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Opinion on Grinding Reps When Training for Strength?


I have been training bodybuilding for the last 6 years, and in the past year i have begun training for strength, working in the 3 - 5 rep range on main lifts. When i trained bodybuilding oriented i always grinded out reps and ocassionaly hit failure.But lately i have been trying to change my attitude, but its really hard for me to not grind out reps. I am so hooked on the attitude that the grinding reps is where its all at, thats were the best results are built, I never hit failure more though. I have been reading alot of strengh related material lately and alot of knowlegded powerlifters say to avoid grinding out reps.Is this due to the CNS burden when working with heavier weights and the higher risk off injury ?

And whats your opinion when it comes to grinding out reps in strengh work


My opinion: It depends on how you're training. Specifically, how often and at what volume you are doing the lifts. If you are squatting 3 or more times a week, for instance, I would say you want all of your reps to be snappy, or at least smooth. Same for benching.

For pulls, I would absolutely not grind reps with any regularity unless you are pulling less than once a week. It isn't so much the grind as the emotional stress associated with attempting lifts you're not sure you're going to make that really drains you.

If, however, you're training each big lift once a week, it's different. Most people who train this way will fight with the last rep or two of their heaviest sets, at least for part of the cycle.

In sum, if your plan is centered around accumulating a lot of quality work on the big lifts, don't grind your reps.


I'd agree with Ramo.

I switched from training the last way he mentioned, pretty much accumulating volume with sets across, to doing conjugate periodization with ME/DE days, not too long ago. Its too soon to say if it is working or not.

Trying to grind out a limit 5x5 or so workout is brutal and a tough workout. I can't imagine working at that high of a limit consistently in training unless trying to peak for a meet or some demonstration of absolute strength.

With my ME days now where I work up to a heavy set of 1-5 reps, I don't want to miss a weight, but I expect the last rep/reps to move slow. If I smoke it and move it quick, I put a bit more weight on the bar, and try another one.

At some point, even though 4-6 reps is strength training, if you plan on competing in a display of 1rm absolute strength, it would be a good idea to get some/a lot of experience working near limit weights which move slow and need to be grinded. At least that's my hypothesis, which other people have proven, but I'm trying it on myself now.

My primary assistance work is now usually in the 4-6 rep range now, occasionally up to 8 reps, and I want these to move quick. I don't want it to be easy, but I want to leave a couple reps in the tank of my last set. These are done after the low volume, slow, heavy reps which are slow and occasionally grinded out.

I usually only end up doing a couple heavy reps or sets for each movement a week. Some weeks, I'll do 2 heavy sets in a movement usually >72 hrs apart. Ex) Taking a heavy set of 5 on Wed ME bench day, then working up again to a heavy double after speed benches Sunday. Its about every other week or so, and I try to space it out where I'm only taking it 'heavy' in at most two of the same movements per week, and everything else gets 1 set.


Grinding reps really taxes my CNS and makes it harder/longer to recover from a workout. On my max effort days I don't do anything higher than 3 reps. Yesterday I did 3 sets of 3 grinders rack pulling against bands as my accessory. This was to train myself to struggle to lockout the weight. Before I did those 3 sets I worked up to a max single in the same exercise as my ME move. I wouldn't grind out anything over 3 reps, but my training goal is to peak for an upcoming PL meet.

In bodybuilding I can see how grinding out the last few reps of a set of 10 or higher reps would be good, because the muscle tension will tax the muscle and help it grow back bigger. But in PL or a max strength focus you should be working with much higher weights, and you want a different result. Performance, not aesthetics.

My opinion of grinding out a max is that it's great, it teaches you patience and to struggle to make the lift. After you really do a max single or triple grinder I would say quit that exercise to save your CNS.


I have a related question to the OP. Currently I am training for strength and I love doing low reps at ard 90% of my 1 rm, and I like to do many sets with them (taking longer breaks of course).

Sometimes if I happen to grind my reps (not intentional but it happens), I would do a supramaximal hold (110% of 1 rm), rest ard 1 min and continue with my usual poundage, and I found that the poundage become much lighter compared to previous. Obviously it is working well for me so I wont be discarding this method anytime soon, but I was wondering if any one of youo guys have used it extensively and what kind of effect does it have on ur cns of strength in the long run?

Btw, I was refering to benching and squating when employing this technique.


Thanks for your inputs guys. The things about grinding makes sense, especially to avoid grinding reps when trying to accumalate higher volume in the lifts. I myself would like to experiment with DE/ME way off training when i gain more knowlegde and experience. And jhng , pretty interesting with the supramaximal hold, gotta try it . :slightly_smiling:


For me the big lift is normally hard , max effort like on heavy days. Assistance is normally moderate hard with maybe one exercise that goes to near failure on the last set . This is after I started with Josh Bryant .

Before the assistance was moderate .


I've tried the explosive lifting thing for a few months and it was really hard to build much overall strength, mainly in the legs. Since switching back to how I used to lift, grinding the reps with heavy weight, and lowering the frequency a bit, my strength levels have been going up way faster.


Never used it a lot but it definitely works!

Maybe start your own thread, i never did see many opinions or articles on supra maximal holds, they work. First time i seen it was Waterbury's Primed for Muscle article.