Anyone who knows me knows that I look at a set of 12 in the same way most people would look at a three mile run- unpleasant as hell, horrifyingly boring, and yet, not all that difficult. I've trained with every possible set and rep scheme, ranging from 100+ reps to pure singles, and everything in between. I find myself, however, tending toward the extremes, doing 20+ reps when going light (usually on bodyweight exercises), and then sticking to 1-3 reps on everything else.
If you have to do high reps and low weight to get ripped, someone needs to inform this Bulgarian he's fucking up.When loading weights for sets of 1-3 reps, I typically keep my poundages between 90-100% of my 1RM (one repetition maximum), and never drop below 85% of my 1RM. Why, you might ask? Wouldn't that fry my CNS(central nervous system)? Would that be *gasp* OVERTRAINING?
The simple answer is no. Not at all. And fuck you for using that word in my presence.
The Bulgarians are notorious for stomping throats and breaking hearts in Olympic lifting competitions, and have dominated that sport for decades. Over the last 40 years, their workloads and workout volumes have increased exponentially, to the point where they now train 6 days a week, for 6-8 hours a day. They split their workouts, like Louie Simmons' Westside program, into speed and power sessions, but fully 70% of their workouts are conducted with poundages at 80% or more of their 1RM. (1)
Well, wait a minute, you might be saying. You do single-only workouts all the time! the Bulgarians only max on 1.05% of all of the total lifts, and only train at 90%-100% of their 1RM 7% of the time. Well, yes, my grasshopper, but I don't do the Bulgarian routine. No one with a job or life outside of Bulgaria does that routine. I merely posted their workout volume to show you that the human body can take a hell of a lot more punishment than Hany Rambod or Joe Weider seem to think, even in the face of empirical and anecdotal evidence to the contrary.
Throwing a 242 lb stone over a high bar might seem like reps, but it's really singles with REALLY short rests.
1) Zatsiorsky, Vladimir M. Science and Practice of Strength Training. Champaign: Human Kinetics, 1995. p.97.
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