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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 7:35 pm 
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n00b
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I'm wondering when the most optimum time period to change sets and reps is. Right now I go for a month in one set/rep scheme, then change to another set/rep scheme for the next month before switching back.

I'm looking for mostly hypertrophy and some strength gain. Do you feel that alternating between 12 lighter and 8 heavier reps is sufficient? Or is a 5 rep, heaviest weight series crucial?

Thanks.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 8:54 pm 
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It kind of depends on how long you have been lifting. It seems to me the longer you have been lifting, the lower you want the reps, at least to a certain point anyway. Switching every month is fine. If you are more advanced 6 to 8 for 6 weeks and then maybe 2 weeks of triples would work good. Or you could do more then just 2 different phases if you want. Now if you're more of a beginner then you probably want higher reps.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 9:06 pm 
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Deific Wizard of Sagacity
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There is no simple answer. It depends on what type of gains you making. If you notice you've hit a plateu, or that you progress is slowing down noticably than it's probably time for a change.

Typically 8-12 reps per set is considered optimal for hypertrophy (with some stregth gain also), while going with fewer reps is optimal for stregth (with some hypertrophy). Also, you can varry the total number of sets you perform, your intensity levels, rest intervals and several other variables to add variety to your workouts.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:29 pm 
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Great replies! Some other things to take into consideration is that lower reps for strength (6 or less) innervates Type II (fast-twitch) muscle fibres and the time under tension may not be sufficient to produce endocrine responses (i.e., growth hormones) necessary for hypertrophy, while the 6, or 8-12 rep range (say 10 reps at ~ 75% 1-RM) is generally recognized to be conducive for that particular goal. This is in part why it is so necessary to know what your goals are; what you are looking to achieve.

This does not mean you should rule out any particular rep range scheme. In deed, developing strength in the lower rep ranges allows you to handle more load for your hypertrophy rep range.

The other thing to keep in mind, is that these rep ranges are really just guidelines. There is no magic number that differentiates between strength and hypertrophy- saying for example, at 6 reps it's strength, at 7 or 8 it's hypertrophy. Plus factor in individual repsonses we all have to the same stimuli, and there's a lot of room for inter-individual variablity.

As others have noted, it's good to mix things up every 4 to 6 weeks. Keep strict form and technique. If you're not being challenged enough for hypertrophy, try slowing down your tempo with the same load. This will allow you to focus on correct form while providing a slight additional challenge as it increases your time under tension.

Best wishes.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:44 pm 
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And I forgot to mention, perhaps more importantly, if you are training for strength close to your max- it's not a good idea to continually train hard each session. You do need to recover. Many people do this by including a lighter training session in between the 'hard' sessions each week.

Be cognizant of the possibility that continually training near your max each session may induce a state of overtraining. Incorporate lighter sessions into your week.

Remember that contrary to popular belief, muscle growth occurs during recovery, not during the actual training. Be sure also to get sufficient sleep every night and look to your nutrition if you are not moving toward your goals.

Sorry for the two posts.

Best wishes.


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 Post subject: Scientific Studies
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 2:41 am 
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Here are summaries of two studies listed in our Scientific Abstracts section that may be insightful:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/quer ... =iconabstr

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/quer ... t=Abstract


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 4:52 am 
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James, is that you? :-) Hope everything is well with you!

I should probably mention what a wonderful job I think Ironman and TimD are doing with this board. They along with many others give a lot of their time to not only keep these boards clean, but also to help so many members with their fitness endeavours. Congratulations and great job!

Thanks for the links to the research studies. Very helpful. Goes to show you how variances can exist.

Best wishes.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2006 4:23 pm 
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n00b
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It is not unusual for strength athletes training for strength to overreach..Overreaching in a mesocycle is usually followed up by a period of deloading(2-3 weeks) which allows the athlete to then move forward with greater strength gains. A deloading period is generally a light period done once the athlete can make gains, they lighten up the weight and work a some light microcyles to recover and then start the process over again. Although again even when overreaching there are times in the microcyle for light and heavy days.

I will also add there are alot of people who have made great strength gains on 5 reps for example Bill Starr or Reg Park's old programmes have long made people very strong and yes hypertrophy happens, too. A person who can bench press 405 lbs looks like they can bench press 405 lbs.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 12:19 am 
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I agree with overreaching, deloading and periods of low reps, all that has worked for me. However I have seen people bench 405 that look like they would max out at 200. We call them power lifters.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 1:23 pm 
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Apprentice
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magicdad wrote:
I'm wondering when the most optimum time period to change sets and reps is. Right now I go for a month in one set/rep scheme, then change to another set/rep scheme for the next month before switching back.

I'm looking for mostly hypertrophy and some strength gain. Do you feel that alternating between 12 lighter and 8 heavier reps is sufficient? Or is a 5 rep, heaviest weight series crucial?

Thanks.


I think every month is about right. I switch every 4 weeks. I am beginning to lean towards the view that all rep ranges will directly or indirectly contribute to hypertrophy. I would certainly expand my options beyond 12 and 8.

Over the course of 1 year I would spend an equal amount of time in the rep ranges between 3 and 15 reps. This would be about 80% of the year.

I would spend the other 20% of the year in the 1-3 and 15-100 rep ranges. Only do singles if you have good spotters. When I am doing programs that include theses extreme rep ranges I will only use these for some of the exercises. I would never be doing a program that consists of only doing 20 reps or only doing singles.

These the general guidelines that I have right now.


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