As lifting bros, we all want to be as jacked as possible. It’s in our nature. We were born for this, and I’m here to help you get better.
If you’ve read the countless articles on websites and in magazines, detailing your favorite bodybuilder’s workout routine, you’ve probably seen a whole lot of high-rep, pump-inducing training. 3 sets of 10-15 on all exercises, or you’ll never make gains. Get the pump.
While this high volume training has it’s place, there are other ways to train, and incorporating a mix of varying training styles can help you reach your goals faster. It’s best to use a mix of heavy weights, medium weights, and light weights, with varying amounts of time under tension, if you want to take advantage of all the ways you can induce muscle growth.
A combination of low-rep, heavy strength training, and moderate to high rep, medium weight training is the best route if you want to maximize size AND strength. After all, getting stronger means you can lift more weight, and more weight will eventually lead to more muscle. It doesn’t have to be one or the other; you can train for both goals. Even if your focus is high-rep training, being stronger means you’ll be using more weight for those reps. This is a good thing.
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The best way to utilize this mixed-rep training? Start with heavy, compound lifts for your workout, and then gradually progress to lighter weights and shorter rest periods as the workout goes on. You don’t have to be training with 1 or 2 rep maxes, but staying in a 6-10 rep range can do wonders for your strength levels. If you really want to get strong, bump that first set down to 3-5 reps instead of 6-10.
There are plenty of other factors you can manipulate to stimulate growth, such as time under tension, rep speed, changing the angles used, and more, but for now, let’s focus on putting some heavy lifts into your training. This will take you very far in the long run.
Here’s an example of a chest workout you can try, if you want to see what I’m talking about. The workout will progress from heavy to light, and not only will you be getting stronger, you’ll end with a pec pump worthy of Arnold himself. This style of training is useful for everyone. We already discussed how it’s beneficial if muscle growth is your goal. Even if strength is your main goal, the hypertrophy work will do wonders, as more muscle means better leverages and more potential for maximum strength.
- Incline DB Bench Press: 4 x 6-10, rest 1-2 mins between sets
- Flat Bench Press (2 second lowering phase, pause, explode up): 3 x 12-15, rest 60-90 seconds
- Standing Cable Chest Press: 3 x 12-15/arm, rest 45-60 seconds
- Cable Crossover: 2 x 15-20, rest 45-60 seconds
At the end of this workout, you will have hit your chest at various angles, using different rep ranges, and a combination of free weights and cables. For some extra work, you can throw in some shoulder and tricep work, or get all kinds of fancy and do biceps instead, saving your triceps for back day.
This is just one very basic example of how mixed rep ranges can be utilized in a training session, and a nice way to change things up and stimulate new growth. If you’ve been using the same high-rep training for a while now, give this a try. The concept would be the same regardless of the workout or body part trained – start heavy, and progress to lighter weights and more reps as the workout goes on. Enjoy.
© Author: Matt Dustin for BroScience.co
Matt Dustin, B.S., CPT, is a personal trainer, online coach, owner of The Athletic Physique, and co-founder of Stack Diesel apparel. Visit his website for more info about him, a free supplement guide, coaching information, and much more. www.theathleticphysique.com