T Nation

How to Increase Work Capacity for Legs?


#1

For quite a while I’ve been doing rather low rep training, under 5 reps for compound movements. Recently, I’ve decided to go full hypertrophy mode. My plan? 12 reps on everything (except for deadlifts).

So here’s my leg day, I stretch and go squatting. After warmups I go for 3x12 as heavy as I can while still being able to re-rack the weight alone. After each set my heart and lungs feel like I’ve been all-out sprinting for the duration of the set. Followers of Tom Platz and the like would say that’s what a good set should look like but here’s the problem, after the squats, even when taking a 5 minute breather, any auxiliary exercises go to shit. Even on isolation exercises I just go through the motion and can’t focus on quads or hams at all.

This is the second week of me doing this kind of training. Should I just wait, keep doing the squats and over time it’ll get easier to add other exercises? Should I lower the intensity of squats (reps or weight) to have something left in the tank for the other leg exercises? How do I improve my work capacity?


#2

Keep going. 4 weeks you’ll be fine.


#3

Yeah, just keep going. You’ll adjust soon enough.


#4

What they said… And you can punish yourself further if you’d like. I had good luck improving my work capacity with Tabata squats. I started with the bar and never got past 85 lbs. Here’s what it is:

squat AMRAP in 20 seconds,
rest 10 seconds
repeat for 8 total sets (3 minutes 50 seconds)

If you get 15 or more reps on the last set then add 5 lbs for the next workout. I did this at the end of every workout even if it was my pull day. It sucks. It hurts. You’ll be sore. But it will increase your work capacity. You could start with two days a week.


#5

If you change your training, the first few workouts in the new “style” are supposed to be tough. The work is different, and that what makes your body respond, differently. So as long as your technique stays pretty solid through the set(s) keep on, and adjust to the work.

But keep in mind, if you’re trying to increase Work Capacity, you don’t need to aggressively increase the weights. Don’t do ugly, bent over, poor squats, just to Chase the numbers.

Doing 3 x12 with the same weight, but shorter rest periods is progress. Even if you use the same weight for a few workouts.

If you get 3 sets of hamstring curls in, then do your squats, you’ve done more work than last time.

  • If you start to go Backwards, and your workouts get Worse, then you’ll know you started too heavy, and then you should bring the weight/intensity down.

#6

You’ll always have something left in the tank, but the law of diminishing returns comes into play.
If your muscles have been made fatigued enough in one exercise then they have been fatigued enough.
“As long as sets are taken to failure or near failure, muscle growth is very similar between all rep and intensity ranges. There is no ‘hypertrophy zone.’”
-The Hypertrophy Range, Fact or Fiction


#7

Leg Press with no weight for 100 reps as a warm up for each workout you do ( not only leg day). Also, as the guys said, you’ll adapt to it after some time.


#8

And here I thought work capacity was how much volume you can recover from…

Anyways like everyone said give it time and you’ll adapt tho 12 rep sets to near failure are never really close to comfortable. Some decent suggestions in this thread but I’m gonna throw in a suggestion with some cardio on the stationary bike.

Sounds like some time on a bike would help you improve your recovery between sets and workouts, and won’t interfere with strength or muscle gains if you do it correctly… Just don’t go crazy with it


#9

So can I become a pro bodybuilder by just doing calisthenics? If rep ranges don’t matter every chick doing hundreds of reps of tricep kick backs and 90lb squats would be huge.


#10

I don’t know if you can become a pro bodybuilder, a lot of it depends on genetics. Not everyone needs to be a competitive bodybuilder or follow what the latest Mr Olympia is doing. I don’t know if these chicks at the gym are reaching muscular failure, but calisthenics are not the most efficient way to do it.


#11

I guess I didn’t make my sarcasm clear enough. In the words of @khangles “don’t assume the rhetoric baby pls”

The idea that:

Would imply that, since reps and load don’t matter as long as you go to failure, doing bench for a couple sets of 100 with the pink 10lb dumbbells would have the same hypertrophic effect as hitting the 100lb dumbbells for 8-12. Or for that matter, that hitting a true one rep max would be the same as a set of 10 to failure. Both of these statements are incorrect.

“Studies” in the fitness industry can pretty much be manipulated to show whatever the author wants them to. And both sides of every argument have “studies” to back them up. That’s the problem with studies vs real world experience in the iron game.
People would rather take advice on building muscle from this guy (the guy that wrote the article you linked):

Instead of this guy:


#12

Did I say that tho? Legit don’t remember


#13

@lord_humongous Disregarding the source, I think this is completely accurate.

As in there’s literally nothing I have ever read that’s more accurate about hypertrophy vs rep ranges than this.


#14

Hey everybody so is there still an upper limit to rep range like 1-20s all good how about 40-50 Rep sets? Same thing?


#15

Can you maintain the same amount of intensity(as in effort expended; maintaining maximal intent to accelerate) when going above 20 reps for squats vs a couple of sets of 8 lol? Would that kind of effort be worth it?

For lower reps, would it be worth it to do like 10 sets of 3 to accumulate enough volume and fatigue?

For different muscles, let’s say the lats, would it be easier to focus on stimulating the lats with lower reps or higher reps as opposed to doing close grip benches for the triceps?

Point is, there are practical reasons why we use certain rep ranges. I’m not convinced that it has much to do with a “hypertrophy zone”.


#16

Yeah, in my log a while back lol.

@dt79 idk man, I remember the whole “hypertrophy rep range” debate has come up before and a lot of the High end bodybuilder types (stu, brick, rob) all agreed that bodybuilders use the cliqued 8-12 rep range a lot because it works lol. I’ll have to do a little digging to figure out where I read this.

Still this:

I agree with this completely. But “different muscle groups respond differently to different rep ranges” is a different statement from “volume and load don’t matter as long as you go to failure”


#17

Apologies I meant to quote this part instead of his entire post, which was the part you quoted and were disagreeing with::

Load does not matter.

There are exceptions like deadlifts for the back, which would be dependent on whether your back fatigues first or your hips.


#18

I don’t see the point. I feel opinions, and debates based on them or something someone else wrote, are worthless when pertaining to this subject unless they are formed by practical experience or at least indepth personal observation of people you train with. Best we agree to disagree.


#19

At least we can still agree that U2 is garbage


#20

There’s nothing I would agree with more lol.