T Nation

Starting Higher Rep Block, Opinions?


So I've been lifting heavy for a number of months, about a month with my belt on rest without.

My "heavy" consisted of at first hitting a heavy triple or 5 reps. Then it became hit a heavy triple period. They it became hit a heavy triple and then hit 3 sets of lighter but still heavy triples.

Personally, I'm starting to feel worn out muscular wise and I'm sure my joints would love a break.

Bottom line is, I'm going to be moving into a heavier rep block of training, in the vicinity of 8-12 reps with multiple sets.

My question is, should i stay tight to the big three lifts or get volume work in on individual muscle groups.

My idea was just to stick tight to the big three and just use variations of them to hit the muscles I feel need the most work. Probably going to have a front squat day in there somewhere.


Are you planning on competing in power lifting


Paul Carter addresses this nicely in his latest book "Basebuilding". Might be worthwhile to get it, it should give you some really good ideas for your current situation.

He distinguishes Mass training (bodybuilding mentality with lower volume in the main movements and higher volume in the smaller work), Basebuilding (increasing baseline of strength through higher volume in the big three with emphasis on increasing bar speed and reinforcing the movement patterns) and Strength peaking (getting ready for competition, etc).

To answer your question, you can go either way, staying tight to the big three with Basebuilding or building some mass with a focus on individual groups. It also depends on what your answer to Reed's question is going to be.


Yea reed I want to compete eventually. I still have to get around to making my fat ass do a cut. I'm weened down into maintenance and I'm dropping extremely slowly for the time being. I feel fine and I'm going down about 1 pound every few weeks. Slowly getting my fats into a healthier range and drinking less of my carbs.


Then def keep the big 3 as the primary movement.


Why not take a de load and clean your diet more? You have made great gains since you have been here and asked a lot of questions on your forms. Why not keep it going? 5/3/1 is great for that, btw. The planned deloads keep you fresh and program is completely customisable to your situation. Just a thought.

You also said "number of months". Is that 2? 20? 200?


For what purpose are you switching to higher reps? I'm not saying your wrong but I'd like to understand the thinking behind it. Switching to higher volume to try and save your joints seems fairly arse about tits to me.


Because, when you're lifting low reps higher weight all the time any weaknesses you have are going to persist. Higher rep training allows you to work on... Form, building up weaker muscles, and stimulating muscle grow and conditioning. I'm adding squat days to my workout as well.

JFG. I've been going heavy beltless and belted since.. Something like January


That's fine, it's not what you originally said though, you originally said that it was because you felt your joints and muscles needed a break.

For my two cents, you want to get stronger so you need to keep your heavy, low rep training. If you feel you need to work on form, do it in your warm-up sets. If you need to build up weaker muscles, do some targeted high rep assistance work. If you want to increase your conditioning, do some dedicated conditioning work.

I'm not telling you you're wrong to switch to higher rep sets, feel free but make sure that the reason you're doing it is sound.


What? You are telling me doing heavy squats doesn't work on your weakness?
The beauty of 5/3/1 is that the accessory exercise lets you work on your "weaknesses".

At the end of the day, you will do what you want, but right now, you are making excuses and doing it for the wrong reasons. One of two things will happen. You will love the higher reps and sty the course or you will miss the heavy weights and go back. It is a lesson you will learn for yourself. And that is a good thing.

you are not sure?

Adding 90lbs to your TM is a good thing. As noted above, de load (5/3), find your weaknesses and work to get better. That is the beauty of this program.


Your rationale is sound. I believe you will benefit from it.

Many of the experienced and successful powerlifters on this site have said the same thing about the need to find what works for you.

You have the drive for this sport. It's best that you do as well.

And learn how to use the damn belt man lol.


I actually always love high volume workouts... It's more of my thing than training heavy all the time. No I'm not sure how long its been. I finished smolov around new years and I've been doing 5 reps and below since. Dagill, nowhere did I say my joints NEEDED a break, I said they wouldn't mind if they got one. I'm not sure what you mean by add 90 pounds to your TM?

Side note... I tried man, I really suck at using it for squats. I got a hang of using it to help out while I'm deadlifting though. Back to beltless for me, I could use the core work anyhow :stuck_out_tongue:


Then, do it. Nothing wrong with it. Make yourself happy.

If you would have followed the program (9 months from January to now), you would have added 90lbs to your TM. if you still don't know what I'm saying, get the book?

Do what is best for you. Use the tools you want or not.

Good luck. Let us know how it went


That sounds like the same thing to me, but I apologise if I misunderstood you


TM standing for total max or tested max? If so. My deadlift is up 80lbs bench up 20 lbs and squat is up 60 lbs. Since january. I will probably make an update a few times before new years


TM in this case is training max, which is why it's relatively easy to predict the increase across a period of time, assuming you don't reset and stick closely to the program.


Then.. I have no idea what hes saying... Is he saying I would have added 90 pounds to all my lifts in 9 months? Or 90 pounds together.


He's saying you would have added 90 pounds to your lower body training maxes in 9 months (or 9 cycles), and 45 lbs to your upper body training maxes. You would likely add a lot more to your 1RM


could try doing 5/3/1 and just do the minimum reps for the big lifts for a cycle/every other week


I think it would make sense to coordinate your training and nutrition, and use the next 8 weeks to focus on fat loss and "traditional bodybuilding." It wouldn't be the first time a powerlifter "trained like a bodybuilder" and benefitted in the long run.

I agree you can definitely still keep the big three in your plan, but they don't necessarily need to be the cornerstones of your training for the short term. For example, Meadows still regularly uses the flat bench, squat, and deadlift, but will put a few exercises before them in a workout or will use different techniques so you don't "have to" go heavy on them, but you're still working the movement and the muscles involved.

Dropping a pound every few weeks is, like, super slow progress. Really just a half-step above no progress. But we just went over this last month in another thread. Unless something changed in the last couple of weeks, your heart and head just aren't into dropping fat, so I'm not sure how this will turn out.

This is definitely a good call, pretty much no matter what else you're doing.