T Nation

Organization of Set/Rep Parameters


Hey all,
Just been doing some reading around and came across this....

'Glenn Pendlay trained a high school kid (Quarterback-6? 190) for 4 years alternating 5x5, 6x3 & 8x1, doing only Squat, Front Squats, Cleans & Snatches, Hang Cleans & Snatches, Bench and Overhead Presses, and Core Work. After his senior year he Olympic Back Squatted 600 with no wraps, suits or drugs and power cleaned 395. He is currently the strongest football player at Rice University as a QB.'

My queery is how would opne rotate these lifting parameters? I mean ive had great sucess peaking of a 5x5 to a 3x3 and this simple approach has been used by some very sucessful lifters/strongmen (Jouko ahola for instance). Just curious as to how others might approach arranging the 5x5, 6x3 and 8 x1 mentioned above....


I don't know enough to give any advice, but its very interesting. Can you please post the source?


You could use train all three of these parameters on a weekly basis. For example

Monday 5x5 with about 80% 1RM
Wednesday 6x3 with about 60% 1RM - Max speed
Friday 8x1 with 90% 1RM

Then every 3-5 weeks take a week and do lower %RM training to give the CNS a break. I would think most people would get stale on this after a couple of months unless you are more fast twitch dominate.


Hey Mick,

I read this somewhere too.
Maybe they used each rep/set for
1) 1 month each
2) rotated it weekly
3) used an undulating scheme


i can see the reasons for the 5x5 and 6x3 - maybe the 8x1 was utilised more for heavy cleans and snatches - makes more sense than 8 sets of 1 on the bench or military press.
Its a pendley routine which means it'll be simple and effective - no fancy stuff here.


hey fella,
hows the programme going along???

Could you expand on your third option above - i mean how you would set it up...



Hey bro,

Imma take a couple rough shots and say, pick 5-6 compound movements and do them 3 times a week with the different rep ranges you provided.

So something like:
Monday: 8x1 (95%)
Wed: 5x5 (75&)
Fri: 6x3 (85-90&)

I think some variations of your exercise choice would be ok.
Sounds pretty solid.


Hey Bro,

I know I read that somewhere. Maybe it was midwestbarbell. I forgot.

Would you mind giving me the link to the site?



i actually have the article somewhere, ill dig it out. I got the quote for these purposes from a guys sig in another forum where a mate mods. Ill get the link to you when i find it.

Hows the programme going on?

Keep us informed.

Given some thought the 6x3 could be the prime movement od the session then 5x5 for accessory work. 8x1 for the oly movements. Many alternatives i suppose.


This has been my main routine for well over a year. I do 2-4 weeks of accumulation (first set/rep scheme) and then 2-4 weeks of intensification (second set/rep scheme). First weeks of both are usually well under PR level, and I work up from there.

I had weeks of setting PRs in accumulation 3 times in a row, but also weeks where I start with accumulation phase, and after 2 weeks, before even I reach old PRs, I start feeling tired and have to back down. It had pretty much to do with me trying to diet on this approach, which I wouldn't recommend.

But, in general, when I take a look at a complete training year, it was relatively ok.

The program:

1. Back Squat 5x5 (3x3)
2. Incline Press 5x3 (1x3)
3. 1-Leg Back Ext. 3x8-10 (2x5-6)
4. Abs 3x8-10 (2x5-6)

1. RDL 5x5 or DL 8x3 (3x3)
2. Push Press 3-5x5 (2-3x3)
3. Chin-ups or Pulldown 3-4x6-10 (2x5-6)

1. Front Squat 5x3 (1x3)
2. Bench Press 5x5 (3x3)
3. Barbell or Cable Row 3x8-10 (2x5-6)