T Nation

Waterbury's Sets and Reps

Is it even realistic to get big and strong by lifting the way Waterbury says to? Pick a weight in the rep range you want then do as many straight sets as it takes to get to the selected rep total for that lift.

All of the big and strong guys here say that they ramp up to a stop heavy set and then maybe do a backoff set.

I can’t imagine loading up for 405lbs on the bench, getting 4-6 reps on the first set, then continuing to do sets until I get to 25 total reps.(That’s just one of his set/rep schemes)

All I want to know is…Is there a single soul on this site that has gotten really BIG and STRONG from lifting like this? If so, post your pics and lifting stats.

P.S: I’m not trying to start another war over straight sets vs. ramping. I’m specifically asking if anyone on here has gotten very big and strong from using Waterbury’s reps/sets set up.

Haven’t we had all this before… In just about every major ramping discussion?

Try it out and see if you like it… Have fun doing 20 singles or 10 doubles with 700+ on the deadlift.

What do you think of a possiblity of getting a new forum to discuss workouts from guys like Waterbury, Cosgrove, Staley, Poliquin, etc? Maybe something like general fitness. I know I’ve posted in the bodybuilding forum for lack of anywhere else to post. It would probably help cut down on things like this.

[quote]BBriere wrote:
What do you think of a possiblity of getting a new forum to discuss workouts from guys like Waterbury, Cosgrove, Staley, Poliquin, etc? Maybe something like general fitness. I know I’ve posted in the bodybuilding forum for lack of anywhere else to post. It would probably help cut down on things like this.[/quote]
If there’s a “general fitness” forum, then this site becomes one step closer to Men’s Health.

Anyways, Waterbury is a smart guy, but the whole total rep thing isn’t THAT different. In the end it all comes down to what rep range you are using, the reps more or less end up being around the same ‘goal’ anyway. Let’s say you have 32 out of 35 reps yet you are using a load of 6-9 RM. Why on earth would you just do 3 reps? It should be a rep out set to get that TUT in. Just look at I, Bodybuilder. In every workout I think there’s some kind of max reps set. Also, I’m pretty sure that hitting the total reps Waterbury-style is using the same load instead of ramping, which isn’t the best for mass and strength.

[quote]PB Andy wrote:

Anyways, Waterbury is a smart guy, but the whole total rep thing isn’t THAT different. In the end it all comes down to what rep range you are using, the reps more or less end up being around the same ‘goal’ anyway. Let’s say you have 32 out of 35 reps yet you are using a load of 6-9 RM. Why on earth would you just do 3 reps? It should be a rep out set to get that TUT in. Just look at I, Bodybuilder. In every workout I think there’s some kind of max reps set. Also, I’m pretty sure that hitting the total reps Waterbury-style is using the same load instead of ramping, which isn’t the best for mass and strength. [/quote]

Waterbury gets a raw deal here big time! I remember him advocating explosive reps to potentiate the nervous system just as in IBB. He also advocated the termination of a set once the weight slowed down just as in IBB.

There was a program I did of his many years ago, which called for 3 reps using big compounds like deads, squats, weighted dips etc. beginning at 60% 1RM or thereabouts, then ramping (term wasn’t used then) up the weight using the same three rep scheme until a 3 rep max was achieved! All this was done lifting as ‘fast’ as possible! Again, when I read IBB I immediately thought of this!

I think he shot himself in the foot when he first coined the phrase ‘Anti Bodybuilding’ and as a result a lot experienced guys on here saw this as an affront to bodybuilding. Waterbury had a lot of interesting ideas’ some good and some not so good but like everything you take what you need and discard the rest!

[quote]PB Andy wrote:
Anyways, Waterbury is a smart guy, but the whole total rep thing isn’t THAT different. In the end it all comes down to what rep range you are using, the reps more or less end up being around the same ‘goal’ anyway. Let’s say you have 32 out of 35 reps yet you are using a load of 6-9 RM. Why on earth would you just do 3 reps? It should be a rep out set to get that TUT in. Just look at I, Bodybuilder. In every workout I think there’s some kind of max reps set. Also, I’m pretty sure that hitting the total reps Waterbury-style is using the same load instead of ramping, which isn’t the best for mass and strength. [/quote]

Waterbury IS a smart guy! I distinctly remember him advocating explosive reps to potentiate the nervous system, as in IBB. I also remember his recommendation to terminate the set once the speed of the rep declined (this was laughed at in the forums) again in IBB.

I did a prog of his many years ago, which required me to do a set of 3 reps with about 60% of my 1RM. This was then ‘ramped’ (term wasn’t used then) up to a 3 rep max. This was done using explosive reps, avoiding fatigue and avoiding grinding out sets as these interfered with recovery! All great stuff and worked a treat!

I think he shot himself in the foot when he first coined the phrase Anti Bodybuilding and as a result a lot of experienced guys on here saw this as an affront to bodybuilding.

I think he had a lot of great ideas but with everything you have to use what you think is good and discard all the rest and this only comes with trying it out for yourself.

In most instances if you have been training a particular way for a any period of time, a complete flip in training styles (reps, sets etc…) can do wonders for your progress. As in the traditional 3 X 10 protocol used by most inexperienced guys at the time, which was then flipped to 10 X 3 by Waterbury and as a result people moved forward instead of the usual ‘stuck in training limbo going nowhere’ eagerly searching Flex for the next confusion prog.

[quote]ANIMAL M0THER wrote:
Is it even realistic to get big and strong by lifting the way Waterbury says to? Pick a weight in the rep range you want then do as many straight sets as it takes to get to the selected rep total for that lift.

All of the big and strong guys here say that they ramp up to a stop heavy set and then maybe do a backoff set.

I can’t imagine loading up for 405lbs on the bench, getting 4-6 reps on the first set, then continuing to do sets until I get to 25 total reps.(That’s just one of his set/rep schemes)

All I want to know is…Is there a single soul on this site that has gotten really BIG and STRONG from lifting like this? If so, post your pics and lifting stats.

P.S: I’m not trying to start another war over straight sets vs. ramping. I’m specifically asking if anyone on here has gotten very big and strong from using Waterbury’s reps/sets set up.[/quote]

I think once you start getting ‘strong’ then Waterbury’s methods are abit ridiculous in terms of volume, but I used them with good success for my beginner gains.

There are probably some freaks out there who can do what he suggests with 700+lb deadlifts etc. but I doubt they could do that sort of training for very long.

All I have to say is that I’ve seen some of his programs and there are days where it says do 2 sets of 15. I don’t want to do that. It feels like a waste of time to me. Maybe it’ll work, but I don’t want to go that high in the reps and that low in the sets.

Well, I’m definitely not slamming Waterbury. I’ve used plenty of his programs. I liked most, but I never thought doing them that I had discovered some “magic” way of training that had been forgotten about for decades. I used to hate fullbody until I did them the way he advocated. Now I hate doing splits. That doesn’t mean fullbody is superior; it’s just my own personal preference. It’s also not bodybuilding per se. So I think it would work best to avoid future confusion and arguments to have a place to discuss training from guys like Waterbury. Not trying to start trouble, I’m trying to solve some.

[quote]Nards wrote:
All I have to say is that I’ve seen some of his programs and there are days where it says do 2 sets of 15. I don’t want to do that. It feels like a waste of time to me. Maybe it’ll work, but I don’t want to go that high in the reps and that low in the sets.[/quote]

High rep training is warranted in some cases. The sets are low because the drop off in reps from set to set with high rep training is very big.

[quote]worzel wrote:

[quote]PB Andy wrote:
Anyways, Waterbury is a smart guy, but the whole total rep thing isn’t THAT different. In the end it all comes down to what rep range you are using, the reps more or less end up being around the same ‘goal’ anyway. Let’s say you have 32 out of 35 reps yet you are using a load of 6-9 RM. Why on earth would you just do 3 reps? It should be a rep out set to get that TUT in. Just look at I, Bodybuilder. In every workout I think there’s some kind of max reps set. Also, I’m pretty sure that hitting the total reps Waterbury-style is using the same load instead of ramping, which isn’t the best for mass and strength. [/quote]

Waterbury IS a smart guy! I distinctly remember him advocating explosive reps to potentiate the nervous system, as in IBB. I also remember his recommendation to terminate the set once the speed of the rep declined (this was laughed at in the forums) again in IBB.

I did a prog of his many years ago, which required me to do a set of 3 reps with about 60% of my 1RM. This was then ‘ramped’ (term wasn’t used then) up to a 3 rep max. This was done using explosive reps, avoiding fatigue and avoiding grinding out sets as these interfered with recovery! All great stuff and worked a treat!

I think he shot himself in the foot when he first coined the phrase Anti Bodybuilding and as a result a lot of experienced guys on here saw this as an affront to bodybuilding.

I think he had a lot of great ideas but with everything you have to use what you think is good and discard all the rest and this only comes with trying it out for yourself.

In most instances if you have been training a particular way for a any period of time, a complete flip in training styles (reps, sets etc…) can do wonders for your progress. As in the traditional 3 X 10 protocol used by most inexperienced guys at the time, which was then flipped to 10 X 3 by Waterbury and as a result people moved forward instead of the usual ‘stuck in training limbo going nowhere’ eagerly searching Flex for the next confusion prog. [/quote]

I have nothing against Waterbury. I just don’t see how anyone but a rank beginner can do straight sets for 10 sets of 3 unless the load was so ridiculously low that you were training nowhere near failure (not just 1 or 2 reps shy of it, but A LOT left in the tank in the first few sets). I don’t know why anyone would try this except for perhaps some technique training in a technical lift (volume for the sake of volume).

Who the hell can survive 17 singles unless the weight is nowhere near their max. The goofiest routine he ever wrote involved (if I recall correctly) something like 3 exercises for 17 singles apiece. You’d definitely need to be training nowhere near your max, otherwise you’d be DESTROYED at the end of a workout like that - IF someone can even do that! It takes intermediate and advanced powerlifters about 10 sets to WORK UP to a 1 rep max. So how the hell could that kind of workout be performed with appreciable weights? I dunno if he wrote that just for a new article on something he doesn’t do for himself or others, or if he has actual success with it.

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If my memory serves me correctly, I read an article by Dave Tate saying the original Westside stuff started doing speed work at like 8-10x3 ~70% or something. As they got stronger the percentages went down. I think the first few times I did 10x3 like in Waterbury Method I was probably using about my 4 or 5 rep max. I still like Waterbury. I used his methods to get up to my biggest size which was about 240, but he hasn’t come up with anything interesting in about the last 2 years or so.