T Nation

Crazy Ass

Now let me get this straight this crazy russian is suggesting a routine of 20X5 and not to failure. I’ve read this quote several times. What “sensational gains” is he suggesting, strentgh, size or both? Has anyone out there tried this technique, I am very intrigued.

Here’s the quote for refrance:
“But if you set it up like this, if you use a heavy weight and do reps of five (not taken to failure) with only one or two minutes of rest for up to twenty sets, you’re going to be able to use a heavy weight and get a great pump. Every bodybuilder who’s tried this approach has reported sensational gains.”

Sounds cool, would like to try it. Could use oppinions. Thanks–Watts–

Just chillin’ for an answer.

Im sure it would work fine. But just like any other routine you couldn’t follow that protocol indefinitely.

It’s basically German volume training with heavier weights. GTV is 10 x 10 = 100 reps. You typically use about 60% of your 1 RM. With the 20 X 5 you’re still doing 100 reps, but you’ll be able to use a higher % of 1RM and hence greater overall tonage…you’ll be doing more work and building greater strength and size.

Have you any experience with the 20X5 technique? If so, how were your results?

I doubt it will make you huge. I will probably make you very strong for your size, but you:ll probably end up looking very much like Pavel himself–lean, skinny and muscular. Go to the website referenced in the interview and you can see a photo of him on the cover of one of his books.

I just thought of something very cool for advanced lifters. Remember Ian King’s theory on hypertrophy training. The more experienced you get the lower the rep ranges get for hypertrophy. So, in essence, and accepting this 20X5 method, an advanced lifter could experience some serious gains. Just a thought.—Watts—

Watts, in Pavel’s book he talks about this technique. Even though he said 20 sets of 5 reps, you don’t necessarily have to do that many sets. His actual recommendation is that you do your first set with 90% of your 5RM for the particular exercise you are using. For example, if 100lbs is your best 5RM in the bench press, then use 90lbs. For your second set, you drop to 80% of your 5RM. And this is the weight that you use for the multiple sets of 4-6 reps. Also, he suggests that it may take 10-20 sets to reach fatigue. Which means, you terminate the sets once you cannot do that particular weight for the recommended reps using the short rest periods. So in some exercises, you may fatigue after eight sets. And in some, you may actually be able to do 20 sets. So the “20” is not set in stone. I hope that helps. He talks about this in his book “Power to the People.” He explains that this is the way to gain size and strength. So you’ll be bigger than Pavel!

I think Pavel’s training is definitely geared more to the strength athlete, but he is coming into his own on the hypertrophy side too. I’ve tried everything for my calfs, poliquin, king, staley, arnold, mentzer and my development has been minimal at best. Then I tried one of Pavels recommedations for hypertrophy from his book and while my calfs are not huge by any means people have been telling me they’ve gotten bigger and asking me what I’ve been doing. Anyway, I think his greatest feature is that Pavel pushes periodization instead of some hapless, helter-skelter program.

question and a comment,Question- to those who have purchased Power to the People, like nate, was it worth it? Comment- his method is geared toward almost only myofibrillar hypertrophy (enlarging of individual muscle fibers by getting my myofibrils within the muscle which should elicit strength gains) while generally most bodybuilding programs lead to alot of sacoplasmic hypertrophy (which is the muscle really filling up with more fluid- sarcoplasm). Thus one should get decent size outta this program but is should be “useable” size.

I am using many of his techniques with great success. I used to be a chronic routine changer, would go back to a movement after some time off and be remarkably weaker. I now question the validity of muscle confusion and adaptation. I do more than the 2 exercises, also use reps in the range of 2-5, 5 for the 2 work sets with the longer rest, and if I want to use more volume, do sets with the same load for fewer reps, say 2 or 3 thereby keeping up the intensity, (as he defined it, a % of max)and bang lots of volume, 8-10 sets, alternating between incline bench and weighted chins. I like it, I am getting stronger, harder and leaner. strength is comiing fast, fat loss is slow but sure and muscle size is being noticed by cowokers. especially in traps, bis, tris and shoulders and lats,(what else is there though?) I don’t do the volume work for the deads, don’t want thighs any bigger, do this routine M and F and on wednesday I just do the work sets. I also go do clean and press at the gym on at least 2 of T Th and Sat.

Watts, I just wanted to let you know that I was thinking about the exact same thing, concerning the lower number of reps per set for advanced lifters. On paper, this seems to make a WHOLE lot of sense (and is somewhat exciting), but I do not have any actual personal experience on this, yet.

The Evil Russian’s not that crazy, fellas. Go back and read Charles Staley’s “A Thinking Man’s Guide to Sets and Reps” if you want the science behind this method. Rep quality is important. This type of program is great if you want to build strength along with your size. And as Pavel said, it is MUCH more fun than the traditional higher rep programs such as GVT.

Dman, “Power to the People” is a good read, but it isn’t one of the best books that I’ve purchased. Pavel has a great writing style, and the book is interesting. But it really is geared toward beginners and people who only have a limited amount of time to train. But you can easily pick up a few techniques and ideas to incorporate into your training from reading the book. The interview on T-mag with Pavel goes over many ideas from his book. And I’ve found his recent articles in MILO to be more useful. So if you have $30 to spend, then go ahead. But there are other books I’d recommend first.

Jay, I agree with you about the adaptation of exercises and being a routine changer. I have done the same. I've recently gotten back to sticking with basic exercises for longer periods of time and just working hard. Looking back at some of my past training, I seemed to make better gains when I stuck with the basic exercises and just worked hard and kept upping the weights. After doing many of Poliquin and even King's routines, I have noticed that I don't get much out of it. I think there is too much variety in their workouts. I'm doing the 5x5 method right now using the basic exercises, and it feels great. I'm getting stronger and harder. As for fat loss, I've had to add cardio to the end of my workout to help with that.

Nate, I have to dissagree with you opinion of his book. While he mostly goes over fundamentals, they are things that most people never even learn and most other books don’t even bother to mention. For me just his higher tension techniques when lifting was well worth the price of the book. The fundamnetals he teaches make any program 3x more effective. His ab book is the best I have ever read and has produced the best results for me and my friends more than anything else out there. Not to mention his stretching book which has dropped my bulky ass into a suspended side split in 6 weeks.

Bladerunner, I haven’t read Pavel’s ab or stretching book. Although, I’ve heard they are good. I do agree that Pavel has a few good things in his book “Power to the People” that are very useful. I liked his idea of training without shows and using tension to help build strength. I didn’t say the book was bad, but most of it is general stuff. I only wish he expanded on some of the good stuff that he brought up in the book. Like the whole idea between using many sets of low reps, high weight and short rest periods. I would like to have learned more about it. He gives you a general idea, and says that he’ll save more for a future book. So it depends on what you are looking for. :slight_smile: