T Nation

Training with 3-5 Reps/Pauses


I have started lifting heavier in all my exercises going for weights around the 3 rep range working up to 5 reps and then jumping the weight up again to where I can just do sets of 3 again,etc. My question is I am doing them within a power rack with the pins set about 3-4 inches above my chest for bench for example.I do a rep,it comes down and rests on the pins for a split second then I power it back up.I am doing 5 sets of 3 at 295 currently.Is this more difficult than doing regular bench where I touch and go.

I guess my question is this,if im doing sets of 3 like this, do I have a better chance of getting more reps on a regular bench with keeping the motion going,hate to say momentum,but if thats whats its called thats fine.I am trying to hit 405 in bench,deadlift, and squat,I just did the deadlift for 405 at the end of the workout.Also will I gain size from this or mostly strength?

I have been lifting for a little while and read here alot.I have my diet doing pretty well eating 6-8 times a day with food and shakes,taking my vitamins,drinking about 1-2 gal of water a day,taking fish oil pills, and I get creatine and glutamin in the cytogainer.Im 6' and 225. Figure since Im not trying to lean out since winter is basically here,buffalo,ny by the way,I should just go for a new personal record.

And when I wanna try to look like Thib,haha,how does the Arnold route strike everyone which is what I was doing over the summer,goes like this: everything for upper 12,10,8,6,4 and everything for lower 15,13,11,9,7,5. I jump the weight up each time and lower the reps by two.Ultimatly by the time spring/summer comes around id like to have abs and be pretty shredded.Any insight is greatly appreciated.


Id like to thank whoever retitled my post and set up the body of the email properly. I now understand how posts are expected to be listed,my apologies.


you can bench close to 300 for reps from a dead stop and deadlift 405 and you are asking questions like will this get me bigger or just stronger and is it easier to bench using stretch reflex?

what gives?


Ok. It's hard to fully understand all your questions. I'll try to answer them as best as possible though.

"if im doing sets of 3 like this, do I have a better chance of getting more reps on a regular bench with keeping the motion going,hate to say momentum,but if thats whats its called thats fine."

-It should be obvious that you'll be able to get more reps my keeping the motion continuous. However, if you're mostly tricep dominant, the bottom three inches could be a sticking point for you. It pretty much depends on different variables.

"Also will I gain size from this or mostly strength? "
- a lot of people say that 5 reps or less is mostly strength, but you can only gain so much strength without gaining muscle. So pretty much, mostly strength with some muscle.

"how does the Arnold route strike everyone which is what I was doing over the summer,goes like this: everything for upper 12,10,8,6,4 and everything for lower 15,13,11,9,7,5"

-I think doing five sets for upper and six for lower on every exercise is a bit of overkill, personally. Are you considering this program or what?

Tips: Don't aim for the same weight on bench, deads, and squat. Squat and Deads should be significantly higher than your bench. Properly spaced goals would be maybe a 455 deadlift, a 405 squat, and a 365 bench.

If you want to be lean for the summer than I would maximize my gains before leaning up. Just focus on gaining weight and muscle for now, then diet down and cut weight at the start of next year if that's still your goal by that point.

Sorry for writing a book. Antone can correct me if they feel they know better on any points.


Thank you and I really enjoy and would rather have a long explanation that goes into detail.Thank you for that. The problem Im having is trying to obtain the physique I want. I have always lifted weights and stopped because of lack of results,yes id get stronger and get a little bigger but nothing that represented the hard work I was putting in,or what I thought was hard work at the time, As time went on and I got a little older,im 37 now, I have gained some more knowledge and the importance of dieting and consistancy.
My routine goes like this because of fulltime school,fulltime internship and parttime job:Saturday is chest and back, Sunday is legs, Tuesday is shoulders, and Wednesday bi's and tri's.

I alternate from one muscle group to the other,for example on Saturday I start with chins,a weak point for me thats why I start with them. Usually get about 5 sets of 6, then Ill do bench in the power rack with pins about 3 inches from my chest,10 at 135,5 at 225,then 5 sets of 3 at 295 this last time and come down to 225 for 10 reps, ill work my way up to sets of 5 then Ill probably jump the weight to 315 and start at sets of 3 again. Then Ill do some kind of weighted row for 5 sets of 3 to 5,then some kind of incline for chest,again heavy for 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps, then chainsaws with 100lb dumbells 5 sets of 3 to 5, then back to chest with some kind of flys.and finish up with low back extension.

On Sunday Ill start with Squats on the smith machine,yes I know smith machine=bad haha, but I can really keep my form solid and concentrate on my legs and my back never bothers me,usually goes like this: 10 at 135, 5 at 225, 5 sets of 3 to 5 at 335,10 at 225 then deadlifts are 10 at 135, 5 at 225, 5 sets of 3 to 5 at 355,5 at 315,5 at 225.then leg press: 5 at 360, 5 at 450,5 at 540,5 at 630, 5 at 720,5 at 630,5 at 540, 5 at 450, then heavy calfs standing,seated,and donkey,usually sets of 10-15 or at least until they burn and I wanna scream.

Tuesday: Military in the power rack with pins at shoulder level, 10 at 95, 5 at 135, 5 at 155, 5 at 175, 5 at 185, 10 at 135, then superset dumbell lat raise and rear delt 5 sets of 5 at 35lbs, upright rows on smith machine 5 sets of 5 at 75lbs, shrugs on smith machine 5 sets of 8 at 275.
Wednesday: Bi's and Tri's, straight bar curl 5 at 95,5 at 115,5 at 135,5 at 145,2 sets of 5 at 115,3 sets of 5 and a set of 7 at 95.then weighted dips,5 at body weight,5 with 25lbs,5 with 45lbs,5 sets of 5 with 65lbs,then preacher curl, 5 sets of 5 at 75,then over head dumbell ext 5 sets of 5 at 90lbs. then superset on the cable machine 5 sets of 10 with full stack of 15 plates,think it represents 150lbs.,i do a set of 10 cable curl then do a set of tricep pressdown and that is one set,i do that for 5 sets of 10
I do forearms,the weighted 4-way neck machine,abs,and calves everytime I workout.

I am eating about 6-8 times a day between shakes and meals,get about 270-300 grams of protein or close to it,never realized how hard it is to get about 1.5 grams of protein per body pound, usually and the same or maybe a little more for carbs,fats consist of mixed nuts,avacado,whole eggs,and im sure a little bad fat from other crap,carbs from oatmeal,rice,potatoes,wheat bread,wheat spaghetti,protein from eggs,milk,chicken,lean red meat,cytogainer,whey,and casein at night,I take my vitamins,fish oil,and about 1-2 gal of water a day.granted ive only been at this level of nutrition and lifting for about 3-4 months,but ive always worked out on and off and taken supps on and off,but like ive mentioned,with the help of this site I have seen the light and understand the importance of consistancy and nutrition.

so Im looking forward to seeing my results in the summer,im 6' and 225 and ive got some fat around the belly but I beleive next summer will be the first time that ill actually be able to see my abs,hopefully :slightly_smiling: Thanks everyone and any critiquing is more than welcome. I look forward to any and all advice.


I was hoping for a little input from some of the more knowledgable members.


post a condensed version of that last post and you'll probably get a better response.


Wow that was difficult to read (I thought I was bad haha)!

Just for that, I'll post another book :slight_smile:

Usually that sort of rep range will build more strength than size, but this all depends on the individual, level of development etc.

Also, doing just the top range of motion will develop more "strength" than usual...although the benefits don't seem worth it (for most people). Far better simply doing normal full(er) range and get more stimulation/fuller development from it. You won't be able to lift as much (even with momentum) but the stimulation you get from it will be better.

Lower rep ranges and reduced range of motion is far more burdening on the nervous system (it's much more intense) and this type of exercising means that the nervous system takes longer to recover from compared to the amount of time that the actual muscles take to repair. So in other words, the muscle gains to NS recovery time is bad.

What you'll find is there are two camps in here (T-Nation), one that will bitch and say this is the BODYBUILDING forum, then the other will say that you need to focus on STRENGTH...well both are right.

You need to worry about strength progression in high(er) rep range (6-10 reps). Your muscles need to be loaded for a decent amount of time on your last set (which is the maximal effort set), the muscles especially need a decent amount of time in the NEGATIVE portion of the exercise.

Of course, there will always be those who are the exception (those who prefer much lower rep ranges), and those who like to point out different ways of "skinning a cat", but that above is generally true and the most direct/simple. Don't try to re-invent the wheel; it's fine the way it is.

Deadlifts are slightly different, most preffer to keep the rep range slightly lower.

Do a little experiment some time and you'll prove it to yourself: drop the load that you're using by say 30%, use a FULL range of motion (which means longer time under tension for the negative portion), BURST the weight up on the positive, and CONTROL the negative on the way down. The negative portion doesn't have to LOOK like you're really slowing it down, but it should definately FEEL like you are (and there definitely should be no bouncing).

Do just one or two maximal effort sets and aim for around 8 reps per set. This means that each set will get heavier and heavier, until your greatest weight on the last set. Don't do multiple sets with the same load; build yourself up, you'll recover better just working up to ONE or TWO maximal sets (in the higher rep range), and thus progress in weight/muscle gains quicker.

As regards diet, get your routine sorted first (make some good progress), eat enough for muscle gains, and then post again for dieting tips...make sure you don't go on a vicous bulking / cutting phase (going around in circles), or even worse, a phase of stagnation.

I've pasted a link below to a post I made (on P6) about a certain member's training advice (C_C), have a look through it, it's great for intermediates and those who seem to be stuck/confused with their training...



Thank you, I thought Thib was big on nervous system work? Thats a good thing I thought. Well anyway thanks for responding and all are welcome to continue with other points of views. Thanks and take care,Happy Friday


You are still using the nervous system ramping up to a 6 rep max lol

Basically, if what your doing now isn't working, change it.

You know what Albert Einstein said:

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome"

We've pointed out why you are not getting as big as you'd hoped with your "strength" gains. There's no point in just looking for confirmation in your opinions...