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Waterbury's Set/Rep Question


I read Waterbury's Set/Rep article and I think it's a great basis for setting up programs. I don't understand how to train back though. If your doing 36-50 reps per workout/per bodypart as he suggests for hypertrophy, should reps be split between mid back (i.e. Bent over rows) and lats (i.e. chins/pulldowns)? Or should each section of the back get their own 36-50 reps PER workout? Or should mid back get 36-50 reps on "Day 1" and Lats on "Day 3"? I am confused. I know Waterbury is big on training any bodypart at least twice a week, so I would think the last example is probably not right as it would you only training mid back and lats once per week. Any help much appreciated.



Are there any big guys at your gym?


Here we go again...Yes, there are "big guys' at my gym...


It depends. It depends you your goals, weaknesses, training split, etc.

If you want to focus on the back in particular, you might choose to train it twice a week, splitting it up horizontally and vertically - in essence doubling the volume you train it with over the week/meso.

If you are not particularly focusing on that area, split the work evenly over the whole back (there is more to it than mid back and lats BTW) in the one session or over the week, etc.

Thats what i'd do anyway, of course i havent read Waterbury's method for quite some time now so may be thinking of the logistics of a workout incorrectly.




Thanks for the help. I was just using the lats & mid back as an example. I certainly don't think there's any problem with training both sections twice a week, but Waterbury's article didn't really clarify. I was just wondering if anyone knew what his take was on this scenario. Thanks again.


Then ask to train with one on his "back" day. You'll learn more from that one session than from any article.


good advice, but will he listen?


Just another thought- if you are doing an upper/lower you can put lower back-focused movements (good mornings, dead variations, etc.) on the lower day. That will compliment things like squats, glute-ham raises, etc. So upper day would be arms, upper back, shoulders, chest.


I understand what you're trying to say, but I just think it's a little short sighted. The biggest guys at my gym are clearly "assisted" and they train for HOURS. I am an ecto/meso w/ an emphasis on ecto. I don't think training w/ them would help me personally. I just wanted to know if someone knew Waterbury's intention with a scenario like this based on that article. No big deal.


Didn't think of that. Thank you.


pikehunter, stop using all the excuses not to train like the big guys. Gear, i'm an ecto, genetics (not mentioned but next). Big guys are big because they know how to eat and they know how to train. Take some of that and implement it. An article cannot teach you how to train, feeling it and the experience of being shown by a veteran can and will.


Might want to check out the alpha roundtable on back training.

I find that doing one back workout based on deads and another based on rows has worked tremendously. It lets my lower back rest (I find I can hit it at most 1x a week hard) but provides the volume necessary to grow. For instance, yesterday, I did deads, close grip pullups, shrugs, and cable pullovers (with biceps) and on Tuesday (after legs and again with bi's) I did chest supported rows, DB rows, and wide grip pull ups. It's higher volume, but it seems to work for me.

And pikehunter, I used to think I was an ecto/meso. I think think I am. Use this as an advantage to eat. So people don't go asking me what experience I have with this, I've gained 53lbs (to 193) in the last two years (haven't grown vertically) while keeping abs the whole time. Don't use that as an excuse. Use it as a means by which to bulk with only a little fat gain.


"An article cannot teach you how to train". Brilliant. Yeah I guess you can't learn to change your oil, cook a steak or learn how to add "from an article" either. You should tell Waterbury to just stop writing.


Thanks. No, I have no "abs" worries. I love to eat and I share your feeling that our metabolisms allow heavy eating. I do respect Waterbury's opinions though and I just wanted to know if the "36-50 reps per bodypart/workout" meant IN TOTAL (i.e. TOTAL BACK). No big deal. Just curious as to what he meant.


do u think there are many successful bodybuilders or strength athletes who read Waterburys articles ever? do pressups and pullups everyday for 3 weeks and gain 2 inches of thickness, give me a fucking break


When you get a job writing at this website, call me. Go fight with your wife.


Ahhhh, see! I was reading this thread, and I was confused as to what you were asking!

Yes, he means 36-50 TOTAL (total back). But, if you were to do back (or some sort of pulling movement 3 times per week) then you could effectively work all or most aspects of your back within your workout week.


Well, you're going to have the DC guys tell you that 10-20 reps/body part is good and then you have the high volume people telling you that 75-125 reps is good. I find that high volume (>100reps) works better for my legs and that around 100 or so for all of my back (traps, lats, lower, mid) works well.

Still trying to figure out all upper body pushing exercises. But I'm not quite big enough to be dolling out advice that people should take too close to heart.

As for you defending Waterbury, what are you trying to do? If you are trying to get big (as opposed to being a busy parent just trying to add a little size or get a little definition), then he's probably not the best for advice.

I see him as the guy to go to for those who like lifting, but don't have any strong aspirations for it. Not that there's anything wrong with having other goals; he just gets criticized because this is a site where the goal is supposed to be extentions of lifting.


Short-sighted is using terms like ecto/meso/endo to describe relatively untrained physiques.