T Nation

Singles Are Bad?


Is it better to use 3-5rep max's then using 3-4 singles at 90% or above for strength increases...I've heard a lot of things how the singles won't help that much, but doing the 3-5 rep max's will aid better in strength...

is the singles method better for advanced lifters...and if you only have less than a year of training is it better to be doing 3-5RM's?
Whatcha think?


No one should be only using 1 rep maxes, and no one should exclude 1 rep maxes, unless you're a total beginner learning the form for a lift.


I did a bout of CW's Singles Club program about a year ago during a dieting phase to maintain my maximal strength, and I was actually able to increase it a little during that period, despite losing a little over 8 pounds in 6 weeks.

Having said that, I'm using a conjugated template now with 3 rep maxes for max effort work, testing my 1 RM every 4 weeks in the bench and deadlift, and my numbers have been going up steadily.

Not really a fair comparison, but I prefer 3 RM for strength gains. I find I get better at handling heavier weights if I do a few reps with them. Hope that helps!


Even someone training for marathons?


What is it the kids call it these days? Pwnd?

He's right - many to most people have absolutely no reason to use 1RMs in their training.

Training with singles from time to time, however, is a different story.



Heavy singles form the backbone of my benching routine--heavy singles for ME once a week, lower weight higher reps for RM once a week. I have had good results from this approach, and the gains would have been even better if I didn't occasionally run into time periods during the year when I don't have access or time to lift for a couple weeks at a time.

For example, this time last year I was doing 8 x 1 with around 275. Monday I did 8 x 1 with 305.


Why the fuck would you be in the gym training for a marathon?

I'm not saying people should be maxing out all the time, but if you are lifting weights you should max out at least from time to time.

Stupid examples like marathon training don't count, because I don't see any real benefit to them training with weights anyways. I could be wrong, but I don't see how strength factors into running a marathon.


No offense, bud, but you have been asking this question on a pretty frequent basis. What you need to do is go and lift weights and read as much material as you can about the topic of interest.

It is generally recommended that less advanced lifters go for 3-5RM on ME days. This allows for greater time under tension, and in turn, more hypertrophy.

When most people go for 1RM, their form goes to shit. This is not true of just beginners, either.

Lastly, if you have not trained with heavy weights frequently, it takes some time getting used to. I worked out initially doing BBing routines, and though I never went over 6 reps on the big three, my body was not used to going heavy.

Last summer, I was able to do a 10x3 with 235 on flat bench, but I never went heavy. When I pushed 275, it was slow as hell. Working up to 3RM helped me grow accustomed to the maximal loads, and now I routinely go for singles. If I would've started trying to work up to singles when I started training with a Westside template, I would've probably gotten hurt, and I no doubt would've missed a lot of lifts that by Rep Max chart standards I should've been able to get.

Pushing maximal weights is tough on your body, and if you are not accustomed to it, it is much better to work up to a 3 or 5. That way, even if you don't get the 3 or 5, you still maybe get 1-2, and don't completely miss a lift, which can be physically and mentally draining. And if you don't get even 1, then you are an idiot and you should have your training partner kick you square in the balls for choosing that wieght.



When it comes to benching, having a day were you do sets of 1-3 reps is a good idea. On this day you should work with boards. Going off of boards allows you to handle heavier weights due to the fact that you will not be going all the way to touch. This helps your central nervous system learn what the heavier weights feel like. doing a 12 week training cycle is a good idea. do about 4 weeks of triples, followed by 4 weeks of doubles, then end with 4 weeks of singles. Each week you should add weight to what you did the week before. If you lift shirted then 10lbs a week is a good jump, if you go raw then only about 5lbs a week. The last week of singles is a light week, competitors would warm up then do their openers and call it a day. If you are just doing gym lifts raw, go at about 80-85% max, on week 13 max out or attempt a new max. As for squats and deadlifts Jackals gym has some good workouts that might help.


the first reply says all that you need to know, all the other replies (including this one!) are superfluous.


You must have read a different thread than I did. While the first poster had a point, that post wasn't exactly very informative.



i only do singles every 8 weeks in squat, bench and dl, for new PR. Ill do singles in OL more often though. I've been doing the linear periodization in the Powerlifts for a while and have been making some good gains.


what does pwned mean???



Okay, how about a gymnast? Weight training could help him/her but I see no reason for 1 rep maxes.

How about sprinters?

What about a baseball player?

How about anyone other than a powerlifter?

We're talking about ONE rep maxes, not 3RM or 4RM (still relatively heavy).

How does a 1RM help these other athletes besides letting them know what their 1RM is?


They want to perform better.

What purpose does it serve?

You don't understand how the body works then. I'd recommend reading some reputable sources about physiology and biomechanics before making incorrect generalizations about lifting again.

You are wrong. Limit strength (to a degree), structural balance, etc. are all imporant to runners and are best achieved through resistance training.

No one except powerlifters, strongmen, and O-lifters (or some other sport where the 1RM is tested) ever have a reason other than machismo to lift a 1RM.



Instead of doing only singles in a particular workout (say squats), you could work your way up t0 singles. Say do several sets of triples, doubles, then hit a few singles. I personally like the method suggested by CW and CT are cluster sets: 1 rep...rack bar for 15-20 sec...1 rep...etc.. Usually work up to about 15 total reps. Just an idea. Do an extensive search on CW and CT's articles...they have some great programs.


one rep max training could potentially help any athlete that needs to perform maximal exersion(effort) over a short time frame...


Sounds similar to the Rest-Pause workout.


Yeah! pretty much the same...but autocluster sets sounds a lot cooler!!