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High Rep Training


Anyone ever play around with High Rep training to try and increase their 1RM? Lately I've been attempting max reps with 135 lb on the bench press. I hit 30 reps and got one heck of a pump from it. I was thinking of trying to go to 50 reps in one set. I was just curious if anyone else has done this and seen an increase in their 1RM or increase in muscle in general?


I haven't tried it, and I can't think of anyone I've heard of increase strength from high reps alone.

A novice will get stronger from ANYTHING, but even then is more likely to get stronger from lower compared to higher reps as I understand it.

You've got to remember strength is heavily reliant on how well your nervous system activates the muscles - which is developped better with lower reps at higher loads. High reps with a lighter weight will get you bigger, which isn't going to hurt your strength, but won't drive it as well as training to get strong.


High rep training on its own is not the ideal way to increase one's 1RM, if increasing one's 1RM is the goal (many people should realise that this does not apply to them unless they compete in powerlifting or olympic lifting). However, some people (Paul Carter, for instance) recommend high rep assistance work to spare the joint and get an insane pump.


The theory goes the more more reps you perform, the harder it is to keep form, especially for newbs (and particularly for deadlifts).

The sloppier your form gets, the more bad patterns you're ingraining. Trial and error puts the number where you start to get diminishing returns at 5.


I feel this video may help answer your question:


I did boost my squat with high volume training. I started with working up to 155x10x10, then 215x6x10, then 235xAMAPx4.

I also boosted my deadlift by working up to 1 set of AMAP in 1 minute. I did this in two week cycles. First I got 305x4, then 295x6, then 330x15 (big jump!) over a 6 week period


If you want to increase 1RM you need to train the movement and the muscle. Be proficient at benching for starters, then after work sets on bench do high rep assistance work.


Try it and see how you respond. The increase in volume can help build muscle and strength. In the long term it would be best to use a range of different intensities and volumes, whether you cycle through it over time or use a mix within training sessions.


I think you can get significantly stronger training at high rep ranges, but it won't necessarily carry over to a 1rm. A 1rm, among other things, is a display of strength, and to get the most out of that display requires training for it. You need differently trained qualities FOR a 1rm versus a 10rm for example, and someone who spends more time training in heavier rep ranges is going to develop those qualities better than someone who doesn't.

And of course, I say this in regards to high rep training specifically for the movement you're wanting to achieve a higher 1rm for. High rep training can also be useful for assistance movements meant to build up the 1rm.


If you wanted to increase your 50 meter sprint speed would you focus on running 2000 meters?
Now that's not to say that you wouldn't do a 2000 meter run occasionally but it most definitely wouldn't be the main focus of your training.
One is about power, strength and acceleration and one is about endurance and being able to perform through pain.

The best powerlifters of the last 50 years used lots of doubles, triples and fives on their main lifts. You should too.


Yeah can be a great idea as long as doing plenty of heavy lifting at other points in the week...


I do both types of training throughout the year, I alternate between the two, and I can personally attest that:

Lifting heavy, low reps, and frequently... will drive my 1RM up.

Lifting with great volume or high reps, with less frequency, will increase my ability to do more reps at a heavy weight, but my absolute 1RM will go down if I stay in this type of training for over 3-4 weeks.

I've experienced hypertrophy with both types.

Train for specifics. Neural efficiency and comfort under a heavy weight is king when it comes to having a big one rep max, and I've only gotten that from handling heavy weights at 85+% very frequently. My personal experience at least.


Why stop at 50 when you can drop the weight and go for 500?

Like the guys have all said, no, high rep training is nearly counter-productive for increasing 1RM strength. Low to moderate rep work is a different story, and can have significant carryover.

If you want to talk in terms of building muscle, then high rep training can absolutely have a big role in development.