T Nation

Frequently Changing Rep Scheme for Strength Work?


#1

Hi coach and T-nation community,

since I’ve started to separate CNS and hypertrophy work and do either one of it on one specific day, I haven’t really found THE one rep scheme for my strength work.
So I’m actually changin the rep scheme every so often ( maybe every 2 weeks)

Does it have any negative impact on strenght gains? Would I probably have more gains in strength if I did one specific rep scheme for a specific amount of time?

Thank yall very much


#2

Not really. I’ll be honest with you, for strength the actual set/rep scheme isn’t that important when it comes to the training effect itself. There are some general rules of course…

  1. Total work reps of 10 to 25 for an exercise (10-15 if you are more in the 90-100% range, 15-25 if you are more in the 80-90% range)

  2. Spending most of your volume in the 80-90% range, not 90-100%… 80-90% builds strength more. 90-100% develops your capacity to showcase the strength you have.

  3. Do not go to failure or to the point of breaking form. There is a difference between training and testing. In training you should dominate every rep you do.

  4. The best average rep per set TO BUILD STRENGTH seems to be 3. That doesn’t mean only doing sets of 3 (although that is pretty much what I do on my strength lifts) but that your average should be 3 or close to it.

For example a 5/4/3/2/1 pyramid… 5+4+3+2+1 = 15 / 5 sets = 3 reps per set.

To showcase strength the average seems to be 2… for example 3/2/1 waves = 3/2/1/3/2/1 = 3+2+1+3+2+1 = 12 / 6 sets = 2 reps per set.

There is benefit from changing your set/reps scheme but it is mostly psychological. Some people feel the need for variation and are more motivated if they rotate their scheme. Others do better on the same scheme (me) and sticking to the same sets/reps scheme makes it easier to evaluate progress.

Both work depending on your psychological profile.


#3

that helps alot. thank you :slight_smile:
I wondered because I was debating with a buddy whether 3/2/1 waves as your primary rep scheme for strength would be good or bad and I personally couldn’t really see this rep scheme as a proper strength building rep scheme.
It just seems to have such a heavy impact on the CNS.

so doing rep schemes to showcase strength every so often is alright I suppose. On the other hand doing it 2 times a week for 2 months isn’t the way to go, right?


#4

3/2/1 waves are very effective to peak/demonstrate strength. Many of the athletes I work with have established personal bests with it. However as you mentioned it is too draining on the nervous system to be used for an extended period of time as the main loading scheme.

There is a difference between building strength/training and demonstrating strength/testing