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question about rep schemes

Posted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:59 am
by Pauly420
Currently my work out is ABC, 3 on 1 off.

Im doing chest/back, legs, arms, off, repeat.

Ive been doing ABC (3x12) then ABC (3x6 Max Weight) and bouncing back and forth. You think this is a good idea or should i stick with high reps for a while then switch to max weight much later. My main goal is to put on muscle, my caloric intake and protein intake is very high. I figured by switching rep schemes every other 4 day rotation my muscles will always be guessing whats in store for them.

Posted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 10:22 am
by Jungledoc
How long have you been lifting? Are you progressing using your current scheme? How old are you?

You are describing a simple system of periodization. When most people start training this is not necessary for some months or even a few years. After a time using a linear progression scheme (basically keeping the rep scheme steady, gradually increasing the weight) no longer works for them and the plateau. Then using a system of changing the loading and volume is helpful.

There are a lot of periodized systems in print. The New Rules of Lifting by Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove is one, and Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 is another. The Westside workouts have been very successful for lots of people.

If you can make progress with a linear scheme, I'd suggest sticking to it for as long as you can. When that's not working anymore, use a plan designed by a well-respected "expert"--design of these programs isn't simple.

Posted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 11:58 am
by Pauly420
Im 25, been lifting 2 years. Progression has been good as far as moving up on my lifts. Basically I just started this new alternating rep idea. Just wanted to see if anyones tried it. I might just be better off with going back to 3x10 and maxxing out every month or something. My goal is to get bigger, obviously im eating alot of calories and protein to help. I just get kind of confused when all the magazines i read say do high weight, low rep. Yet the ideas i get from reading these forums lately the way to stimulate size over strenge (bodybuilding) is doing sets of reps over 6. So im kind of incorporating both i guess.

Posted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 12:42 pm
by pdellorto
Take a look into undulating periodization.

Here is an example:
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/alwyn3.htm

You can find others - you change rep schemes as you go. It's not the only way to vary reps and loads, but it looks pretty workable and there seems to be evidence backing it up. My friend who did NROL (same author) swore by it.

Posted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 12:50 pm
by TimD
Pauly, to simplify things and to just answer your question directly, what your doing using one session lower reps, higher %'s, the next using higher reps, lower %'s has been around for quite some time. It's just a form of heavy/light within the week, and works fine. I rather like it,
Tim

Posted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:37 pm
by tostig
pdellorto wrote:Take a look into undulating periodization.

Here is an example:
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/alwyn3.htm

You can find others - you change rep schemes as you go. It's not the only way to vary reps and loads, but it looks pretty workable and there seems to be evidence backing it up. My friend who did NROL (same author) swore by it.
So many schemes and so many exercises all the time AND you have to keep it within one hour.

I'm just repeating the same basic (Barbell) exercises all the time:

Alternate between Deadlift and Squat
BO row
Bench Press
Incl. Press
Standing Shoulder Press
Pull-up

Six sessions at high rep low weight. Then six sessions at low rep high weight. I guess this is the periodization.

When I feel I'm adapting or plateauing, I increase the weight with only 2.5lb plates. Baby steps.

Posted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:44 am
by KPj
I alternate rep schemes throughout the week all the time. I quite like having a heavy day, and a lighter day. One of our friends, a complete beginner has just started training with us. For the first few weeks we kept him at 5-10 reps on everything but after that we just allowed him to do heavy triples with us on heavy days. Always with good form. Seems to be working well. I would of always put a beginner on a more linear program with higher reps than he is on but, since he's training with me and my training partner, it's much more practical to do stuff similar to what we are doing. So he changes it. Some of his gains have been amazing so far. I think the biggest danger with a beginner trying to periodise too soon is that they can over complicate things and sicken themselves.

A nice rule is to just check if your numbers are going up. If you're getting stronger, then you're making progress.

KPj

Posted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:14 am
by pdellorto
KPj wrote:A nice rule is to just check if your numbers are going up. If you're getting stronger, then you're making progress.
That's the number one way of evaluating a strength training program.

If your goal is fat loss, then if you're losing body fat, you're making progress.

If your goal is more endurance, and you are going further each time, you're making progress.

It's all matching the results to the goals. As long as you are getting results that lead towards your goals...

***

Sorry for my all-too-brief post, TimD had much more information. But the idea of varied rep counts, varied volume, varied load, is pretty much the basis of periodization as I understand it. There is nothing wrong with mixing and matching as long as you've got some kind of plan for doing it and some way of measuring your progress.