T Nation

Follow my Fast Twitch Ways

After all of this, I realized that Im beginning to sound like a skinny fatty. Im over thinking things. Ive gone from 150 to 200 lbs by following the basics. But now that Ive ‘matured’ a bit as a lifter, I need to add some more hypertrophy work to my routine while still lifting heavy, often, and focusing on the ‘big lifts’. That shouldnt be as complicated as im making it.

[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]

Why not stop doing multiple “straight sets”? And might want to stop beginning with weights so close to your “working weight”.

If you want to do 5x5, then use a ramping approach like that found in Madcow’s intermediate version.

Something like:

80’s x5
95’s x5
110’s x5
120’s x5
130’s x5

Or, if you want to do higher reps, might want to use a decreasing rep ramping approach.

Something like:

25’s for a bunch of reps, just to get the some blood into the muscles and get the movement down
70’s x 8-10
80’s x 6-8
90’s x 4-6
100’s x 1-3
110’s x as many as you can

That’s on your fist “big” lifts for each body part though. After that point you shouldn’t need as many warm-up sets.

Check out CT’s thread titled “some types of ramping” in his forum for some other ramp styles.

Whatever is going on here, I don’t think your fiber makeup has anything to do with it.

Sounds to me that you’re ignoring the obvious. Either you’re approaching your strength potential at your current body-weight and or you’ve reached a plateau in your BW and need to eat more.

This goes hand in hand with the idea that , that can only be broken in one way… eating. Has your BW been increasing lately? If not then you’ll need to eat more. Perhaps your body has become accustomed to the stimulus you’re throwing at it. Changing your rep scheme is an option, but what’s not an option is that you’ll have to increase your calories and get above ‘11%’. You may not want to hear it, but gains slow down at a certain point. There comes a time that you have to get creative to get bigger, or if you don’t want to put that kind of effort in then you’ll have to choosea goal other than getting bigger, which would be striving to get leaner at your current lean mass.

[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 [/quote]

For the record i cannot bench 315. (Well i’ve never tried), so feel free to ignore this if you want.

However, i’m curious as to why you think because you did 130x6 that when you drop the weight to 100lbs you should have gotten 10 or 11 reps? That has more to do with muscular endurance than anything else. Your first set was 110lbs x6. I’m pretty sure if you started with 100lbs you would get 10 reps. By the time you were done with your third set your muscles were fatigued.

Your body has adapted to you exerting force for short periods of time. Not to get into too much science but the way your body generates energy for heavy low reps is different from lighter high reps.

Thats like guys benching 405 but can barely do 20 push ups. Last time i did push ups i was able to do 60 without stopping, yet i can only bench 275lbs for 4-5 reps, and right after my last set i would drop the weight to 135lbs and i could rep anyhere from 25-30 reps. All this after i struggled to get 4 reps at 275lbs. This could be because i normally did reps of 10 and recently started doing 5 reps.

Just give your body time, it needs to adapt.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
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 a bit of misinterpretation occurred here, my point was that the OP possibly felt that reps in and around the 8 rep bracket were maybe too light, and that considering he feels he is more fast twitch dominant, that work in this bracket could be less effective for him.

Completely agree with your point about your last sets typically falling in and around that number and that much of your other training occurs in different rep brackets. This was a point I was trying to make.

Although I do also understand where the OP is coming from here too. I actually trained very similar to him (by the sounds of it) for many years. I would warm up, hit a hard maximal set with a heavy weight, say 6 - 8 reps, and would find that my performance drop off was pretty significant afterwards. No way I could do the same set again unless I took a very long rest period. And even when I dropped the load, I would still struggle to go beyond 8 reps or so.

For me, this wasn’t a technique issue, and I doubt it is for him either. Simply when performing maximally and approaching failure I cannot do multiple sets with a weight. However, if I were to stay within 1 -2 reps of failure and take a longer rest period, I could probably do it again. Fact is, the accumulated fatigue from the warm up sets and then the maximal effort at the heaviest weight is more than enough stimulation. So why do more work when I couldn’t continue with the load? For me, that was time to move onto something else or do a backoff set or two with a significant drop off in load.

So, sometimes I would alternate between multiple sets with one load within failure and with longer rest periods, and warm up to a max load set taken to failure, maybe with a backoff.

Thinking here with the OP, possibly this is the same scenario with him, maybe he doesn’t need to keep trying to blast out set after set with the same load, which I think he maybe is doing, maybe he should work up to his top weight, do it, stop there then move on. I think it was Lee Haney who said in pumping for gold (or was it legends of muscle? Cant remember which), stimulate don’t annihilate? LOL!

[quote]BulletproofTiger wrote:
Whatever is going on here, I don’t think your fiber makeup has anything to do with it.

Sounds to me that you’re ignoring the obvious. Either you’re approaching your strength potential at your current body-weight and or you’ve reached a plateau in your BW and need to eat more.

This goes hand in hand with the idea that , that can only be broken in one way… eating. Has your BW been increasing lately? If not then you’ll need to eat more. Perhaps your body has become accustomed to the stimulus you’re throwing at it. Changing your rep scheme is an option, but what’s not an option is that you’ll have to increase your calories and get above ‘11%’. You may not want to hear it, but gains slow down at a certain point. There comes a time that you have to get creative to get bigger, or if you don’t want to put that kind of effort in then you’ll have to choosea goal other than getting bigger, which would be striving to get leaner at your current lean mass.[/quote]

Agreed. As your training career goes on… diet/rest becomes more and more of the equation. When my progress has stalled I’ve noticed it’s more a product of what I’m (not) doing outside of gym (stress, lack of sleep, skipping meals). Your numbers look good and a little body fat never hurt anyone.

If you haven’t read this, here’s a link to a recent article on Dave Tate where he discusses weight gain: