-20 reps

That’s what most bodybuilders generally do.

1-3 Strength
12-20 Hypertrophy

Anything in between is a mix of the two. There may be more controversy about that statement.

Let me refresh your memory with Chad Waterbury’s words on "Science of 10 x " and “Building your Rep part II”:

<<…Ultimate Training Parameters

If I was forced to perform one set of training parameters for the rest of my days, I�??d choose the following method:

Sets: 10
Reps: 3
Load: 80-85% of 1RM, or 5-6 RM (Repetition Maximum)
Rest: 60-120 seconds between sets
Tempo: 20X (lower weight to a count of two, no pause, lift as fast as possible)
Exercise: Any compound movement…>>

and

<<… Eccentric Phase Bottom Line: Limit the duration of eccentric contractions to 2 seconds when training for size/strength. But don’t count, just control! …>>

If you read this week’s articles, check " Max Load Training in the Real World" and see what they post about the difference between max loads and max weights. To sum it up, your Maximal Load is the maximum amount of weight that allows you to comp`lete a set, where each rep follows a certain parameters.

Bottom line: the maximum amount of weight that allos you to keep a strict form in terms of speed of execution.

If you want to get big, simply follow three basic rules:

1-) Lift with a purpose, try to chase a pump you feel like the best work your muscles get, but don’t lift with a given tempo, weight or set/rep frame in mind.

2-) Eat well, rest well, sleep well, quit smoking or reduce it to the abre minimum, the same with drinking and try to keep healthy, you aren’t going to build Rome in one day, or one week.

3-) Train for something: I know i said don’t train for sets, reps or weights, but regardless, train to feel good. Don’t count the reps, sets of the weight, just train to work more, better, harder and complement it with a sport, if you get betetr at it, means you are getting fitter, means you will get bigger, and stronger.

[quote]Pump_Daddy wrote:
Let me refresh your memory with Chad Waterbury’s words on "Science of 10 x " and “Building your Rep part II”:

<<…Ultimate Training Parameters

If I was forced to perform one set of training parameters for the rest of my days, I�??d choose the following method:

Sets: 10
Reps: 3
Load: 80-85% of 1RM, or 5-6 RM (Repetition Maximum)
Rest: 60-120 seconds between sets
Tempo: 20X (lower weight to a count of two, no pause, lift as fast as possible)
Exercise: Any compound movement…>>

and

<<… Eccentric Phase Bottom Line: Limit the duration of eccentric contractions to 2 seconds when training for size/strength. But don’t count, just control! …>>

If you read this week’s articles, check " Max Load Training in the Real World" and see what they post about the difference between max loads and max weights. To sum it up, your Maximal Load is the maximum amount of weight that allows you to comp`lete a set, where each rep follows a certain parameters. Bottom line: the maximum amount of weight that allos you to keep a strict form in terms of speed of execution.

If you want to get big, simply follow three basic rules:

1-) Lift with a purpose, try to chase a pump you feel like the best work your muscles get, but don’t lift with a given tempo, weight or set/rep frame in mind.

2-) Eat well, rest well, sleep well, quit smoking or reduce it to the abre minimum, the same with drinking and try to keep healthy, you aren’t going to build Rome in one day, or one week.

3-) Train for something: I know i said don’t train for sets, reps or weights, but regardless, train to feel good. Don’t count the reps, sets of the weight, just train to work more, better, harder and complement it with a sport, if you get betetr at it, means you are getting fitter, means you will get bigger, and stronger.
[/quote]

BTW, the reason why I posted Waterbury’s article and mentioned Scott Abel’s one of this week is so you consider relativity in terminology and effect when it comes to maximal loads, tempo, etc. Chad said to count for 2, not lower in 2 seconds, then he said 2 seconds is well, but can be shorter than that and work, and if you read Abel’s article, 1 second per rep is useful if done right.

T

[quote]FightingScott wrote:
Lift as fast as possible while still maintaining control. That shouldn’t be too hard to figure out. For most lifts the eccentric and concentric time should be about the same.

There’s not much reason to go over 100 reps except for Kettlebell Swings and Bodyweight exercises.

I can’t imagine anyone would disagree with what I’ve just said.

Chest 6-8 reps
Arms 6-8 reps
Shoulders 8-12 reps
Back 12-15 reps
Legs 12-20 reps

That’s what most bodybuilders generally do.

1-3 Strength
12-20 Hypertrophy

Anything in between is a mix of the two. There may be more controversy about that statement. [/quote]

let’s start a Flame War!

just kidding (I hope)

I totally agree with Fighting Scott: things are simple…maybe the problem is explaining how to feel you are doing things the right way, so here’s my own little two cents worth of advice:

1-) Each rep should feel like you contract the muscles as hard, as deep as you can feel them do so and lower the weight with control, focusing on keeping the muscles tense. Let the weight guide you, pick one you start to feel at the second rep, third at most.

You shouldn’t slow it down too much, odds are, just focus on lowering it under control, not on lowering it slow, but still, keep force on the bar to resist it, not too much, but enough so the muscles are tense almost as much as when you lifted the weight.

You have to lift with 100% force ont he bar, means if you aren’t lifting 100% of your 1RM, the bar will move fast, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to use momentum and let you simply shoot it up without exerting force during the full ROM.

2-) each set shouldn’t go close to failure, in fact, each set should make you anxious for another one by letting you feel your own power on the bar:

About this concept, I have replied to a thread on the article by Scott Abel “Max Load Training in the Real World” and this is a bit of my latest contribution. If you recall your other thread of “100 reps to bigger muscles” or the “BDSM muscle” one, Louisluthor, this is Boneco’s method:

I once posted on a thread and described my way to measure up the benefits of a workout, and what I said, pretty much summarized into a couple sentences was:

“… you can more more weight by unloading the bar and do more reps and more sets than by going heavier and having to rest longer and do less sets or going too light and crank one rep after another and another…”

I stand by that, as I have a friend which i also mentioned, who uses an EDT-like principle to try and do his most work on each set and each workout by peaking up.

What’s peaking up? If I can do a set of 10 reps with my 12 RM, by rep 5 I am at the top of the curve, I’m moving at my best speed and producing force, but by the 7th rep I will feel it harder, heavier, my speed will slow down a little bit and I’ll get tired. So the trick is to stop at the 6th rep and just rest as little as possible, like an EDT protocol.

The benefits? You keep more energy so the reps are all done at 100% force and quality whereas if you did crank out the 10 reps with the 12RM load you’d have 7 good reps at most and 3 mediocre ones. I don’t care if someone says the alst 2 or 3 reps of a 10-rep set are the best ones for how hard they are to perform, that’s bullshit, doesn’t make sense to me.

Think of the muscles as workers, you can pull double shifts or work them hard on 8-hour shifts knowing afgter the 6th hour, they will be a little sloppy, not too much but while they were giving 100% to the factory, now they give just 80-85% at most, more like a 70%.

¿ Wouldn’t it be better to have 6-hour shifts then if you will use the same amount of workers and don’t have money to hire any extra ones, and which is economically the same as you pay them for the hour ?

It’s like they say here “Same cake size, different number of slices to share” and makes perfect sense to me to do more sets, with a good load rather than do less sets, tire myself out and see that my workout isn’t in the 95-100% efficiency zone and drops as low as 75-80%, yes?

I hope that was somewhat useful, and by the way, congratulations for being alive with your Dominatrix girlfriend, it’s cool that you found love and you seem to have survived it, nice to see you too Pump, Merry Xmas to you guys.

Since we’re on this subject, right now I’m trying to get up my 1RM. I’m doing 3 sets of 6-7 reps for strength with 3 minutes of rest. I need 3 minutes to recover for the weight that I use. Usually my 1RM goes up about 30 lbs. every six weeks. Is there a better method of getting it up even higher in that time? Should I start upping the weight and doing more sets with 3 reps? Even though I’m strength training, I still get my reps in on the dumbbell press for size.

[quote]sed26 wrote:
Since we’re on this subject, right now I’m trying to get up my 1RM. I’m doing 3 sets of 6-7 reps for strength with 3 minutes of rest. I need 3 minutes to recover for the weight that I use. Usually my 1RM goes up about 30 lbs. every six weeks. Is there a better method of getting it up even higher in that time? Should I start upping the weight and doing more sets with 3 reps? Even though I’m strength training, I still get my reps in on the dumbbell press for size.[/quote]

You say “usually,” so I assume you’re not a novice. That means you won’t be able to sustain those gains forever.

You do know that 30 pounds in 6 weeks means 260 pounds a year, right? I’m a beginner lifter, but all the literature suggests that bodybuilders will kill for 1/10th of that progress in a year’s time.

[quote]sed26 wrote:
Since we’re on this subject, right now I’m trying to get up my 1RM. I’m doing 3 sets of 6-7 reps for strength with 3 minutes of rest. I need 3 minutes to recover for the weight that I use. Usually my 1RM goes up about 30 lbs. every six weeks. Is there a better method of getting it up even higher in that time? Should I start upping the weight and doing more sets with 3 reps? Even though I’m strength training, I still get my reps in on the dumbbell press for size.[/quote]

30lbs every six weeks is sick. Don’t change anything, some of us would kill to put that much weight on lifts every 6 weeks.

OK cool, so I guess I’m doing as good as I possibly can right now. I’ll just keep my same routine and see how long this progress continues. So far its been really consistant for months.

[quote]Vandal__Savage wrote:

2-) each set shouldn’t go close to failure, in fact, each set should make you anxious for another one by letting you feel your own power on the bar:
[/quote]

Gotta say I disagree with that statement, if hypertrophy is the primary goal that is. Not that you can’t build muscle without going to failure, but a quick glance at the real world will tell you that the vast, vast majority of body builders train to failure.

Maybe it’s just my reading comprehension, but that summary sentence made absolutely no sense to me. Could you elaborate a little more on what you meant by that?

I think that EDT is a very simplified system and is one of the more innovative “volume training” protocols. But, to be honest, what’s more efficient doing umpteen sets of 6 reps with a 12 RM, or doing 1 set of 12 with a 12 RM? EDT would be a great method for an athlete looking to build their skill at a particular movement (like GTG is), but for muscle building purposes I would argue that it’s quite inefficient.

Think about it 1-3 sets or 20, you don’t need to be a mathematician to see which is actually more efficient.

I know this thread has been largely about rep ranges. And there are MANY different ones to choose from

I am honestly more interested in the often neglected tempo question he asked.

I recently did a 3-0-1 (3 on the negative movement basically) with much success.

Any thoughts on various tempos?

[quote]tweekster wrote:
I know this thread has been largely about rep ranges. And there are MANY different ones to choose from

I am honestly more interested in the often neglected tempo question he asked.

I recently did a 3-0-1 (3 on the negative movement basically) with much success.

Any thoughts on various tempos?[/quote]

Like this:

Wojo is moving some serious weight in perfect form and control.

As far as the actual tempo goes, I personally like lifting it explosively (though that means contracting the desired muscle maximally, not just using any muscles that my body wants to use to move the weight) and lowering it under complete control. Really the only lifts where I might not try to lower the bar in control would be lifts where doing so might increase the risk of injury (deadlifts or power cleans for example).

I really don’t like counting tempos though. I’ll only do that with a client/training partner if they’re in the habit of just dropping their negatives.

I see Sento follows the same concept that WOjo and in this case, Vandal postulates:

– lift with perfect control by putting out as much force as possible (thus getting the best and deepest, most intense contraction to effect the muscle fibers) without letting momentum take over…

–…and lower under as much control as needed to keep the muscles under a tension almost identical to that of the lfiting phase to get big, and let the load and exercise type dictate those speeds…

Cool thing.

BTW Luthor, how’s that Sadistic BDSM Mistress girlfriend of yours, you married finally or she whipped you away ?

Luthor, simply do the following:

Go to a dipping bar station, from rep 1, try to lower yourself ina way in which you feel a level of tension almost as good as lifting, without you actually having to think of going slow, control with the minimum of energy and duration, when you start feeling like you can’t give out 100%, that is lifting slower, drop down, do pushups until it happens again, and then do bitch-ups and when it happens rest. Do as many sets as you can, as many reps as it takes to get to the end of your performance.

You might see that while you can do 15 reps on the first set of dips, after rep 8th you start lifting slower, it’s harder…so then drop to pushups…

The first rep of a segment can be slower when going down than the last…as your strength fades, you’ll happen to lower faster. This is an alternative, it’s best if you just try to get as many reps as possible so don’t worry, but if you want to focus on the “feeling” of it, do it…start trying to spend 2 seconds on the way down or a little elss, and by the last rep in which you can lift as fast as possible, you’ll see an eccentric phase shortening, maybe you’ll be barely above 1 second.

I dont like counting tempos. It makes focusing on controlling a heavy weight even harder. It seems pointless to me. Doesnt manipulating weight (reps),rest time and exercises give you enough choices to keep from getting stale?