[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
Listen, if there is one proponent of low rep training here that’s me! If I were to train doing only what I like best I’d only do sets of 1 repetition!
But after working with a wide range of athletes… from bodybuilders to Crossfitters, hockey players, etc. I must say that it’s bullshit that low reps is the only optimal way to build muscle.
Science is a great thing and leads to many advances. But if it is considered at the expense of in-the-trenches experience then it can actually hinder your quest for maximum results.
I’ve seen natural bodybuilders build a lot of muscle doing mostly sets of 8-12 reps. I’ve seen Crossfitters become very muscular doing anything from low to super high reps.
On the other hand I’ve seen olympic lifters training mostly using sets of 1-3 reps being able to lift over 400lbs over their head, without having a physique that would stand out in the slightest in a “24 Hour Fitness” gym.
You can’t look at hypertrophy from only one angle. Recruiting muscle fibers is not the only way (or even the best way) to stimulate growth. There are a myriad of chemical and cell signaling pathways that can promote growth. For example the activation of mTor, which is accomplished mostly via slow eccentrics and load stretches, or the ERK pathway which is dependant more on time under tension. There are also more “mechanical” phenomenons like the transport of amino acids into the muscle, which is increased during exercise where there is an increase in blood flow toward the muscle (getting a pump) which is easier to accomplish with higher reps.
I will say this… from my experience those who grow the biggest are those who use several types of rep ranges to use all the different pathways… heck, even the Westside guys who train for strength also do isolation work for higher reps.
The athletes who tend to stick to only one type of loading tend to have less physical development.
In reading that, keep in mind that I AM a low rep guy. I believe in low reps and that’s how I like to train most of the time. I would LOVE to be able to tell you that if you ONLY do low reps you will grow optimally. But for most people it’s not true.
When reading articles on the internet, especially on privately owned websites understand one thing:
Every “expert” trying to make a living is in competition with the others. To win over the others they must (a) have something different to say (if they all say the same thing how can one be superior?) (b) be more convincing than the others… So oftentimes you have coaches coming up with their own “angle” and then they want you to buy into what they are saying so they act pretty much like a lawyer: trying to convince you that they are right.
I’m personally above that. I don’t care if someone makes more money than me. I don’t care if someone finds a method that is superior to mine… if that’s the case than I’ll change my method since all I care about is finding how to build the body as rapidly and completely as possible.[/quote]
Thanks very much for the valuable post.
So this means it’s best to utilize ALL rep ranges (low, medium, high), right? But then, you did write an article about 75-80% of 1RM to be the best for hypertrophy (which is 7-10 reps)… Which one would you pick? Thanks CT![/quote]
Don’t use all the rep range all the time. That’s not what I meant. I personally pick one main rep range that fits my goal and psychological profile… for example I do a lot of olympic lifts… I do these for 1 to 3 reps… my strength movements (main exercise) are done for sets of 3-5 reps. That’s the most important part of my own workouts. I also do supplementary work for sets of 6-10 reps, but that’s not a huge part of my training.
With several clients I do a simple periodization scheme that looks like this:
PHASE 1 (3 weeks): Sets of 10
PHASE 2 (3 weeks): Sets of 6
PHASE 3 (3 weeks): Sets of 4
PHASE 4 (3 weeks): Sets of 1 to 3
That’s for the main lift of the day and the two assistance exercises. Simple approach that I use for clients who are intermediate and are looking for a blend of strength and size.
I’ll give you an example. I used a pure strength cycle with one of my client, never exceeding 5 reps per set, most of the work being done with sets of 3. During this cycle he only gained 1 pound of body weight yet improved his squat by 50lbs, his deadlift by 40 and his bench by 40 (push press also went up 25lbs but it wasn’t a focus lift). That was done in 6 weeks plus 1 peak week.
Now, after 2 phases of the approached mentioned above (3 weeks of 10’s, 3 weeks of 6’s) he gained 5lbs.[/quote]
So this means that if I want maximal hypertrophy, I should use what you suggested in that article, which is 75-80% of 1RM, right? It’s 7-10 reps