T Nation

How Come 3X8?

Okay I’m doing westside lifting now, and I lift raw. I’m doing the 5/3/1, then de-load. I’ve just started doing westside and I’m wondering cause I’ve read almost all the articles on elitefts. and all, WHY is it that they do like 3x 8-12 reps on tricep extensions, back extensions, bent over rows, etc etc. All the movements after the ME is done. The reps and sets genereally follow under that catgeroy. Why is this?

I was wondering if I could do like a 4x6 or something for Bent over rows and stuff like that, or would this be too taxing on the CNS since you’ve already done a ME movement and all,and if you use 80% for the 4x6 and all it could lead to overtraining. Could you guys help me out with this one?
Thanks

dl-

I’ve often wondered why a lot of powerlifters do assistance movements in the 8-12 rep range as well (excluding postural muscles, like low back and abs, and the forearms and calves, since they’re primarily slow twitch).

They don’t do 8 reps on the platform. It’s a different energy system. Outside of small periods once in a while to increase cappilarization and what not, why spin your wheels like that?

-Dan

lol I liek to do high rep pushups, free weight swuats and stuff like that to increase cappilariztion i guess. I do endurance stuff on “off” days If i can even consider them off days anymore lol. Other than that though, anyone else have some insight on this and what do you guys think about doing 4x6, or 5x5 or any other methods like that for some of those assistance exercises.

dl-

It really depends on what your goals are. If you’re trying to build a huge PL total, it’ll be counterproductive to do a lot of high rep work.

As far as doing 4 or 5 sets of assistance work, unless there’s a SEVERE weakness, I’d just do a few more sets of the main exercise and a couple for assistance. Or, alternatively, just do the “assistance” move rather than the “main” move for a while in a high intensity fashion, like 4 x 6 or 7 x 4, then come back to the “main” move.

If you’re just lifting for general strength and to be in good shape, though, the schemes you mentioned for assistance work is just fine.

-Dan

For the 2nd exercise, per 8 keys, you do it heavy (3x5, 5x3 ect) then on things like back extention and other accesory movements you use a higher rep range to build muscle in areas that are usually lacking (upper back for example).
Will42

Ohh I see. Mmmm well my goals are to get really fucking strong lol. Plain and simple. I guess if I’m lagging somewhere I’ll do a 4x6 or a 7x4…if I’m not then I think I’ll stick to something basic like 3x8. Yes the supplemental should be heavier, says so in the Accessory vs. Supplemental article on elitefts. I was just wondering why the accessory are high reps and stuff. But is that a good idea then?..Idea being…4x6, or 7x4 if I’m lagging somewhere. and if not jsut use something basic and regular like 3x8?
Thanks

dl-

Before I get slammed for any posts on here, I would like to state that I am not an expert on training, nutrition, or anabolic drugs. However, my knowledge of nutrition is growing and growing from my dietetic internship, my BS in dietetics, and my graduate degree in nutrition and exercise physiology. Anyway, with that aside, 3x8 are classical hypertrophy paramters. The accessory exercises are done for 3 to 5 sets of 8 to 15 reps. They are meant to bring up weaknesses and boduilding (remember: “Not all jacked guys are strong but all strong guys are jacked! (Jim Wendler)”) It is NOT meant to tear yourself down for breaking records. Imagine doing sets of 3 to 6 reps after completing 3 to 10 lifts at 90+%! Your nervous system would be FRIED! Not to mention, you would need more sets per accessory exercise and we do not have all day to work out. Besides, who does or who would want to do 3 to 6 reps for rear delt raises, tricep extensions, external rotations, dumbell power cleans, and so on? People can say, and I am no Chad Waterbury, that 3-4x8-12 is antiquated. However, there are tons of bodybuilders and powerlifters, some darn large and strong ones that I know of personally, that stick with this set and rep scheme for long periods of time and make progress. Did 1-3 x 6-12 do OK for Dorian Yates? I think so! It does pretty darn well for me too after my DE and ME work. Once again, training does not need to be complicated. You can see what set and rep scheme you respond to best but I think it pays just to get in the darn gym and start lifting and leave analyzing to a minimu, just enough to come up with your own template and to see what is working for you or has worked in the past for you. It is also important to go by instinct at times as well. Personally, when I stopped analyzing training to death and started trusting MYSELF, not a famous strength coach or powerlifter or writer, I started making much better progress.