T Nation

Follow my Fast Twitch Ways

Hey all-

I dont usually delve into science. I just lift heavy and often. Built a respectable foundation: 200lbs at 5’6" around 11% BF, dumbbell flat benching with 130s for reps, pulling in the high 4s, etc.

I built my foundation using low rep, high weight training. Im trying to get away from it now because I realized im “stronger than i am big” (if that makes sense). Dont get me wrong, im bigger than most, but i can put up some pretty damn good numbers. I’d like to focus on getting my physique caught up to my strength.

Ive been using higher reps now for about 2 months. Made some reasonable progress. But i HATE high reps. After about 6 reps, my muscles pretty much die and my brain fries. For example, i’ll use 100 lbs for 5 reps and then have to drop to 75 lbs for 7 or something along those lines.

Here’s an excerpt from yesterday’s chest day. I purposefully threw in a lower weight set to see if my theory that im retarded was correct. This is my first working sets of the day, so fatigue hasnt set in yet.

Flat DB bench:

  1. 110x6 <— what i call a ‘working warm up’
  2. 130x6
  3. 130x6
  4. 100x7 <— should be around 10 or 11!
  5. 130x5 <— clearly my 100x7 wasnt fatigue if i came back with 130x5

What ive been doing to compensate is focus my first 4-6 sets on low rep ‘primary movements’ (ie, bench, dead, squat, row) and my remaining sets on higher reps for the ‘supplementary lifts’.

This makes me think that im “fast twitch dominate” or something along those lines, and that I should stick to the lower reps. Basically, I think im built for strength and power. Im pretty much a tree stump, not very “graceful”, and tend to bulldoze things accidently. So why go against my nature?

Or should I focus on what appears to be my weakness: 8+ reps?

And it’s not because my mojo or mental state is askew. Im overly focused and prob stoic.

Oh and if you cant bench AT LEAST 315, pull 400, or weigh less than 170 (unless competing), etc, dont respond to my post/question. Go eat a cheeseburger. More valuable use of your time.

Too much science there 4me…good luck

the point of doing higher reps is to build strength endurance which should cause sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. you’re trying to build strength endurence. as your body adapts to the stimulus, you’re numbers/reps will start to drop less and less as the sets progress and you’ll witness hypertrophy. you can progress by reducing rest, increasing the number of reps per set/number of sets/poundage, super-setting, drop-setting etc.

What would your 1rm be for your DB flat bench? I ask because of the whole neurological efficiency concept. Basically if my bench 1rm is 100kg and my 5rm is like 75kg or so, it is due to a high neurological efficiency (which is more likely for fast-twitch dominant types IIRC). This basically states that you are better at recruiting your muscle fibers when you lift, and so they fatigue as a whole more quickly.

In the case of a newcomer to weight-lifting, due to poor efficiency they may not be able to recruit as many fibers each rep, so their situation might look like: 1rm 40kg, 5rm 35kg. Because they can’t recruit as many fibers per rep, they aren’t fatiguing as much each rep, ergo more reps performed at sub-maximal weights.

Like Faran said though, if you continue the higher-rep work you’ll find you can improve due to various adaptations: improved buffering (not 100% on that one though), mitochondrial density increasing and type IIa muscle fibers learning to act more like type I (which may or may not negatively affect your 1rm’s).

I gues I shouldn’t reply as I cant bench 315 (but I have pulled 560 & squatted 500+, oh and I weigh a porky 275, so no cheese burger for me).
But, like you I don’t like hi reps. Try adding a couple of hard ‘pump’ sets after your lower rep stuff.

Do your normal sets, rest for about 1 to 1.5 mins and pump out a set of 12-15, rest for 0.5 to 1 min and try to get 12, you probably won’t get them. The point is your only doing 2 high rep sets and not adding too much to the length of you session.

Another method I use is 4x set of, say, 8 with strict timed rest of 1.5min. first 2 sets easy last hard. When the last set is easy enough to get 10 reps (only the last set) try 4 sets of 9 and so on. When you get to 4x12 up the weight and start at 4x8.

You might consider just reducing you rest periods by 10-15sec per session, reducing again when you can get all your reps.

[quote]Faran Saberi wrote:
the point of doing higher reps is to build strength endurance which should cause sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. you’re trying to build strength endurence. as your body adapts to the stimulus, you’re numbers/reps will start to drop less and less as the sets progress and you’ll witness hypertrophy. you can progress by reducing rest, increasing the number of reps per set/number of sets/poundage, super-setting, drop-setting etc.[/quote]

Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy? This term isn’t dead yet?

[quote]GluteusGigantis wrote:
Too much science there 4me…good luck[/quote]

Yeah, but have you seen some of the possible Scrabble scores?

sarcoplasmic:
= 1 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3
= 20 + 50 point bonus (for 7+ letter word)
= 70

hypertrophy:
= 4 + 4 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 4 + 4
= 27 + 50 point bonus (for 7+ letter word)
= 77

neurological:
= 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 1
= 15 + 50 point bonus
= 65

efficiency
= 1 + 4 + 4 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 4
= 23 + 50 point bonus
= 73

mitochondrial
= 3 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1
= 21 + 50 point bonus
= 71

[quote]Boffin wrote:
I gues I shouldn’t reply as I cant bench 315 (but I have pulled 560 & squatted 500+, oh and I weigh a porky 275, so no cheese burger for me).[/quote]

I think it is pretty clear he just wanted people to respond who were actually built and not skinny newbs repeating what they think they know from an article.

[quote]ThePrisonLook wrote:
Hey all-

I dont usually delve into science. I just lift heavy and often. Built a respectable foundation: 200lbs at 5’6" around 11% BF, dumbbell flat benching with 130s for reps, pulling in the high 4s, etc.

I built my foundation using low rep, high weight training. Im trying to get away from it now because I realized im “stronger than i am big” (if that makes sense). Dont get me wrong, im bigger than most, but i can put up some pretty damn good numbers. I’d like to focus on getting my physique caught up to my strength.

Ive been using higher reps now for about 2 months. Made some reasonable progress. But i HATE high reps. After about 6 reps, my muscles pretty much die and my brain fries. For example, i’ll use 100 lbs for 5 reps and then have to drop to 75 lbs for 7 or something along those lines.

Here’s an excerpt from yesterday’s chest day. I purposefully threw in a lower weight set to see if my theory that im retarded was correct. This is my first working sets of the day, so fatigue hasnt set in yet.

Flat DB bench:

  1. 110x6 <— what i call a ‘working warm up’
  2. 130x6
  3. 130x6
  4. 100x7 <— should be around 10 or 11!
  5. 130x5 <— clearly my 100x7 wasnt fatigue if i came back with 130x5

What ive been doing to compensate is focus my first 4-6 sets on low rep ‘primary movements’ (ie, bench, dead, squat, row) and my remaining sets on higher reps for the ‘supplementary lifts’.

This makes me think that im “fast twitch dominate” or something along those lines, and that I should stick to the lower reps. Basically, I think im built for strength and power. Im pretty much a tree stump, not very “graceful”, and tend to bulldoze things accidently. So why go against my nature?

Or should I focus on what appears to be my weakness: 8+ reps?

And it’s not because my mojo or mental state is askew. Im overly focused and prob stoic.[/quote]

How is 8 reps “high reps”?

You sound like you are trying to lift more weight than you can handle if you can only get less than 8 reps on these exercises.

High reps usually refers to ABOVE 12.

Eight rep sets are not exactly light or low reps, this is heavy work that is taxing. Relatively to your current training style, this may seem like light work, but the reality is that 8 rep sets build plenty of size and plenty of strength.

You will probably find that nost of the larger lifters will use rep brackets both greater and less than 6 - 8. My old training partner and I would routinly deadlift for 15 - 20 reps we would also squat with as few as 2 reps. He was former powerlifter and strongman competitor, who weighed over 120kg.

If 6 rep sets have not left you with the results you have sought then you need to assess why thats the case, and it may not be just the training. If your bodyweight and muscualrity havent really increased, and you have remained or increased your strength, then you probably need to look at your diet first. ‘Most’ people with muscularity will train hard enough to improve, and by the sounds of things you have progressed well, I wouldnt just put the lack of recent progress down to stale training only. Muscle growth costs a ton of Calories and is a painfully slow process that takes a significant amount of time, as you are probably aware.

However, rigidly sticking to one protocols exclusively is probably unwise. Thats not to say go haywire and program your training to death with x,y and z, and flip flop from one style to the next, but include work in rep and set schemes above what you do now. Do some heavy, some light.

[quote]Dave Rogerson wrote:
Eight rep sets are not exactly light or low reps, this is heavy work that is taxing. Relatively to your current training style, this may seem like light work, but the reality is that 8 rep sets build plenty of size and plenty of strength.
[/quote]

Who wrote anything about “light work”? I very often may only get 6-8 reps out of my last set. However, I sure as hell don’t ONLY do 6 reps for all exercises and if I could only get 6 reps on my first set, I would think the weight was too heavy. This guy is writing that he is fried after his first set of 6 reps and that he has to drop the weight by 25lbs just to be able to get more than 5 reps on some movements. That doesn’t sound like someone who is using the right weight for their own goals at all. I would question his technique before anything else.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Dave Rogerson wrote:
Eight rep sets are not exactly light or low reps, this is heavy work that is taxing. Relatively to your current training style, this may seem like light work, but the reality is that 8 rep sets build plenty of size and plenty of strength.

Who wrote anything about “light work”? I very often may only get 6-8 reps out of my last set. However, I sure as hell don’t ONLY do 6 reps for all exercises and if I could only get 6 reps on my first set, I would think the weight was too heavy. This guy is writing that he is fried after his first set of 6 reps and that he has to drop the weight by 25lbs just to be able to get more than 5 reps on some movements. That doesn’t sound like someone who is using the right weight for their own goals at all. I would question his technique before anything else.[/quote]

I think this is the conclusion that I would draw as well if I read my post like you. Ive been lifting for a good while now (5 years, 3 good, productive and serious) and think that my form is pretty solid. It’s a possible solution that I’ll certainly consider. I think everyone needs to reconsider the basics every now and then.

Thanks for input.

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
GluteusGigantis wrote:
Too much science there 4me…good luck

Yeah, but have you seen some of the possible Scrabble scores?

sarcoplasmic:
= 1 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3
= 20 + 50 point bonus (for 7+ letter word)
= 70

hypertrophy:
= 4 + 4 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 4 + 4
= 27 + 50 point bonus (for 7+ letter word)
= 77

neurological:
= 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 1
= 15 + 50 point bonus
= 65

efficiency
= 1 + 4 + 4 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 4
= 23 + 50 point bonus
= 73

mitochondrial
= 3 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1
= 21 + 50 point bonus
= 71
[/quote]

Seriously? Im impressed. I actually verified most of your numbers! Rarely does someone dedicate more than a few minutes to a ‘joke post’, and clearly this post took some thought. I’ll give your response 833 stars out of 879.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
ThePrisonLook wrote:
Hey all-

I dont usually delve into science. I just lift heavy and often. Built a respectable foundation: 200lbs at 5’6" around 11% BF, dumbbell flat benching with 130s for reps, pulling in the high 4s, etc.

I built my foundation using low rep, high weight training. Im trying to get away from it now because I realized im “stronger than i am big” (if that makes sense). Dont get me wrong, im bigger than most, but i can put up some pretty damn good numbers. I’d like to focus on getting my physique caught up to my strength.

Ive been using higher reps now for about 2 months. Made some reasonable progress. But i HATE high reps. After about 6 reps, my muscles pretty much die and my brain fries. For example, i’ll use 100 lbs for 5 reps and then have to drop to 75 lbs for 7 or something along those lines.

Here’s an excerpt from yesterday’s chest day. I purposefully threw in a lower weight set to see if my theory that im retarded was correct. This is my first working sets of the day, so fatigue hasnt set in yet.

Flat DB bench:

  1. 110x6 <— what i call a ‘working warm up’
  2. 130x6
  3. 130x6
  4. 100x7 <— should be around 10 or 11!
  5. 130x5 <— clearly my 100x7 wasnt fatigue if i came back with 130x5

What ive been doing to compensate is focus my first 4-6 sets on low rep ‘primary movements’ (ie, bench, dead, squat, row) and my remaining sets on higher reps for the ‘supplementary lifts’.

This makes me think that im “fast twitch dominate” or something along those lines, and that I should stick to the lower reps. Basically, I think im built for strength and power. Im pretty much a tree stump, not very “graceful”, and tend to bulldoze things accidently. So why go against my nature?

Or should I focus on what appears to be my weakness: 8+ reps?

And it’s not because my mojo or mental state is askew. Im overly focused and prob stoic.

How is 8 reps “high reps”?

You sound like you are trying to lift more weight than you can handle if you can only get less than 8 reps on these exercises.

High reps usually refers to ABOVE 12.[/quote]

Absolutely reasonable. I’d consider 8-10 to be ‘middle reps’ i suppose.

[quote]Dave Rogerson wrote:
However, rigidly sticking to one protocols exclusively is probably unwise. Thats not to say go haywire and program your training to death with x,y and z, and flip flop from one style to the next, but include work in rep and set schemes above what you do now. Do some heavy, some light.
[/quote]

This is what Ive been trying to do for the last 2 months or so. And ive made some gains, nothing remarkable (but it’s hard to make anything but minute gains in 2 months anyhow).

It’s just frustrating that when i have to drop the weight so precipitously to get in the 8-12 rep range. Im a strong believer in lifting heavy (ie, near your 1RM), and doing 60% (or whatever) of my 1RM for 10-12 doesnt seem productive.

It boils down to the fact that when I lift in the 4-6 rep range, I can move weight all day long, lift some big numbers near my 1RM, and get a great work out. I’d normally do a 10x3 of the ‘big lifts’ followed by a quick ‘finisher’ and then call it a day. And I feel like this is a strength of mine that should be embraced, despite the fact that science and experience tells me that i should work in the higher rep range to induce hypertrophy.

But i suppose i’ll continue what ive been doing for the past 2 months: low rep for first 5-6 sets and high rep to finish. Ive only been doing it for 2 months or so, and i can definitely afford to dedicate some more time to it. Have to trust science and experience. My body is no different than anyone elses.

[quote]ThePrisonLook wrote:
SteelyD wrote:
GluteusGigantis wrote:
Too much science there 4me…good luck

Yeah, but have you seen some of the possible Scrabble scores?

sarcoplasmic:
= 1 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3
= 20 + 50 point bonus (for 7+ letter word)
= 70

hypertrophy:
= 4 + 4 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 4 + 4
= 27 + 50 point bonus (for 7+ letter word)
= 77

neurological:
= 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 1
= 15 + 50 point bonus
= 65

efficiency
= 1 + 4 + 4 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 4
= 23 + 50 point bonus
= 73

mitochondrial
= 3 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1
= 21 + 50 point bonus
= 71

Seriously? Im impressed. Rarely does someone dedicate more than a few minutes to a ‘joke post’, and clearly this post took some thought. I’ll give your response 833 stars out of 879.[/quote]

Thanks, man. The one practical, reasonable answer given in this thread (in one short sentence) didn’t even contain any of those words. I just wanted to make them useful for something.

Good luck!

[quote]Boffin wrote:
I gues I shouldn’t reply as I cant bench 315 (but I have pulled 560 & squatted 500+, oh and I weigh a porky 275, so no cheese burger for me).
But, like you I don’t like hi reps. Try adding a couple of hard ‘pump’ sets after your lower rep stuff.

Do your normal sets, rest for about 1 to 1.5 mins and pump out a set of 12-15, rest for 0.5 to 1 min and try to get 12, you probably won’t get them. The point is your only doing 2 high rep sets and not adding too much to the length of you session.

Another method I use is 4x set of, say, 8 with strict timed rest of 1.5min. first 2 sets easy last hard. When the last set is easy enough to get 10 reps (only the last set) try 4 sets of 9 and so on. When you get to 4x12 up the weight and start at 4x8.

You might consider just reducing you rest periods by 10-15sec per session, reducing again when you can get all your reps.[/quote]

That’s essentially what ive been doing recently. For example, I’d do:
Flat DB Bench 5x5
Incline BB Bench 4x8
Dips 3 sets
Fly machine 3x12 with a drop set at the end.

What I did in the past, to get to where i am now (not that im really anywhere):
Flat BB Bench 10x3
Incline Flies 3x10

It’s my primary lifts (bench, dead, squat, row, OH press) that I’d rarely go above 6 or 7.

[quote]HotGymGuy wrote:
What would your 1rm be for your DB flat bench? I ask because of the whole neurological efficiency concept. Basically if my bench 1rm is 100kg and my 5rm is like 75kg or so, it is due to a high neurological efficiency (which is more likely for fast-twitch dominant types IIRC). This basically states that you are better at recruiting your muscle fibers when you lift, and so they fatigue as a whole more quickly.

In the case of a newcomer to weight-lifting, due to poor efficiency they may not be able to recruit as many fibers each rep, so their situation might look like: 1rm 40kg, 5rm 35kg. Because they can’t recruit as many fibers per rep, they aren’t fatiguing as much each rep, ergo more reps performed at sub-maximal weights.

Like Faran said though, if you continue the higher-rep work you’ll find you can improve due to various adaptations: improved buffering (not 100% on that one though), mitochondrial density increasing and type IIa muscle fibers learning to act more like type I (which may or may not negatively affect your 1rm’s).[/quote]

This is a good approach. To be honest, not sure what my 1RM max would be for sure. But i think your question and following reasoning is sound. It’s something that I’ll look into.

[quote]Faran Saberi wrote:
the point of doing higher reps is to build strength endurance which should cause sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. you’re trying to build strength endurence. as your body adapts to the stimulus, you’re numbers/reps will start to drop less and less as the sets progress and you’ll witness hypertrophy. you can progress by reducing rest, increasing the number of reps per set/number of sets/poundage, super-setting, drop-setting etc.[/quote]

Thanks for the post. Those methods of progression you listed are some of my favorite ways to vary a workout. I often stick to the same basic lifts and switch around those variables. I’ll look a bit more into sacroplasmic hypertrophy. Not familiar with it at all.