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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How to Create a 6 Week Routine (1 of 2)

Alright so you’re ready for regular physical activity. Congratulations!

This is great news! ¬†But now that you’re finally here, you’ve got a whole new problem:You don’t know where to start…. ¬†WHAT to train OR¬†¬†HOW to train.

Image result for lifting face black and white, gym cultureLet’s first take a look at your body. If you have never lifted¬†before:

Please read this about the Body, Foam Rolling,

What kind of lifter are you?

The different training styles, and why reps are important and which rep schemes you can use in your program.

  • What’s your posture like? Do you slouch?

  • Do you have lower back pain? or pain anywhere?Lower Back Pain/Injury

  • Do your legs turn in, turn out?

  • What’s your range of motion, particularly in the hips and shoulder?

  • Can you do more than one sit up?

  • Can you walk on an incline or jog for a full mile without dying?

  • Do you know which¬†of your muscles are the tightest?

You must understand that your body in its upright position tells a story.

It is the end-product, or conclusion of your muscles.

Things they are doing, have done, and will continue to do without you being aware or giving them the green light. Now you are involved in this story and can tell it however you see fit.    

Tiffany Fuentes

If you slouch, it means that your¬†muscles on the front are pulling your skeleton forward AND¬†the muscles on your backside don’t have a thing to say about it.

They aren’t putting up a fight or pulling back to¬†keep you straight. Nope, they’re just giving in.

This is all posture is, how well the moving parts of your body communicate and work together.

Poor posture, like lower back pain is not something that you have to live with. You have the power to change, but do you have the will?

Figure out a schedule:

  • How many days can you commit to an hour to lifting/moving/yoga? ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Hint:¬†This should be minimum 3.

  • What days can you commit to cardio? This depends on your goals and current cardiovascular health, of course. For weight loss, five days. For regular heart health & maintenance, I would suggest three days minimum.¬†Cardio-Vascular

  • Do you know how much time it will take?¬†As in do you understand how much time you need to lift and or how long you should actually be doing cardio for, and what your target heart rate is? Will you be doing a variety of¬†cardio activities? Do you know which is best for your body? Hint: You have to try them all.What Should I Do For Cardio?

  • Have you lifted before? Do you know how to split up the body? Read Training Styles. And why we split the body when we’re making a schedule?¬†These are¬†critical details when it comes to changing your body shape and composition. What kind of lifter am I ?

Image result for go hard or go home lifting culture

WITHOUT SPECIFIC EXERCISES. THIS IS WHAT A 6-WEEK ROUTINE COULD  LOOK LIKE.

Need exercises? start here: Weightless Routines  and view Videos Tab. 

Week 1: Build your base. Learn your strengths and your weaknesses. (also your likes and dislikes) Get a notebook and write down how many reps you did and what weight you pushed, pulled etc.

  • This first week is like a good negotiation. Write about how it felt, how you slept and how you woke up. Even how hungry you were or weren’t. You are selling yourself on exercise.

  • You should be spent by rep 8¬†or 9¬†of your third set of any exercise. If and when, you follow this principle to find your starting weight, you are building your base. It is critical that the weight tire you but gradually, particularly if you are beginning regular exercise and building your body. Why? So you can work the appropriate muscles rather than be dominated by a heavy load, and over-exert yourself and recruit a bunch of secondary and tertiary muscles which is not exactly what you were hoping to do with this program.

Week 2: Master week 1.

In week 3+4, push the limits of your endurance and control.

  • You know the moves and your favorite corner of the gym. You know the load and reps, which exercise follows the other, when you need your water, etc. Now, see how many reps you can crank out… Yes you’re supposed to be doing ten, but change baby change¬†— maybe you get in twelve or fifteen and maybe it’s only one of the three sets, or two of the¬†three. This is the week to play with endurance.¬†

In week 5, take the weight down. De-load.

  • It may sound funny or counter intuitive but this allows for something called super¬†compensation, which we will explore in Week 6.¬†Make it challenging by playing with your speed. Go slow, go fast, take a pause right at the hardest phase of the movement. Ie. A ninety degree bend in the elbow in a bicep curl. Break a sweat. You’re probably a bit more sore than you have been in your preceding workouts. This is normal. And everything is a bit harder when you’re sore, so listen to your body and move with control.

  • Do not slack on cardio when you’re sore. This is the most important time. You need to flush all that waste out your system, boost the oxygen levels of your blood and increase circulation. A light run can cure soreness and begin great recovery.¬†

Week 6: This is it. This is the week you’ve been waiting for. Go hard as fuck..Or HAM.

  • Get pumped, know what your up against before you arrive to that weight room. Make an extra special “FIRE” playlist. What does all that shit mean. Lol. You, my friend, are going to set¬†the weight higher than usual. This is SUPERCOMPENSATION. This is when you’re one step closer to the Hulk than you were before you started training. …Maybe… ¬†¬†Understanding Adaptation

  • There’s no wrong way to get stronger. Overload when you can. You will be amazed at what you can do when you connect your mind to your breath, and your breath to your movement. Believe in yourself, watch how you adapt & ALWAYS¬†exhale at the hardest parts.

  • There are several ways you can change the weight. First, you can modify a whole set (meaning all ten reps), or you can only do higher loads for half of the reps of each set (so 5 reps at regular weight & 5 at the higher load.) ¬†How much should you increase the weight? 5, 10, possibly 15¬†lbs more than your base.¬†You don’t have to increase the load for all three sets, but you gotta do it for at least a full set of the entire routine.

Image result for lifting face black and white, gym culture

Go Hard or Go Home friends.

 

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.

Image result for weights

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.

Image result for body awareness

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.