T Nation

The Singles Scene


Hi all,

Just want to know what you think about this training protocol.

Basically, he says that we should not cycle intensity but cycle volume; staying between 90% and 100% as much as possible.



Your TL:DR sounds good.

The article had way more words than necessary, but also: 7-10 heavy singles per session? Uh no thanks. Maybe if you're a newbie (which it looks like this article was geared towards).

It also probably depends on the person.


Haven't done this exact protocol but I have used singles (at 90% and higher) a lot in the past. 5-10 and sometimes 20 or more. Like grettiron says, it's easier when your max is lower. It worked for me to a point but eventually I was just getting better at eking out more singles but not necessarily stronger on the lift. If you're going to go this route I would suggest working on triples and doubles first to ease into it, and rotate singles with some other way of training the main lifts that brings up weak points.


Basically what i do. But i never thought about cycling volume though. Maybe just what i need to get my deadlift going again. And stay of the booze but that's another story lol


pk0ad, canada, how much weight have you gain on your lifts with this kind of training?


It's basically a variation of Doug Hepburn's old-school routine.


I used it primarily on squat and deadlift.
Squat went from ~315 to 425.
Deadlift went from 405 to 505.


Took my push press from 170ish to 220.
Bench press 242 to 292
Deadlift mid 300's to 424


"The article had way more words than necessary, but also: 7-10 heavy singles per session? Uh no thanks"

That's 7-10 over ONE session, not per session. The article is not geared towards newbies at all because a novice would have no need to lift at this intensity. I definitely agree that for the initiated, the article has too many words but the truth is that there are not many trainees, in the big wide world, who are initiated into any kind of near-maximal training. The extra explanation is there so they understand the thinking behind it, and things like why it's not 7 to 10 singles per session. It is hard to balance things so that they will work for every audience, but indeed this is meant for those with a bit more training time under their belt but that haven't really been given to understand near maximal training. This is something to cycle one or two lifts through some of the time, it's not a training manifesto. Yes, of course everything depends on the person!

"It's easier if your max is lower"

You guys are not reading through and understanding the why's and wherefores. This is the purpose of the relative max, which would be hinging on your best ability for that day and even very advanced trainees can lift at at least 90% of that for most of the singles required for a day, if not the full goal for that day.

"It's basically a variation of Doug Hepburn's old-school routine."

I don't really know much about Doug Hepburn and for this particular protocol, there was nothing borrowed from him, but it does borrow a lot of concepts from a lot of people, including my own experience. If you want to think it is a variation of something from him, I'm fine with that. I doubt, however, that Hepburn incorporated the relative max.

Thanks for linking,

Eric Troy


To me it does sound a bit similar to Thibs perfect rep/autoregulation method, except that the weights
are higher on this, but still with the relative max and working in a % area of the relative max.


Please explain. I fail to see a distinction... (7 singles)/(1 session) is the exact same thing as 7 singles per session.


7-10 reps at near max lifts in a session sounds like its right from prilipens chart.


Just to clarify, I was describing my experience training with singles, not this particular program. For me, squatting 15x1x335 (94%) was easier than 10x1x405 (95%) in terms of being able to recover enough for other stuff that week and being able to continue with the cycle. I don't doubt people can adapt to completing all the prescribed singles and more, but I found out for myself that eventually the singles stop increasing the max on that lift and just edge closer and closer to a stagnant max. Meaning each workout gets more and more taxing without actually improving the lift.


I don't see how this is in line with Doug Hepburns stuff. A little bit with the singles focus.


I trained my squat like that for quite a while. I did absolutely no assistance work and managed to go from 465 to 505 in several months. Recently after taking time off from squatting, I used this method again and regained most of my lost strength. I used something similar to this for my deadlift when I was younger and my max continually went up. Oddly enough, this method did not work as well for my pressing style movements. I found I could maintain strength with it, but I made more progress with 531 for those.


I really like GUS's stuff. First i seen it thanks to the OP!

This is another excellent approach to getting stronger. I just done the first session today.



I think he means that's all you're supposed to do that day.

EDIT: Nevermind, he means you're only supposed to do it for 1-2 exercises at a time, so you'd only be doing the singles once or twice a week.


Hi, no, sorry, I meant that you only need to do that many singles for ONE of the sessions in the entire cycle. 7 to 10 singles "per session" would mean that this many singles were to be done each and every session, as opposed to just one of the sessions.

There is a different target of singles for each session, each different week, so that "volume" is manipulated, not intensity, as the OP stated. Nothing very new about that. Given that, I think people tend to focus on the 10 and ignore the 7! So maybe it won't seem like too much (even though it isn't) if you think of it as "I am doing 7 singles today but up to 10 if I am able."

But yes, you should only use it for one or two exercises at a time. If it's two it should be one lower body and one upper, like say, deadlift and press. Obviously, Olympic lifts should only be one at at time, but this is more suited to maximal lifts. For hybrid lifts, only one at a time.