Total Rep Volume and Rep Ranges

Discussion in 'Hypertrophy-Specific Training (HST)' started by thegentleman1981, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. thegentleman1981

    thegentleman1981 New Member

    Gentlemen,

    I currently thought about Total rep volume.
    Some folks hold the sets static as the rep decreases and some increase the sets so that the total reps are equal. Or just cluster and fu***the rep ranges.

    Via this you standardize the total reps but I think thats a poor fix:


    • No rep range is comparable to the other. The higher the reps the more fatigue and metabolic effects you have. The lower the reps the less metabolic products you get and the more tension is generated. So each rep range has its benefits/drawbacks and is only comparable on a continuum on tension and fatigue.30 total reps of 5 are totally different than 30 reps of 15´s.
    • Effective reps": This was cut in another thread: If doin 1x15 perhaps the last 2 reps on each set are "effective regarding FT stimulation".So say 2 effective reps.. If you go heavy on 3x5. You will get even 15 effective reps. With one set of 5 still 5 effective reps.Also not comparable.

    I would be curious if anybody of you had advatages,disadvantages when

    -Holding sets constant
    -Holding total reps constant
    -Just focus on total reps and ignoring all rep ranges.

    Thank you gentleman,
    TG
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2012
  2. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    By keeping 'total reps constant', do you mean just doing 2 sets for each rep range for the cycle? Ala 2x15, 2x10, 2x5 ... cos I did that for about 6 years.

    My experience is that the # of reps is not as relevant as many people would like it to be. I've gained size successfully doing 5x5, HST, Cluster-HST, bb magazine style programs (chest day, back day, arms day, legs day etc - the crap many of us get exposed to at the beginning, this program was the least successful OFC, too low frequency).

    Total reps performed at a relevant load is the most important factor for my money - as opposed to sets & reps. Metabolic work/cardio/some kind of sport is also better than not, but the size gain from this is more temporal in my experience. Rep range is merely a function of load.
     
  3. thegentleman1981

    thegentleman1981 New Member

    Intersting. Thanks Alex. I meant with TOTAL reps 2x15(30),3x10(30)and 5x6(30) vs TOAL sets: 2x15(30) 2x10(20) 2x5 (10)

    How did your HST template changed over 6 years and how was the progress size and stength wise?

    I really think of starting a "vanilla" hst template although I have doubts regarding recovery. (this is why I do my heavy/light template).
    What I find tempting on hst is the ever repeating cycle. I always had issues in programming hoping.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2012
  4. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    My first HST was absolutely cookie cutter. I did an U-L split, worked out 6x a week and if I had to miss one would always make it Lower rather than Upper (although I think I hit everything). It was quite successful but at this point I was absolutely addicted to working out so I went a lil more hard-core within the HST range and tried both 6x full body and 10-12x full body. I've also done 5x5 (MadCow), incorporated DC's stretches, loaded stretches, pulse stretching, 4x a week etc.

    My preferred method of training is Cluster HST. I find that it produces the best strength and size gains over an extended period of time and also lets me know when I'm ready to increase the weight. The problem w/a set-rep matrix is that it's arbitrary. Bill Starr said as much when created 5x5 originally; the anecdotal reports said that 4-6 sets of 4-6 reps produced the best results, so he took the median and went for 5x5. The set-rep structure is much a psychological tool as it is a muscular one.

    My personal opinion is that there's a threshold tension that needs to be applied, probably around the 3-5RM range, 85-90% of 1RM and that 15-20reps at this range provides the right amount of work (sure, we could lift 98-100% of 1RM for a few reps but I don't think that would be as effective for size), throw in a few negatives or some loaded stretches at the end. At some point the muscles need the metabolic work, whether that's 15s-20s, sports, whatever.

    Atm I train every other day and am doing a prolonged cut. I'll probably be done w/cutting in about 3months time. Previously though, this is the method I've done to gain the most weight and strength. Clustering using HST principles, albeit skipping the 15's altogether and starting from around 75-80% 1RM. Big exercises, high reps only for isolation exercises, and eat properly.

    Keeping reps constant across 15s-10s-5s doesn't add anything in my experience. 30 reps at 5s is going to impact your recovery substantially, especially if unassisted and over 22-24 years old (ah to be young again).
     
  5. thegentleman1981

    thegentleman1981 New Member

    Thank you alex for your intersting reply.

    Perhaps you can give me a hint.
    I do a cycle with 2 training days. one day "heavy" 3x5 and one day "light" 3x12 short rests.

    I took my 3x5 max example 80kg (not1x5max) and 3x12 max example 60kg (not 1x12 max) and started out for ramping up over 6 weeks. So the starting weights were 75%of my maxes.

    SO my first week started with 3x5 and 60kg and 3x12 with 45kg.

    Now in week 6 I reached my former Prs of 3x5 with 80 and 3x12 with 60kg and I start to PR.

    It goes but is really difficlut. I know that "prs" are not directly "HST" but I enjoy that.

    When stalling I would repeat the cycle. I workout two times the week.
    Do you have some comments on this?
    BTW Iam 31 and work over 10 years.
     
  6. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    The biggest hurdle to you increasing both size and strength, from what you've outlined here, seems to be that you only work out at a working-load once per week (one heavy day per week, one light day per week). My advice to you would to use that weight 3 times a week, and restructure your workouts to closer resemble this:

    3x5 - working-load

    1x15 - stays around 60% of your 1RM, will be the same weight until your PR (i.e.) increases


    Instead of 3x5, I personally would just do 15 clustered reps. At the lower working-load, they'll probably come out something like 8-7, at the top end it will more resemble 3-3-3-2-2-2 etc, bearing in mind it is critical that you NEVER go to failure on any of your clusters (this can be mentally challenging the first few times you use it).

    The thing to remember is that new PR's are going to be harder, and secondly that diet is critical. Size and strength go hand in hand. It's not a perfectly linear relationship but at a certain point, we all stop getting stronger if we stop getting bigger.
     
  7. thegentleman1981

    thegentleman1981 New Member

    Interestig idea. Thanks

    -The 1x15 is done after the cluster for each exercise I think for more volume and fatigue on each of the 3 days right?

    - I brought this up in another thread: Perhaps I am paranoid but isn´t 15 reps for clusters 3x the week not too much? When do you increase the weight?

    I made the experience when working out only 2x the week with 3x5 and start with 60%of my rpm, that each session i increased the load by 5% it begins to feel harder and harder. I had not the impression I got stronger but more fatigued after some weeks.Also it got harder and harder to controll the bar. When I arrived at my old 3x5 PR i couldn´t make it.
    I think this is why often after a certain stage intensity cycling is suggested (like 531 or HLM for bodybuilding) because working out with a higher intensity more times the week and straight linear increase from session to session is not managable.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
  8. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    Re: clustering - do everything as normal for HST, the one difference is that instead of doing 'sets', you do the reps in clusters.

    Re: 15 reps - it's not for fatigue or volume, it's to stimulate a different set of factors that high load, low rep won't do enough for (simply put).

    Re: your difficulties - it sounds like you're either lifting too heavy to begin with or not eating enough. Are you gaining mass?

    Why aren't you doing an actual HST program, I'm curious?
     
  9. thegentleman1981

    thegentleman1981 New Member

    Hi Alex,

    Well in the past I played around with DUP and HLM and had good sucess with it.
    But I am thinking more and more to try a HST cycle.
    I am unsure because of the mentioned problems.
    In the example I started no regular HST cycle because I only got 3 weeks away from holiday. But I wanted to see if I could handle a linear increase over 6 sessions. SO I took 75%of my 3x5rpm and started from there.
    As mentioned i felt fatigued not stronger as the weeks go by and couldn´t get my 3x5RPM because it seems that fatigue accumulated so fast.
    I didn´t had the problems with DUP or HLM. Diet was not different.
    So I think that perhaps shorter cycles work better.
    Look at wendler 531 here also the intensity increases for 3 weeks but gets dropped down again when you start at the "5" week again.
    Same with HLM. The intensity increases over 3 sessions (Light Medium Heavy) and starts again at the light day. A bit heavier of course but still lighter than the heavy day.
    I think this intensity waving seems quite essential. Build up. Drop down.Build up again but bit heavier. But not build up build up build up etc.
    I know that HST "delaods" through zig zagging. Thats good and neccessary for intermediates in my eyes. But perhaps even the 6 sessions in a 15/10 or 5 cycle might fatigue one more or the other.

    Good explained?

    Thats why I am unsure about it.
     
  10. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    "Intensity" doesn't mean anything. Are you referring to high-load, then light-load, then high-load again etc ... ?

    I strongly recommend you do HST, it works.
     
  11. thegentleman1981

    thegentleman1981 New Member

    jup. With intensity cycling I mean the cycle of loads. Like wendlers 531 or HLM like 2x15 reps one day 3x10 reps the other day and 3x3 reps the third day,then repeat.

    I know that the vanilla HST routine also has LMH WEEKS. But i wonder if after a certain stage short cycles work better because the loads are cycled more frequently and might avoid too much accumulation of fatigue.

    Do you understand my point?
     
  12. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    I do understand your point, but a couple of things seem clear:

    1. You seem beyond overly concerned with fatigue

    2. These programs you're listing aren't working for you. They might 'feel' fine, but you aren't benching 140kgs and at 8%bf weighing in at 110kgs, right?

    3. I'm personally unaware of any study that suggest HML is an optimal method for either strength or size progression. Why do you think 'load cycling' at such a micro level will work, from a scientific standpoint? What is important is load progression. And training in HML fashion does not optimally facilitate that.

    4. 'Fatigue accumulation' - I'm not convinced this is actually physiologically possible. Your body is incapable of 'storing' fatigue or remember that a week ago it was tired. The only exception to this that I'm aware of is chronic CNS overload, and/or chronic injuries to joints and connective tissue. Muscles certainly do not accumulate fatigue over any extended period of time.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 25, 2012
  13. thegentleman1981

    thegentleman1981 New Member

    QUOTE=AlexAustralia;232731]I do understand your point, but a couple of things seem clear:

    1. You seem beyond overly concerned with fatigue

    Well its because of experience. As mentioned when ramping up to my 3x5 RPM each session got more difficult and I couldn´t get the old 3x5RPM at the end. Why was this not a problem when I inserted a lighter day in between?

    2. These programs you're listing aren't working for you. They might 'feel' fine, but you aren't benching 140kgs and at 8%bf weighing in at 110kgs, right?

    Uhm. Thats right


    3. I'm personally unaware of any study that suggest HML is an optimal method for either strength or size progression. Why do you think 'load cycling' at such a micro level will work, from a scientific standpoint? What is important is load progression. And training in HML fashion does not optimally facilitate that.

    Well the load is progressed after each HLM micro cycle. I do read studies (Fleck&Kreamer) who show the benefit of undulated periodization,or HLM if you will.
    If ýou read HLM different you can also read LMH. So the load increases. Its the same concept like wendler 531 (have not tired it but seems to work for some). Also here you progress in weight during a 3 week cycle and start lighter next cylce but heavier than the last.
    Or am I missing something?

    Nice read:
    http://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/interview-casey-butt-part-2.html

    4. 'Fatigue accumulation' - I'm not convinced this is actually physiologically possible. Your body is incapable of 'storing' fatigue or remember that a week ago it was tired. The only exception to this that I'm aware of is chronic CNS overload, and/or chronic injuries to joints and connective tissue. Muscles certainly do not accumulate fatigue over any extended period of time.[/QUOTE]
    Perhaps my CNS is quite ineffective otherwise I can´t explain why a straight linear increase like I did is so heavy for me. Did you read practical programming?


    I enjoy your input Alex.
     
  14. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    My advice is to take 2 weeks off, and in that time plan your 1st HST cycle. Do it to the letter, a nice 1st cycle and stick with it. Don't make adjustments to the standard routine, because none of know us as beginners know better than Bryan or the hundreds of ppl the routine has worked for and there's no logical reason for changing it for the 1st cycle.


    My overriding contention regarding your situation is that these various HML-style routines are not working for you. You aren't getting bigger or stronger over time, give HST a try. I used to be in exactly your position ~ 8-9yrs ago.
     
  15. thegentleman1981

    thegentleman1981 New Member

    Thank you alex.

    Regarding frequency I knwo 3/week is recommonded but I can only efford 2xthe week.
    Should I make changes to volume?
    Regarding "sets" I thought of sticking to 2.
    2x15
    2x10
    2x5

    How would you arrrange the rest between sets? ( in know thats a subject on his own)
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2012
  16. FistOfFury

    FistOfFury Member

    Not sure where I read it, maybe the Wernbom meta-analysis or one of Rhea's, heavier loads required less volume than higher. The general guidelines were 15 total reps with 5RM up to 60 total reps with 15RM. Seems quite logical when looked at in terms of 'effective' reps.
     
  17. thegentleman1981

    thegentleman1981 New Member

    Correct. i think it depends what the point of comparison is.
    In case of effective reps I approve that.

    In case of workload it would make sense to hold the volume constant.

    Whats most overriding? No idea.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2012
  18. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    I doubt that 60 reps at 15RM is building the same muscle mass as working at 4-8RM is. I'm pretty sure Lyle McD has covered this a few times, his site is probably going to have the relevant studies and data somewhere too.


    @thegentleman1981:

    -Twice a week is fine, but do HST and ditch this High-Low stuff.

    -2 sets is fine, if you want a 3rd set during the 5's or feel like doing a single set of 15RM after you've done your relevant work-sets of 5-reps, feel free - either is fine.

    -Rest for 1-2mins. Rest periods between sets is not a big deal IMO. When working at 5-6RM and up, I prefer slightly longer rest periods, probably in the 3min range. I push more weight and complete my reps that way. I've never understood the need to feel 'breathless' by waiting only 30-60seconds between sets, and at that heavy a load I don't think the short rest is anywhere close to ideal.
     
  19. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    Re: rest periods. I agree with Alex. During the 5 RM or heavier, especially for stuff like deads, I will rest up to 5 minutes between sets. If we are dealing with a 5 RM set on deads or squats, I'm probably not doing anything for 5 - 10 minutes after my top set.
     
  20. thegentleman1981

    thegentleman1981 New Member

    Hi Alex and Totentanz,

    Thank you for the fast reply. Cool.
    I would favour not to shoot for total reps but no remain the rep structure of 15/10/5 or 15-20/8-12/6-8 (makes the Prs testing for planning the cycle more easy instead of focusing on one precise rep number)
    Also I think that each rep zone has its merit regarding the different proportion of fatigue and tension.

    I know we had this before,but for last point:zig zagging.

    I nevertheless do consider to do this. I find it appealing when the last 2 sessions of each rep cycle get really hard and eventually failure happens,that you have a short back cycle period before the next peak.

    I know that nots the "goal" of HST but motivates me: What can i suggest regarding Prs?
    Already in the 15´s or in the 5´s or only after finishing the whole cycle and when testin my new maxes again?

    This is quite important for me,because If I see I am getting stronger I am on the right road MORE than when getting NOT stronger.
    I know the needed load depends on condition of the muscle-nevertheless I f you are not gettign stronger over time you won´t get bigger. And a SD would not help THAT much to justify playing around with 50kg on bench and expect the chest of a 180 rep bencher.
    Because a stronger muscle is a bigger muscle-especially over time.

    Thank you gentlemen.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012

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