T Nation

The Rep

I posted this in another thread, but I feel that it is one of the most important thing I ever said. I don’t want anybody to miss it.

There IS a best way to train (by that I mean exercise selection, load, volume, etc.) but it still all starts with the rep.

Think about it: The rep is the beginning of everything. Each set is merely a series of several repetition performed one after the other. The set itself is not what is causing growth - the individual reps are! The set is merely a way to arrange several growth-producing events that happen to be called repetitions.

I don’t care how advanced you think you are and how good you think your repetitions are, the fact is that the vast majority of you can improve their repetition style. And if you improve on that, then growth will occur at a drastically greater rate.

Not all of you totally mess up the reps; some are probably doing a good job at producing decent repetitions. But that is not enough; well, not enough if you want to grow as fast as the human body will allow you to!

You all have (except for a few exceptions) some room to improve upon the execution of your reps. And the more room for improvement you have, the more progress you should be able to make in the near future.

Those who will refuse to work on their execution (oftentimes because of their ego) will simply never be able to gain optimally from any program, regardless how cutting edge it is supposed to be.

Never assume that you are too strong, too big or too advanced to work on execution. NFL players still work on their basic skills even though they are the best in the world, Olympic lifters work on making every single lift as perfect as possible even after winning gold medals, world-class sprinters still work on basic footing drills despite the fact that they obviously know how to run ! And the list goes on and on.

The fact is that every single repetition is actually four things :

An activation: Each repetition potentiate (wakes up) the nervous system and help make the motor pattern more automatic. Because of that, each repetition contributes to making the next one even better (until fatigue compensate and prevents optimal performance). Look at somebody doing a power clean or a power snatch, during a set of 2-5 reps that second rep is always better than the first one, simply because of neural activation.

A stimulation: Every single repetition represents an opportunity to stimulate growth. It does so by causing some micro-trauma to the muscle, by pulling nutrients into the muscle (a process called non-insulin mediated transport) and by stimulating the release of several growth-producing hormones as well as by increasing the sensitivity of their respective receptors.

A regulation: Regulation means that you are adapting your workout depending on how your body is reacting to the training taking place. The execution of a rep, how it feels, etc. Is the first clue informing you about the working state of your body on that day. It also tells you when to stop a set to avoid overstimulating the nervous system.

An athletic event: Every single repetition should be seen as an athletic event in itself; you should strive to make every single repetition perfect, just like a baseball pitcher attempts the perfect pitch every time he throws a ball. It boggles my mind that people think that ‘those last two reps’ are all that counts when trying to build muscle; it’s exactly like if you were to say that only the last 2 or 3 pitches of a game are important! It’s just plain dumb. If you want to maximize growth, you should milk every single rep for all its worth.

So can we see an example of what you would consider a perfect rep?

CT, can’t wait to see you at Vinkofest in a couple of weeks. Will you be demonstrating in your presentation on using high threshold techniques?

CT,
so its all about that transition from the eccentric to the concentric and explosind as fast as posible from that trasition on EVERY REP even the ramping light sets?

when IM lowering the weight (under control)for lets say the bench press. Should I kind of twitch jerk the weight down fast right before I explode back up? Or do I just lower the weight under control and explode right away on the concentric (obviously with now bounce, ALL MUSCLE). DO I want to avoid the strech reflex as much as posiblee even on regluar reps? IM confused because you use dead stop pin presses for chest activation from a dead stop… So during the real rep WHY WOULDNT I paused for a second or 2 at the bottom of the rep, THEN explode? To simulate the dead stop pin presses for the bench…

[quote]trav123456 wrote:
So can we see an example of what you would consider a perfect rep?[/quote]

http://tnation.tmuscle.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_videos/i_bodybuilder_radical_strategy_for_radical_hypertrophy_1

At around the 2:55 minutes point. 2 reps with 405, pretty close to the max I could do at that time but you can still notice the fast turnaround.

Coach Thib,

If you have time I have 2 questions for you:

1.) I noticed when trying to do extremely fast turn-arounds from the eccentric to concentric phase (trying to achieve that perfect rep) that I couldn’t do as may reps as I would normally do if I lifted like I normally do, which is controlled eccentric, pause at bottom and explode up. Almost as if I had to lighten the load some to achieve my the targeted number of reps.
Is this normal or am I doing something wrong?

2.) I am really thinking about purchasing Fat Gripz to imitate the thick bar, but don’t know for sure if it is worth it. I honestly don’t know much about them, but have read other’s experiences from using them as well as a few reviews from other coaches . From you experience, would you recommend using them regularly during training to increase muscle mass and improve performance on lifts that require a lot of strength?

Thanks in advance,

Serd

[quote]Serd wrote:
Coach Thib,

If you have time I have 2 questions for you:

1.) I noticed when trying to do extremely fast turn-arounds from the eccentric to concentric phase (trying to achieve that perfect rep) that I couldn’t do as may reps as I would normally do if I lifted like I normally do, which is controlled eccentric, pause at bottom and explode up. Almost as if I had to lighten the load some to achieve my the targeted number of reps.
Is this normal or am I doing something wrong?

2.) I am really thinking about purchasing Fat Gripz to imitate the thick bar, but don’t know for sure if it is worth it. I honestly don’t know much about them, but have read other’s experiences from using them as well as a few reviews from other coaches . From you experience, would you recommend using them regularly during training to increase muscle mass and improve performance on lifts that require a lot of strength?

Thanks in advance,

Serd[/quote]

  1. Why do you think that is? It’s because with a fast turnaround and lifting with as much acceleration as possible EVERY SINGLE REP IS A MAX FORCE (MAX STIMULATION) REP!!! By only doing the effort required to overcome the load the early reps actually do not cause much of anything as far as muscle stimulation and fatigue goes, so it is easier to get more reps simply because it takes more time (reps) to achieve proper muscle stimulation.

Let’s say that you carry a 30lbs backpack… sprint as hard as you can, chances are that you will last no more than 20-30 seconds, covering maybe 150 yards.

Now take that same backpack and stroll gently … you can walk for hours, yet the load is not heavier. See what I mean? Weight is not the only (or even the main) factor involved, it is the intensity of the effort that will cause the stimulation and fatigue.

  1. They are better than nothing. Not up to par with the fat bar (because the fat gripz have some give, you can squeeze them) though.

What significance does the perfect rep hold for fat loss focused training?

CT are you posting all this because its coming out tomorow? :slight_smile:

[quote]Charles3264 wrote:
CT are you posting all this because its coming out tomorow? :)[/quote]

Vraiment pas.

Not really.

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
Serd wrote:
Coach Thib,

If you have time I have 2 questions for you:

1.) I noticed when trying to do extremely fast turn-arounds from the eccentric to concentric phase (trying to achieve that perfect rep) that I couldn’t do as may reps as I would normally do if I lifted like I normally do, which is controlled eccentric, pause at bottom and explode up. Almost as if I had to lighten the load some to achieve my the targeted number of reps.
Is this normal or am I doing something wrong?

2.) I am really thinking about purchasing Fat Gripz to imitate the thick bar, but don’t know for sure if it is worth it. I honestly don’t know much about them, but have read other’s experiences from using them as well as a few reviews from other coaches . From you experience, would you recommend using them regularly during training to increase muscle mass and improve performance on lifts that require a lot of strength?

Thanks in advance,

Serd

  1. Why do you think that is? It’s because with a fast turnaround and lifting with as much acceleration as possible EVERY SINGLE REP IS A MAX FORCE (MAX STIMULATION) REP!!! By only doing the effort required to overcome the load the early reps actually do not cause much of anything as far as muscle stimulation and fatigue goes, so it is easier to get more reps simply because it takes more time (reps) to achieve proper muscle stimulation.

Let’s say that you carry a 30lbs backpack… sprint as hard as you can, chances are that you will last no more than 20-30 seconds, covering maybe 150 yards.

Now take that same backpack and stroll gently … you can walk for hours, yet the load is not heavier. See what I mean? Weight is not the only (or even the main) factor involved, it is the intensity of the effort that will cause the stimulation and fatigue.

  1. They are better than nothing. Not up to par with the fat bar (because the fat gripz have some give, you can squeeze them) though.[/quote]

Awesome! Great Explanation… Thanks for you quick response!

lets say when you are performing a bench press, on the bottom of the rep, lets say 3-4 inches from your chest, would it be advantages to start trying to initiate the turnaround from there, whilst the bar is still going down, rather that waiting until the bar is at the chest, then initiating a turn around?

I suppose this is counter to the old “Explosive lift and controlled lowering” that’s been the mainstay for so long? I’m having difficulty understanding how to pull a heavy weight down and push up against it without pulling it ontop of myself! Might be due to an shoulder injury always giving me a little stress, but it seems that trying to do this would really risk a tendon injury… On that same note, I haven’t seen one of your protocols do anything but work wonders for me, so am I missing something? Or is it like in High threshold muscle building, when you say control 3/4 of the way down and then swiftly lower and explode?

Mr Gironda was obviously ahead of his time,

he defined intensity as the amount of work in a given amount of time, hence why he created the 8x8 routine. Accelerating through each repetition and trying to beat the total time of the workout before.

am i on the right track CT?

Is the rep similar to your description in High-Threshold Muscle Building? It took me awhile to get that rep down from the book.

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
Serd wrote:
Coach Thib,

If you have time I have 2 questions for you:

1.) I noticed when trying to do extremely fast turn-arounds from the eccentric to concentric phase (trying to achieve that perfect rep) that I couldn’t do as may reps as I would normally do if I lifted like I normally do, which is controlled eccentric, pause at bottom and explode up. Almost as if I had to lighten the load some to achieve my the targeted number of reps.
Is this normal or am I doing something wrong?

2.) I am really thinking about purchasing Fat Gripz to imitate the thick bar, but don’t know for sure if it is worth it. I honestly don’t know much about them, but have read other’s experiences from using them as well as a few reviews from other coaches . From you experience, would you recommend using them regularly during training to increase muscle mass and improve performance on lifts that require a lot of strength?

Thanks in advance,

Serd

  1. Why do you think that is? It’s because with a fast turnaround and lifting with as much acceleration as possible EVERY SINGLE REP IS A MAX FORCE (MAX STIMULATION) REP!!! By only doing the effort required to overcome the load the early reps actually do not cause much of anything as far as muscle stimulation and fatigue goes, so it is easier to get more reps simply because it takes more time (reps) to achieve proper muscle stimulation.

Let’s say that you carry a 30lbs backpack… sprint as hard as you can, chances are that you will last no more than 20-30 seconds, covering maybe 150 yards.

Now take that same backpack and stroll gently … you can walk for hours, yet the load is not heavier. See what I mean? Weight is not the only (or even the main) factor involved, it is the intensity of the effort that will cause the stimulation and fatigue.

  1. They are better than nothing. Not up to par with the fat bar (because the fat gripz have some give, you can squeeze them) though.[/quote]

That’s odd, because for me explosive turnaround reps are easier. Less total time of lifting in the set = more explosion = less sticking point stagnation. But maybe that’s because I’m good at being explosive only for a very short period of time. For example, I can lift a 93-95% weight for 2 reps very explosively, next set add 2.5 kg, do 1 more rep explosively (no slowering down) and then fail miserably at the 2nd rep!

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
Charles3264 wrote:
CT are you posting all this because its coming out tomorow? :slight_smile:

Vraiment pas.

Not really.[/quote]

Just kidding!( une blague)
Its funny that you are talking about THE rep because a day in my training is all about 1 rep…
This is what i m doing on this day: STRENGTH WAVES 9x1 rep

75%-80%-85%
80%-85%-90%
85%-90%-95%

I do this for 3 exercices…box squats- deadlifts and push press.

Do you target this kind of approach in i bodybuider. Thanks CT

CT,

I’ve been experimenting the last 2 days trying to perform the perfect rep and I think I’m getting pretty close with my pressing movements. One thing I’m noticing though is on the eccentric portion of the lift the bar has a tendency to slow a little bit as it gets close to my chest but not by much and as soon as I get it to about an inch above my chest I explode up as fast as possible.

Is this OK or should I work on lowering it at the same speed throughout the entire range of motion?

Also, this type of lifting seems like it would put greater stress on the tendons. I already have a bit of pain in my left bicep from doing this type of training during my arm workout last week. I’m thinking of taking two or three weeks and working with lower weight while I try and master the perfect rep on all my lifts. Do you think this will help my tendons adjust to this new style of training?

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
trav123456 wrote:
So can we see an example of what you would consider a perfect rep?

http://tnation.tmuscle.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_videos/i_bodybuilder_radical_strategy_for_radical_hypertrophy_1

At around the 2:55 minutes point. 2 reps with 405, pretty close to the max I could do at that time but you can still notice the fast turnaround.[/quote]

This may be my in-expertise but I really didn’t notice anything different than what I would call a normal rep… I have a lot to learn… :confused:

[quote]BruceLeeFan wrote:
Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
trav123456 wrote:
So can we see an example of what you would consider a perfect rep?

http://tnation.tmuscle.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_videos/i_bodybuilder_radical_strategy_for_radical_hypertrophy_1

At around the 2:55 minutes point. 2 reps with 405, pretty close to the max I could do at that time but you can still notice the fast turnaround.

This may be my in-expertise but I really didn’t notice anything different than what I would call a normal rep… I have a lot to learn… :confused: [/quote]

the speed explosiveness when he uppers the lift…