T Nation

Biceps

Ok i read that certain muscle respond better to fewer reps, and higher sets, also i was listening to the interview with c.poliquin, i hope i spelled that right, and he also said that for some ppl lower reps higher stes brings in more of a respones, well what i would like to know is there a way that you can determin if you are one of those that repond well to lower reps…i guess ive done both in my weight lifting career, but i never really payed enough attention to which brought about more gains…any help would be great

None of us can tell you what you respond to best. Do high reps for a while and take measurements… then do low reps for a while and take measurements.

I can’t remember EXACTLY, but there’s a test of sorts that you can perform–I believe that Coach Poliquin has mentioned it, as well as Dr. Squat. That is, take a weight that is 85% of your one-repetition max. Make sure you’re good and rested, and go at it till you can’t perform another rep. This weight is generally about a 6RM for most trainees who are normal in their fiber type. If you’re doing an abnormally high amount of reps (i.e. 9+) then you’re primarily slow-twitch (in that muscle group), but if you’re doing an abnormally low number of reps (i.e. 4 or less), then yoiu’re predominantly fast-twitch (in that muscle group). Now, this “test” can be done for any exercise and for any muscle group. Now, if you do it for Bicep Curls, for example, and you only get like 3 reps with your 85% load, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re predominantly fast-twitch in other muscle groups than your Biceps, say perhaps your Quads. You’d have to do a lower body exercise like Squats to determine the latter.

One thing that I have been doing recently which is far from revolutionary, and I think it is in Ian King’s “Get Buffed”, is to do a compound exercise or one that activates the most muscle fibers first with heavy weights and lower reps, and then on subsequent exercises, do more reps and lighter weights in relation to your 1RM. For example, on a chest workout, I do a 8-6-4-2 rep scheme on bench, then 10-8-6 on DB Incline press, and then 12-10-8 on flyes, etc. It has been working great for me the last month or so, and seems to get the best of both worlds, i.e. my strength and size have gone through the roof. It might be worth a shot.

I think it just comed down to the fact that you’re hitting different types of muscle fibres doing high reps or low reps. Exclusively doing one or the other is a recipe for disaster IMO.

Lately I’ve been doing 5 rep sets (heavy) after doing 12/10/8 (or 10/8/6) for the longest time, and it’s great. My post-training ‘pump’ lasts for a few days rather than one.

Variety is the spice of life, sex, and weight lifting.