Rep Schemes: Taking Lifting Seriously

So you’re a Body-Builder and deep in a program ..Looking for some more info.. Need a change-up?

Do you know what kind of lifter you are? Do you know what a rep is and why changing training styles is important? Below is some more detailed info on how to play around with rep schemes.

You must perpetually overload the muscle. This means that you’re talking yourself into lifting, pushing, or pulling something that seems heavier than you could ever want to lift– and it’s changing the look on your face as you do it– yet, you still do it– and as many times as possible.

HOW WELL YOU DO THIS,

IS DIRECTLY RELATED

TO THE LEVEL OF YOUR GAINS.

Gains can be: Strength, Endurance, Muscle Size,  Body Composition, Skill, Speed/Power, etc.

You must shock your body- with movements that you haven’t done before, exercises you aren’t good at. You have to work on your weaknesses and imbalances. Think of yourself as one huge muscle.

You must diversify the style, speed, and duration of your movements, the kinds of exercises and planes and ranges of your motion, as well as when and in what sequence, and with what energy source.

Why is this all so important?

You have to break down muscle fibers so that when your body restores this damage and lays down new fibers – they are much more capable of meeting the demands of your movement, aka ADAPTATION

Same Muscle Group:

Working the same part of the body is attempting to control and use blood flow in the most efficient manner. The thinking behind this method is that you are capable of lifting greater loads as all of your oxygenated blood and energy is concentrated in the target muscles.

Opposing Muscle Groups:

This method is my personal favorite. It gives you an awesome feeling — what lifters call a pump– and you will feel in command of your anatomy, maybe even learn a thing or two about your body. Think of it as holistic lifting. ūüėČ

You train opposing muscles, so let’s say you are working on lower body.

1st set: Work the Anterior: Quadriceps with knee extensions – bilateral work, or pistol squats – unilateral work.


Rest


2nd set: Work the Posterior: Hamstrings with reverse hyper-extensions or leg curls taxing the muscles just opposite the Quadriceps.


Super Set: or Tri-Set:

The fastest and easiest way to increase the intensity and caloric expenditure of your workouts. Using the same example above, do exercises back to back without taking a rest. You will be fatigued for sure but burning fat and building endurance simultaneously.

For Tri-Sets, you do three instead of two without resting in between.

Pyramiding:

The most common training method of them all. After warming up:

1st set: Start with a load that you can complete 12-15 reps


2nd set: Increase load and shoot for about 8-10 reps


3rd set: Load for 6 reps.


This overloads the muscle successfully and works well for building lean muscle, strength and endurance.

Reverse Pyramiding:

This is the reverse of the above description. Always warm up first.

1st set: load for 6 reps max (meaning you can load for 1, 3, 4, etc)


2nd set: reduce load and push through 8-10 reps


3rd set: load for 12-15 reps.


This Rep Scheme gives your body the chance to lift maximum weight before fatigue sets in. It is a great way to get your numbers up. The more frequently you are able to maximize the lbs on the first set, the easier this whole routine will become and you will be lifting heavier than you thought you could in no time.

Drop Setting:

This is a really great Rep Scheme to wake up a certain muscle group that is just not responding in the way you would like. It could be genetics, or neglect, whatever the case, you’re ready to face it head on.

1st Set: Any exercise at your heaviest load but bearable. The load you can do for about 6 reps.


2nd Set: Reduce the load by half and do as many reps as possible. AMRAP. Depending on the exercise, it may be advisable to have a spotter present because this is very close to training to failure.


Optional Continuation:¬†Drop Setting to Failure: You can continue to decrease the weight and by any increment you like until it is the lightest it can be – and you can no longer move in the exercise’s range of motion.

Types of Training to Failure:

  • Set Assistance /Positive Failure

Any exercise any load, in the final reps a spotter assists you past a sticking point or muscle fatigue. By doing this it is a successful and positive way to not only overload the target muscle but complete the set. You can use a resistance bands on a pull-up as a form of assistance.

  • Negatives

This is the greatest way to acquire any skill/movement/exercise when strength held you back in your first attempt.

Ex. Pull ups. Hold yourself at the top of the bar and slowly lower. Rest and repeat. Soon the pulling motion will come much more naturally to you.

  • Partial Reps/ Pulses

However many sets of any exercise it takes to find yourself exhausted and target muscles fatigued. Continue going through sets getting through all reps at the original desired load, BUT by moving in pulses that cover only a portion of the full range of motion of the exercise.

  • Giant Set:

1st set: Any exercise with a weight that you can do for about 10 reps.


Pause for five seconds


 2nd Set: Do it again- and then again and again and again until you can only complete two reps of the exercise.


  • Pausing and Repeating:

This is another overloading method where instead of dropping the load, or doing partial reps aka pulses, you put the weights down and rest for 10 seconds and then repeating until you move. Failure, get it.

 

 

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Training Styles

Strength begins with Effort & Effort begins in the Mind. Beginners lack experience not strength. Hello Body.

Read more on Reps& Rest, Kinds of Lifting Goals, the building and working through a 6-week program, the many rep schemes.

General Tips:

  • Do not use momentum when lifting weights – or anything. Be aware of where your weight is – standing- sitting- walking – everything.¬†
  • Start with the breath – inhale to prep for your move and exhale throughout the difficult spots of the movement. This will lead to the third tip.
  • Always brace your core. If you’ve got an activated core, you’re one step closer to great form.
  • Remember that in order to build strength – the muscle must have flexibility first.
  • Be realistic and patient – honor where you are
  • Weight training is only going to give you lean muscle mass if you’re combining it with cardio. You need to train your heart, and have the fat burning sessions that high intensity – or steady state cardio can provide.¬†

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  • Total or Full Body Training: A¬†lifting style that gives you access to¬†maximum¬†muscle recruitment. Recruitment is literally what it sounds like – recruiting help from all muscles involved in the movement.

Your brain is like:¬†“Whoa, you want to do what?”¬† ¬†“OKAY. Call in the Quads, Glutes, Hams!”

And then suddenly you’re firing away and making exercise look¬†easy. Yes, you’re super tired afterwards and sore everywhere. But this is why we do this…. Ahhhh..daptation…

Total Body Exercises are inherently compound exercises in the sense that they ask you to combine more than one joint action, integrating upper, lower and left with right, etc. 

  1. This will condition your heart.

  2. Burn the most amount of calories.

  3. Build muscle evenly.

  4. Give you strength, balance, and confidence in your movement.

Hello! What more could you ask for when your goals are fitting better in clothing, toning up and staying healthy? 

Soon though, you will be ready to take on more challenges, build more muscle, become involved in aesthetics [how your muscles look] in addition to strength. This is the normal progression for many people.


  • Specific¬†Targeted Training:¬†Separate Muscle Groups Based on¬†the action that they do, or their placement in the body.¬†

Like anything else, it is all in the details.

The body can do movement with the front of the body (ANTERIOR CHAIN) and is typically a pushing movement, as well as the back of the body (POSTERIOR CHAIN) which is usually a pulling movement. For years, people have been doing these kinds of split routines and achieving very successful results.

An example of a week could look like :

Monday : Chest, Shoulders, Triceps

Wednesday : Legs & Abs

Friday: Back & Biceps


  • Unilateral Training: Training one side at a time. You can rest between right and left sets, but with this you are challenging your discrepancies, creating balance, and¬†becoming¬†unified in your movement. This may sound a lot easier than it is.¬†

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1. Unilateral Training should be included in every routine. 2. It can be applied to most muscles and almost every movement involving the shoulder and hip joints as they have two sides.  

3. We all have some discrepancy: a dominant side or irregular patterns of movement that can be corrected through working and or stretching the opposing side.

REMEMBER YOU ARE (basically) ONE GIANT MUSCLE.

 

 

 

What does Resistance Training mean?

What does resistance training mean? 

This is anything that weighs you down. When you get up out of bed, gravity is weighing on you, making you heavier to push upright. This is resistance.

Gravity is a critical component to understanding¬†the body’s movement. Always think¬†how gravity is playing a part on your load. The best way to visually explain this is, gravity can weigh down on a dumbbell but it cannot¬†on a cable column or pulley system. With a cable you can move¬†the load with the intended muscle and nothing more, however with a dumbbell or medicine ball, you cannot.

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Load: What you are lifting. The kilos or pounds you are lifting, pushing, pulling, etc. 

Just bodyweight + gravity is a wonderful place to begin, and a great repertoire to keep for cardio bursts between lifting, however over time, your body’s weight alone won’t be enough to challenge you or build muscle.

Remember, you have to break muscle fibers in order to build new ones, and the only way to do this is to increase the load, your speed, or the power that you infuse your movement with.

The Advanced manner in which you execute your moves will be demonstrated by how stable you are, how unevenly you can load the body, and/or how well your body recovers between workouts.

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In order to lift well, you must first harness Body Awareness.¬†Awareness sounds simple, but just like common sense. It isn’t common. Think about all the bad drivers on the road. There as many bad lifters in the gym.

Awareness cannot be defined by a sentence or paragraph. It is felt, enhanced by your training, and deserves to be a component in your routine’s¬†goals.

  • It can range from knowing what a shoulder’s full Range of Motion is – AND making sure that you have full range of motion¬†BEFORE LOADING the joint.

  • Awareness is¬†knowing your anatomy. In order to lift well you have to know what you are working with, perhaps that office job you have or the genes you inherited from your uncle has created¬†tightness in all the wrong places and you have to straighten out and become neutral before loading¬†the spine. I cannot tell you how important this is. [Be aware of what you need to do to lubricate your entire body. Warm ups give you the best lifting experience, but do you know which warm ups to match with which lifts? Do you know where you have tightness or inflammation?]

  • Knowing which exercises challenge you the most. Always do the moves you hate.¬†Chances are they’re excellent for you.

  • Be aware that you are one giant muscle and all of you is connected. It is really easy to think of your body as a diagram that you can just¬†pick and choose muscles from ‚ÄĒ This one should ‘pop’ and this one should be ‘leaner’‚ÄĒ it’s just not that easy, babe.