T Nation

The Pump vs. Low Reps

I’ve been doing low rep (3x3) work lately to increase strength.

But today I only had 20 minutes to get a workout in and the gym was packed so I did a newb workout forgeting the squats and deads and just fooled around with what ever weights were free

I also backed the weights used down a notch a bit from usual and really kept the rest time down (15 seconds between each set).

4 x (8xOverhead Press, 8xChins) Superset
4 x 8 Preacher Curls

Anyway, I got a huge arse pump in my arms. Much more than ever before.

I haven’t had a ‘pump’ with my low reps and today was a bit of an amusement with my arms looking freaky.

Anyway, I do have a question.

Is it better to focus on getting a ‘pump’ (lighter weights really low rest periods) or should I stick with the low reps, heavy weights and long rest periods and build my strength and CNS up?

I’m thinking of throwing in some ‘pump’ days as this just felt bloody good.

How do you get a pump when doing squats or deads? Is this wise or foolish to try and get a pump on these big lifts?

Cheers.

It all depends on what your goal is dude if you wanna get stronger then keep ur low reps etc but if it makes u feel good then sure go for a pump every now and then.

A squat pump does not feel anywhere as good as an arm pump let me tell u that much. I did light set today with 4x10x140kg followed straight by 20 partial and 20 deep with 60g. i did this last bit for another 2 sets and by the end of it i wanted to die. Its not the same feeling but u still know uve worked hard

Why not do both?

[quote]Tmmmey wrote:
Why not do both?[/quote]

Exactly.

You do low reps first, followed by 2-3 sets of 10-15reps to get more blood into the muscle.

to get the same feeling of a pump in your quads or hammies the easiest way is leg extensions or leg curls. If you go the squat route you may want to try a front squat for 30 reps, or stiff legged deadlift. But it still won’t be the same unless you use the isolation leg exercises.

[quote]rsg wrote:
Tmmmey wrote:
Why not do both?

Exactly.

You do low reps first, followed by 2-3 sets of 10-15reps to get more blood into the muscle.[/quote]

Yes, exactly. For example on bench my first three sets are my heavy four to six rep range and my last one or two sets drop weight and bomb those sets for reps.

D

[quote]Tmmmey wrote:
Why not do both?[/quote]

Yep

Why dont use three differente rep squemes, and change them from cycle to cycle?. for example:

Cycle 1 (3-4 weeks):

3x5

4x6

4x12

Cycle 2 (3-4 weeks):

3x3

6x4

5x8

Cycle 3 (3-4 weeks):

4x4

5x5

4x10

Don’t go too low rep all the time. I did that for about a year because I wanted to increase my lifts. My lifts skyrocketed…but I didn’t gain a great amount of muscle, and worse, I ended up with pretty bad neural overtraining symptoms. I have no idea how strength guys do it. I think you will be fine to periodically add low rep phases though. Just make sure to switch it up.

Both again, I train my core lifts and assistance in the 3-8 rep range for three week cycles and deload in the 10-15 rep range. This works best for me.

[quote]Thomas Gabriel wrote:
Don’t go too low rep all the time. I did that for about a year because I wanted to increase my lifts. My lifts skyrocketed…but I didn’t gain a great amount of muscle, and worse, I ended up with pretty bad neural overtraining symptoms. I have no idea how strength guys do it. I think you will be fine to periodically add low rep phases though. Just make sure to switch it up. [/quote]

Strenght can train with diferents reps ranges between 1-5 reps, so to avoid CNS overtraining u just have to switch those reps ranges

[quote]Thomas Gabriel wrote:
Don’t go too low rep all the time. I did that for about a year because I wanted to increase my lifts. My lifts skyrocketed…but I didn’t gain a great amount of muscle, and worse, I ended up with pretty bad neural overtraining symptoms. I have no idea how strength guys do it. I think you will be fine to periodically add low rep phases though. Just make sure to switch it up. [/quote]

Training with consistently low reps (under5) and heavy weights is very tricky. Volume must be periodized carefully and back off weeks (very low volume) must be implemented to avoid CNS fatigue. That being said, there is no better routine for pure strength gains. For the average lifter, adding two or three six week phases a year of this nature can increase overall gains significantly.

Including higher rep ranges again after keeping them low for six weeks provides a new stimulus for hypertrophy, even more so when the increased strength from the strength phase is figured into the equation.

I’ve gotta add to this as this my second time doing a push-pull workout from TC’s article using 8x3. I do not feel the pump as opposed to an EDT workout or higher rep range workout (8+). However, my strength gains are getting up and it’s a nice change to lower rep schemes.

I’ve read this thread with much interest. I just started a new program today with different set/rep schemes. As an example, I’ve divided the chest/back/tricep days into three different workouts that I rotate. The first session, using the flat bench as an example, I’ll go heavy with an 8x3 scheme. Second session is the standard 5x5 with the weight a bit lighter. The third is a GVT 10x10 at 60% of 1 RM.

I have a leg/shoulder/bicep day which is divided into two different workouts. The minimum time between work out days for the above flat bench example would be two days with up to three or possibly four days for recovery time. In a given month I might hit a specific session three, maybe four times a most.

Thoughts?

I like the cycle idea that spanish barbell said before. It does both schemes and it gives your body something hard to adapt to which IMO would lead to good gains in strength AND size.

A fun abeit sadistic way to pump up and lift heavy at the same time is to do a drop set as your last set.

[quote]undeadlift wrote:
A fun abeit sadistic way to pump up and lift heavy at the same time is to do a drop set as your last set.[/quote]

yup , true this fact .

I lift more of a PL style , so we dont shoot for a pump . although it does occur . but sometimes we throw in drop-sets (bench only , not legs) for a couple weeks . freakin’ amazing . last time we benched was our shirted max . after the shirts come off , I do a drop-set of 135 …for something like 18 . I realise thats not a lot for most around here , but for me that was HELLA LOT for already gettin’ shoulders blasted in the shirt; hell , it mighta been a PR for all I know . bloody felt like Ronnie-god-damn Whats-his-name…what an adrenalin dump .

and sometimes we do a drop-set as part of the warm-up .