The effect of high rep training on strength and size

The Effect of High Rep Training on Strength and Size

In a recent research study(1) a group of researchers set out to explore the impact of lighter weight and higher rep training on muscle mass and function. They designed a study “to compare the adaptive changes in muscle size, contractile strength, and MHC (fiber type) composition evoked by resistance training performed at either low or high contraction intensity (i.e. low or high reps) while equalized for total loading volume”

Specifically, this study compared 10 sets x 36 reps using 15.5% 1RM to 10 sets x 8 reps using 70% 1RM.  The study ran 12 weeks, with 3 workouts each week.

How did the 10×8 program do? It produced a 7.6% increase in muscle size (hypertrophy) and a 35% increase in 1RM (one rep maximum).

Not bad. Not bad at all. And, candidly, not the least bit surprising. Heavy weights and low reps has long been the accepted way to maximize strength and size.

How about the 10×36 reps program? Many would predict that such a “high” rep range would build endurance and, if it didn’t cause an outright decline in strength and size, would surely not increase strength and/or size.  Remember, standard physiological and training wisdom is that more than 20 reps is “endurance” training and endurance training does not increase strength and size. This belief is reflected in the following quote I read on a bodybuilding forum.  “Anything beyond 20 reps is high, and not good for strength gains”.

Anyone who would predict that high reps are good for endurance only would be wrong.

The 10×36 program produced a 19% increase in 1RM and a 2.6% increase in muscle size. Pretty impressive for a program many would call “endurance training”.

There are a couple of things to be learned from this study.  First, this study clearly shows that a program consisting exclusively of heavy weight and low reps produces greater increases in strength and size than a program consisting exclusively of lighter weights and higher reps.  This isn’t any sort of surprise – research over the past 80 years has very consistently shown this same thing.

But there is more to the story than just heavy weights and low reps wins.  The most glaring point to consider is that “high” reps increased strength levels 19% and muscle size 2.6%.  This naturally brings up two questions.  Is this the only study that has shown “high” reps increase strength and size?  And from a physiological standpoint how do higher reps cause strength and size to increase?

There have been multiple studies comparing changes in strength and size from different rep ranges and, despite what conventional wisdom teaches, these studies have consistently shown that higher reps cause increases in both strength and size.  Yes, heavy weights and low reps increase strength and size the most.  But that doesn’t mean higher reps don’t also build strength and size.  Conventional wisdom has incorrectly interpreted the research as “heavy weights and low reps build strength; light weight and high reps build endurance”.  The first lesson from the research is that “light weights and high reps do increase strength, just not as much as lower rep schemes.”

It is important to note that the research has shown that the higher the rep range the smaller the increase in strength and size.  So while reps in range of 25- 35 can build strength an impressive amount, the higher above this that you go the smaller the increases in strength.

There is no getting around the fact that a program of only heavy weights and low reps builds significantly more strength and size than a program of only lighter weight and higher reps. So if you are trying to decide what reps you should exclusively be doing, pick reps less than 20.  But, this study also clearly shows that that conventional strength training thought is inaccurate to some degree. Higher reps do increase strength and size.

This brings us to the second question.  What logical explanation can we come up with to explain these results? By what physiological mechanism could high reps build strength?

The most logical answer is that what conventional physiological and training wisdom call “high” and “endurance” really aren’t particularly “high”, nor are they really “endurance”. It appears that “high” and “endurance” start somewhere far beyond 20 reps.  Exercise doesn’t suddenly transform from “strength” to “endurance” within a matter of a few reps.  Going from 12 reps to 24 reps in the same exercise doesn’t somehow turn the exercise into an “endurance” workout.  Instead, strength and endurance exist on a continuum, with both elements being trained at all reps.  Training at the strength end of the continuum, training between 1-15 reps, increases strength the most and endurance the least.  As you increase the number of reps strength is less affected and endurance is more affected, until at some point you are doing so many reps that changes in strength are no longer measurable.  That point happens somewhere above 150 reps, according to the research.

What the research hasn’t told us is how higher reps built strength and size. What physiological mechanism is at play that causes higher reps to build both strength and size?  If there are different physiological reasons for how low reps build strength and how higher reps build strength, then it raises a fascinating question.  What if you combined low reps with higher reps? What would the results be? If different physiological mechanisms are responsible for the increases in strength and size at different reps then would a combination program of different reps result in better results than single rep programs?  As we have seen higher reps do increase strength and size and if they build strength due to a different mechanism than lower reps there may be some advantage in combining lower rep training with higher rep training.

This study doesn’t answer the question but this one does.  In the meantime, the point is that light weight and high reps are not really “endurance” exercises; high reps are both strength and endurance training and the degree to which they affect strength or endurance depends on the number of reps being performed.

Reference:

Holm L, et al, Changes in muscle size and MHC composition in response to resistance exercise with heavy and light loading intensity, Journal of Applied Physiology, Nov 2008, 105:1454-1461


Comments

The effect of high rep training on strength and size — 193 Comments

  1. Pingback: The effect of high rep training on strength and size | Training Science

  2. I met this man in the video and his muscles were not huge but everything on him was thick. I mean THICK. His hands and joints and connective tissue are solid. He does workouts based on time versus reps. The results are evident.

  3. Pingback: The Guide to Muscular Endurance Training for Weightlifting Beasts

  4. Thank you, it seems most people of late, particularly woman think that for true strength gain one needs less weight with more reps. I am an old timer who disagrees.

  5. well i like the post.. but ideally speaking low weight high rep gives u endurance… but it doesn’t mean that their will be no increase in strength of the muscle. at the level of fatigue, their is enough micro rupture of the muscle fiber which will regenerate as a fresh new fiber over a period of time.. which ultimately result in increase in strength. Also we have lot dormant muscle fiber which starts firing if you go for more repetition.

  6. Fascinating article – thanks. Couple of questions. Is it correct therefore to calculate – for the purposes of comparison – a comparative ratio of 1:4.6 improvement for the HWLR v a 1:7.3 improvement for the LWHR? That is for every 1% increase in muscle size you gain 4.6% or 7.3% in overall 1RM strength. I guess it depends on your training goals but if that’s correct then LWHR works for me. Secondly, would you say that the LWHR has more of a cardio element to it in which case is this a better weight training programme if your focus is on lean fitness?

    • Hi, Dominic.

      I don’t believe it would be accurate to say that for every 1% increase in muscle size you gain 4.6% or 7.3% in overall 1RM strength because there are simply too many variables for that to be true. Primarily due to people have varying levels of genetic talent – some will gain relatively more strength than size while others will gain more size than strength – but also due to other factors such as nutrition, training methods, and lifestyle.

      LWHR does have more of a cardio element than HWLR but I don’t think it is significant enough to make a real difference. Low bodyfat levela are as much or more a function of nutrition as training, in my opinion.

      Cheers,

      Rich

  7. “As we have seen higher reps do increase strength and size and if they build strength due to a different mechanism than lower reps there may be some advantage in combining lower rep training with higher rep training.

    This study doesn’t answer the question but another study that I will discuss in another article does”

    Do you have a link to your other article where you discuss combining high/low rep workouts?

    Otherwise good article, I enjoyed it!

    matt

  8. I am following Sandows Training, it works. Now I have read about the misconception of high reps being interpreted as endurance exercise.. Anyway, i modified his program a bit and now currently doing 110 reps of 50 pounds, dumbell curls..

  9. It would seem reasonable that a person could use a set weight for a very long time before needing to increase resistance if they just used the ten-sets training method and increased repetitions over time.

    Starting with 10 x 8 with 70% 1RM, progressing to 10 x 10, 10 x 12, 10 x 14,…,until 10 x 36 where one might see that that weight is now only ~15% of the trainee’s 1RM. Imagine the strength and conditioning of the legs of a young hockey player or speed skater putting 225 lbs on the bar and then squatting 10 sets of 36 reps, or 50, or 5 sets of 100 reps.

    This could also be useful for people with joint problems that prohibit them from using heavy loads.

  10. Total rep volume per week for the 10×8 group: 240. Total weekly rep volume for the 10×36 group: 1,080. There isn’t a single advanced level pro bodybuilder that does that much volume per week. I have 18″ arms, a 52″ chest and 28″ thighs, and I’m still not fit enough to do 500 reps a week, let alone 1,080. That’s insane, even for an advanced lifter.

    Just for reference, Kali Muscle does a 500 rep routine, doing as many sets of 20-50 reps as it takes to get 500. That’s once a week per bodypart, not 3x a week. Unlike the untrained individuals selected for this study, he’s a Mr. California title winning bodybuilder, with arms in excess of 20″, who can curl 275 pounds. Not even a guy at his fitness level would do over 1,000 total reps per week, because it would be overtraining.

    Beginners shouldn’t be doing more than 250 total reps per week no matter what the rep protocol, let alone 1,080 reps. It’s amazing that they even grew at all from such a ridiculous workout. If they did the same amount of total reps using an 8-12 rep protocol, they’d lose muscle mass, which demonstrates that even when done improperly, high reps is still better than low reps. They gained strength and mass DESPITE overtraining. That in itself is remarkable.

    I also know from personal experience that this study is flawed. I gained 40 pounds of muscle in 3 years doing 1 set of 50-100 reps per bodypart, 3x a week (150-300 total reps per week). That’s the same rate at which Kali gained muscle after he got out of prison, according to one of his detractors who claims he used steroids. It’s how I know he didn’t use steroids, because I’m natural, and I put on the same amount of muscle in the same timeframe using similar methods. I’ve never met anyone who gained 40 pounds of lean mass in 3 years on sub-maintenance calories doing 8-12 reps. That’s difficult to do with that rep range, even on drugs and a 6,000 calorie diet.

    There are even steroid mass monsters like Rich Piana who swear by high reps; his arms didn’t blow up to 23″ until he started doing 40-50 rep sets for arms. He learned it from other bodybuilders that huge who figured out that they weren’t going to get any bigger doing low reps, no matter how much juice they shoot up.

    There are better studies from both before and after this one that demonstrate that high reps is best for maximizing hypertrophy in the shortest timeframe. Google “myostatin” and “IGF-1″; there’s a few studies that examine the anabolic response from that angle, demonstrating that high reps = increased hypertrophy rates. Anything less than 16 reps is a waste of time, and anything between 20-100 is ideal.

    Over the long stretch, lifting heavy is the slowest way to build muscle, despite what some untrained lifters might gain from it their first 3 months under the bar. That’s why they call them “noob gains”; no one gains muscle at that rate from strength training after the first 3 months, unless they throw in some metabolic work. Even the McMasters study (2010?) demonstrated that with proper volume protocols, high rep and low rep groups gain muscle at the same rate in their first 3 months of training, which renders the findings of this study irrelevant.

    Metabolic work makes muscle grow, not CNS adaptation work. For a total noob, strength training engages them in a certain amount of metabolic taxation necessary to produce initial mass gains, but they quickly adapt to that limited level of metabolic taxation, and end up on a mass gain plateau that can last decades if they don’t switch up to higher reps. (Look at Hugh Jackman for example; he’s been a 3×5 guy for over a decade. He’s nowhere near as big as me). Low reps use glycogen for fuel, high reps use triglyceride and oxygen for fuel. Low reps also increase myostatin production (limits mass gains) whereas high reps decrease myostatin and increase IGF-1 production, and increase protein synthesis 60% over low reps. Strength training is not very metabolic. In fact, it actually slows down metabolic rate, causing increased fat gains when bulking, and it causes vasoconstriction, which contributes to high blood pressure.

    Even combining low and high reps is a waste of time if your main focus is mass gains, because all those low rep sets are a waste of energy that could be put into building tissue post-workout. You still end up with a lower metabolic rate doing combo than you would if all you did was high reps, which means less total mass gains than high reps only. Heavy lifting also causes joint problems, spinal compression, rheumatoid arthritis, and nasty injuries like muscle and tendon tears. I can see how a high rep finisher set would be great for powerlifters to keep from plateauing in strength gains by increasing mass gains, but for someone interested in general fitness or bodybuilding, high-low combos are a complete waste of time.

    Run all this stuff by a well-informed doctor or physical therapist. They’ll tell you the same. Light weights for high reps is the new black. You just can’t overdo it like the group in this study.

  11. Michael, your one set of 50 reps per body part intrigues me. Could you be more specific and reveal which exercises you employed? Also, was it one set to failure? I’m in my mid-sixties, but have never
    stopped training . . . but I don’t think I my age-reduced recovery levels would allow 3 times per week.
    Do you think every 3rd or 4th day would still work. Also, did your strength go up proportionate to your mass gains? Thanks. At my age the low reps/heavy weights approach was killing my joints!

    • John: one set to failure for one exercise per bodypart, 50-100 reps. If you can, you want to try to add an additional 5 reps each workout by rest-pausing after you reach failure. You can work every muscle in isolation, or you can just do compounds; either way will work, but if you have recuperation problems, then compounds-only is best. All I do is bench press, bent row and squat, and that hits everything. I use dumbbells, so I use a hammer grip for bench press and bent rows, but if you’re using a barbell, a wide, supinated grip works best.

      3 days a week whole-body is fine. When you do one set of high reps per bodypart, it doesn’t phase your recovery that much. You might feel a little sore on rest days at first, but you adapt pretty quickly. I had my 68 year old father try my routine 3x a week, and he wasn’t sore past the first week. his main problem at first was his shoulders, because he’s had shoulder surgery. He didn’t get much muscle soreness, though.

      Because the volume is minimal, you can even train whole-body 6 days a week if you want. I have exercise intolerance from variegate porphyria, but I can still manage to train whole body 6 days a week this way. 3 days a week will work for awhile, but you eventually hit a plateau, and the only way to continue growing will be to either increase sets per workout or train more often.

      When you train high frequency, it increases your recuperation rate, so if you can manage it, it’s actually better to train 6 days a week. That’s something I learned when I was getting therapy for a lumbar sprain. They had me do one set each of several high rep exercises, every day, and I recuperated very quickly. It’s like doing a set of pushups every day; you get used to it pretty quicky. Every day except Sunday, I do a half hour of aerobics, then the weights, and I don’t sore from it. I feel energized, and I actually have less lower back soreness training 6 days than I did when I was training 3 days.

      I don’t know what sort of equipment you use, but if you’re stuck with free weights, you might want to try 25-50 reps for starters, until you know how you’ll fare on squats. When I started training super high reps, I couldn’t do 50 bodyweight-only squats, so I had to start in the 25-50 rep range. Same protocol: one set to failure. When you can do at least 50 squats without weight, move up to the 50-100 rep range.

      Yes, your strength will increase in proportion to your mass gains, although it might not seem like it because you take longer to add weight with such a high rep range. Mass gains = relative increases in maximal strength potential. I can bench over 400 pounds now, compared to benching 200 for 5 reps when I first switched to high reps.

      You don’t need to train heavy to get stronger. As long as you add reps every week and then add weight to the bar when you reach 100 reps, your strength will increase. If you compare results on PR’s of a typical low-rep lifter and a high rep lifter over several years, the strength increases are pretty much the same. The body can only grow so fast, and can only gain so much mass and strength over a particular length of time, no matter what training method is used. As long as you’re increasing reps and load, you can increase strength in any rep range.

      If you can’t manage 3 days a week, then try cutting back to 2, but I don’t think you’ll have a problem with it. Give it a try; you’ll figure it out. It’s a hell of an endurance workout; that’s for sure. You’ll get real winded and a good deal of lactic acid burn, particularly on squats, but stick with it, and you’ll see results.

  12. Michael: Thanks so much for being so specific. I feel I can now proceed with a high-rep program without worrying about losing strength. Really, at 67 — just one year younger than your dad — I have no choice.
    The heavy weights/low reps/many sets approach was taking a toll on my joints. I would like to keep you posted on how it’s working. Do you check this site often enough that posting here would be the best way? BTW, what part of the country do you live in? I’m a Michigander but spend an ever-increasing number of weeks in Florida each year.

    • I get email notifications, so anything you share here I’ll read.

      I was having the same problems with my joints, which is why I went super high rep. I read somewhere online that some people get great gains doing reps that high, and that it’s good arthritis therapy, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to try it out. Besides, I’m more interested in overall fitness than competing in any iron game sport, and at the time I was basically just looking for a maintenance and weight loss program to stay in shape. The mass gains were a happy plus.

      I live in California.

      Anyways, I’m always interested in hearing what it does for others. Whatever your results, be sure to let us know.

      • wow this is very interesting and exciting .It confirms what I’ve been believing over the past year.Im 44 and I’ve been doing 20 rep sets on most stuff and have gotten stronger and bigger .I decided to switch to low reps this week and feel achy in a bad way , tonight i squatted 335 for sets of 6 and felt like i was going to tear something i wasn’t straining and felt like i could have done 10 reps but I’m not used to heavy low rep training .I Normally squat 225 for 6 sets of 20 to 30 reps and i feel great a real rush no aches either.Im going to try this 3 day plan with the bench row and squat i believe i can rest pause 225 for 100 on squat right now idk for 3 days a week though lol but I’m up for the challenge and after reading this i believe il get size from it .Btw I’m from troy michigan john .

  13. Interesting idea’s on this page.

    Couldn’t help wondering if you did say 15 sets of 5 based on your 5rm what would happen. In theory we should get stronger (cause of the 5rm) and also gain strength endurance because of the volume, if we keep the rest perdiods short… say no more than 30 sec.

    Wonder how that would work?

    Any thoughts?

    • If you started with your 5 rep max on the first set, you’d have to decrease poundage several times to get through all 15 sets.

      Even if you started with a submaximal weight to make the first few sets warmup sets, it would wreak havoc on your body if you did that very often. Doing it once a week on a bodypart split would be worse than doing a 5×5 3x a week, because despite the additional rest time, you get repetitive stress injuries from trying to do all those heavy sets in one workout. Even doing 5×5 year-round can mess you up; take it from my personal experience with that. If you’re a total noob you’ll get some fast initial gains for maybe 3 months, but after that, it’ll taper off to almost nothing. You’ll also have the repetitive stress injuries if you keep it up.

      Not even powerlifters train that way. They do some variation of periodization or pyramiding; they don’t lift maximal poundages for low reps year-round. Even so, most guys who’ve been training like that for 20-30 years have back, hip and shoulder problems (I’m one of them). The reality is that lifting in the higher rep ranges doesn’t offset the damage caused by lifting in the lower rep ranges; in the long run, you’re better off not lifting heavy at all, or only once every three months at the very most to determine PR’s.

      Low reps (anything below 20) are for strength, higher reps are for size. Some people think they can trigger hypertrophy with high volume heavy lifting, because the longer you lift, the more you exhaust the fast twitch fibers and switch over to the medium and slow twitch fibers (the ones that have the greatest potential for size increase). To some degree it works, but by increasing the number of steps you have to go through to achieve the end effect, you undermine that effect. You have to do at least 10 sets of low reps to exhaust the fast twitch fibers enough to switch, so you’re basically doing a lot of wasted sets that cut into recovery and tissue growth.

      With super high reps, you do it on every set, because fast twitch fiber exhaustion is time-under-tension dependent, not load dependent. For example, if you swing your arms around for more than a minute, you exhaust all your fast twitch and medium twitch fibers and switch over to aerobic activity (slow twitch fibers). They won’t grow because the stress isn’t enough at any point to trigger a hypertrophy response (i.e. you never achieve momentary muscle failure or come anywhere close), but it demonstrates that any activity of long duration will exhaust fast twitch fibers, regardless of load.

      Contrary to all the slow-to-fast urban legends circulating on the internet, it works the same with weight training, going from fast twitch to slow twitch as you switch from glycogen utilization to triglyceride utilization (anaerobic to aerobic). When you do low reps, you have to do a boatload of sets to switch, because your TUT is never high enough in any single set to break through the glycogen barrier. You end up fighting against your own fast twitch recovery. With super high reps, you switch to medium twitch after the first 20 reps, and to slow twitch after reaching 50. If you fail somewhere in the 25-100 rep range, you get medium and slow twitch hypertrophy. You get bigger faster doing that than from doing less than 20 reps for a bunch of sets. You also get fast twitch hypertrophy by way of total anabolic effect, which is why you still gain strength even if all you do is high reps. It doesn’t work out that way if you train low rep; you just get strength gains with minimal hypertrophy.

      It requires a lot more energy and does a lot more damage doing say, 10×10 (or your 15×5), than it does doing one set of 25-50 or 50-100 reps. In the end, you get less hypertrophy with high volume heavy lifting, because a) you still have all that myostatin buildup from heavy lifting suppressing hypertrophy, b) you don’t sufficiently fatigue medium and fast twitch fibers, c) you don’t get the increased IGF-1 production and increased protein synthesis that you would get from high reps, and d) because the energy requirements of repairing the damage caused by heavy lifting are too high.

      When doing a conventional high volume, low rep routine, to get past the repair cycle into the tissue remodeling cycle, you have to eat a lot more food; plan on gobbling down 5,000-6,000 calories a day, which is hard on your system. The more damage done, the more repair required to get to the actual growth phase. The less damage done, the less repair is needed, and the more growth can occur, with less utilization of energy. You also have to consider that with heavy lifting, you get the increased myostatin production inhibiting muscle growth, and you can’t overcome that by simply increasing set volume. With super high reps, you don’t get the myostatin problem or the damage problem. All you get is the increased hypertrophy response from increased IGF-1 production and protein synthesis, muscular endurance conditioning, and cardiovascular conditioning.

      My first 3 years of training super high rep, I gained 40 pounds of lean while on a maintenance diet. I never made gains anywhere near that significant doing traditional high volume training, even when I was gobbling enough food to get fat. Anyone who makes gains that good on a traditional program is on something; they’re spending a lot of money on supplements or drugs, because without them, heavy lifting simply cannot make a person grow that fast past their first year of training.

      Also to consider is that heavy lifting is completely anaerobic, which means that you never get enough blood (and nutrients) to the connective tissues to cause sufficient connective tissue growth to keep up with strength increases. That’s why strength athletes and heavy training bodybuilders get muscle and tendon tear injuries. With high reps, everything grows in balance, so you don’t get those problems. Lifting light also offsets and even heals damage caused by arthritis due to the increased flushing effect, whereas heavy lifting actually increases arthritic damage. If you don’t already have arthritis, repetitive heavy lifting can cause it.

      The body has structural limitations. If you don’t observe those parameters, you will do permanent damage that you will come to regret. If you’re into competitive powerlifting or strongman, have at it, but if you’re mainly interested in bodybuilding or overall, long-term fitness, you’re better off with high reps. Less damage, more growth, more health.

      The human body was not designed for repetitive maximal load bearing activities; it was designed for short-term maximal load bearing activities (sprinting, lifting heavy objects) and repetitive minimal load bearing activities (walking long distances, and carrying/swinging light objects for long periods). Think about it: hunting requires tracking game for long distances, rendering a kill-strike to the animal, and then tracking it for more miles to find its dead body if the kill-strike doesn’t immediately cause its death. Gathering requires similar long duration exertion; so does farming. There is no natural adversity that would require us to rely on fast twitch, heavy load bearing activity for long periods of time. That’s why the musculoskeletal system is designed the way it is. If you don’t respect that, you will screw yourself up.

      If you do a single set 50-100 reps routine, you won’t see quick gains on the bar, because you have to increase your reps by 50 before adding weight. But you do add more weight each progression than with a 5-10 rep progression range, so it all balances out. If you do a 5×50 rep routine, you’ll see the same gains on the bar as you would if you did a 5×5 routine, because the load-increasing parameters are the same as for 5×5. If you need to see that sort of thing to stay motivated, stick with 5×50 once or twice a week per bodypart. If you don’t need to see constant gains on the bar to convince yourself that you’re getting results, do the whole body, 1 set of 25-50 or 50-100 reps thing, 3-6 days a week. Either way, in the long-term, your strength gains will be the same.

      Whether you lift heavy or light, your strength gains will be the same in the long-term, because strength gains are load progression dependent, not load size dependent. If you add 50 pounds to a lift, it doesn’t matter whether you used a 3-5 rep protocol, a 5-10 rep protocol, or some repetition range well above 20; a 50 pound strength gain is a 50 pound strength gain, regardless of method.

      • Thank you for your answer.

        its not often that i get an answer that has both good reasoning and common sense behind it, you clearly know what your talking about,

        I have also tried the low rep heavy weight and got nothing more than injuries and fatigue.. and a little size

        You mentioned that with the super high reps that it would increase IGF-1 production and protein synthesis, muscular endurance conditioning, and cardiovascular conditioning.

        Those are exactly what im looking for Muscular endurance and cardio conditioning in particular.

        Just to confirm that i have the correct thinking a routine like all compound exercises split into push one day pull the next at around 50 reps for each exercise is about right? and increase the weight when i get to 50 reps?

        Or do the reps need to go higher?

        Thanks for your help and thoughts

        • Yeah, that works. Work it like a 5×5 program, but with 50 reps, each bodypart twice a week. Start with your 50 rep max, and keep using that weight until you can do all 5 sets for 50 reps, then add 10 pounds, repeat. You don’t ever go above 50 reps when you do it this way; you just make it your goal to get 50 reps on all 5 sets. That way, you don’t burn yourself out going to failure on every single set of every single workout.

          You don’t want to go over 500 reps a week total, so for a 5x program, you have to stick with 50 reps on a twice a week schedule, or do a 10×50 for each bodypart on a once a week bodypart split (that’s totally hardass; I don’t recommend it unless you’re very advanced and you need a bodypart split to add in arm days and such). If you want to increase your rep range per set, stick with whole body, 1 set per bodypart, 50-100 reps, 6 days a week. That, or do a 5×100 once a week per bodypart.

          If you can’t even get 50 reps doing bodyweight squats, try doing it 5×25 until you get your squat weight up enough to at least be able to manage 50 bodyweight squats. Super high rep squats are very difficult; I still can’t squeeze out more than around 70 bodyweight squats, and I have 28″ thighs. Keep in mind, an upper rep limit of 500 a week is advanced training, so you might want to start out with a 5×25 program anyways, just to get up the stamina to pull off a 5×50. Either that, or do a single set of 25-50 6x a week.

          For a bulking diet, keep it simple; figuring grams per pound of bodyweight for each macro, eat your bodyweight + 100 grams of carbs (i.e. if you weigh 200 pounds, eat 300 grams), and around a gram per pound of bodyweight in protein. Make sure to get in enough fats, too; stick with whole fat foods so you get in at least a gram per pound of bodyweight in fat. You gotta have the saturated fat in your diet to fuel hormone production, and because it’s the easiest way to increase your calories (9 calories per gram, compared to only 4 per gram of carbohydrate). If that’s too much food and you gain more than a pound a week, drop 50 grams of carbs. If that’s not enough, drop 50 grams of fat. Go back and forth from there a little at a time until your weight gains are no more than a pound a week. You don’t want to gain any more weight than that per week, or you’ll get real fat. Some of it will be fat anyways at a pound a week, but that’s okay. It’s extra fuel for your muscle gains. If you’re not gaining a pound a week on my macro suggestions, add extra carbs.

          For cutting, drop down to a total of 1500 calories per day, keeping your protein grams at around a half a gram per pound of bodyweight, and cutting everything else to get down to 1500 calories. Don’t go too low on fat, though; less than 30 grams a day is bad for your health. Decrease the sodium too, because that will keep your potassium up so you won’t get all crampy. Either way, bulking or cutting, be sure to get lots of water; I drink a minimum of 4 pints a day. Carbs and water bloat your muscles, which gives you room to grow, like blowing up a balloon in a plaster cast and then filling the space with meat.

          You also want to do a half hour of light cardio before starting each workout, whether you’re bulking or cutting. That helps to tap into your fat reserves so that you have triglycerides and other stuff immediately available when you pick up the weights. It also helps to keep you from getting fat from the additional calories in your diet.

          If you go all hardcore with the diet to maximize gains, you want to limit your bulks to 6 months and cuts to 3 months. If you bulk for a whole year, you’ll get super fat, and then have to spend a whole year cutting. I eat maintenance calories year-round; I don’t mind if my gains are a little slower, because I’m mostly doing this for overall fitness.

          When you hit a plateau, just switch your routine up according to the parameters I’ve provided. For example, if you’ve been doing 5×50 for awhile and your progress stalls, you can try 5×25, 5×100 once a week per bodypart, or do a 1 set routine for awhile. The 1 set variations are good, because you can use rest-pause methods to make your progression in reps faster, which gives it extra shock value. For example, doing 50-100 reps, I aim to add 5 extra reps past failure on each exercise, every day.

          Anyways, that’s what’s been working for me. I haven’t even been that serious about mass gains, just sticking with a maintenance calorie diet, but I still managed to gain 40 pounds the first 3 years, and an additional 10 pound this last year. I started with a 3x a week 1 set program; that held up for 3 years, then stopped working the fourth because I outgrew it. Then I upped my reps per week last year by hitting whole body 6x a week, and started gaining again. That 10 pounds came in 6 months.

          It’s like any other training protocol; you’ll have intermittent periods of fast gains followed by periods of no gains. You just have to stick with it, and switch things up once in awhile to keep it fresh.

          If you want to supercharge your workouts and increase your rate of gain, look into creatine. It’s also good for getting off of plateaus. I’ve seen guys make some serious gains on that stuff. Most people who use it properly claim it’s as good as steroids, but without all the dangers. You also get to keep all the mass you gained when you go off of it, unlike steroids.

          Anyways, try this stuff out, switch it up a little if necessary to figure out which version you can tolerate for starters, and let us know how it’s working for you in a month. Just keep in mind this is a pretty hardcore method; don’t expect it to be as easy as low rep methods if you decide to do a multiple set routine.

          If you want to see someone else’s take on this, look up Kali Muscle’s channel on YouTube. He has a series of videos that he calls his “500 hunnit” series, and lots of other videos with good info. He works out different than I do, but it all works out the same. All his working sets are at least 20 reps, and he aims for 500 total reps each workout. He’s way more jacked than I am. The biggest guys in prison train this way; that’s where he learned it.

  14. Michael: I am still unclear on a few aspects of a super high rep program
    1) I find there are two kinds of “failure.” With nonstop repetitions — no pause whatsoever at either the top
    or the bottom of each rep — I find I reach failure rather quickly. However, with a brief pause (for
    example, holding the bar at the bottom of each curl for a quick two or three breaths) after the initial
    25 or 30 nonstop reps, I find I can grind out many more reps before a combination of oxygen debt and
    muscle fatigue make further reps impossible. Which kind of failure should I shoot for?
    2) Regarding gains in strength: If one increases their ability to, say, curl a weight for 50 reps by 15
    pounds, has it been your experience that their one rep max would also be up 15 pounds? You men-
    tioned Kali Muscle being able to curl 275 pounds. Did he develop that kind of strength with high rep
    training, or did he do more traditional strength training earlier in his career?

    Thanks,
    John Stchur (“t” & “c” are silent – Shur)

    • Hey John, if you’re going for 50 reps, use a weight you can pump for 50 reps non-stop. What you’re doing is called rest-pausing; you failed when you hit the last non-stop rep, and everything past that is a forced rep. If your rep range starts at 50, use a weight you can do non-stop for 50 reps.

      Read my last response to Jimbo; lots of info there for creating a program that will suit you. If you’re not strong enough yet to manage a 50 rep program with the lightest weights you have, try a 25 rep program. This is an advanced training method; you have to build up your strength first.

      You can do rest-pause reps to increase the intensity and speed up your progression in reps, but you gotta hit that lower end of your rep range first. That’s your foundation point.

      Also, it’s pointless to try to lock out on every rep when you train like this; you could hurt yourself if you try. My range of motion is never more than 3/4. Always keep your elbows or knees bent a little when you extend you arms or come up out of a squat.

      Also, focus on compounds; don’t worry about isolation exercises. I have 18″ arms, but I haven’t done curls for 10 years. That’s all from benching and rowing. Compounds work everything. All I do is bench press, bent rows and squats, but I’m not lacking in the arms, shoulders, calves, hamstrings, abs or forearms. Even my neck is thick. You don’t need to bother with stuff like curls and pressdowns until you have some serious mass, and even then, the only reason to do isolation exercises is for shaping the muscles. If you’re not a bodybuilder prepping for a contest, it’s a complete waste of time and energy.

      Strength is strength. Your maximal strength potential will increase across the board if you used high reps to make the gain, because you increased your muscle mass to get that strength gain; mass is the bottom line determiner of force output potential. That said, you can’t just shuttle back and forth to test your max poundage in diversely different rep ranges. If you do that, it’ll appear that you’ve lost strength, because super high reps and low reps require a different neurological and energy system adaptation.

      If you really want to know, train high rep for 3-6 months, then test for PR’s after training heavy pyramids for a week to adapt your brain to that sort of signal processing. Whatever you gain on your 50 RM, you’ll definitely see the same gain on your 1 RM, maybe even more. It’s not an exact correlation, so don’t expect pound-for-pound gains in different rep ranges.

      That said, my bench press has doubled since I started doing this, so short answer, yes. Currently, I bench and row 50 pound dumbbells for 50 reps, up from 20’s when I started. On the barbell, I’ve progressed from 200 pounds 5 RM to 400 pounds 5 RM. It took 5 years, but that’s not bad for not even trying. Up until recently, my routine has been minimal, just for maintenance purposes. If I had done a 5×50 routine, I’d be a lot stronger.

      As for Kali Muscle, he learned his current methods in prison. In prison, those guys don’t have time to spin their wheels doing anything that won’t make them as big as possible as quick as possible. In prison, image is everything; the bigger man has the power. They do high rep training for size, because it works. He trained heavy for football when he was in high school, but he didn’t get very big or very strong from it; he didn’t get jacked until he went to prison. I’ve never seen anything in any of his videos to indicate that he trained anything but high rep after learning it in prison. He lifts heavy in videos sometimes to show people how strong he really is, but he doesn’t train that way. He even tells people not to train that way, because it doesn’t work for size, and the risk of injury is too high. In his own words, he tries to keep all his working sets above 20 reps.

      Anyways, look him up on Youtube. His story is fascinating. There’s other big guys who talk about doing high reps for size–Jason English, Rich Piana, to name a few. Shawn Ray once said he built his mass with 50 rep sets. Whatever big weights you see those guys pumping for super high reps, you can be sure that they can max out with at least 3x that much. I’ve watched Jason English do a 100 rep set of bench presses with a 135 pound barbell; he can max out at around 450, if I remember correctly. That’s pretty good for a guy who’s had shoulder surgery and has a bad elbow. His rep range is mostly between 20 and 50, unless he’s doing a collaboration video with someone who trains differently.

      Strength doesn’t always equal size, but mass always equals strength. You can’t build a 54″ chest and 20″ arms without getting a 500 pound max bench press. Unless you’re talking about synthol, there’s no such thing as fake muscle. Focus on getting bigger, and the strength will follow. When you can bench 50 pound dumbbells for 50 reps, you’ll definitely see a difference in how much extra strength you have in your daily activities. Max strength is good for doing something maximally heavy once; it’s no good for things like walking up stairs or moving furniture all day. There’s really no comparison between the two.

      Even powerlifters have to do higher rep ranges to up their mass (look up periodization and pyramiding), because without extra mass, they can’t get any stronger past a certain point. If you look at their total volume of work in each rep range, they actually do a lot more high reps than low reps. I’ve seen guys that get religious about a program like 5×5, and they get some good strength gains for a year, and then they don’t gain any more strength or size for 10 years. No mass gains = limited strength gains.

      Anyways, I hope that helps.

      • Michael,

        I’ve been reading your comments and insight and I am super intrigued. I’m going to switch to some high rep stuff. I like the idea of bodyweight training for high reps. What can I do with a program like that? Rest, volume, frequency, etc. I can do almost 20 reps of one handed push ups per arm and can do near 30 chin ups.
        You mentioned that they body wasn’t made for repetitive high loads and I believe you. So riddle me this, is it possible to do like 1-2 sets of a heavy load to gauge strength without activating myostatin anything negative? For example like one heavy set of some very challenging push up variation for like 5 reps? How often could I do that (like a sprint) without experiencing negative side effects?

        Thanks!

      • So essentially like 1 set of your 5 rep max for like 3 or 4 reps. Would doing that once a day or 3 times a day be too often? I’m just curious. Thanks!

  15. Michael, again, thanks so much. I have already begun my high rep program but, till now, was doing it with a feeling of guilt because I had to back off in weight so drastically compared to poundages used in a more conventional program. But the more conventional program was beating me up and producing no gains! Your response has given me more confidence that high reps are the way to go — plus, already my joints are feeling better.

    I’m doing squats, ez bar curls, dumbbell bench and bent rows one day . . . and deadlifts, seated press
    and shoulder-width upright rows only to bottom rib on the next day. Then I rest a day, except for a very
    small amount of ab and oblique work. Then I repeat that cycle.

    Maybe I should eliminate curls, although they were always a point of pride because they were the one
    exercise that I was a “natural” at, being disproportionately strong in them, compared to any kind of
    pressing . . .

    • Yeah, no problem.

      Yeah, using puny little weights is weird at first, especially if you train at a gym, but you get used to it. As I did, you’re getting that immediate relief of some joint pain, so that’s a good indication you’ve found something suitable to your needs. It also ups your energy levels, so you’ll probably notice that too after a week or so.

      Your routine sounds about right, but yeah, you might want to lay off the arm exercises and let the rest of your body catch up. Compound-only routines are great for balancing things out. As long as you’re using a hammer grip or supinated grip, you’ll get more than adequate arm work from the pressing and rowing.

      If you have shoulder problems, you should eliminate the upright rows as well, but if it’s not a problem, then no worries. Ab work is optional; anything else you do is going to work your abs as stabilizers, so most people don’t need to bother with crunches and whatnot.

      Some say deadlifts are great, others not so great, but if they don’t bother your back, they can’t hurt. Personally, I’ve always had back problems when I do them, so I just get by with squats.

      Also, try warming up with 30 minutes of light cardio, keeping your pulse somewhere in the 100-120 bpm neighborhood; that helps with weight management, and it preps you for the weights by tapping into your fat stores. Contrary to popular belief, the cardio also increases the anabolic response you get from the weight training, so even if you’re trying to bulk up, it’s always good to add that in. That has always made a huge difference for me, both in fat loss and muscle gain.

      I don’t know your fitness, but if you’re obese and you really want to ramp up the fat loss, you can do an hour of cardio in the morning, then weights, then another hour of cardio at night. There are some people who say cardio is worthless, but from experience, I’ve never known that to be true.

      Anyways, holler back in a month to let us know how that’s working out for you.

  16. Hi Michael,

    Thank you so much for the reply’s i have read both the reply to myself and stchur. Brilliant advice i will get rid of my 30 rep rest pause at 10rm and move onto your program..it looks a lot more joint friendly!!

    i will be very interested in how it effects my low rm lifts… not that it matters a lot as you said its more important that you can walk up stair or in my case change a tyre both are muscle endurance more than just one big lift..

    Thinking on it some more… its basically what they do in the Defence forces… lots of high rep push ups,sit ups squats, etc I don’t ever recall weights being mentioned in the service unless it was for a particular reason..sport etc

    Thanks again

    ok im off to look at 500 hunnit.

    Jimbo

    • Yeah, that’s a good analogy. Military training is mostly high rep bodyweight stuff. It seems counter-intuitive, but it works great if you don’t overdo it and you add in progressive resistance. My cousin was in the army, and after bootcamp, he did high reps in the gym. He’s as big as I am from it.

      Typo correction: it’s listed as 5-hunnit series, not 500 hunnit. His method is pretty hardcore; it took me 18 sets to get 500 total reps for squats, and the soreness from any workout lasts a whole week and makes moving around difficult. It’s easier on your body to break it down into multiple workouts.

      Anyways, whatever you end up doing, let us know how it works out for you.

  17. So I started this last week. I’m going to do 5 X 25-50 on a split. I used 40 lb dumbells for the bench and got 30,30,25,25,25 last week. Today I got 40,30,30,17,20. I was blown out by the 4th set because I got 100 reps on the first 3 sets compared to 85 last session, but then only wound up getting only 2 more total reps today because I burned out. How do you progress on this thing? Do you try to keep all the sets equal reps or do you go for it like I did today?

    • 25-50 reps is the protocol for a 1 set per bodypart workout. When you do it that way, you start with your fail 25 weight, and try to add reps each workout until you hit 50, then add 10 pounds, repeat. It’s just a general range, with 50 reps being the cap. You don’t go below 25 or above 50.

      If you’re doing a 5x program, you want to do it 5×50: start with your fail 50 weight, and keep using that weight each workout until you can get 50 reps on all 5 sets. you don’t go over 50 reps as you progress in strength; you’re just working towards getting 50 reps on all 5 sets. When you achieve that, add 10 pounds on your next workout, repeat.

      When you do multiple sets, you don’t need to go to failure on every set of every workout. Each time you get another 50 rep set, you get a little bit of a break with the non-failure sets of 50. That way, you don’t burn out from going to failure all the time, and you progress in strength faster.

      Don’t worry about the total rep count when you do it this way; just hit each exercise twice a week, and make it your goal to get 50 reps on all five sets. Don’t worry about doing forced reps or rest-pause to get 50 on all 5; just go to failure on each set that you can’t get 50 reps, and keep using that weight until you can get 50 on all 5. Your total rep range per week and total sets to failure per week will be sufficient for growth, but not too much to cause overtraining.

    • If you’re new to this, you’ll still feel sore when the second workout day comes around. You have to push through it; you adapt after a few weeks. If the soreness is too bad, drop down to a 5×25 program. If you can’t even manage that, then you’re not ready for a multi-set program; you’ll have to drop down to a whole body, 1 set per bodypart program.

      • I wasn’t sore, it was fatigue I just wasn’t recovered. I was doing 5X20 before this 2-3 times per week. I’m just not used to the volume. I’ll go back Tuesday, that’ll be 5 days, I should be recovered by then. If not I’ll push through. I’ll tighten it when my recovery catches up.

  18. smmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmMichael, when you mentioned TUT I remembered something from theories of Mike Mentzer. Everyone talks about heavy weight and low reps but the funny thing is, he didn’t advocate that at all. The low reps were indeed low but the duration of the reps were 4 seconds up and 4 seconds down with a 2 second pause in contraction. That’s the equivilent of about 25 or more normal reps by my calcuation and that’s not heavy weight and low reps, that’s low weight and high reps but done differntly. I wonder what difference it would be just to focus on time under tension. Mentzer’s frequency was way too low except for all the extra techniques after the set ended that made it once a week or more. I’m very interested if you are still making gains and if you’re on a 6 day a week plan (whole body 6X’s a week)? Thanks

    • I was making great gains on the 6 days a week single set program. But I plateaued on that program a month ago, so I recently switched to 5×50. The progression protocol is different; you add weight to the bar more frequently with 5×50. I’ve only been doing it for a week, so it’s too soon to tell what my mass gains will be on the new program. I already made a 10 pound gain on all 3 exercises, so that’s a good sign.

      As for slow reps, they’re nowhere near as effective for increasing strength or mass as lifting explosively. Here’s why:

      Slow lifting: no force multiplication. Fast lifting: force multiplication. Fast lifting for high reps = pounds of force further multiplied by total number of reps. For a simple math example, let’s assume that the actual poundage is multiplied by 5 to get the actual pounds of force generated by explosive lifting: if you lift a 100 pound barbell for 50 fast reps (500 x 50), that’s a total of 25,000 pounds lifted. If you lift a 200 pound barbell for 10 fast reps (1,000 x 10), that’s only 10,000 total pounds lifted. If you’re lifting 150 pounds for 10 slow reps, you only get 1,500 total pounds lifted because there is no multiplication of force caused by acceleration.

      The multiplication of force by way of acceleration is what causes the tissue damage that must be repaired, because greater force = greater impact = greater tissue trauma. Nothing to repair means no need for hypertrophy. So even though the higher TUT from slow lifting produces about the same amount of IGF-1 as lifting fast for high reps because lactate production during anaerobic glycolysis is about the same, there’s nowhere near as much tissue damage, so the rate of growth can never be the same. Those differences in force are why fast low reps are great for strength but not size (not enough reps to cause the energy pathway switch necessary for maximum IGF-1 production, not enough tissue damage), fast high reps are great for size (optimum IGF-1 production and tissue damage), and slow low reps (no significant tissue damage) are inferior for either. Even doing high reps slowly will not cause enough tissue damage to necessitate a significant hypertrophy response.

      That’s why the only people you ever see with big muscles from HIT are on drugs. For naturals, it’s the worst way to train, because explosive lifting produces more damage, and therefore more hypertrophy. Even a sedentary person will gain muscle mass on steroids, so any program at all, no matter how stupid, will make a juicer grow faster than a typical natural lifter.

      Check out Ellington Darden’s site sometime. He has lots of before and after photos of people using his brand of HIT, and he goes on and on about how significant those gains are for natural lifters, but if you compare their results to the results of people using other training methods, you can see he’s just talking out his ass. There’s lots of photos of people who lost some fat and gained just enough muscle to prevent a loss of inches on the arms and chest, but no significant growth.

      Doing high reps, I gained inches on my arms while losing fat. I gained 40 pounds in three years, despite a reduction in my waist measurement. That means I had to gain a lot more than 40 pounds of muscle in those three years to compensate the fat loss. That 40 pound weight gain was actually 60 pounds of muscle gain and 20 pounds of fat loss. That’s why I managed to add 2″ to my arms in that time, despite losing a lot of fat off my arms. I gained another 10 pounds this last year and an additional inch on my arms, which means I had to gain 20 pounds of muscle, which means I lost an additional 10 pounds of fat during that time. I’ve never seen any natural lifter on a HIT program do anything remotely similar while losing fat.

      Jones’ Nautilus experiments with Casey Viator are just plain fake. He claims Casey made huge mass gains in a month flat (28 pounds, which is physiologically impossible), and tries to back it up with some undated before and after pictures that look more like they were taken several years apart. Casey was on steroids during the experiment, and he admitted to after-hours training sessions off campus, using conventional high volume methods, so he did make some decent mass gains during that month. But even on steroids, it’s not possible for a person to gain 28 pounds of lean mass in single a month. There isn’t a single drug or any combination of drugs in the world that can cause such a rapid rate of protein synthesis and tissue remodeling, nor is there any training method that can cause that, whether or not drugs are involved.

      So basically, HIT is a bunch of bullshit conjured up by Arthur Jones to sell Nautilus machines. You get some fast, short-term strength gains because of how your brain adapts to the change in time parameter by increasing signals to your muscles (great trick for convincing people that Nautilus machines work better than conventional weights), but that’s all it is: a trick. After a month or two, you plateau in strength gains, because there simply isn’t enough there to make your body keep adapting. It violates every weight training principle, as demonstrated in this article:

      http://drsquat.com/content/articles/hit-hammer

      Some of the science cited by Hatfield is outdated and doesn’t really apply to a high rep training protocol, but the principles are all still valid as it applies to the differences between slow lifting and explosive lifting.

      HIT violates the Law of Individual Differences by assuming a one-size-fits-all training protocol: same sets and reps for all people, despite differences in gender, fitness, etc. SHRT (super high rep training) is an advanced set of training protocols, and has levels of intensity to suit different fitness levels of advanced lifters.

      HIT violates the Overcompensation principle (nature compensating for trauma by hypertrophying muscles) by violating the Overload principle by eliminating explosive lifting. SHRT increases overcompensation by implementing the Overload principle.

      HIT violates the SAID principle (specific adaptation to imposed demands) by presuming that one rep range works for everything, when the HIT rep range and tempo only works for short-term strength gains. SHRT observes the SAID principle by acknowledging that optimum hypertrophy is a demand-specific adaptation, reliant on maximizing force without overtraining.

      HIT violates the Use/Disuse principle by focusing on one aspect of development to the neglect of others. SHRT can be adapted to maximally increase both strength and size gains by manipulating the repetition and weight progression protocols (i.e. 5×50 instead of 1×25-50 or 1×50-100). There are other ways to manipulate a SHRT program to extend periods of gain, such as utilization of the century set method, use of drop sets, changes in workout frequency, etc., all of which stimulate additional strength gains while stimulating mass gains.

      HIT violates the GAS principle (general adaptation syndrome) by insisting on going to failure on every set of every workout, year-round, with no emphasis on the need for periods of decreased intensity or detraining periods. SHRT makes no such presumption; in the single set versions where failure is always utilized, if no intentional vacations are taken to detrain, one will naturally burn out and take time off anyways. With the 5 set method, there are undulating degrees of intensity, because not all sets are taken to failure every workout. HIT is not strenuous enough to require detraining periods, so the body readily adapts to the stress of going to failure all the time and enters a long period of equilibrium (the plateau).

      HIT violates the Specificity principle by not utilizing explosive movements, and by not using rep ranges specific to hypertrophy, despite claiming to be ideal for hypertrophy. SHRT is primarily designed for increasing hypertrophy in advanced lifters who have outgrown lower rep ranges; strength gains are a secondary concern.

      I’ve never seen clear evidence that HIT worked for anyone who wasn’t on drugs. Mentzer didn’t even get big using HIT; he got big doing high volume training and using drugs. Any gains he made from HIT while on juice were because of the shock value of switching programs during a plateau, not from any actual benefit of doing HIT. After he quit the juice, he shriveled up just like anyone else that stops juicing and continues to train heavy for low reps. In fact, his muscle losses were worse than most. He was completely average in his last years. In the last video he ever filmed, he was a mere shadow of his former self. That’s despite his application of his own training methods.

      The principles outlined by Hatfield can’t be violated if you’re to maximize mass gains; there’s simply no way around that. SHRT doesn’t violate any of them. Most HIT programs violate all of them.

      Darden tries to get around it by adding in some periodization features (increasing tempo or reps, specialization routines, etc.), but due to the violation of the Overload principle by eliminating explosive lifting, any differences in rate of gains or length of gain periods is mediocre.

      HIT is useful as a shock technique to get off a strength plateau because it tricks your brain out of adaptation equilibrium, but anything more than a single mesocycle is a waste of time, because that’s all it’s good for.

  19. Michael, sorry to bombard you with questions, but with your current switch to 5 X 50 do you still do all three exercises six times per week? Also, with your rows, do you pull both dumbbells simultaneously or alternating or one arm at a time and supported? I find the fifty rows to be a long time being bent over at my age (67). But then again, my back is absolutely parallel to the floor. I notice that now days most pictures of the really big guys show them only bent forward 45 degrees. Which do you find better?

    Due to my background, which included extensive course work in anatomy and kinesiology, it is very hard for me to let go of the unease I feel at not working arms, side delts and forearms directly, as the latter two are weak spots, especially forearms. Are these areas on you just as developed as your
    18″ arms and 52 chest? What would be an admirable goal for 50 reps in the dumbbell row and dumbbell
    bench press? By the way, I occasionally compete in the strict curl (masters division) in meets under
    the governance of the Natural Strength Athletes Association (N.A.S.A.), so for the most part am sick to
    death of never allowing myself to omit curls from my workout — even though their specificity rankles
    my sense of efficiency. But to still curl big do you think one must actually DO curls?

    One last thing: I’m very, very impressed with your knowledge and your writing ability. I’m sure everyone else here would like to know more about you, your background and accomplishments. You certainly
    have piqued my curiosity — and I AM following your advice to the letter, except for those dag-nabbit
    curls!

  20. no; i only work each bodypart twice a week on 5×50. you have to keep things in perspective of total workload. if your upper limit is 500 reps a week per bodypart, you can split it up any way you want, as long as your split doesn’t put you over 500 reps per week. that’s why i could make gains doing 1 set of 50-100 reps 6 days a week; i never went over 500 total reps per week, or if i did, it was too brief a period to cause overtraining.

    the higher the set volume, the lower the frequency, and the lower the set volume, the higher the frequency. either way, it works out the same; they’re just variations for accommodating fitness and routine. if you can’t handle multiple sets because you get too winded, you do a single set, whole-body routine every day. if you can handle 5 sets but not 10, you do a twice a week split routine. if you can handle 10 sets, you do a once a week bodypart split. any way you do it, you stay in the total rep range for the week. you don’t do 5×50 6 days a week per bodypart; that would be insane.

    i don’t know if you’re getting this clearly, so here’s my current program:

    bench press, 5×50: monday
    bent rows, 5×50: tuesday
    squats, 5×50: wednesday

    repeat the sequence thursday, friday, saturday, rest on sunday.

    as for rowing, either type of dumbbell row works just fine. i currently row with both arms simultaneously, but if i get a lower back injury, i use the bench for one-arm rows.

    as for bending during unsupported rows, you don’t have to go up to 45%. that’s bad form, because you’re not really working your lats at that angle; it’s all trap work. just come up as high as you need to to feel comfortable, or switch to using a bench. when most people row, they come up from parallel as they lift the weight; when i row, i lower my torso towards the weight as i lift, to keep parallel. i don’t round my back to do it; i stay flat the entire time, bending at the hips.

    you won’t have any problems getting arm development doing compound exercises, if you perform them properly. the best way is to use a wide, supinated grip, keeping your elbows close to you torso. that position fully activates all the involved muscles. you just need to remember to keep the bar going straight up and down over your solar plexus region when benching with a supinated grip; if you let the bar come up over your neck at the top of the movement like you would with a pronated grip, you lose control.

    i haven’t done isolation work for 10 years, so yes, my current development is all from doing compounds. the need to work every muscle in isolation for balanced body development is a myth; if anything, it causes more muscle imbalances, not less. notice how a lot of big bodybuilders are arm-heavy? it’s because they overtrain those muscles by working them in isolation. when you do compounds only, everything grows in tandem. it’s impossible not to get upper arm, forearm and calf development from a compounds-only routine. that said, a bodybuilder who does curls will look better on stage, because that imbalance of arm-to-torso ratio looks better in a double biceps pose.

    if you curl in competition, then you need to stick with the curls. that’s the specificity principle. if all you need is general strength and size for fitness purposes, you do a basic routine. if you need to overdevelop certain muscles for use in a particular activity, then you use exercises that focus on that one thing. that’s why baseball players all have big thighs and asses: they focus on lower body development more than upper body. that’s why ring gymnasts have great torso and arm development, but chicken legs; they focus on the muscles they use on rings to the exclusion of everything else. that’s why members of a rowing team have nice lats and traps, but are usually deficient elsewhere: they focus on rowing. it’s called streamlining.

    this stuff all depends on your goals. general fitness and the fastest rate of overall mass gain: compounds-only routine. training for a particular type of competition that requires overdevelopment of a particular muscle: isolation work. you don’t need to be weak everywhere else, so you would just add in the curls on top of a compounds routine. if you’re competing for 1 rep max, then you stick with powerlifting training for curls. if you’re tired of doing curls, then you should stop competing.

    i’m just some nobody who reads a lot of studies on the internet. i don’t even know if i’m getting all the details right; i’m not some college educated egghead. i just know the basics of how this stuff works from reading, and that when it comes to gaining size fast, super high reps are superior to lower rep ranges.

    as for my training and size, i’ve had 30 years of trial and error experience with that. i’ve tried everything, so i know what works for how long, what the downside is, and what works best for particular goals. i know from my own experience, from my doctors, and from observing other veteran lifters that the conventional, low rep training methods are detrimental to health past a certain training age. i know from shoulder and back injuries that certain exercises (deadlifts, overhead presses, lateral raises, upright rows, pulldowns behind the neck, etc.) are bad for most people, and totally unnecessary for balanced muscular development. that’s pretty much all there is to it.

    there’s the story that the supplement and drug industries want people to hear, the stories that gung ho iron game athletes are pushing, and then there’s the story that broken down athletes, doctors, therapists, etc. are telling. i just tell it like it is, from my personal experience, and from the experiences of others who have learned the hard way or were smart enough to listen to those who have figured things out. i learned the hard way about super high reps; guys like kali muscle were taught.

    • Wow i wish i could post your last tirade on every bb forum there is .The best most common sense advice in this game I’ve ever read and I’m 44 .People always tell me to be a trainer due to my look and strength which took years of steroids and many crappy routines .I Decline because i never felt like i had answers only questions and mistrust of all the crap info the iron peddlers you talk about try to sell its bs . As i mentioned before i started lifting heavy this week because I’ve been reading so much on powerlifting and such ,well i feel horrible ,my thigh feels like its gonna tear and i have bad aches in 1 week lol ,i was doing 15 to 30 reps on everything for 2 years .Before that i took many years off due to frustration and aches etc. and its funny i ALWAYS felt the answer was high reps for size and strength but when i tell any lifter they look at me like I’m nuts or say its the steroids which i take trt .Anyway I’m following your 5 by 50 routine and i will spread the gospel lol .Oh btw i never met anyone in 20 yrs that lifted heavy that didn’t have shoulder issues or knee issues or elbow aches etc. and they still want to lift heavy low reps total brainwashing of unparrelled magnitude and I’m being serious no lol cause its sad . Ok i got to sleep tace care folks.

      • hey, if it works for you, let us know your results in awhile. i love doing reps this high, but everyone is different. some aren’t advanced enough for it yet, some can’t handle getting winded, etc. but let us know what you get out of it, and how you feel it compares to other stuff you’ve tried.

  21. Michael, thanks once again. I definitely will give up competing soon — and in the meantime will move
    those curls to the end of my workout, in deference to the rows, bench and squats. Thanks, too, for
    being so specific and writing down your schedule. My recovery ability is improving, following your advice, but I’m definitely not ready for 5 x 50 yet.

    You are definitely not a nobody. I see a very high level of disciplined logic in your writings and actions, and, better yet, you are willing to share to help others! I’m excited about what this type of training is doing for me and will report when I reach certain goals I have in mind regarding it.

  22. Just a follow up about accessory movements. So I continue with the 5X50 using the 50 fail weight on the main movements and am adding reps every workout. I’m still burning out on the 4th set, but I have to say it is getting better. I’m going to give it 6 more weeks with the same weights and see. However for the accessory movements like curls which I do after the main movement I dropped the weight to the 50 fail weight and I’ve lost ground compared to the 30 fail weight I was using. I’m thinking that by the time I get to the accessory movements that those muscles are already fatigued by the main movement so that the 50 fail weight might be too light? I’m only doing 3 sets for the accessory movements.

    • Burning out on the 4th set? What do you mean?

      Maybe you’re not resting enough between sets? With super high reps, you need to rest long enough to catch your breath; 3-5 minutes. Any less that that, and you can get sick from too much lactic acid buildup.

      When you do super high reps, your smaller muscles peter out faster than your larger muscles. For example, I can curl half of what I bench press for low reps, but with high reps, I can only curl 1/3 of what I can bench for high reps. That’s why you don’t need accessory movements on a routine like this; your arm muscles are getting more than enough work doing compound exercises. If you use a supinated grip, it puts even more focus on the arm muscles. My arm muscles always fail before my pecs and lats.

      Also to consider is that when you add in accessory work, you’re doing twice as much exercise as if you do only compounds. Instead of doing 3 exercises for your whole body, you’re doing anywhere from 6-11 exercises. That’s 2-3 times as much energy you’re expending, and that cuts into your energy and nutrient reserves that you would normally put into growth. It will take you twice as long to bulk up if you try to work everything in isolation, because you’re doing more work than you can support with food intake. Even if you pack down 6,000 calories a day, you won’t grow as fast as if you do a compounds-only routine and eat 2,000 less calories. All you really need to grow is a flat bench press exercise, a rowing exercise, and a squatting or leg press exercise. Anything else on top of that is a waste of time and energy.

      Isolation exercises are completely unnecessary. If you want to put on size as fast as possible, save that stuff for when you have 20″ arms and are focusing on shaping rather than bulking. The big 3 is all you need.

      You need to keep in mind that what pro bodybuilders do is for contest prep or movie prep. Anyone less advanced than them isn’t going to get as big as them by doing all the extra work they do to look good on stage, particularly if they’re not talking thousands of dollars a month of supplements and drugs.

  23. I am using a timer and keeping it at 3 minutes between sets, sometimes longer if I have to wait for a station or bench,

    What I mean by burning out is that on the 4th set the reps are dropping into the 20+ rep range. All the reps are coming up though. The reason that I want to include the accessory exercises is that I was in a car accident last year and it’s helping me with rehabbing the injuries. It’s actually how I came to discover that high reps work. Before the accident I was curling with 100lbs, 6 months after the accident I couldn’t curl 40lbs with out pain so I started with 30 lbs and using a 30 rep fail protocol I made very fast gains. That lead me to realize that gains can be made with very high reps and so I started looking at the research and that’s how I found this site.

    Really not looking for massive size gains either, just want to safety increase lean body mass and increase work capacity.

    I’ll tell you though on the 30fail protocol, my arms were getting huge.

    • I see. Well, whatever works for your goals.

      I just know that when I add in arm work doing high reps, I end up overworking my arm muscles and I get tendinitis. It’s a recipe for repetitive stress injuries. The same applies to additional shoulder work: your shoulders are already getting double the work of any other muscle from benching and rowing, so it’s actually a bad idea to add in shoulder exercises. Keep in mind that high rep work stretches and tears down the muscle tissues a lot more than lower rep ranges. Because of that, it’s really easy to overwork the smaller muscles.

      If it’s not causing you any problems and you’re happy with the results, then go for it, but watch out for tendon soreness and reduced range of motion due to soreness in the insertion area. If you start getting those problems, then you really should ditch the accessory work. Your muscles should never be sore in the extended position; only in the fully flexed position. If you get soreness when the muscle is stretched in a normal range of motion, that’s how you know you’re overtraining it.

      As for rest time, you don’t need to count; just rest until your breathing returns to normal. Sometimes it might be 3 minutes, sometimes more. There are times when I rest 7-8 minutes between sets of squats. With chest, I’m ready for the next set after 2 minutes, but back always takes me 4-5.

      If your reps are dipping down that low on the 4th set, then you’re not resting long enough between sets. When I’m using max weight, my reps never drop below 35 on the final set.

    • Thanks for posting this link to the McMaster study. This is one of several studies I’ve read, although I’ve only read article references to the results of this study rather than the actual study. This both confirms and clears up a few things for me.

      The only problem is that the study was only for 10 weeks. My personal experience has been that when starting a high rep program, for the first three months, results are pretty much the same as for lower rep protocols. However, over the long-term, I’ve noticed that the results I get from high reps exceeds the results I would get with low reps, even under ideal conditions (i.e. noob gains that come before reaching a low rep plateau). For example, my first 3 years training this way, I gained 40 pounds, with minimal effort and no change in diet. I never made gains that significant in my first 3 years of weight training as a total beginner. What makes it more significant is my age and my state of fitness when starting this program, which should have reduced my rate of gains significantly relative to someone younger and in less shape than me.

      I’ve also noticed that when I train heavy, my strength drops after a few weeks of detraining. However, I took 3 weeks off last month during a move, and although my muscles looked a little flatter from less water and less glycogen storage (I wasn’t eating as well), my strength didn’t drop when I returned to training, but had improved slightly, as if I had not taken off any time at all. This seems to correlate with the change in protein balance over time. I can see how a longer course of anabolic signaling could translate to longer duration of strength and mass gains during long periods of detraining. This could also be why high level bodybuilders using a high rep protocol could get better gains from a once a week bodypart split than novices using the same low frequency protocol with lower reps.

      Reviewing this information again has helped me to gain a better understanding of my results, and the results I see in others using this method. Thanks.

      • Hi Michael. I’m getting ready to try your program. One question: I use a trap bar for dead lifting as it’s more like a squat for me and does not bother my back. Would you recommend I use straps or not, or does it matter? Thank you very much for all the time you’ve put in here.

        • nah, you don’t need to bother with straps. that trap bar thing sounds like a good idea, though. just keep in mind that when you have your hands to your sides, you’re essentially doing a squat rather than an actual deadlift, so you might want to stick with either doing regular back squats or the trap bar squats but not both, otherwise you’ll overwork your quads. personally, i do dumbbell hack squats, holding the dumbs at my sides. some people call that a “suitcase deadlift”, but a squat is a squat.

          when you use straps, you keep yourself from evenly developing all your muscles that you use in a compound movement. if your forearms give out before your legs and back, it means they need to catch up. if you lift without straps, whatever muscles fail first get the most work, and it allows them time to catch up, since the other muscles aren’t being taxed to grow as much.

          hope that helps.

          • Thanks Michael. I have done a few high rep tbdl workouts without straps since I posted that question with no issues so will keep doing them that way. I haven’t back squatted in probably 20 years, since I bought my trap bar. I’m 60 and have been doing heavy weight, low reps for years. Since last summer my numbers started dropping off and I was getting very sore joints for the first time. I was actually on a heavy singles program when I stumbled on this thread and decided to give high reps a shot. My joints already feel better than they have in a long time.

  24. Hi MICHAEL. I can accept the logic you presented in terms that high reps may be more benifical in gaining muscle mass and definitely better for your joints in the long ran. I like you have been in the game for several decades and have suffered through very heavy training (Bertil Fox training partner for many years) even back then they were great bodybuilder that employed the high rep system and two of them that I knew personally were Albert becckles and Serge Nubert of whom I have trained with also.
    Recently I have decided to go the high rep route and I must admit I feel less drained and I am getting some descent gains. How ever I feel obliged to question the idea that you stated that isolation exercises are for shaping a muscle. An isolation exercise just simply allow you to ALMOST work that particular muscle on its own. A muscle do not know the difference between a compound exercise or an isolation exercise it can only respond to tension and duration.
    I truly enjoy and share your opinion on high rep training . Keep up the good work .
    Yours in sport.
    Philip.

    • moving your arms or legs through different ranges of motion does cause some differences in how a muscle contracts. for example, there was a study to determine the difference in effect between bench pressing with a pronated grip and a supinated grip. with the supinated grip, there was 40% more fiber activation in the upper pecs, and people who use the supinated grip exclusively have better upper pec development than lower pec development. the barbarian brothers when they were at their peak is an example of this.

      the same can be said of isolation curls: anyone who does them exclusively after a long time of doing nothing but wide-grip bar and bell curls gets better peaks than width, because holding your arm in that position forces the outer head to contract more than the inner head. there are also differences in how the triceps contract through different ranges of motion; for example, using a supinated grip for bench press or for triceps extensions of any kind increase activation of the inner head, whereas using a pronated grip with elbows flared for pressdowns accentuates outer head activation.

      another example is the difference in quad and buttock muscle development from doing wide stance or narrow stance squats. if bodybuilders didn’t see results from these types of variations, no one would use them.

      • Hello Michael,
        Because of my work I am forced to train at 5 am. and even 4 am. Sometimes. Therefore I am training on an empty stomach because it would mean getting up an hour earlier to eat, so I usually hit the iron on a cup of coffee. What is your take on training that earlier an empty stomach?
        I usually have a high carb meal late in the evening hoping my glycogen stores will be up

  25. Okay so it’s a good 5 weeks since I’ve started the 5X50 using the 50fail weight and I’ve only gained about 9 reps total on the 5 sets and I’ve lost a little size. I’m going to take a few days off and start back up on Sunday using the 30fail weight. I think the 50fail weight is just a little too light for me.

    • how are you eating? you have to eat a lot of food. if you don’t eat enough, you burn a lot of fat doing this, and if you’re not eating enough protein, you’ll lose some size.

      if you’re trying to lose fat while doing this, you’ll lose size if your rate of fat loss exceeds your rate of muscle gain, and your strength gains will also slow down to a snail’s pace.

      figure out how many grams of each macronutrient you typically eat per day, then go here:

      http://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html

      protein has 4 calories per gram. fat has 9 calories per gram. carbohydrate has 4 calories per gram. to figure out your caloric needs for this routine with the calorie calculator, you need to select “very active” on the dropdown menu for activity.

      an easier way to determine your bulking needs is to figure a gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, a gram of fat per pound of bodyweight, and a gram of carbs per pound of bodyweight, plus 100 extra grams of carbs on top of that. so if you weighed 200 pounds, you’d need 200 grams of protein, 200 grams of fat, and 300 grams of carbs per day. that’s a lot of meals to pack down.

      right now, i’m averaging a 20 pound weight increase on each exercise per month. but i have to eat over 4,000 calories a day to get strength gains that good. i have to break it down into 6 meals per day; it’s difficult for me to eat that much, particularly when it comes to carbohydrates. no matter what sort of program you use, you have to really pack down the food to get optimum results. the gains i’ve talked about in some of my other posts where very slow, when you consider how long it took me to get them. i was barely eating half the carbs i’m eating now during that period.

      also, if you’re doing 5×50, you can’t hit each exercise more than twice a week, or you’ll overtrain. if you’re only doing it twice a week and having these problems regardless of your dietary intake, then you should definitely drop down to a 5×30, or even a 5×25. you gotta watch your weekly rep totals to make this work.

      you said you were having recovery problems when you started this routine; that’s a good indication that your total rep volume is too high, or that you’re doing too many sets per bodypart per workout. it took a long time for me to build up to the point where i could do a 5×50 twice a week program, and it will be at least a year before i’m ready for a 10×50 once a week bodypart split. as i said in other posts, it’s an advanced routine. i was doing a 1×50-100 program 6x a week before this, and even that was easier, despite the weekly rep total being around the same.

      if i remember correctly, you said you were doing a 5×20 routine before this, 2-3x a week. for each exercise, that’s a maximum of 200 reps total for 2x a week, or 300 reps total for 3x a week. you can’t expect to jump up to a 5×50 2x a week program, with a total weekly rep range somewhere between 400-500 reps, and expect to gain anything if you’re still recuperating from accident-related muscle atrophy. i’m a big, strong guy, and i’m just barely at a point where i can make a 5×50 work. your problem isn’t because the weight is too light; if that were true, i wouldn’t be making the gains i’m making right now. the problem is that your total reps per week or per workout are too high for your fitness level.

      anyways, i hope that helps. if you’re not juicing, you’re not superman; you need to keep that in mind, no matter what you decide to do. the unenhanced human body has its limits. if you can’t bench twice your bodyweight, then you’re not ready for 5×50. even if you weigh 150 and can bench 300, you’re still probably not ready for it. you need to be carrying a certain amount of muscle mass to pull it off. i weigh over 200 pounds and can bench over 400, and up until a month go, i still wasn’t ready for it.

  26. Michael you’re exactly right. I had just started using the 30 fail weight and was making monster gains. I need to bake there for a while. I’m not in condition for 5×50. I’ll use the 30 fail protocol till I plateau. I’m a fast gainer probably only need 3 months.

    Diet is good. I’ll get a baseline and report back.

  27. Michael, lots of food for thought in the latest exchange between you and George — and more than a little reason to again start doubting myself. Wow, you’re gaining 20 lbs. per month on each exercise! At one point you said you used a pair of 50’s for your 50 rep sets in the row and bench. Are you now up to 60’s or even more? I am not making anything like those gains, although I am getting a little stronger.

    I think part of the problem is that I don’t know where I’m at on the “recuperation vs. natural “giftedness”
    continuum. For example, as a youngster of 19 I was the first guy in Michigan outside the Hvywt. class
    to deadlift 600 lbs. and up until recently I held the National record in the strict curl (156.5 lbs.) for my age/bodyweight class and the World record for the strict curl against the wall. BUT . . . those are “old man’s” records. Sixty-seven years old/ 5’9” /211lbs. bodyweight./ 17&3/4′ arms/ 50″ chest/ 25″ thigh but only 7&1/8″ wrist. Currently I am stuck at 46 reps in the dumbbell bench for four workouts in a row, after having been able to add one rep per workout previous to hitting this wall. Doing a little better than that on the squats and rows. As per your recommendation, I train three times per week, one set of 50 reps to fail on squat, bench and row. I’m wondering if I, too, might respond better to 30-reps-to-fail sets and, if so, should I do more than a single set?

    On eating. At my age, I don’t think I could possibly take in over 200 grams of protein, 200 grams of
    fat and 200 grams of carbs without having an adverse effect on my health. You have a father my age; what’s been your experience with him? My guess is that I average about 120 – 130 grams of protein right now . . .

    Lastly, can you cite any examples, personal or otherwise, of how strength in the ‘big three” has carried over into gained strength in other lifts (like the curl or overhead). If I could be 20% stronger in the squat, bench and row and that gave me a 5% – 10% increase in my curl — without actually doing curls, which, as you know, I’m sick of — I’d be a happy camper! Do you think that’s possible?

    • i always make great gains the first month or two on any program. pushing 60’s right now for 50 reps. but that won’t last forever; the faster you gain strength, the quicker you plateau in strength gains, because your mass gains need to catch up to support the increase in strength. a 10 pound gain per month on each exercise is excellent, but even that will slow down the bigger and stronger you get. that’s where periodization of some type comes in handy.

      if you’re not gaining on a 1 set 3x a week program, you might need more volume. you can try doing it 6 days a week, or go straight to doing a 5x routine twice a week split. i’m guessing you might need the extra volume, based on your description of bodyweight and measurements. you could try 5×30 for awhile, and if that’s still not enough, move up to 5×50.

      the protein sounds sufficient; as long as you’re getting at least a half a gram per pound of bodyweight, you’re getting enough to build muscle, although not as fast as if you eat closer to a gram per pound. if you’re trying to bulk, you definitely need to up your total calories by compensating for the lack of protein with more carbs. there’s a number of decent calorie calculators online, but the simplest way is to multiply your bodyweight x 20 for total calorie intake, then adjust up or down from there as you monitor your weight gain so that you can hit the sweet spot. a pound a week average is good, but you don’t want to go over 2 pounds a week average.

      my father isn’t a bodybuilder, and he can’t stick to a training program more than a few weeks. he’s in too much pain any more to bother with it, and he’s not really interested in building muscle. his diet is pretty minimal because he’s been having stomach problems; he only eats a half a sandwich for lunch, one piece of meat for dinner, and a bowl of cereal for breakfast.

      as for strength carry-over, i can always overhead press more than half my bench press weight when i test, and i can always curl half my bent row weight. i was worried about that sort of thing for awhile, but those fears are completely unfounded. your arms and shoulders will always grow in tandem with your chest and back, as long as you’re benching and rowing properly. if you’re pronating and flaring your elbows, it doesn’t translate so well, but if you supinate and keep your elbows tucked in, your arms will have no problem keeping up.

  28. Hey Michael, Love your responses. I’ve been lifting for YEARS at low rep high weight and I knew I wasn’t getting the gains that I deserved for the time put in at the gym. I am going to try out your high rep routine and give it a whirl and see how it goes…thank you for all your insightful posts and responces. I’ll respond back in a month or two and let you know how things are going.

    • Also, I just want to mention, I have suffered shoulder impingement lifting heavy and have struggled to to do any powerlifts with my shoulders and chest because of it…I have done physio,chiro and nothing helped my shoulder until I started doing very light weight high rep shoulder workouts…I kinda figured because the shoulders are smaller, they require high reps, but I never would have though legs, chest and back would also give you a lot of benefit through high reps.

      My question for you Michael is this: What are your thoughts on incorporating low weight, high rep combined with a high weight low rep

      for example 15reps x 5 sets of bench press =75 sets of Bench
      and then 5reps x 5 sets of bench press = 25 sets of Bench…lifting heaving on the 5×5.

      Giving you a total 100 total reps. I have done the above workout above and I have seen strong gains, but moved against that routine only because of all the online articles explaining you need to do low rep, high weight.

      • you can do both low and high reps and get good strength and size gains, but it’s not necessary. as long as you structure your workout to incorporate regular weight increases on the bar (i.e. 5×50 instead of 1×50-100), you gain strength and size at around the same rate. doing stuff like 5×5 is only necessary if you’re training for powerlifting competition or you’re in some other sport that requires a high power-to-bodyweight ratio; it really doesn’t serve any useful purpose as part of a general health regimen.

        the main idea of high reps is safety and longevity. if you have impingement issues, then you need to lay off the heavy training entirely, and stop doing shoulder exercises. i have the same problem, which is why i switched. if you keep your reps over 25, you get rehab effects. i’m not saying you’ll get rid of your impingement problem entirely, but along with therapeutic exercises for impingement, it helps to undo the damage you’ve done to yourself from heavy lifting and bad form.

        all your muscles will respond well to high reps, as long as you structure your routine properly, keeping in mind rep totals, set volume per workout, recovery time, etc. there are plenty of high rep bodybuilders out there: rich piana, kali muscle, tom platz when he was competing, shawn ray when he was competing, albert beckles, serge nubret, jason english, markus ruhl, etc. even CT fletcher does high reps for size, although he’s mostly a powerlifter. there’s others that have admitted to it, and most of the pros have implied at some point that they do high reps for mass, or have been filmed training that way. juice or no juice, all the biggest iron game pros are mass freaks because they do high reps; none of the juicers that train heavy all the time ever get that huge unless they’re genetic freaks.

        i’m in my 40’s, but i’m already pretty big, and i have an endo-mesomorphic body structure; i can expect to achieve 20″ arms at some point, if i can keep up the eating. you shouldn’t expect to get that big if you’re over 50 and smaller than me, unless you’re on some serious HRT and have an appetite to match.

        what a lot of people don’t understand is that regardless of how you train, trying to get huge takes a toll on your health because of the amount of food you have to eat to get massive, and because of the strain on your organs and joints from weighing over 200 pounds. i weigh 230 right now, at a height of less than 5’9″; regardless of my bodyfat percentage, that’s potentially dangerous. not everyone can get as big as me, let alone as big as a pro bodybuilder; it’s difficult to do, and difficult to maintain. it gets tiring eating 6 meals a day, and i have to worry about stuff like atherosclerosis from all the overeating. i know that l-arginine therapy gets rid of that, but it’s risky and expensive, so any way you look at it, getting big has health risks.

        i’ve been getting chest pains and pulse irregularities for the past few years; every muscular guy who weighs over 200 pounds has those types of issues, no matter how good of shape they’re in. my resting heart rate is 60 bpm and my blood pressure around 120 over 80, but there’s days when my pulse will jump up to 120 bpm and my head feels like it’s going to pop from my blood pressure going sky high. my doctor says that all my tests indicate that i don’t have a problem, and i know that it’s just a reflex reaction that keeps my blood pressure and heart rate from dropping too low during periods of inactivity, but that’s some scary shit to have to deal with on a weekly basis, because you never can tell whether it’s something normal or a medical emergency. i also get flank and lower back pains a lot, even though my kidney and liver function tests all came back normal. this is the kind of stuff that drove lou ferrigno to see his doctor once a month when he was competing, to make sure his vitals were all good.

        i don’t want anyone getting any wrong ideas here; high reps may build mass better and faster than low reps and be easier on the joints, but there’s nothing magical about it. if you can’t eat at least 6 meals a day and walk around like you’re walking on eggshells to prevent impact injuries that come with weighing over 200 pounds, don’t expect to get freak muscle, or to not get health issues. all superhuman achievements have their price.

        • Thank you so much for your time and knowledge Michael. I still am not quite sure what the end result would end up doing only compound workouts and not targeting specific muscle groups.

          For example, there’s no inclide bench press, you mention that’s a waste because it’s not as compound as a flat bench. But wouldn’t flat bench give your chest bigger lower half as opposed to the preferred upper larger half of your pecs?

          Thanks again, love the responses, I hope you don’t get burnt out from answering all these questions, take your time getting to them, you are very useful.

          Do you have any photos of your current physique? I would be very much interested and seeing some before and after pictures of your physique of putting on the lean 40lbs of muscle mass…I think the pictures alone will speak for itself.

          • Guess not! Lol.
            I believe he was on to something, at least in part, if not entirely, but funny he bows out the moment he’s asked for pics? Doesn’t exactly lend to his creds. Especially after repeatedly stating, let us know how you’re doing in a month. I would’ve liked the chance to ask a few questions myself.

  29. Michael. Wow, it was like Christmas when I turned on my computer this morning and saw all the Training
    Science posts! I so look forward to your insights. I got my first set of weights in1959 and for at least the second half of the 55 years since have felt tricked/lied to and bamboozled by the whole muscle industry.
    YOU tell it like it is!

    I hope you don’t get impatient with my constant questions or think I’m just not getting it. I’ve garnered wonderful benefits and strength from all my years, but, at 67, am still a “mixed bag” of the same physical problems and limitations that everyone gets by my age . . . and amazing youthfulness in other ways. Thus I am sometimes unable to do things precisely as you recommend. One example would be an inability to handle truly massive amounts of protein without a soreness in my kidneys. I’ve already
    had one large kidney stone, a few years age, and passing that was one of the worst experiences of my life!

    Also, my motives for trying to learn EVERYTHING I can about super-high reps goes beyond my own dreams of somehow still turning into Superman, at an advanced age (lol). Without exception, ALL of
    my teammates, workout buddies and Iron Game friends from the 1960s are now in very, very sad shape, and it kills me. Many of them I worry about constantly, because they are so hurting, depressed . . . and “shrunk.” The vast majority of them took steroids; I did not. They also never bothered to obtain a good working knowledge of biomechanics and anatomy and, consequently, did a lot of mechanically unsound exercises to further their strength. AND . . . they all did only sets of heavy
    doubles and triples, exclusively (we were all either competitive power lifters or Olympic-style lifters back then, not bodybuilders). I want to be able to offer them HOPE, but I don’t want to try to talk them into the super-high rep approach until I know it so well I’ll be totally convincing (you wouldn’t believe how
    ornery some old people are (ha-ha, I’m one of ‘em) when it comes to changing their thinking).

    BTW, fifty reps with the 60s is very impressive! It’s unlikely I’ll ever get there. Don’t know why, but aging has affected all pushing strength AND endurance detrimentally, while it hasn’t affected anything where
    I’m pulling or curling very much at all. Anyway, thanks again. You are certainly one of the good guys
    with all the help you’ve given all of us.

    John Stchur

    • okay, you need to calm down. if you’re 67, don’t take hormones and can’t eat gobs of protein because you have kidney problems, you will never get as big as i am right now, let alone as big as the mass freaks with 20+” arms that train this way. no amount of pep-taking yourself is going to change that. your glory days are over; be proud of what you’ve accomplished, and focus on holding on to what you have.

      those measurements i posted in my first comment are from june last year. i weigh 230 right now, and i’m on the verge of needing new shirts, so i’m guessing my arms are around an inch bigger now. i’m bigger than stallone, who is your age, despite the fact that he takes GH. hell, you’re even bigger than stallone; his arms are only 17″. but i seriously doubt that you’ll get any bigger if you can’t spoon down 6-8 meals a day, no matter how good this type of training might work for you at your age. that’s the reality you need to face. it’s getting hard for me to do that any more, so there’s a chance i might not achieve my lifetime goal of 20″ arms.

      those 60 pound bells i bench feel every bit as heavy as they are. if i get a muscle spasm during a set, they can do just as much damage as a set of 200’s. the other day, i pulled a muscle in my posterior pelvic region just setting them down after a bench press set. i might build 20″ arms before i’m ready to throw in the towel, but i doubt i’ll be benching 60’s when i’m 67. based on how i feel now at 230, if i accomplish my goal and still weigh over 250 at that age, i’ll be hurting a lot worse than i am now. age changes everything, for everyone.

      i’ve posted enough here for people to figure things out on their own. this is taking up too much of my time, so i won’t be reading or responding to any more posts. good luck with your thing, but don’t expect the world. high reps can give you a mass gain edge and a maintenance edge, and i can say from observation and experience that they work as good as minimal steroid use if you know what you’re doing, but there’s nothing magical about any of this. you still need youth and food to make any program work like that.

      try to keep things in perspective.

  30. David, your post only showed up as an email notification. I was waiting for it to appear on the actual
    TrainingScience site to facilitate a reply but couldn’t find it. Yes, Troy, MI is where we’re from, but we
    are currently in Florida. We will be back in Troy around April 15th. Email me your number so we can
    get in touch, or send me your email. Either way it will be good to trade experiences regarding this super-
    high rep training. I’m working hard at it, but it sure is no walk in the park! I’m making some gains, but
    huge difference in how much better my joints feel and in my energy levels.

  31. My num is 248 515 2868 i didn’t realize your from troy small world .Im not sure how to email you this message but il ask my friend tomorrow

  32. Well i just did my first 5by 50 workout .I started on the flat bench with 35 lb db for 60 reps easy , i then did 50lb for a fast 50 then 50 then 40ish the last set i honestly lost count i was in the zone i held the dbs when i got tired at full extension then did a couple reps and repeated rest pause style .I then did 1 arm db rows starting with the db under the bench and pulling out and retract fully at the top like a fly this is much hard form then up and down you usually see .Icould only use 35 lb lol for 30 to 40 reps each set my ego wouldn’t let me drop the weight to do 50 but actually i think 30 to 40 is good for this excersise due to form . Ok my summation is i loved it really loved it everything feels good I’m sore but no aches i will try on squats monday , i slightly hurt my thigh a few days a go so I’m waiting till mon for squats .

  33. I agree with what Michael is saying. High repetitions is the way to gain mass.

    I have written about it on my website and I noticed great results with it when I used it in my squats.

    When I switched to low reps and really heavy weight, I hardly noticed any increase in mass.

  34. I have been doing this method since my post on april 3.I decided to try to squat heavy a week ago and felt a pull in my thigh with 335 the weight was not heavy i think i wasn’t ready after doing high rep squats for months. So on everything else my progress has been unreal i only do once a week body part ,i did 70lb dbs for 52 then 50 then 40ish then i drop setter to 20 lbs and did 100 reps twice a little variation i like .Im going to stay at 70s till i can do 5 sets of 50 I’ve been increasing the weight since april 3 bur usually the fourth and fifth set suck ,on rows and pulldowns i notice a great pump and a general better feeling in fitness I’m 195 5ft 8 I’m not achy as much I’m mad i tried to squat heavy its pointless a ego thing i also do 10 lb laterals for 100 reps rest paused i like it and some other high rep stuff more for prehab reasons its not exhausting either il post some new stuff in a month hopefully my thigh is good I’m going to squat tomorrow just with 185 for 30 ,i actually found this forum because i had been doing 20 to 40 rep squats for months and getting results so i decided to research the validity of high rep training and now I’m sold on it ,i mean at worst you get in great shape try lifting like all the hipsters say and the worst you get is torn muscles joints etc. and then you say wheres the size lol tace care everyone

  35. i have a ? for zeechan i visited your blog and i like how you think you seem very openminded .It seems that due to bb and fitness being so complex that people cling to ideas like religion , it shouldn’t be complex .Ok my ? I’ve been coin high reps on everything and things are peachy i love deadlifts and my form is great i did 20 reps last week and it was very good 1 set kicked my ass do you think i ca add this on a weekly basis ? Im thinking on back day 3sets of 20 not till failure then penally rows 5 sets of 20 then pulldowns 5sets of 20 i am on trt which is a pc way of saying I’m on gear 300mg a week one side note i read a lot about high rep dl being unsafe but my form was fine and much less straining then 5 reps I’m like you i want to enjoy my training and make it intense for the long haul .All these guy that strain with heavy weight are always telling you about this ache or that ache . Thanks and take care.

  36. Michael: I’m a health and fitness writer and I think what you’ve posted above is fascinating. Would love to interview for an article. (You would be compensated). Not sure if you’re still getting emails on this thread anymore but if so, shoot me an email at marshallxxx5xxx1xxx8@gmail.com (remove the x’s).

    Thanks.

  37. a lot of this is exaggerated I’ve been doing it a while and i love it but his 3 excersise deal is good if your a endomorph like him I do each part once a week just doing rows leaves me with not much soreness or feel .For chest i did 70lb dbs for 50 last night then 80 for 20 i then went to high incline because my upper chest is nonexistent just flat doesn’t do anything for upper ..so i like his theories and the science is good i just believe each person should tailor it to their issues or lacks

    • Yes, and tailoring involves such a broad spectrum, even if you did do only just the three exercises. It could take months figuring out what rep range, 1 or multiple sets, 1 2 or 3 times a week. Did it fail do to under or overtraining? Symptoms of can seem damn near alike. I believe there’s something to high reps, but a lot of things work to a point, or don’t, and fail. He mentions “some sort of periodization”, but doesn’t make mention of having used it. I’ve never heard of anyone with any body type, genetics, juicing or not, making 3 years of linear progress as he seems to claim, and then pushing beyond a plateau by doubling their volume and frequency? He states this, then,_says “something works good the first month or two and you have to change”, but wait,_didn’t he just say 3 years of 50-100 reps, 3 times a week, then,_a year of 6 days, now,_ twice a week 5 times 50? Kali_ I’m sorry, would love to believe it, as much as everybody wanted to believe Mentzer, but, strength gains are typically brief, a matter of weeks on any program before stalling, having to deload, reset and work back up to a PR, to do it all over again, or take a week or so off, and that all depends on the individual as well, and how long before that quits working, and you have to work from there. I’m also trying this and after two weeks: rows plateaued, and by the third, regressing,_bench continues to go up without rest pause and by more than the five reps he says he tries for, squats started going up pushing for five more per workout, though I have yet, to go to failure due to oxygen deficit, and they are slowing done as of today to two rep increase for the same reason. I will update, but I do believe making this work will take a similar periodization as any program, especially going to failure on any one set, as well as having the genetics to do so period.

      • your comment was in my email so I’m guessing your commenting on my comment i need to state I’m on 300 test and 25o deca 250 eq for a long time so I’m responding well to this high rep training . M on day i did a y insane leg workout i atg squatted around 5 sets 15 to 25 with 185 to 225 now this is down in weight but I’m going below parallel ..much harder i then did 4sets of 50 with 800 on leg press then hams high reps .. wed i did a great high rep chest session ….well today friday i was dead i had no strength and no excuse I’m personally fine it was weird so maybe I’m overtraining odk i did back and struggled with medium weight … as far as you progressing naturally i think it would take a lot of time and like you state periodazation nothing keeps working even on juice trust me thats why I’m on high reps but i still am sticking with my mantra against heavy weight low reps ….if your powerllifting i guess do it but even then you gotta periodize i fucked myself up a lot from heavy low rep style .. as far as this routine outlined how he did and giving the gains he posted i think it would be unfair for me to talk shit cause I’ve been doing this style not even the exact routine for 5 weeks i do have a gut feeling though but maybe i should keep it to myself lol i think the guy like i said is a endo good genes so he responded well ….anyway i doubt this post helped anyone cuz I’m not natural but i like talking about this style because hell i don’t know or see anyone ever go over 15 reps so id appreciate any comments I’m openminded and i know theres no perfect routine any questions just email me

        • Keep reporting your results please, David. I think this style of training is interesting and probably effective but very few people will ever attempt it because it’s painful and requires you to use lighter weights (which most people’s ego cannot accept.)

          I myself am currently following a heavy weight/low reps program, but this thread has piqued my interest so I’m going to switch my ab work over to this light weight/high rep protocol just so I can test it out for myself and see what happens. If I like what happens with the ab work, maybe I’ll switch everything over.

          Anyway, I see that you are in Troy. I’m in Livonia if you ever want to meet up and trade notes on the high rep training.

      • Im sorry i reread your post corey and i just wanted to agree with you on the tailoring part taking god knows how long and this is whats pissing me off since i started I’ve been tailoring this week i overdid it ok so next week il cut back .Its tricky

        • Np David. Appreciate the response, and hearing how it’s going for you, and by using what methods. Reading here, I noticed you seemed to be rather knowledgable, have enough experience to know that while the premise of high rep training may be superior, and have that “gut feeling”_that I do as well, there is no _”one size fits all, perfect programming”. I’ve always felt like weight training, regardless of a persons goal in doing so, is like playing the lottery, “hit or miss”. The best we can do is closely track where we are making progress, and try to tailor where we are lacking. I appreciate your honesty as well, pertaining to using test, and so forth, but I have always believed regardless of using assistance, or natural like myself, either camp can stand to benefit through proper principals. I say camp, “not taking sides”, I am neither for “nor against” using any assistance whether it be steroids, or supplements. I know that it can get as heated as debates between power lifters and bodybuilders. Personally, I feel that’s an individual choice, the only time I’m upset by it is when someone using hides the fact, and then tries to counsel someone whom isn’t, as if they can achieve the same results by the same means. I don’t have the option to use anything to really worry about it at all anyway. I was born with Heart Disease, and it probably wouldn’t be a good idea. I am 39 and simply refuse to lay on the couch and let it determine my future before it has to. I started in my teens trying to bodybuild and had little results, and not knowing any better, began the recipe of low reps trying to build strength. By the time I spent years of trial and error basically power lifting in the hopes I could switch over when strong, I was riddled with injuries, and no size for it. I’d look at people who don’t lift “and cant”, half of what I was, and see how much bigger and better looking they were! It makes me feel horrible. I don’t care if I can lift a house, I don’t compete. I just want to look as good and feel as good as I can. I knew my direction wasn’t going to get me there in another lifetime, even if I could again double my poundages which would be frankly impossible. I also knew that if I switched from anywhere between 1 – 5 reps per set on my compounds and accessory lifts, like I was doing, to 8 – 12 reps, it wasn’t going to make for the “magic” happening. I tried anyway, and at first I blew up overnight, but just a couple weeks in, I was overtrained and getting smaller. I tried reducing volumn and frequency all the while adhering to the periodization I found had worked to a degree for myself, and failed to get what I’m after. You can read all day everyday, who did what to get where they are, thousands of sworn testimonials for starting strength, 5 times 5, 3 times a week, one time a week, all pro’s, etc, etc, and for me_none has worked even performed to the written letter. I’ve tried almost everything seemingly,_”but” trying to tailor a super high reps program to myself as a natural. So here I am, also trying to find everything and anything on the topic, it’s what brought me here. Truth is, I only ever felt a pump_or muscles even working, during my initial higher rep warm ups, which diminished the further I went in sets, or weight increases. I also knew that when gaining strength, it stopped after a point regardless of periodization, unless adding volume to accessory work. There’s an answer here somewhere in this puzzle, I know it. It just sucks spending years trying to find it by the days and weeks. I like posts like these though, that can have the potential to be helpful to us all. I also don’t want or mean to “talk shit”, but I will say I was rather dissappointed with the way the testament to this type of training was made, and then abandoned in what “I felt” was a questionable manner. Nobody here is obligated, and I’m not entirely skeptical, or I wouldn’t waste my time. I mean, I don’t have to show up for work everyday, but I’m not gonna give the impression that I am for a period, and then bow out when it appears the job isn’t so easy. Why would I expect it to be, or give the appearance I would. I do respect a lot of what was said, and believe a lot of the reasoning behind. I look to further explore the applications to my own training, and how_”if”_it could help anybody else, regardless of their means or goals, situation. I thank you again for your response and input, and really do respect the manner with which you conduct yourself, David.

  38. I would imagine it would take months and months to properly tell if this system will work for you. Funny how many Michigan people found this thread. I’m in Livonia.

    • yea I’m form shiawasse by 8mile and granriver all my friends live there my bot is at 7mile and merman he goes to fitness 19 and juices lmao the highest dbs are 100 but theres a ton of hot girls there my num is 248 515 2868 training is my passion so yea i can talk about this till the cows come home but i still don’t have all the answers I’m gonna start video my db presses so i can bragg lol wed goal is 75 for 50 then2 more sets with same weight whatever reps i can then inclines for sets of 15 to 20 peace

      • Btw, lol, If juicing is an inappropriate terminology, I apologize. No offense to anyone here, or anywhere implied. I just have no personal experience with as stated, even I wanted to try, again,_because of my own health issues. I’m also not implying what it does or doesn’t do to anyone’s health, I’m no doctor, and I don’t prescribe to theory either way, but when you have heart issues_in my case, I’m just not willing to find out, anymore than I would be_to see how smoking would effect me. Arguably, strenuous exercise in my case alone, is debatable. My Cardiologist would sooner I give up the weights, retire, jog seven days a week, and drop fifty plus pounds. Lol. I know that’s not going to achieve or what I want, or maintain what I have however, smart or not. I myself lift at home, have my own equipment, so, I’m rarely in or around a gym, and don’t have a whole lot of contact with anyone lifting for any goal.
        All I know,_or don’t rather, is what little I’ve overheard since moving here to Colorado, and that’s just how I’ve heard it referred to here. “Do you juice”,_”are you juicing”,_”he’s probably juicing”, etc. Lol. My only point was
        “I myself” never heard of making uninterrupted progress by any means, for three years, even as far as noob gains, in a linear fashion. Not even saying it’s not possible he did, but of coarse if we never questioned anything, the earth would still be flat, all fish tales would be true, and every guy or girl who touched weights would be huge if they wanted, all by using heavy weights, low reps, and have their own channel on YouTube for good reason, unlike most of what I’ve what I’ve seen or experienced. So, again my apologies if I came across offensively, or sounding silly, unknowingly. I may be unintentionally ignorant, but not trying to be a prick. Lol. Just really believe there’s something to this SHRT in some sort of application, and very interested as to all input, experience, anyone’s had/ is having, in any way, shape, or form, toward any goal. Thanks again.

  39. i found this thread basically cuz i was trying to find any research to support my theory that high reps can build mass and strength I’ve been doing high reps for squats for months and i just have a gut feeling high reps work for everything I’m no expert by far

    • Well, I can say today_after only three weeks in. I can see a difference in the mirror, especially in my chest and legs. It’s not major, but I have more shape than I did in my chest ( more muscle than I did titty, lol ) and what intrigues me the most, the teardrops that had vanished, are also slowly returning. The program? Too early to tell IMO, it could be the upped recovery on a three day full body as opposed to a 6 day split alternating heavy/ light weeks. Though, reps on bench still going up, and on squats also_though more slowly,_due to hard breathing and still not being able to achieve failure for the fact. Also a little worried of pushing that 1st heart attack.lol. Back, It really seems is overtrained on this though, pulled muscles, and losing ground with the rows, unless I force shitty form. I just also feel regardless how long I rest following bench, I’m spent_following this to the T. Idk if it’s because of going to failure on bench, rather than just hitting a mark and stopping,_like I had strength training, or just, too much frequency for my back. Maybe even just a bad exercise selection for me, never really excelled at rowing in any form. So many possibilities. Arrrrggh! So, I’m thinking I’ll go by feel training back. I know I get plenty of lower ATG squats, and upper as well as arms benching. Many 3 day programs seem to phase rows in and out, possibly for this reason. Starting strength, strong lifts, heavy duty, etc. So, we shall see. I have gain two pounds, and dropped a little fat, so, it’s encouraging. Time will tell, hopefully enough time I can make any determination what is what. Doing this linear, I hope it’s enough before total plateau.

      • First off thanks corey I’ve never received a compliment I’ve only had a computer for 2 months and my writing skills are sketchy at best. I usually get complaints when i write on forums about my grammar and run-on sentences ..lmao .I can read my style fine or anyone else’s .Anyway you make a lot of very valid points so il try to give my thoughts or some new insight .Im 44 i like you am i hardgainer guess thats the term i was 155 5ft8 and started juicing at 25 ,i had no clue it was small amounts ,,, everyone trained with 5 to 8 reps never over 10 so after a couple yrs i had some gains 170 but i was still lost .I got with a trainer who was well known at our gym he trained pro athletes and a couple bodybuilders .My nonstop cycle lol was 500mg test 250deca in a yr and half i was 205 or more i was huge .So what did he do people would always ask me or him or watch like wtf ,, first we never did under 10 reps usually 12 to 17 with forced reps never more then 1 min between sets and i was a ble after time to go heavy ,,he always preached against steroids i laughed . Anyway i got bored and went into boxing cuz at this point my ego was insane of course i wasn’t rocky but i don’t regret the 2 yrs i did it for .I got a real job and fiancee and got off juice time went by i was about 180 .In time i started lifting again but i felt achy and old in my 30s so i lifted sporadically A couple yrs ago i hooked up with a wrong girl and lost everything .so instead of drugs or drinking i returned to the weights and juice i guess thats a drug lol in this last 2 yrs I’ve tried everything , to train like i was at the intensity at 28 uh not happening ,Im at the point now where i got to be happy with me at 195 0r 200 cuz if i get any stronger I’m gonna get more achy and hurt , so my long ass point here is regardless of this routine that was posted the high reps will keep you lifting longer , as your pump issue i find natural or not its the time between sets that dictates the pump , Corey you and many other naturals have done it all and still don’t look huge its genes id still be 170 or less i bet if it wasn’t for juice but let me say i wish i didn’t do it seriously i had a crappy sexdrive till androgel came out and now I’m only on 300 test a week ,I’m done with deca and eq I’ve been reading or maybe looking for negative stuff and I’ve found it ,Another thing is with this routine to go to failure and getting to heavy weights on so many sets i think will take a cns toll i feel like crap for the last 4 days i overdid it .Another point the guy makes is 250 to 500 reps remember that as the guideline for a week ,i agree with him I’ve been doing more sets with 20 to 30 though but when i thought about it I’m over 500 i wasnt paying attention cuz i train fast I’m thinking of splitting it up as he says I’m not sure if i said that I’m doing once a week part training also how are you rowing / ? Ive noticed in db rows on high reps the form is crucial i go real light but contract and when I’m done il do pulldowns for 2 sets of over 50 just to loosen up Another thing i notice since i e grown obsessed with web vids and research is anyone who talks about a program that is big imo is on juice now you look at johnny candito my god this kid is strong as hell id bet he’s natural but his upper body is not big no traps ,I’ve always noticed juicers always get traps lol so be careful who you listen or watch i still believe micheal has great genes for linear progress that he made I’m not trying to downplay this routine just keep it in perspective take care i hope this was legible .

        • You’re welcome. I didn’t get that impression at all. I’d just as soon think your description of your own writing_lol_would better describe me. I’m horrible. I can re-read 100 times what I typed, and once I post, be like_WTF, did I really just do that! So, I would have to say excuse my writing actually. Anyway, “hard gainer” is the term, and for me especially moreso, in terms of muscle size. Strength, ( once I ignored what everyone was preaching ) wasn’t as bad, though still hard. Kinda pisses me off I can make progress toward one goal, but not the other I set out after. I guess as they say, “those that can’t body build become powerlifters or vice versa, and sometimes when they can do neither _become coaches”. Lol.
          Not only is it a long, slow, and confusing process trying to do either, but then, there’s the injuries. I never wanted to go into power lifting. I’m jealous of you guys. Don’t know if I woulda tried steroids or not _had I not found out about my heart, but seeing as how I was doing other drugs, partying and such, probably would’ve. I was big time into it watching the pros when they still had Shawn Ray, Nasser, Boyer Coe and the likes, on ESPN, and got my Flex magazine in the mail monthly. Lol. I find it freakin amazing, drugs or not, and know you don’t get measurements like that mowing your grass alone. Lol. It’s still hard work, genetics, determination, wisdom. I give all due credit. I guess you were smarter than I, when it came to women, my first wife did have me turning to drinking and drugs, working out secondary. Lol. Guess we all live and learn. However, I kept hearing you gotta develop a base of strength first, and size will follow. So, I basically spent 20 years doing that on my own, tailoring to my needs to find out_damn, no size at 100 pounds, “go for 200″,_hmmm must happen at 300, ok_400. Nope. Lol. Done with that garbage. Even if I can lift two hundred pounds more in a given lift than some natural bodybuilders, which is what I woulda always preferred to be anyhow, lemme drop down to their max and try it for 12 reps across for how many sets,_yeah right! Now that to me,_and it’s results, is far more impressive than squatting 600 or more for 1 – 3 reps, blowing out your knees, being drained mentally and physically, and huffing and puffing on a flight of stairs. Strength alone equates to big bear sized guys who might be intimidating to some people, but the picture of health? NOT! I walk around looking like a Hell’s Angel basically. Lmao. I’m 6ft, 252, and my conditioning is shot! Though, not as fat as a lot of guys my size, due to my build. But that’s a blessing _and a curse. I don’t look obese, ( helps fill me out ) but that’s due to long arms and legs, short torso, and having broad back and shoulders, plus I’m barrel chested. Strength is far more CNS in training a movement under greater load, rather than the muscle, ( especially the posterior chain ) but I’m sure you’re more than well aware of that. I guess while I realize that genetics play a major role, I’m still hoping that somehow with proper programming, I can overcome my inability to only increase in strength. I’d simply accept the facts, if it weren’t for seeing brief spurts in size, that are like_wow! Problem is_can I ever program to keep it and ongoing progress, without somehow overtraining the muscles, or detraining as far as strength. I’d sacrifice strength in a heartbeat if I knew there was an even payoff, but my understanding has always been as they say “if you aren’t gaining in strength, you probably aren’t gaining in size either”. Typically I was training every lift/ body part every 5th day. I was using a 4 day on 1 day off split, 6 days a week, and alternating between 100% of 3RM one week and 75% the next. I’d hit my PR’s and deload for one or two weeks depending, at about 50 – 60%. Then, work back up in that fashion over the next 30 days starting at roughly 95 percent. Goes against what most swear by, but I’ve made my best strength gains that way. I’d do 5 warm up sets starting at 50% and increase by 10% each set. So 5 reps at 50 and 60, 3 reps at 70 up to 100 percent for the day. 6 sets total. Accessory I’d do warm ups in the same fashion but instead of 3 reps final set_Id do 12, 1 – 3 exercises depending on body part. Typically more for legs or back. Instead of a “big three”, I also had a shoulder day. If I trained shoulders after chest I ended up with rotator cuff issues. So, that’s just an idea where my training was at_when I decided to do an overhaul. I tried at one point dropping weight and bumping up to 12 reps on all sets. Literally for the whole week following I was so, sore, but blew up overnight and was so happy! But by the time I got to the next workout I was still sore, but it was my light week, so I went forward, BIG MISTAKE! It literally killed off that gratifying size, and by the next week I was weeker. So I tried it once a week per body part, and then detrained. Frustrating! I also tried doing the accessory work drop set fashion, but after the sets I’d get a pump, but stop feeling a contraction, and lose size. I’ve actually done this exact 3 day, 3 exercise SHRT format years ago, but in a 12 rep range. So when I read this routine, thought “what the hell, maybe 50 – 100 reps will make a difference”. I also had problems with rows back then, as well. I’m wondering if it might have to do with_as Michael said, not translating well. Maybe, I’m not overtrained?
          I’m using the barbell still, not dumbells. Figured I’d change over if I determined issues. I am supinated on rows to stomach, as opposed to the pendlay style I’m used to,_but pronated on bench. The whole supinated grip with barbell benching sounds kinda crazy awkward. Maybe, I should switch to dumbbells for everything with the hammer grip he suggests, though that kinda sounds strange to me for bench, ( usually I see pronated with those also ) or maybe I should just switch back to pendlay stlye_so, both are pronated, and again pulling more to chest. I switched thinking more bi stimulation and I might feel it more in my lats than mid upper back. Idk, but upper back is where I’m seemingly having the issue now. Yesterday, I struggled for the same 50 reps again, same weight. I felt some lat like I had initially, but middle of upper back just can’t seem to be activated as well, unless it’d be more a Yates style, more trap, which Michael seemed to discourage using that 45 degree angle. Not that it’s his word or nothing,_but wanna give this a fair shake. My long legs/short torso seem to put my knees in the way too, making form a pain in the ass. I did a rest pause and pulled 10 more reps pendlay style
          ( not to failure, just to test ) and sure enough felt mid upper back, traps rhomboids, area etc, start to work. So, I wonder what method is best if only doing the one back exercise, (especially not doing deads) and if my upper back hasn’t actually detrained. Though, that’d be odd, unless due to switching styles. Typically I could drop deadlifts for weeks and come back even stronger. Idk. Any opinion or suggestion is always appreciated. I’m keeping them light, actually always did when doing pendlay style. Powerlifting tends to use them as assistance only, along with chins, or krocs etc. Not really a compound movement for building strength per say. Krocs I never had a problem, but to pull 50 – 100 and then, switch arms, not so sure I’m ready to go there. Lol. It just feels like it’s mostly arms though doing them supinated. It makes it hard to concentrate on feeling my back anywhere. Maybe it’s a structural issue. I don’t wanna default the routine, when I’m not using dumbs, or supinated on all, but I was reluctant dropping the bar altogether on everything, and supinated benching? Idk. Lol. Squats I added another 3 reps, gonna be hard breathing for a while. Another 7 to bench. If I can just get this rowing moving, and my upper back feeling better, I’ll be happy. The little differences in appearance I’ve noticed in chest and legs, have held up thus far, so, that’s a plus! I’m determined, regardless of what is or isn’t possible genetically,_although I may have to settle. I know even the best me I can achieve will never be Marcus Ruhl lmao, but I’m an addict. Whatever I can do naturally before my body pulls the plug, I will. Thanks again, David. Sorry, soooo long. I tend to ramble on when it comes to such topics. I love it, the sport, and the amazing accomplishments. Best of everything to you and yours, you deserve the compliments. Oh and btw, I post over my phone more than not, rather than computer, talk about difficult. Lol. Take care.

  40. Trying not to have a defeatist attitude right now. Today’s workout was pretty disappointing I have to say. I noticed after Monday’s workout feeling pretty sluggish on my Tuesday off, as well as some aching. I felt better after a so so nights sleep, but not exactly energetic or alert today. I wound up dropping 5 reps off my squats today, not because I couldn’t do it for failure, but just couldn’t summon the will to push them out and struggle for my breath after, not like I had the last few weeks,_not today. I then took about two minutes and did another ten, to at least add a little more volume. Bench has exceeded more than 5 reps each workout up until today. My previous 87 reps was even in doubt. By 70 I was really slowed down, by 80 frustrated but determined, at 87 I refused to quit and ground out two agonizingly slow reps. The 89th just made extension and I couldn’t attempt a 90. I then, waited a minute and did another 5 reps. Rows, with my issues I’ve been having, I tried pronated like bench, pulling to chest. I almost felt like stopping for the day, but took several minutes and got 41. 9 less than previously when supinated. So I took two minutes and did another 14. I know they say you can do more supinated than pronated, so if that was it, or if it was the day I was having in general, regressing or stalling_I don’t know. I just hope I’m not stalling already, just before getting to increase weight on bench, or resolving my prior issues. Don’t wanna wind up with a ton of questions, and no answers. Kind of hard to use periodization on something like this, unless maybe I drop reps intentionally for a day? A week? Then, work back up. Squats I may have to work sets across for a while or something, even Michael mentioned not being able to do more than 70 body weight even now. Rows Im kinda at a loss until I see what I feel like tomorrow, and what Friday’s workout will bring. When I look back through the posts I see Michael having stated “maybe you need more volume and should switch to 6 days, and that it aids recovery. Kinda early, and hard to swallow. I dunno. Heads kinda spinning right now. Guess I’ll see what happens Friday. As always, any input from anyone appreciated. Thanks, good luck and best wishes to all. : (

  41. I thought your post was very detailed yea its long but you need details ,i gotta laugh and don’t be mad ,i thought you were small 6ft 250 is pretty big bro ,Im guessing you just want to alter or look more dense or muscular ?I agree with the cns getting stronger and i don’t care what experts say just cuz you deadlifted 100 pounds more don mean you got more muscle gain in the period it took you.I have gone up and down 100 on deadlifts in short time frames with no size change i see little dudes do 500.I like penally rows i think its a great body excersise but more then 15 reps is gonna wreck your form so i do high rep pulldowns or one arm rows pulling diagonally back .I wanted to give my 3 cents on the rest pause training michael suggested and you are doing ok this is my feeling remember on steroids i can pump out more adrenaline so for me I’m not rest pausing with weight that feels heavy regardless of the weight number i mean if it feels heavy and i did 38 I’m not doing more set over however i have been doing a drop set with much lighter weight to finish the reps.WHY? well i did 70 lb flat db for 50 last thurs then i got 41 it was painful and I’m not gonna chance a ache or some shit for a few reps i trapped the 30s and did 20 more reps this feels actually better and i can knock out say 5 sets rest pause i quit counting just do it till I’m pumped crazy it feels safe .I have a couple comments for legs my knee is killing me i did 4 sets of 50 on leg press last set was 7 plates each side so heres next weeks and actually i want to give it 4 weeks … I’m going to try lol 135 for sets of 50 these i will rest pause and i will go parallel or lower .i would like to add more volume but even high reps while not heavy still drains the system if one can do it 6 days thats impressive i think that would take some time though ,,,if i missed anything hit me back and ask … i started to see this girl ihad falling out with a month ago today she has a baby squirrel I’m on Facebook you gotta see this sqirrrell its a real pet DAVID DICICCO TROY MI IS MY FACEBOOK PEACE

  42. I just read your second post corey your kicking ass relax your natural remember that i really don’t think your stalling on the bench and i said how i felt about rest pause for me on bench ,,let me ask are you feeling good after the session ? The chest shoulder area is very prone to issues with restpuse training i have actually researched this lol so imo maybe just lie 5 extra reps and the last set just do a drop set with very light weight and vary the speed slow fast pause at bottom a few then explode up i do this and I’m convinced its good and if its light you can’t fuck yourself up ..i used 30 lb dbs for about a whole song i don’t know how many reps a lot i just held at the bottom and then fast up some slow down slow up ,i wan to try this with squats with the 135 so my stabilizers and just overall mind muscle connection benefits.For years when i lifted i was a zombie just lift the weight thats all my ego woulnt let me lift 30 lb dbs lol its crazy but look around at the gym its a prevalent disease lol peace

    • Thanks man, I’m trying. Maybe, too worried idk. That’s the power lifter in me I guess ( have to get that number, or die trying, reprogram ) scared of what might be or not be transpiring, am I wasting my time, etc. Getting weaker for nothing. That’s the mentality drilled in my head. Afterward, winded, a bit drained, but not drained like lifting heavy, within the next hour back to norm. I feel okay, not revved up and like it gave me a boost, though. Not sure what I should feel? Used to always being sapped from training differently. I know after the initial pump, which doing this 50 – 100rep deal, which isn’t substantial on one set, I look and feel deflated into most of the next day. My upper back feels better after penlay style today, for now anyhow. Sorry, trying to answer best I can. Shoulders and chest are okay, no pain. Yeah, maybe I shoulda been getting 5 more reps than last time, and calling it a day or dropping weight. Maybe I’m tapping out too, often. I didn’t aim for failure before. If I failed I failed and it was periodized. Yeah, mind muscle connection. What’s that lol. My training has always been tense everything up tight as possible, and drive it up. If I felt a muscle it was after the fact, or rarely warming up a week or two after deload. I need a lot of work learning what my aims are bodybuilding_or trying. Just wanna tell you again David. Thanks so, much for your encouragement, and suggestions, wish I could offer you more. Coarse I don’t think you’re trying to push numbers alone, probably the only way I could. Well, off to eat and sleep. Feel myself losing a pound. Lol. Have a good night, hope and all is well with you and your lady.

  43. What’s up. Thanks for the responses. Yeah, not small, just not impressive looking in the least. On occasion I’ll be asked if I lift, or play football, but of coarse I’m clothed. Not walking around shirtless, and definitely not pant less. Lol. So I look a little intimidating to some, but by no means muscular or defined, just bulky. Not mad Bro. Lol. I really do appreciate your input and time here. Yeah, I got my lifts up to what “they” consider strong, or at least close. Long before I got near, I knew it wasn’t going to get me the size, but figured screw it, almost here, I’m gonna accomplish my goals. I was a little unbalanced though, meaning there’s typically that gap in Deads and squats of about 100 pounds, and so forth. Which I coulda fixed, but I knew I was done. Squat 625 x 2. Dead 662.5 x 2. Bench 445 x 3 ( had a goal of 450, but quit there, new I’d hit it the next week anyway) OHP 210 x 1. A lot of hard work for a lot of years, beating myself up, for what? Impressive natural in terms of weight, but I was at almost 275 with heart issues, and was getting to where everything in life was hard or painful, and all I could was waddle up to the rack, do my reps and phase out afterward. Yeah, so not small, lol, but like you said. Little guys can do this shit. So, should I be proud. Well, only in the sense that I could get there, prove it possible regardless of what others said and did. Now, I feel stupid. Why did I bother? Someone’s always stronger. If I was a bodybuilder, yeah someone would always look better, but I’d still look good. Muscle size is what I really want, and my path went the opposite direction. Yeah, it’s all CNS, with little muscle stimulation, only if a must as assistance for some volume. I got to the point I had to plan out my every move for a month and a half to add 5 pounds a lift. If you wanna go for a walk, play some ball, whatever, forget it. When I couldn’t compensate with food or rest, if I made my P.R.’s it came from sacrificing day to day. Going to work and doing my job, was damn near impossible. I was starting to hide and sleep, or stop off 3 times to eat. Then I’d feel guilty, what kind of man does this shit? Yeah, I agree with you totally, rowing_i never did more than 10 -12 reps on a final set after warm ups. Most guys do them sets across I take it, but I was trying to slowly add weight to those as well. That’s how I always did my one arms, too. Diagonal pulls. Felt an excellent stretch that way, and contraction at the top. Yeah, you’re right, even extremely light pulls feel like going through the motion, until about 20-30 into the set, then, my arms get the work and my back isn’t. Feel like I’m trying to get a total because I can, but not getting the benefit. Sounds like a good idea you have benching, too. Dropsetting. The very first week I did this I tried 2x a week, 5x 50_all I can say_”jesus” and I actually did well, added several reps, day one I hit exactly 50 first set, day 2 jumped to 72. I was physched, until I was having massive pain in my chest. Although, my back was okay, and knees felt better. It felt like I torn down my upper chest to the bone. I still gained, but I’m done with this pain shit. So, I dropped down to the 3x a week 1 set 50-100. Though, the pump isn’t nothing near. Which leads me to asking_ in your opinion_is chasing the pump beneficial to gaining size? It’s one of those topics like most that goes either way. Being a powerlifter, you barely ever have one. So, I always wondered if I got one, would that make a difference in my size, as opposed to just weight increases? As you know, I was training more CNS, so even light I can’t handle the loads you can across sets for such volume, but I will say your dropping to 135, and in a way treating it more like I would assistance, sets across_probably a damn good idea brother. Even pressing as opposed to squatting, ( able to push significantly more ) that’s a lot of volume that heavy, for duration, and very dependent on the knee joints, and hopefully you don’t lock them, snapping like even powerlifters even advise. Which btw, thanks for mentioning Jonnie Candito. Never heard of him, but checked him out. Now that’s a squat. Most everyone says lead with hips, then, knee break. If I did I’d already be done, not just having the bone displacia I do. Yeah, 6 days I dunno, I do well with better than once a week a body part, but that’s on a split, yeah I dunno_full body though, but what do I know, this is like starting at the drawing board to me. Not much a face book guy. Have one I never did anything with, but I’ll have to check it out. Thanks David, especially for the encouragement and insight.

  44. Just to update after yesterday’s, blah session; knees feel better, coarse I dropped 5 reps, before rest pausing 10 more. There is a slight nagging in my chest, and a little muscle soreness in shoulders
    ( none in chest ), but all is fading fast. Assuming as you said David, due to rest pausing. Back still feels like crap. Unless I’m up and moving it really starts to ache, spasm almost, or feel like I gotta crack it to get going. Making me really start to question it detraining. If I do the math compared to my last routine_this = roughly 150 reps in a week on one exercise, as opposed to 168 reps every 5 days, between deads, penally rows, one arms, etc. Wondering if this soon doesn’t turn around, if I should break down into multiple sets to reach the 100 rep a day volume per exercise, maybe a 5x 20 across_same weight each set and increase the weights. Which should probably help form and get me the volume, and some weight increases, provided this isn’t all a matter of lacking more traditional periodization, as opposed to just changes in structuring the routine, and actually overtraining as far as frequency ( 3 x week, let alone 6_makes me wonder what’s really going on here). Think I’m gonna be forced to do that with squatting anyway. Not sure how Michael progressed when he said he couldn’t do 70 BW reps even now, but the routine called for 100 reps in one set. Yet, he does state squatting with dumbbells though. I don’t wanna jump the gun though, bench being so close to a weight increase. Kinda wonder how weird it would be doing 5×20 on squats and rows, but 50-100 on 1 set of bench. Kinda feel lost. My old self slipping into my brain telling me, “go back to what you know works, and just lower the weights and add volume”. Grrrr. Very mentally challenging right now, amazed I got sleep last night. Breaking my habits is Hell, especially if I’m not certain it’s for good reason_to gain any size. Just had to vent. Your right David_i need to relax_dont know if I know how anymore. Lol. Especially with this back pain. Thought this was part of why I started this, alleviating pains. Lol. Oh well, we’ll see Friday.

  45. With all the emphasis on training strategy I’ve flailed to mention something paramount I’ve been doing for about a month and the last couple weeks multiple times a day.IM talking about stretching and mobility stuff for my hips groin and hams .I do joe defrancos limber 11 look it up its free vid , i also have a elastic band for people that rehab its actually my moms lol .Its not the band you use for tension with weights ,,,its about 3ft by 3inches wide it stretches so everyone needs to do this… i hold it over my head and stretch it apart about 20 times then reverse it behind my back to my but and back over to front i just do both these excersise for 5 minutes I’m not sure where to buy this band my moms therapist gave it to her a few yrs a go it loosens the shoulders chest and back stabilizers ,,,,this will help you ,,,as far as your rep range i still agree with michael on his parameter of 250 to 500 reps a week ,,I’m over that but a lot of reps are light i think you got to listen to your body and lighten up on whatever it is but still get the reps tonight my goal is 75 for 50 reps db press then again for whatever then I’m incline for sets of 20 to 30 so i should be around 200 or more reps then il do cables for sets of 20 so you can tell its not gonna strain my joints but I’m getting in 2 insane sets on db bench at absolute failure ,the squats il try monday like i said 135 its ego depressing but I’m doing as many sets as i can in under a hour i will restpuse these i did it last week i didn’t count though my back got tight ,but its cool i was doing 15 rest 10 sec do 10 rest do 5 rest then walk around for 30 sec and start over ..i ws very sore an di believe this is better then leg pressing which inevetibly stresses the knees even at high reps . take care

  46. Okay. Anyone tuning in is probably sick of my long winded posts. I can totally get that. Lol. I am doing so in the hopes though, that I’m able in some way to help not only myself, but maybe some other frustrated souls,_looking to build size, strength, etc. So, I hope you can all put up with me. Something rather interesting happened today. I was weighing how this has been going, as far as results, well being, and getting really bugged by it. I know I’ve seen some progress, but it just hasn’t been satisfactory. I was feeling better this morning, but as the day progressed, my appetite was diminishing, sluggish again, achy. Wtf? So, anyway. I had some work to do this afternoon, installing running wire and lights. A lot of overhead reaching, climbing ladders etc, with an ol’ timer co-worker who’s attitude is along the lines of ” your a young strong hipster”, I’ll hand shit up to you. I thought this was gonna kill me today, the way the days have been going, how I’ve been feeling. So I wrap up the job, a sweaty, winded mess. I go out to the truck to head home_and I feel this sudden boost of energy, my back feels full_and GOOD! Good for the first in a couple weeks. Sluggishness_gone. I know what everyone says_and then, what I’ve always done! It’s my day off, but I went home and lifted. Squats I did the same, it wasn’t easy, but coulda took back the previous reps I dropped. I decided better not push my luck, I’ll settle for breaking even, afterall, two more exercises to go. Bench was tiring but suddenly I was at yesterday’s 89 reps and ground out 2 more. Rows I pronated again and it felt much better, not perfect, but definitely noticed better form and endurance, and pulled 3 more than yesterday without cheating. Felt more pump straight off today. Even in tri’s doing squats_that ain’t happened in a long time. Walked up steps afterward, holy hell_i feel calves.lol. I’m not trying to get ahead of myself on some fluke, but I’ll say this_if I was as swole as I looked after on a day to day, I’d have already won half the battle. Even more interesting_2 hours later_and it’s not gone. Well, I’m gonna keep my thoughts on what happened here to myself. Kinda hoping for a chime in with an opinion to see how it compares. Btw David, I was doing some stretching and foam rolling after my workouts, had heard there were studies ( don’t know the validity) that before actually weakened the muscles, but it might be time to upgrade. Noticed getting tighter/cramping, especially in my hips, just trying to set up for my bench, but right now my attitude has a much needed boost. Wish me luck peeps. Good luck all, late.

  47. Today
    Dumbell Bench 60X34,18,14,14

    Pretty much linear gains now for 5 weeks the 30 fail protocol works well for my present work capacity. I think MIchael covered it all. Find the fail weight that you respond to, keep increasing the reps till you plateau and then increase the weight slightly. For me optimal recovery is 4 days but 3-5 works. You get stronger and bigger and minimize the risk of injury.

    Thank you Michael!!!

    • Glad to hear you’re making good progress. Keep up the good work George, and posting your results. Congrats.

  48. i agree with george i need time before hitting chest again cause I’m not straining my shoulder legs maybe you can do twice a week back i believe twice a week next week I’m gonna try this obviously liter weight second workout .Corey I’m confused are you tight in hips after you used the foam roller and stretched > thats weird ..im so much more loose i mean like 100% better i can squat deeper and just feel better i stretch like a nut everyday i make up my own stretches .as for studies i read tha thou should not stretch a cold muscle etc. I’ve been stretching all the time this last month i ease into it i have no complaints so thats my 2 cents on that .. Also i kinda lose track of reps when I’m in the zone lately today i was gone my shoulder ached from doing a goofy dip and leg lift i made up thought i was bruce lee uh no now i got a ache but i did 75 db flat for 48 reps straight next set only 22 wow i was pissed i just dropped to 65 did 15 kept dropping till i got to 35 done then i did high bench incline only 45 lb for 20 reps after 5 sets i started just dropping to 30 rep out repeat i didn’t count i felt good and did cables 5sets of 20 light then behind neck press 125 started at 20 reps dropped 3 sets repeated 2 times obviously I’m tailoring the routine but I’ve been adding light presses the last couple weeks just for the pump it will take a month maybe to see the results being unnatural tends to help notice results faster i know I’m done with low reps no matter if i got stronger i looked the same so its not just naturals that have issues monday is crazy squat day 135 yes a whole 135 but I’m gonna go nuts first 3 sets as many as i can do then I’m rest pausing till uh i don feel well lol peace

    • Hey David, Imho, if you can hit it more, ( back ) anything, it will benefit. Now obviously I’m a stranger to bodybuilding, but I know as far as strength it will, and there is some correlation. You may have to drop weight, big ego crusher I know, but the additional frequency will help, regardless what the plates or dumbs say on them,_and they’ll increase with time. The power lifters add frequency to catch up with a little mass to aid in strength gains. I always thought_”how can you equate strength unless the weights go up”, but will notice a change though, with more frequency_in how much stronger you feel,_how much it assists your lifts. It’s really easy I know, to get caught up in the numbers game, like a bad marriage lol, but harder to get out of. Twenty years experience with that. Lol. Like I said, never wanted to power lift, and here I am. I know a lot of the time ( I just got a taste of it myself ) it seems we aren’t recovered, tired, sluggish, not sleeping well, etc_all the symptoms of overreaching, and as it turns out, its the opposite_a lack of conditioning in comparison for the poundages we lift. I know after adding a day yesterday I feel so much better. I also know a lot of bodybuilders and power lifters drop frequency down to a body part once a week like religion, and for you gear probably aids for that, but for most it never really gives the body a chance to adapt at all. We need some adaption, even though we equate adaption as bad_”I adapt I plateau”_otherwise_you’re gonna start working joints more than muscles. That’s why us powerlifters have to add all kinds of additional volume throughout the week in the form of conditioning work, light days for some, speed work, assistance, etc, etc, or we stop moving forward. Take it easy adding frequency_if you do_start small, especially in weight_and like you say “watch that rep total for the week”. I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear. I actually get tight in my hips or cramp “after I squat”. So, when I hop on the bench next, to press_I feel it when Im setting up to do so. When I try to bring my blades in, shoulders back, plant my feet, arch and get tight_wow_my hips begin to cramp or pull on occasion_something fierce. Then, I gotta stretch them out and try again til it calms down. I usually don’t do a stretching routine per say, before I lift. Reason? Right or wrong,_ I used to, but felt it was detracting from explosiveness in my lifts, and simply worked better to warm up by means of acclimating to the weight as I went. Coarse I wasn’t turning around and benching after squats, or before rows before either. Not for years now anyway. When I read or overheard that stretching prior to your workouts, for me_i used it as confirmation. Plus, lifting so, heavy, going through anything prior, was sapping energy I needed for my fat ass. Lol. Coincidentally, I was watching Dr. G on fit and health last night, ( medical examiner, coroner ) and she claims the same, that it weakens the muscles prior to lifting, and should be done following. Correct or not_who knows? I don’t place a lot of stock in studies, but that’s why I stopped doing so beforehand. If I do anything before or during it’s by feel.
      If I recall properly, isn’t that 75lb flat, a 5lb increase, I think you got the majority of your work in that first set, and you’ll probably grab those couple reps there, and start adding to the second set in no time. That’s awesome to add weight and come so, close first set. Sounds to me you’re progressing there, so, I’d stick there, or drop your weights across the board to balance. Probably don’t wanna hear that though, so, I’d stay put a bit and let those follow up sets come up, provided you aren’t straining, too much. Just my opinion. I think you’re doing an excellent job. Don’t get to upset, especially after my last week_i totally get it. Be careful on those behind the neck presses, too. Don’t mess yourself up, I know they gave me an awesome pump, but also an awesome rotator issue. Watch drifting, and don’t get too, heavy on them, if you do_switch to front and bridge with the lats. Just a suggestion from my own experience, some guys never have an issue. Keep up the good work. Thanks David.

  49. Hey corey i just read your relier post lol sorry I’m not replying in order . i have a couple opinions as always your a thinker like me its cool just remember to listen to your body while your doing this style .I for sure believe for bodybuilding and health benefits chasing the pump is right now how you do that is variable , I’ve been drop setting but with light weight and if i rest pause its with light weight and this adds to the pump if you just do 5 straight sets there is a trauma and effect but i think the bottom line as micheal states is total reps for the week 250 to 500 and thats my thing today i drop setted i didn’t want to do 5 heavy sets it did not feel right so i altered my game and i had a great workout screw getting fixated on i have to do this exact detailed workout …man your body is not a robot it sounds like your used to that style from powerlifting programming …….i tried that type of training i hated it like you no pump i felt like crap i never looked better so id say chill out and modify your session if need be just get a shitload of reps in. I think 2 times a week or once either with multiple sets of at least 20 reps will give the best pump .i hope this helps .

    • NP. I may have inadvertently fudged the order actually David. Lol. I just looked back and saw my posts aren’t in order for some reason. I say we just blame stupid technology lol.
      Yeah, lifting like a power lifter, no matter how far I came, rarely felt good. Trying to muster everything you have, physically, mentally,_ultimately for 1 – 3 reps, and rarely feeling anything but drained. It sucks. All you have to rely on to keep going is_”If I don’t do this, I’m not gonna get my P.R. this month”. If you do, it’s a little inspiring, and you get to deload, but starting back up at “lighter” weights? Lol_85-95 percent week one, no matter what routine you follow is never light. P.R._F.U., that’s my current thoughts on that. Yeah we need progression at some rate, but unless you compete it’s pointless, and debatable even then. At times I had to force myself to do my 60 percent weeks, because I was so spent adding that 5lbs. Like I said_2 warm ups in, and that pump was little, then gone. Only enough to activate and get going. You never feel muscle. It’s more about brief bouts with tension. Like if you do a set of moderate to heavy squats_then try one body weight only_lol, you feel like you could jump through the roof! You come to rely on that, realizing it or not, and it’s really not controlling a weight, not anymore than a spring has the ability to do so, it just pushes back against the resistance to it’s original form, quick as it can. I always loved when I tried something different, or unknowingly would get a pump, that feeling is awesome! I just never knew if it really played a role other than briefly looking swole. Powerlifters are gonna say, “hell no it’s pointless,_for those pretty boys”, Lol, and depending on which bodybuilder you ask, they either say “yes, no, or Idk, but I like it”. So, I never got a clear cut answer. I figured as I got stronger and no bigger though, if it didn’t play a role, it was at least a side effect of whatever did, cause I barely got one. Problem is_and I’m sure you see it David_nowadays, a shit ton of bodybuilders train damn near like power lifters, if not the same, whether realizing it or not! So, here I am thinking ” my appearance says_um,_that’s not how you get big”_but their they are, so, then we assume it’s steroids, and nobody is really doing anything right.lol. I don’t wanna go out on limbs doing the exact opposite everyone claims, but I’m certainly not going to wager on it by my own experiences. So, this high rep deal seemed to hold some answers. The 8-12reps protocol people swear by to get big, did me little justice. I’d accept genetics like I said, if I didn’t see spurts in size. So it’s time to round up the answers I can, just like I did to get stronger, and get back on track with my original goal. Thanks for answering. Just needed a bodybuilders take on that, not coming from a magazine or some scrawny kid on a board who “knows it all” lol. As always, appreciate your time, and the updates of your results. Catch ya later Bro

  50. Hi, been running the 1set 100 reps (using pause rest to hit 100) for approx 1 month now.

    I basically follow michael’s workout routine right to the T

    30min low intensity eliptical cardio
    then
    100 body squats no weights(usually hit around 45-50 body squats before it gets insanely hard…i’ll take quick 10-15 second breaks and bust out another 10 reps and 10-15 second breaks inbetween those 10 reps until I reach 100)

    100 incline dumbbell press(I know michael says flat, but my upper chest lags, so I place the bench on a slight incline and I make sure I mix up between a hammer grip to a straight grip to get the right pump in my chest…I get to about 65 reps very quickly with about 15lb weights, take about a 3 second breather, and do another 15-20 reaching 80 reps, get another 3 second breath, 10 more reps, and a quick last break and I pound out my last 10 reps for a 100 total Reps

    Finish off with 100 back rows(dumbbell) @ 10lbs, and I can go through it fairly swiftly, usually stopping breifly around 60 reps for a quick breather and around the 80 rep mark for another breather and finish off at 100 reps.

    I incorporate after those 3 compound workouts are completed a rotatary cuff workout with 5lb weights doing circular motions(picture front stroke swimming & backstroke swimming) for about 20 reps in each direction..it really rushes blood to the shoulders and it helps with period shoulder impingement that I used to suffer from. Since I included this in my routine, my shoulder pain is almost non existent and my range of motion improved x1000.

    I’ll end off with some stretches and head back the following day. My best is pulling it off 6 days in a row…

    I’m M/27/Canada, 6″2, 204lbs….I’m not built nor do they have years and years under my belt in lifting, but I do know that I am seeing progress in both fat loss and muscle definition, and I am noticing mass gains(although I only really noticed the mass gains when I started to incorporate the protein shakes into my diet).

    I’ve done 5×5’s, low rep high weight programs, super sets, low weights and high reps…and this program is my favorite so far.

    I literally walk out the gym drenched in sweat after I’m completed my workout routine, you get a great cardio workout that gets combined into the weight training aspect…minimal joint point, minimal injuries, and the ability to focus on lagging muscle groups by keeping weights low and reps high

    • My entire workout routine is completed always around the magic 1 hour mark…the 100 squats takes me approx 3-4 mins, I take a 3-5 min break inbetween my squats depending on how heavy I’m breathing then when I move toincline chest dumbbell it usually takes also another 3-4mins depending on how hard I’m breathing, I take another 3-5min break and move into my back rows which take approx 3-4 mins.

      • I plan to run this routine for another 2 months and measure my progress. I don’t see myself moving away from this routine as I thoroughly enjoy pushing weights to the point of failure and having my heart beat quicker while lifting as well as the ease on my joints. I’ve suffered bad shoulder injuries and back injures of incorrect form in the past and I feel with this program I can push myself to an extremely high intensity without risking hurting myself with heavy weights.

        • What’s up Robert. Good to see your posts here. I am trying with few tweaks as possible myself, to run this also. I was doing three days, but believe with the weights I was capable of power lifting, it may not be enough volume. Yesterday I tried adding a 4th day, so my first back to back, and must say, “while I don’t yet, feel myself, I feel the best I have in a month, and saw a few more reps”. So, I’m leaning toward 6 days myself, thinking Michael was right. If I can pull that off, I will until it peters out, and go from there. Great to hear how well it’s going for you. Good job! Please keep updating. Interesting to see someone else’s results, and especially closely adhered to the program. Thanks Robert.

  51. I am unwilling to abandon my current training split in order to attempt a full-blown high rep program. So I am just testing this at the moment with sit-ups — performing one set of 50-100 reps per day 5x per week (basically on Monday – Friday) to see how my abs respond.

    It’s still early. But my reps are increasing every day and while it could just be my imagination I feel like I am seeing better ab development already. I will run it for a month and then draw my conclusions.

  52. Totally get that mindset and don’t blame you. I’m a stickler for milking every last thing I can from a program, rather than hopping one to the next, or jumping on the bandwagon. I really had to make a change myself, because gains were so, slow and in some lifts becoming non-existent, injuries etc, and not accomplishing my actual goals. It wouldn’t surprise me however, if it’s not your imagination. I quit working abs and started using stated routine, and I can visually see a loss in body fat in my stomach, while my weight remains the same or fluctuates up and down a pound or two. That hasn’t happened in a long time, so I can easily tell. So, yeah experiment with what you’re comfortable, and fill us in how you’re doing, what you’re doing. Wish you best of luck whatever you do, and in your training. Thanks for your time, Matt.

  53. Hey Corey, I’ll try and make a some more posts once I learn more about this routine, it’s still new to me, but I do thoroughly enjoy it.

    I do also want to comment and say in regards to doing isolated workouts, particularly biceps & triceps, I steered away from doing any isolated bi’s/tri’s, but in the mirror I believe I still am progressing.

    By the end of my incline 1 set x 100 reps, my triceps, chest & front deltoids are pumped literally to the max and it feels goood!

    Same can be said for the row, but I’m still trying to find a good grip that lets me get a better pump…my rear deltoids, traps and lats & biceps get a pump from the back rows, but I believe because I have lagging rear delt’s, i have been only feeling a big pump in my rear deltoids than anything else…I don’t let it bother me as I know once I strengthen my rear deltoids, I’ll be hopefully switching into higher weights and feeling more in my biceps, lats and traps….

    I do believe the low-reps really forces you to get the biggest pump from your lagging muscles, where on a low rep/high weight routine, It’s very easy to compensate your lagging muscle groups with over trained muscle groups resulting in muscle imbalance.

    My schedule has forced me this week to bump down to 4 days a week(every second day), but on days I don’t have time to goto the gym, I jump on the elipitcal and do low intensity cardio…and just to point out, michael stated above earlier how important it is to monitor your heart rate and keep it in the range of 100-120bpm. It’s very easy to get your heart rate past that, so I always find myself every 4-5mins checking my heart rate to make sure it doesn’t get too high so I stay in the “fat burning” range as well as preserve energy for the second half of the workout for lifting

    • I do also want to comment and say in regards to doing isolated workouts, particularly biceps & triceps, I steered away from doing any isolated bi’s/tri’s, but in the mirror I believe I still am progressing.***doing compound workouts more than meets my personal needs for getting bicep and tricep workouts.

      I do believe the ***High-reps really forces you to get the biggest pump from your lagging muscles, where on a low rep/high weight routine, It’s very easy to compensate your lagging muscle groups with over trained muscle groups resulting in muscle imbalance.

      sorry, had to edit after i posted, realized i missed a couple of important things

  54. Hey Robert, what’s up.
    Much appreciated. New to this routine myself, about 5 weeks, but I’ve been tailoring to find the volume. Think I got ahead of myself the first week, and the last few was low on volume. So, gonna bump up all depending on how I’m feeling, hoping I hit that sweet spot here. Seen gains, but going for consistent across the board. I too, am steering away from ISO work, I agree, and know compounds will strengthen all to a great degree. I am by no means carrying enough size to worry about energy expenditure on those. I have learned even on the treadmill that my heart rate spikes very easy, even if I’m doing what feels leisurely. I also have heart disease, so I gotta play it safe. At this point I just go out for walks, and it pretty much does the trick. I’ve noticed by monitor, my rate elevates very easily. Pump is becoming easier for me to achieve here, slowly. I don’t have much knowledge as pertains to the cause of or meaning behind however. So, maybe after time and weight increases soon, I can make some better determinations. Thanks, for posting, look forward to seeing them here. Keep it up, glad to hear it’s been beneficial for you. Take care.

  55. Okay, just knocked out a third day in a row. Felt pretty good this afternoon, so, decided I’d go for it. Did get a little tired just prior, and told myself that’s my body trying to stand in my way of stressors, and not a red flag. This doesn’t get any easier, but regaining my breath after squats today was a little improved. I don’t wanna kill myself especially adding days back to back, so I stopped after getting two more reps back to my total. I’m gonna make tomorrow ( Sat ) my rest day with family anyhow, and end this trying week on a positive note. Bench I added 4 more reps than yesterday bringing my total to 95. I was tempted to rest pause for the 100, but intentionally made myself stop, not gonna overdo it now. I’m right there. Even if my total drops a hair after a day off for some reason, come Monday,_next week it’s mine! It would take some real misfortune somehow to not be in the cards for a weight increase. Rows are getting better, still pronated_got 2 more and could’ve gotten more, but I felt form slipping there right at the end, and let it go at that. Overall happy. This week has gone from MEH, to disappointing, to the total opposite. Blessing in disguise. Wish me luck! Oh, and I will say this_if you are following this routine across many high rep sets, or even the one set of 50-100reps. Holy Hell_eat like a Mother F’er!
    Reps ta ya all!

  56. Well done Corey and everyone else also , its cool to see everyone is improving and liking this method .I also agree on the bn presses I’m not messing with those again my neck is jacked up put ironically my shoulder is much better go figure .I wanted to get everyones feedback on the rows ,this week my backs been real tight and after 15 reps my rows are really bothering me even with 35 lb dbs lol ,i just changed to pulldowns 10 sets of 20 and hammer pulldowns 8 sets of around 20 and i got a better pump actually .Also i agree corey I’m staying at 75lb for flat bench for 5 sets for a while ….but i m adding some sets of 20 on incline i have no upper chest ..if anyones wondering why i don’t revese the order i will maybe in month …. i want to go heavier on incline butim a little cautious I’ve always had incline issues . Im glad to see your increasing weight lol i know you been worried …im positive this style improves strength .. its just ironic no one preaches this .I was researching high rep training and didn’t find a lot , but i did find this site and I’m grateful to michael and his insights .Oh and one more thing corey about your comment on bodybuilders that juice and trying to ask for advice or some actual usable info lmfao dude i can’t even think of a funny analogy ,,i used to train at a couple gyms and i constantly heard bs hell no one is even honest about what they take and unless you watch them i usually don’t believe what they say .. i have a friend I’ve known for 20 some yrs who is going national and he’s a compulsive bs talker i don’t even ask for advice for him ..i try to be very real on here and in my gym if people ask I’m honest i always say i just have opinions lol key word anyway take care folks !

  57. Thanks David. Smart move with the behind the necks imo. When I did them, it was my neck first now that you mention it, then my left shoulder a couple weeks later, and wow_talk about pain. Thought I was gonna be another victim to the knife. Thank God, I wasn’t, but it took a good two months to recoup. Hmmm. Rows? As you know I’d been having issues with them from the get go also, til the past couple days when I added volume doing the workouts back to back, now they are improving and I even kept the form beyond the 20 -30 rep range where it felt like all arms. Bare with me, not being self centered. Just thinking I know what I’d tried, but we train very differently_each body part still once a week if I’m recalling correctly. My answer is this_you may not agree with or like it, but my thoughts, the back seems the first to go when there’s not enough volume. It may not be not enough in your single work out, but over the coarse of the week. I’d either add pulls to another day or even days_even if you have to drop weight to do so, or if you’re set and determined to do just a single day of back, up the volume/reps that day_progressively, and at a lighter weight, and maybe aim more for higher reps per set at first, before moving back up. Pulls are more crucial than we think, because most everybody has a tendency not only to be pushing/pressing dominant, but our pushing strength outweighs pulling most times. So, we almost need to compensate for. That’s why powerlifters will do a shit ton of pulling, and also for back, rowing/pulls at any rate, the key is light light light, and volume. It adds size/mass ( I know I’m one to talk_lol by appearance, but Pling you do just what you need to keep enough size to move forward ) on your presses and such, as overhead and bench are supported by the lats, and upper back. Ie, I never felt soreness in my lats back days, always after pressing, but if I stopped all the light pulling, my pressing strength suffered. Just my thoughts, from a strength and mass to accomplish it standing. I still feel that correlation between is important. Don’t let your ego force you into the numbers as far as weight, if 35’s aren’t getting it done, if nothing else. Maybe someone else would disagree, or has some other insight, but that’s where my mind is going. What kind of issues with the inclines? I have problems with the shoulders taking the blunt and acting up, same as dips. Also I have an awkward feel, uncomfortable with my structure/build. Thanks, yeah I was pretty stressed and needed the turn around, to get this upcoming increase. Something to reassure myself about the high reps since I do believe in it. Yeah, so little info out there on this, I think it’s a conspiracy. Lol. Imagine if you only needed this prescription to figure it out, what would happen to the whole friggin industry! Lol. Yes I give Michael a lot of credit. I’ve had my doubts, still do in aspects, but I can’t say it doesn’t work. How long, how well? Guess we’ll see. I have faith this is the answer though, applied correctly, no doubt. I believe you are very honest, blunt, and sincerely helpful, and I have the upmost respect for you and your opinions, thoughts, input David. I hope you can believe that, it is true. I appreciate your taking time to post, respond, and give advice to others. My sincerest props. Like I said, only wish I knew I could offer you anything useful. But I’m also no expert. I only play one at bodybuilding.com_lol. Just kiddin. Hopefully I can at some point give as much as I take away though. Oh saw Michael posting a couple other places as well while researching. I think it had to do with more SHRT style, and century sets. Til next time. My best to you and everybody.

  58. Im not sure what you are saying ?Am i supposed to go to lebrada .com and then what ?Thanks …..goin to do squats in a minute …also i agree with you on back training frequency .The reason I’ve been doing once a week training is due to my upper lat tie -in has been hurting for months , also i got elbow aches , shoulder ache s lol anyway i wanted to ease int o this style of training , I’m pleased to announce this week i will do everything 2 times !!!!!! My goal is 3 on 1 off repeat routine total reps 5 to 600 for the week after the dust settles. have a great weekend !!

  59. Funny you mention your tie ins, I mean_it’s part of what’s been bugging me for weeks. That and tweeks low in the traps. This higher frequency past few days almost seems to be bringing it around though. Starting to feel them during normal daily activity now_not sore from lifting, but activating like I can tell they were worked and are getting more blood/oxygen to them, and less pain. If that makes any sense. Lol. I also had a cracking in my left shoulder, and tendinitis in the same elbow, and it’s improving as well. Not there yet, bet a definite improvement, especially the elbow and shoulder. Pain almost gone entirely, working it more. Now if I can just get my knees moving too, but I do have irreversible damage there. I may have to work in some more volume there over sets to bring me up, even drop weight possibly, to break down scar tissue and deal with some pain for a time. Haven’t yet gone to failure on squats for my breathing, after 25-30 reps straight, and I’m still breathing like a fat man in a marathon
    as I continue, and that makes me question my form.
    Awesome, bet the increased frequency will help. Just no Bruce Lee shit dude. Lol. Don’t try and ego them weights up, and go F’in your shit up. Be careful, tailoring this is a bitch. I tried initially what Michael said he’s doing now, figuring my maxes. His 6 days straight, Sunday off, 5×50 deal.
    Swollen like a blimp, felt awesome at first, then after 3 days in_low back strain, and upper chest stripped to the bone. So I took off day 4 like you’re planning, instead of straight through, and tried to continue. Fixed my back, but it was still too much on my chest to tolerate. So I backed down to the three day,_not enough apparently,_now up to the full body everyday apparently. Lol. This is wayyyy tricky. So, not to spook you_I know you’re a lot more used to higher reps in sets across than I was, it may work wonders, and I do believe adding the volume/ frequency is gonna help you. Long story short, just don’t get overly gung-ho with the weight, and test the waters with all these sets across upping the frequency. I don’t wanna hear you went full on balls to the wall and injured yourself. Hell I’m just doin the one set 50-100 and watching my ass! Lol. Hope ya kick ass on them squats, have fun.

    • P.S._David, you might even wanna try breaking into upping your frequency by using a weight that isn’t going to take you to failure, or have you grinding the last few reps on your first set or two. If 35’s were a problem at 15 reps, and your goal was 20 reps or more for your sets, it might help to start at say_30 or even better_ 25lb dumbs.

      ( starting too, light_ always better than too, heavy )

      Plus, no matter what the weight, ego’s are kinda pointless using this routine. Not worth being embarrassed about.
      No matter what level of strength, fitness, or shape, “any of us are in”_we are all essentially using what anyone would call “baby weights” lol. Not too impressive if someone asks “what do you bench”_saying “75’s” is it? BUT_you know something they don’t and that you’re getting the work in and making the improvements you need to. All that matters.

      Bang out your first set with something still left in the tank, and maybe even your second, then, even if you fail or miss reps on the third, or forth set ( however many you do) next time around your more likely to up your reps on those, rather than burn out or regress, going to failure right in the door and every set following. Michael mentions something to that effect here_ as you are progressing, and regardless of any questions I still may have, that part is definitely sound advice! I personally believe also however, that starting at your absolute 50, or 30, or 20 fail weight, whatever it is_and then, failing on all your sets across from the get go_is a 50/50 gamble, not only to plateau quicker, but for setting yourself up for injury. I wish you the best of luck, and believe you’re in for some added gains. Take care.

      • Just completed day 1 of the week after being off yesterday. Started a few hours early due to Mother’s Day, and I’ll soon be taking my wife and step son out to dinner.
        I toyed with the idea of sets across or rest pausing squats, even dropping down to bodyweight, but then decided, I’ve toyed enough, it is what it is. This past week I hit full body 5 times, as opposed to 3 the week before, and this weeks aim being full body 6 days. Glad I rolled like that. Added 5 reps today to my squats from the previous workout Friday, without rest-pause, which takes me 2 reps beyond what I’ve done from the start of using SHRT in any form. My breathing was no better nor worse than Friday, but I’m getting my “gasping for air” _lol, back under control inside a minute. Then I relax a few til I can properly do bench. It’s just too, bad it hinders me so much.
        My legs feel capable of cranking out so, much more, but I am 250lbs afterall,_so I’ll take what I can get. Bench I had no tightness or cramping in my hips or anywhere today in my set up, but I felt a burn at about the 30 rep mark in my shoulders and arms_kinda early for me, 50 even more, 70_hmmm_wondering_ feeling rough. I focused on it like it was a good thing and kept going. 80 – 90reps wow, tough! Hit my previous 95 and the rest were slow_the last_”agonizingly”_

        “100”!!!!

        And no doubt_”Fail”!
        Bring on another 20lbs baby! Lol.

        Rows_hmmm_the elusive rows. Got Friday’s 46 reps and added only 1, and felt form slipping again, so again, I stopped. Waited 20 seconds and added 5 this time. We’ll see what that brings for tomorrow.

        This can be mentally challenging after a day off, but I think it was much needed. My back is still steadily getting better, and though I didn’t make leaps or bounds on it in form of reps today, it was slightly more pumped afterward today. So, at least I think I’m succeeding at driving more blood into it!

        Anyway, wish you all the best. Take care of Mom.
        Later folks.

  60. So far I am liking the results I’ve seen from using high-rep training on my abs. Started dabbling with some higher rep stuff for legs and ended up getting a dreaded exercise induced headache.

    Anybody else get these? I had completely forgotten about these until now but I would get them everytime I attempted any high-rep squat program.

    For me to make high-rep training work, I’ll need to figure out how to train legs without triggering these headaches.

    • On occasion, and then Ibuprophren becomes my friend for a few days until I build a tolerance to the change in routine. Training too heavy has done it to me, too. Straining, or even grinding/clenching my teeth during sets. What’s your routine looking like? What were you doing volume, frequency, etc, before for legs as opposed to now? Are you sure to get enough rest between sets? Also, if you increase volume too fast from the infamous low/moderate rep sets, it can take a toll.

    • Hey matt the only issue I’ve had with high rep squats and I’ve been doing them for about a yr is a little spacey lightheadedness when I’m really pushing it I’m gonna guess your maybe unconsciously tightening some area in your neck or ,like corey says teeth ,its some minor thing your doing or maybe you need time adjusting.Anyway back to me lol sorry i had to say that ,,corey I’m taking your advice on the benching I’m getting a little egocentric on the weight so I’m actually starting on incline for a while 5 sets michael style then maybe 2 sets flat …yea i feel I’m pushing to fast ihave a goal to do 100 50 times il wait ..also i read the 100s article I’m gonna try this at 2 sets for squats … my report on squats 2 days ago is this 135 2 sets of 20 then all out i never lockout on the top its way harder a set of 52 no pause. Ok not locking out i feel is best for results BUT my lower back muscles were trashed ,ihad to stretch immediately waited a couple minutes i did 74 rest paused only 10 sec pause , then 185 22 reps nonstop then a drop set 135 20 reps i had to stop my back was cramping i waited 5 minutes and did 135 a few more sets of 20 I’m hoping my back will adapt i don’t like cutting the set short and stopping at the top is how i used to train and got me nowhere maybe stronger but in terms of pump not loving out on squats is tremendous . i know I’m rambling i just want to make this point .also I’m scrapping rows due to the tightness its not a big deal I’m doing pulldowns and hammer and i feel its fine .IM going to do do chest and light shoulders and my goal is maybe 40 pounds on inclines so I’m taking your tips corey lol just say no to ego alright good luck everyone !!!

      • Done with day 2.
        Very interesting results, but first. Good point you made to Matt David, about the kneck. Which also leads me to ask; Matt, when you do your squats_where is your focus, or where do you fix your eyes? Preferably straight ahead in a trained spot, while holding back tight, elbows beneath the bar, knees breaking before hips
        ( regardless what Rippetoe says ) sitting back, pushing knees out, exploding upward with a forward hip thrust to finish it off, not locking knees. Do you have a mental checklist as you go?Assuming you’re using a bar as opposed to dumbs. Actually David had mentioned to me a dude named Jonnie Candito. Even if you think you have no form issue, and it’s more an adaption thing, or starting out too, heavy. If you haven’t heard of him, definitely worth a look. Dude demonstrates the best squat form and step by step instruction, I’ve probably ever seen.

        Inclines. Personally I have form issues, problems with.
        So, great exercise or not, kinda hard to contribute my 2 cents.
        I know a few of you guys have dropped a line mentioning not hitting upper chest on flat, or needing work up top, so you do them. Now Michael made his points upon, ( agreed or not ) and I could point out studies and various “big names” say so’s, but I won’t. Why?_who the F cares if we have our own opinion or beliefs about anyway, or if we find and try something that works. How much of what you hear or read can you believe anyhow? It’s what we experience. Seeing is believing right? So, I only have one statement on upper chest, and some questions for you guys.

        Statement_#
        I myself have never felt upper chest or received much pump/stimulation in, doing flat bench alone,_BUT_my wife asked me when I came in from the garage today ( where I lift ) after a weight increase_”What the fuck is up with your chest?” Lol.
        My wife hates weight lifting lol. Calls me a “Meathead”!
        I looked in the mirror and my pump was greatest_for the first time “EVER”_in my upper chest!

        So, questions_#
        Have you made it through your set or sets_whatever protocol you’re using, with the same weight straight across through all, before an increase, and what do you do setting up_before you ever move the bar? Not criticizing, maybe it’s a fluke for me, but maybe_it isn’t. If it’s something different I’m doing and it so happens to work_id love to help if I can. No, I don’t have some Adonis chest lol, but it’s definitely getting hit overall.

        David I know you said you had problems doing inclines. So, when you did them before, did they work? I know you said you consider your upper chest non-existent. Whatever you guys all do, incline, decline, flat, etc,_that’s all good,_but is it working? Are you getting the most out of the exercise with form, range of motion, starting light enough to hit your reps on your first, or even second set, and keeping the weight constant until you reach your 50 or 100_whatever, each set, before increasing or weight, or changing exercises?

        Whatever you do if you tailor_remember those rep totals over the coarse of days, the week.

        Watch that lower back David. Like I said, week one I got all gung-ho, and even with my maxes coming in, Michaels current split 5×50 twice a week over 6 days_tore me up!

        You aren’t rambling David, like you said, you need details. I’m a glad your opting lighter and working toward a set goal.

        As long as you’re doing pulls, you’re probably right, you’ll be fine. I wanted to mention something that I do for back pain, that may seem really silly, or be like_duh, no shit, lol_but really seems to provide relief. I found it helped a lot by accident, and then, came across some articles. It’s so simple it’s stupid, but helps. Mark Henry worlds strongest man wrote about it, WWE fame, and some schools have there kids do it actually for the benefit. Back hurts? Lie flat on your stomach on the floor and raise up supporting yourself on your elbows. It’s that easy. It realigns your spine and strengthens the upper back. You can do this while you read, play games or check your face book on your phone, or watch TV whatever. If you watch TV and your sets high up, watch straining your neck. You don’t have to contract or anything, just relax supported on your elbows. If it gets uncomfortable, you can shift around, readjust, as needed. You can do this as little or as long as you like when convenient. Try it ten, twenty minutes. Once your up moving around again, especially the more often you do this, you’ll feel a difference.

        Now that’s rambling_ lol.

        On to me. Lol. Squats I added three more reps straight today,
        ( 40 total ) and feel more pump, even my left leg where I have knee separation, and barely pumps, my quad finally along with the right. Not impressive, but good for me. Bench I upped twenty pounds and failed at exactly 50 lol. Back to the drawing board.
        Rows I added 3 to reach 50 again since I went back to pronated. Then, rest paused 5 more reps.

        Well, I gotta get some zzzz’s. Take care all, keep up the good work til next time.

  61. It seems to happen on any high rep leg exercise — not just squats. Last time it happened I was doing rear foot elevated split squats. So I don’t think it’s a technique thing.

    Might just be something that happens to me. I don’t know. Last week I did 25 reps per leg –no issues. This week I tried 30 — and it wasn’t even hard (unweighted) but BAM — crushing headache.

    • May sound like a _”Well Duh” statement on my part, but sounds like Exertion Headaches. An actual “type” of headache, not just the cause of a headache being_well_exertion. Lol.
      A couple of other things beyond already mentioned, that can bring them on_
      not drinking enough water. I not only got these headaches, but a lot of the time muscle cramping_especially calves or hams. Turns out I wasn’t drinking enough water, and still most likely don’t, lol, but when headaches or cramps start coming on Ill make a point of bumping up my intake over a few days and it seems to help. I’ll even keep a water bottle with nearby during my session and for afterward. Do you unconsciously hold your breath during exercise, may be something to watch out for. I tried entering some key words into Google for these headaches,_and induced while doing legs, and it brought up a ton of pages on the topic. Maybe if it’s none of the above,_something we have mentioned, or that we can think of here_reading into Exertion Headaches can help you pin point potential cause. Wish I could be more help. If anything else pops into my head or I come across something, I’ll certainly let you know.

      • So, just finished day 3 full body.

        Keeping my head up best I can. Not a raging success today. The reason may be as simple as not sleeping well last night. Either I have an earache, or have possibly been grinding my own teeth working out, ( probably trying to beat out my breathing issues on these squats for more reps ) which for me_can cause pain in my inner ear I’ve come to find. I think for the most part I slept 4 hours last night. So, I was tired all day. Came straight home from work and got to it before it made matters worse. I have to say my breathing has been it’s worst yet on squats. Lower end of twenty reps and I was sucking wind. Got to 33 and was panting so hard, I thought_”even if I pull it off I’m gonna be ready to drop by the previous 40 yesterday.” So, I called it a set and waited a minute til my gasping stopped, and did 17 more reps. 7 to make up my loss from yesterday’s total reps, and an additional 10 to at least add to my total volume from yesterday, for a total of 50. I wasn’t happy about it, but at least I felt a decent pump doing so. Telling myself to remember like you said David_”remember I’m natural”. Also that I’m doing 6 days straight, and maybe it’ll take time to balance the additional volume over the week_to hit the same total day to day, didn’t sleep well, and weigh 250. I may not no the problem, but if I have to stop_I have to stop, and will rest pause my way to beat the previous day, until the first set comes up across the board, or I wind up reaching my weekly rep total for the day, and go from there. Bench was fine, another 5 reps for 55, so I didn’t bother with any rest-pausing. Rows, last few reps were shady_and really forced out 1 additional for fail at 51, so I waited about 30 seconds to catch my breath and did another 9. I figure if all else fails_I’ll adhere as closely to the program as possibly and surpass my totals in volume according to what I did the previous day. I don’t wanna just spin my wheels, and plateau. Hope everyone’s doin’ well, any input welcome as always. Take care.

        • Wow! Not happy with myself right now. Day 4 complete. Feel pathetic. Lol. Had a feeling trying to push for this squat total and deal with my breathing, that I was sacrificing form. So, after yesterday’s bout with my lungs and losing reps. I did my squats in front of the mirror today. Was not happy! Indeed I was losing ground on depth and form _before I even hit twenty.
          I do mine ATG even though my background is PLing and that’s not common. Not having it!!!
          I discarded counting a few that didn’t reach depth or had forward lean etc, and stopped when I had what I felt was a decent twenty. Panting! Figured I’d go across sets to get beyond yesterday’s rep total at least. I waited 3 minutes. Breathing still not back to normal, but felt I could continue. Did 11. Lol.
          I’ve been doing more than that on the first single set, _what I did today in two. Then, took two minutes between each set thereafter, since breathing improved a little earlier, and because I was pissed. Ultimately; 20, 11, 9, 8, 8.
          56 reps. 6 more than yesterday total, but wow this sucks! So, on to bench. I’m assuming this sucked too, due to going across sets on squats as opposed to one_or maybe two if I rest-paused, but what do I know? I got to 55 yesterday. Today I knew I was in trouble by 50. This is the first I’ve had a problem with bench.
          By 53 I was struggling.
          54th went up slow and uneven, and 55 I got stuck right before lock out, and broke form to get it up. Rest-paused 10 seconds, and did 5 more. F**k!
          Rows I hit 47 and was just done. Had I tried anymore form woulda been garbage. Hit 51 yesterday, plus another 9. So, after today’s 47, I waited probably a couple minutes and did another 13 to at least break even. Man_last week ended, and this one started, on such a good note. I just don’t know. Guess we’ll see what tomorrow brings.

  62. Great article. Would be interesting to see a converse study to this to see what endurance gains can be made with low rep, high weight training

  63. New high!!!

    Dumbell Bench:
    40X20
    50X20
    60X30,24,16,16

    Slow steady gains.

    Lost 4 lbs of weight since I started.

    Recovery has improved, gains on a twice/ week schedule now.

  64. Awesome , i haven’t been posting because I’ve strayed a bit from the routine , i still total at least 500 reps a week per part but I’ve been doing 20 to 30 rep sets and drop sets.I actually hit a pr on db flat 80lb for 42 reps nonstop but i was done then went to incline , the chest wo after that a couple days ago was inclines first 20 rep sets light lol only 45 or 50 lbs then cables 12 sets fast high reps didn’t count . then i finished with 60lb flat bench for 50 nonstop reps rested 2 min 70 for 35 reps done , my inclines as you can see suck and so does my upper chest so I’m doing inclines first both workouts then cables then 1 or 2 flat sets .

  65. I’ve been doing the high rep ab training for almost a month now. I do one set of crunches on weekdays (5x per week).

    On day one I did 25 crunches, rested and banged out 10 more. Obviously I could have done more but I was taking it slow. By the middle of the month I was able to do 100 in a row, at which point I started holding a 10 pound dumbbell on my chest.

    Today I did 85 crunches in a row with the 10lb dumbbell. I imagine I will get 100 straight tomorrow or the next day, at which point I will switch to using a 20lb dumbbell.

    The million dollar question: Have I noticed any results?

    Answer: Hard to say. Abs probably look a little tighter but it’s very much day-to-day. Obviously if I’m bloated the abs don’t show as well.

    But overall, I think I’m seeing some results. And my knees/shoulders/elbows are really killing me lately from a heavy lifting program. So I think I’m going to throw in the towel on the heavy lifting and really dive into the ultra high rep training program with both feet.

    Starting this week I will follow a 3x per week full body routine of ultra high rep training.

    I am thinking 1-2 sets of 25-50 reps of bulgarian split squats, dumbbell bench press and machine rows. Same workout done 3x per week.

    I will give it an honest try for the month of June and see how I feel after the month is up. If nothing else maybe my joints will feel better and if I end up getting huge/cut for summer, that would be a welcome bonus. ;)

    I will keep you all posted.

    • Hey guys,
      As always I do a lot of researching and have found a lot more about High rep training, but it tends to be used in a manner for healing, a shock tactic, or for two weeks to a month to aid in protein uptake. Any of that work, Idk, but, possibly. I haven’t posted because I myself abandoned this approach and submerged myself into reading and trying to discover a crossover_so to speak_between what did and didn’t work powerlifting_and how I could take the positive aspects and combine with a more traditional bodybuilding style. I abandoned this routine because I began losing notable size, couldn’t recover, and became a real rage monster. Lol. I don’t have another twenty years to apply to making this work if it could for me, and highly suspect as earlier stated_maybe for an Endo_but obviously not an almost 40 ecto like myself. On the positive side, I am finally growing on a more traditional upper/lower split, with sets across in the 6 – 15 range, and feel much better. I don’t need calipers or the scale to tell me, I can already see in the mirror, and feel it, and am watching my reps and weight increasing each workout. So, I don’t know how much assistance I can be of here, but I will still keep an eye out, and keep anyone struggling posted as to my progress in case it may help, periodically. It’s early yet, but so far I’m getting the best results I’ve ever had strength wize, while “most importantly”_also finally beginning to obtain size for my efforts, which is far less than what I’d been doing. Thanks guys, glad to see your continued progress. Good luck all

  66. Im laughing my ass off corey because i pretty much quit this routine also ,we both stop posting the same time ironic huh ,i tested this for 6 weeks and realized ome big flaws .First off i will say it got me used to dining more volume and now i a m doing a 3day on 1 off split ,I’ve never trained this way but in the last 2 weeks I’m kicking ass ,i feel if ididnt condition myself with these weeks of high reps id be screwed on this split .For conditioning the high rep routine is great , i believe like you corey michael is a endomorph and this will not make a ecto like us big even with anabolics .I did set a record of 80lb dbs for 42 reps nonstop is my chest bigger ? its wider i also do high rep pecdek though , i have gotten stronger across the board , iknow people will say 6 weeks is not long enough to judge , but remember with any routine 6weeks is a cutoff point to switch to something different ,not radically different I’m not going to start doing 5 by 5 or some body breaking low rep crap .What i am doing is il give a ex. i hcve 2 leg days one is squats sets of 20 down to 12 my goal is 6 to 8 sets till failure then leg press 20 to 40 rep sets 6sets then ham curls 10 to 15 reps 6 sets my next leg day is leg press or the icariann plate loaded leg press i do 50 to 60 rep sets with different foot positions every 15 reps ,then 1 leg presses rest pause sets of ten only 10 seconds rest at this point i quit counting just go go ,this leg press session is a half-hour not much rest and no knee pain I’m not going heavy it compliments my heavy squat day my other parts are done in similar fashion ,i don’t consider this a heavy light split , its more of a kind of heavy 1 day then moderate high rep next session for those that need a label i really feel this is awesome I’ve lowered my testosterone dose to 300mg every 10 days remember im44 not 24 lol i can claim trt my point is i believe I’ve conditioned myself much more with michaels theories but to take my body to the next level i need to add more volume and excersise variance , i plan on competing within a year , thanks corey for your support i don know if we should post out training since its not according to michaels routine i would continue to hear about your ideas , progress ,your like me always searching as you get older safety and longevity are paramount ,at the same time we want to kickass and make gains its addictive if you want i can leave my number corey take care and i wish everyone good luck and good health!!!!!!

    • Lol. David I had noticed you dropping off about the same time I did_and was wondering. I was actually going to ask if you were okay, ( ie, didn’t F yourself up on this ) but then saw your post yesterday. Yeah, it was about 6 weeks for me also, and it wasn’t a lack of being mentally tough. My body was beginning take a toll worse than it was powerlifting.lol. I’d see what I thought was visable progress and progression, then turn around and backslide left and right. The more I tried to stay on board, the worse it got. I agree, the volume helped. For instance, I’m not doing a 5×5, more like a 3 x 6-8 on the big compounds, and on assistance or ISO 8-10, or 10-12, but it’s way easier than had I switched directly from what I did powerlifting. I didn’t have that capacity for work across sets, they were always ramped from warmup through until the final set. Sets across for reps above 5 before_wasnt gonna happen. Lol.
      It actually feels good now. I’m not grinding it out anymore like I was_and when I wasn’t even going to failure! I have to wonder if what I’ve read from not only bodybuilders but surprisingly_powerlifters as well_isnt true, that SHRT is a good means to giving the body a break, re activating mass that is dormant, etc etc,_and then returning to a more standard protocol_whatever that is. So, while my reps in both warmup and work sets are higher range than previously had been,
      ( though by no means 50 – 100 )
      my total volume per week is about the same per body part, about 120 reps
      ( excluding warm ups ) per larger body parts, and about 60 reps per week smaller_shoulders, bi’s, tri’s etc. What has increased is my workload. A lot different squatting 600 for a set of 3 reps, than it is 300 for 3 sets of 8 ATG. ALOT!!! Lol. I suspect you are doing something along the lines of hitting a bodypart once every 4 days? For instance_

      Monday Chest
      Tuesday Back
      Wednesday Legs
      Thurs Off
      Friday repeat from the top?

      If so, the frequency per body part is ideal for us ectos, lol. That much I can state for fact. After about 4, 5 days our size begins to fade and strength as well. We detrain. I know you have some help, but even with that, the proper frequency per bodypart is surely improving your results. Just watch out for overtraining as far as too, many days straight ( 3 in a row ) or
      ( 6 in a week ), even on a split there’s a shit ton of overlap. Steroids may help there, but I don’t know where they draw the line in the sand. I made a lot of strength gains to get big totals on similar templates 6 days a week, and prolonged them when they sputtered through periodization, but that was one area I was neglecting ( recovery as a whole ). I truly believe it’s why I got so much stronger, but not much bigger, and eventually very injured. Training more than two days straight can be a real CNS killer, too. My body was screaming about it and trying to tell me with what progressed and on what days, and what didn’t, but I didn’t know how to listen. Now I’m getting strength accompanied with size, and it’s early, but it wasn’t happening at all before. I am actually experimenting this week. I had started this;

      Monday: Upper body
      Tuesday: Lower body
      Off
      Thurs: Upper body
      Friday: Lower body
      Off
      Off

      It was a vast improvement, but I noticed I still felt a bit beat up going into day two, and soreness that was occurring in areas that were no doubt going to be hit
      at least indirectly again. So, I’m trying;

      Week 1

      Monday: Upper
      Off
      Wed: Lower
      Off
      Friday: Upper
      Off
      Off

      Week 2

      Mon: Lower
      Off
      Wed: Upper
      Off
      Fri: Lower
      Off
      Off.
      Standard rotating upper/lower split, hitting everything every 4-5 days.
      The focus on upper changes from chest to back per day, and lower from quads to hams, but both are worked, and there is variation. So far it’s going great. I came to my conclusions based on all my stupidity of twenty years, and what was working strength wise.lol. Then went searching for a template that worked in accordance to what I was certain of for strength, that focused on bodybuilding.
      It may seem cheesy_lol, but the most honest routine I have found is located at:

      Aworkoutroutine.com

      The template I’m using is called
      The Muscle Building Workout.
      I’m taking the advice switching to the three day based on my experience thus far with the four day, and the advice there. Maybe it’s worth a look. I was prompted by an ecto article I read that finally hit the nail on the head, regardless of what people claim we should do.

      Anyway, yeah_you can leave your number or hit me up at my email addy since it’s long distance lol.

      cjkeener_75@hotmail.com

      I’d love to stay in touch, swap ideas, thoughts or opinions, experiences with training or otherwise. I’m always up for it.
      Yeah, I didn’t know if it’d be appropriate to post here anymore not following said routine either, but I am always willing to share what I’m doing that’s working or isn’t, or advice based on what I am certain of in all my years of trial and error, no matter a persons goal. So, I hope to hear from you, and extend that offer to the board as well. Thank you David for all you have done and do, and everyone else here! Good luck everyone, wish you all you hope to accomplish

  67. 40X20
    50X20
    60X33,25,18,16

    No plateau yet on the 60s. What I found having started with the 40s was that when the total rep count for the 4 sets was over 100, my gains slowed down precipitously. For me using a fail weight in the 20-30 rep range seems to be the sweet spot so far.

  68. Micheal thank you so much for this! I really appreciate for telling us this, I got interested with high reps after watching Kali Muscle hunnit series. So I searched it up and found this site. Thank you again Micheal, your info is very helpful, started a week ago and already seeing my SIZE INCREASE (am a beginner so maybe I gain more.)

  69. ok..
    i was trying to find more info about “michael” and his method..
    i noticed he was commenting on a few websites.. making claims about super hi-rep effectiveness..

    then i searched some more and i noticed this mofo commenting on kali’s youtube video…

    “frankenbat
    2 months ago

    i got to tour the local jail when i was in boy scouts back in the mid-80’s, and there were some swole-ass motherfuckers in there, with arms as big as their heads. i remember noticing that the biggest guys in the weight room were doing sets of major reps, and i remember thinking “how in the hell are they getting big lifting such light weights?”

    then i tried it five years ago, after decades of struggling with low rep programs, and i’m 50 pounds heavier now. i barely did anything at all; i was just doing 1 set per bodypart 3x a week for 50-100 reps, so i know for a fact that shit works like nothing else. i’m getting more serious about my training now, doing a 5×50 split twice a week and upping my calories. i weigh 220 right now, hoping to get as swole as you in another 5 years if i can keep the ball rolling. thanks for telling shit like it is, kali; god bless.”

    the dude is called Michael Anthony Marshall

    he sounds just like “michael” from above..
    “gained 50 pounds”.. 1 set 3x week 50-100 reps… now doing 5×50…

    his youtube username is frankenbat..

    check out his fat fuc* physique…
    he sure sounds like “michael”.. no wonder he dissapeared when someone asked him about pics..

    (dont know if this character is ineed michael.. but i’d bet on it)

  70. “frankenbat
    high reps increases GH, intramuscular IGF-1 and protein synthesis. they
    also flush out the myostatin that normally inhibits tissue growth. that’s
    the secret.”

    yes.. i think this is “michael”… lol… i think i found him

  71. “frankenbat
    2 months ago

    high rep squats = works core. low rep squats = not so much. i got no ab soreness doing 5×5, but with 5×50 i do. same applies to benching and rowing.”

    yes.. this is surely michael.. squats, benching and rowing…

  72. “frankenbat Says:
    if you’re an advanced lifter, you can increase volume by increasing reps instead of sets. for example, you can do a 5×50 routine twice a week per bodypart, and get great mass gains. with high reps, you can go up to 500 reps a week total without overtraining. you also get 60% increase in protein synthesis with 25+ reps, according to the McMaster study they did a few years ago.”

    ok guys.. i definitely found him.. he is mentioning mcmaster study.. like “michael” on this page.. thats him all right… his physique looks awful… so much for 50 lbs of lean mass…

  73. @ Johnny: Outstanding internet detective work. I still think there is SOME value in the higher rep stuff, but man…. that dude doesn’t look like he’s ever touched a dumbbell in his life. Not a good look for somebody preaching the effectiveness of ANY bodybuilding routine.

    I’m still trying a high-rep routine — mainly because I don’t have any other options due to some joint pain. But at least now I have a far more realistic picture of what I can expect.

    I will post again after a few weeks to let you all know how my progress has been on the high reps. I imagine I will probably gain 50lbs of lean mass and add 200lbs to my bench press in about 6 weeks. ;)

  74. Excellent investigation , i thought something was stinky when he claimed 50 punds in 3 yrs , and the kicker was he can bench 405 while doing 50 lb db bench for 5o ,when i started this routine i did 4 sets of 5o reps with 5o lb my bench is 305 lmao , The only positive thing i got from this routine an di never really followed it cause i thought it was weird is conditioning , i pretty much did 20 reps and up for all exercises only on db bench did i do 50 reps cause doing 50 reps on a row is crazy form breaks down , same with squats after 30 reps with weight on your back it takes a toll ,So while I’m bitching i will say my fitness or conditioning improved which i carry over to my normal training which i decided to do 2 weeks of 15 reps 2 weeks of 8 reps 2 weeks of 5 reps and repeat .bcause i have a big ego i have decided a goal of 100lb db flat bench for 50 reps i believe this is possible so once a week I’m doing a set till failure around 50 reps not 5 sets lol why because its a goal and il look cool probably still won’t bench 405 but maybe michael can lend advice , anyway thanks for the investigative work , i wonder why someone would go through the trouble of these posts and stuff you know like whats he get out of this , just weird oh i was wondering how do i see his picture and what site its on .peace and if anyone would ever want some real honest advice ask me I’m on Facebook david dicicco troy mi bodybuilding and fitness is my passion i feel if you love something you should not devalue it peace

  75. this high rep stuff didn’t do dick for me. And i started with 50lb dumbbells for 50 rep..after 3 weeks i was getting suspicious..didn’t feel like lifting at all..before this “experiment” i trained using iron addicts routine for hardgainers. Pretty solid info on his pdf training manual.I can wholeheartedly recommend it. Though i don’t bench 400lbs yet like MICHAEL…IN EASTER BUNNY ISLAND..as for kali being natural..just stay out of forums like this..god..

  76. Are you serious that guys a dork times infinity fabulous maybe i should go on a guitar site and say i have genius methods to play better , even though I’ve never played .

  77. It’s weird to me because 50% of what this guy said was absolute bullshit (ie: creatine as good as steroids, kali muscle being natural, or the ridiculous notion that they actually drug-test WWF wrestlers) but the other 50% of what he said was the god’s honest truth.

    Yes, his physique certainly doesn’t add to his credibility but I think his method still has merit — if only for a short-term change of pace.

    Michael did say something interesting that I think most people missed:

    He wrote:

    “If you really want to know, train high rep for 3-6 months, then test for PR’s after training heavy pyramids for a week to adapt your brain to that sort of signal processing.”

    In a nutshell — try it for 3-6 months and see if it works for you. It’s a little bit unfair to throw in the towel after 3-4 weeks and deem it a failure because muscle growth is a dreadfully slow process.

    Then again, if you don’t actually LIKE the style of training it’s impossible to stick with it for six months.

    Anyway, seems like George is seeing some decent results and he’s been doing it for a while. I started it this week and plan to run it for at least a few months (my joints could use a break) so I’ll be sure and report back as well.

    I think the “morale of the story” is that ANY rep range — from singles to sets of 100 – can be effective if you’re willing to work hard.

    • I believe there’s truth to that ” Any rep range”_but I also believe it has to be in the right context of goals ( is it optimal for what you hope to achieve ), genetics, and therefore programming. Eg, can you personally recover from it, make gains, and of what kind.

      I felt bad for some of my initial comments early on. Now_not so much. Dude looks like the slob in Human Centipede 2. I’m so lmfao right now. I believe there’s merit to this in some uses, but otherwise. Ashton_are you there_have we been punked? Lol

  78. Interesting discussion. I’m not sure about the “any rep range”. the most recent study by Burd et al has shown that at 30% of 1rpm there is equivalent muscle growth at least out to 3 months on untrained individuals. The 30% for this group worked out to a fail weight of 24 reps. It did not however produce the strength gains that are realized by heavier weights, which other studies have shown greater gains up to 60% of 1RM what ever reps that works out to.

    The study also suggested that the key is to train each set to failure, but having done this now for 4 months, I’ve found that if you’re a rep or 2 short on the first set or 2, say you loose your balance and cut the set short, you wind up making up the reps on the following sets. I think that as long as you push it on the last couple sets you’re probably fine. Maybe that’s why the old 5X10 routine worked so well.

    Basically what I found was that in 2 months I went from 92 reps in 4 sets on the 50s to 92 reps in 4 sets on the 60s.

    I don’t think that’s negligible progress and I’m training injured from a car accident last year so loading the joints has been a limiting factor. And I’m happy to be making progress. But the question I think we’re pondering is whether this is optimal. I do wonder if I had instead started 2 months ago at 60 X 5X10, would I have been further along?

    At the same time I’ve been doing the crunch machine,(no injury there) but keeping the reps low, under 10. I started at 40lbs X 3X20 and the other day I did the whole fricken machine 150lbs for 3X3.

    It’s interesting too the individual differences reported. Like some of Davids results I can’t touch his rep count not even close but from what he reports it sounds like I have a much stronger bench. I think that’s why I was making little to no progress above the 30 fail weight. I suspect that the effective rep range varies by individual and in my case that was just too light.

    The take aways for me are that we can make progress with lighter weight/higher reps than what we thought.That if we’re injured we can go lighter and make progress as long as it isn’t too light. That if we’ve plateaued with heavy weight or if our joints are screaming at us, we can continue to make progress by upping the rep count, for at least several months to give the joint adaptation a chance to catch up.

    So for me at least, it’s been pretty useful.

  79. Just a final thought, I think that what Matt said: “In a nutshell — try it for 3-6 months and see if it works for you. It’s a little bit unfair to throw in the towel after 3-4 weeks and deem it a failure because muscle growth is a dreadfully slow process.” is something we need to really consider here.

    It makes me wonder what would happen if I stayed with the 60s for the summer and just kept pushing the reps for 3 months.

  80. Here’s an idea. David and Corey you guys get a baseline and follow a low rep protocol. Matt and I will follow a high rep protocol. Let’s take it out to to Labor Day and see what happens.

    Since I already have good baselines I’ll drop back down to the 60s and grind it out. That’ll be 4 months with the 60s.come Labor day.

    If you guys are still on this.

    • I’ll run the high reps for at least the next month or so but I’m a competitive powerlifter with competitions in the fall so I can’t run it all the way until labor day.

      But I’ll run it as long as i can and then post my results. George — since you and I seem to be the only ones still doing it feel free to shoot me an email and we can trade notes. — marshall5xxxx1xxxx8@gmail.com

      (remove the x’s).

    • Im not running a vry low rep protocol , I’ve been going the lowest 8 reps .I am sticking with once a week 2 sets of flat db bench for 40 plus reps I’ve had a goal to do the 100 lb dbs for 50 straight reps . My knees have been aching so i have been doing very high reps on leg presses , so my point is I’m kind of hybrid training , i will give you my baseline though as of last week ,… 85lb db flat 44 reps 1 set , 2nd set 23 reps , then i went to inclines 70 for 20 80 for 12 90 for 8 then high rep pecdeck drop sets from 280 down to 100 lbs start at 12 reps . i will do legs tomorrow and post my baseline cause I’m feeling good , I’ve been going light lately , for back I’ve been doing rack pulls heavy 8 reps 455 then 2 more sets of 10 down to 365 , lat pulldowns 4 sets of 12 to 15 reps up to 240 lbs , now for rows I’ve been going to different ways some standing 1 arm , some on the bench , some with the barbell , i still don’t have a definite opinion on whats best , i think form is imperative and not to use your lower back , so I’m not going heavy or even to failure so i won’t give a number cause i feel i can cheat and do a lot more for reps , actually our gym got a t bar row where your locked in , it s great so I’m going to start using that , so i will keep posting my progress , i think its good to compare notes , i plan pretty soon to start benching heavy just to see how much I’ve gained , i do know this when i started like i said i was doing 50 lbdb flat for sets of 50 , this was rely april , now before this using benching rep ranges of 5 to 10 i was stuck for a while , so my moral here is i got better at doing high reps i have no injuries as far as size increase , i feel doing the pec deck for high reps droplets etc. caused my slight size increase . Also i am more sore combining these ranges on chest day ok , i hope this helps . Peace

        • yea i was thinking a lot about that , in 2 weeks i will ramp up on barbell bench to 5 reps I’m kind of scared , it is a different excersise and i don’t want to mess my pec up , btw i will post on my Facebook soon as i get 90s for 50 or if i can figure how to upload to u tube , il say this though for some reason i notice others on here have been making progress on adding reps and weight , not at my pace but still impressive , when i used to do low reps , progress was slow as snails , the only complaint i have with the high rep benching is that after 2 sets like with 85 or even when i was a t 70 lbs to keep doing sets over 20 taxes my shoulders , this is why i do 2 sets now and go to inclines and anyway I’m trying to build the upper area anyway . Take care

  81. Miachael, i would like to see a picture of you and what type of definition you have from doing this type of workout. I agree with some of what you say but not all. I am hard pressed to believe that you are getting decent definition with out doing certain exercises and targeting specific muscles. I do however do 12 to 24 rep exercises and to 4 to 5 sets per body part but i try to hit specific body parts to get uniformity. I do agree that core exercises are great but i dont think that its going to deveolope all your muscles in the way you say. Please prove me wrong with a picture.

    • Hey all,

      Not sure how it compares to give a baseline here since I’m doing a 2x weekly Lower/Upper routine in your standard BBing rep ranges of 6 – 12.
      I found it at aworkoutroutine.com which I think I mentioned. I started very light for this ( overly ) since I had no clue where I was at between the powerlifting maxes I had prior to the whole Michael thing, injuries, having had no strategic deloads for a while, and not being adapted to the straight sets, rep ranges, frequency of body parts, or working some of them together. Pretty much all new to me. So how any of it translates or carries over from one routine to the next??? For instance I cut my 1 rep max on bench (pyramid style) right in half to 225 for 3 sets of 6 – 8 on Tuesdays and 8 – 10 on Fridays. I’m only into this frequency starting week 3, and up 25 pounds, (5 a workout) but I’m staying away from failure So??? Fridays my bench is also a few exercises in and not the lead off, so It’s bound to catch up to me and drop off eventually. But if anyone wants a detailed description of routine and where I’m at on each lift I’ll gladly post if it helps. Peace.

      • So today is my 10th day off I wound up missing 6 days because of business meeting so I decided to take the full 10 days now. I’ll start back up tomorrow for a 10 week run. I think Corey brings up a good point that every once in a while periods of detraining help. 10 weeks on 10 days off is what we used to do. Not sure where the current research is on that.

        • I can’t really relate in terms of so many days on/ as compared to off_as means of a deload, but depending on routine I’ve taken a full week off, but results often varied ( sometimes I came back stronger, others I lost a lot of strength. Typically I drop to about 80 – 85 percent of my top end sets, and work back up 5 percent a week and then shoot for a P.R. Otherwise, a very good method for building strength/busting through a plateau, 100 percent one week and 75 the next, alternating heavy/light weeks. It works well for increasing maxes, but not really for size though. Closest I can relate to on time opposed to off. Us hardgainers usually backslide too much taking time off rather than lowering intensity over a period of time. Even lowering volume seems an issue, but yeah, deloading really important especially if natural. If 12 weeks has passed and you haven’t, I’d suggest it. Imho

  82. Joints felt surprisingly tender after the layoff.
    Starting Baseline:

    40X35,35,30,30,25

    Basically 3 months later I’m staring off with 20 more total reps with the 40lbrs.

  83. So i thought i would leave a positive point of high rep training,lol , once you start reaping weights over 30 reps most people do low reps with .. people will doubt your claims .My friend told a guy he plays poker with that i can rep 80lb dbs for 50 on bench , the guy is betting me 500 bucks , I’m trying to up the bet i did 85 lb for 44 a couple weeks ago last session i did declines and inclines no flat , this week i will rep the 80s and video it ,

    • $500…NICE! Nobody ever bet me $500 bucks. Lol. I’ve gotten $20 and a 50 once I think.
      ” No way you bench 400_or squat 600 to true depth! I’m bigger than YOU! ” Lol.
      Just goes to show.
      Good for you. Always nice to make free money for something you’d do regardless. Interested to see it.
      I’ll just be happy in another month or two getting my total back up to your max, for 3 x 8. Lol

    • As long as there’s no bass guitar homage to Kahli Muscle involved…lol. Just kidding David. Sorry, it was like I just had to. Lmao

  84. Ok i think i did 37 , disappointed , i got excuses lol , its on Facebook i took off my privacy settings so its public David DiCicco Troy Michigan , I’m gonna put it on u tube but i got to figure out how to first , and soon il have some goofy music playing , might as well do it up right …. i pledge to get 50 reps within 2 weeks , i did extend my range all the way up to look correct , that could have impeded me , whatever il get it done soon peace

        • its on u tube 80lb dumbbell press 35 reps ….. yea way short i haven’t even met the dude yet lol he’s a gambler my poker friend knows who will bet on anything , I’m gonna make sure i got it down before i meet this guy ,

      • yes on Facebook i don’t know how to post it on here i removed my privacy setting so you can go to it David DiCicco Troy MI

  85. I just posted it to u tube 80lb dumbbell press 35 reps ….. i don’t know why the video is sideways sorry …. I’m having my friend tape next week it will be better but no bass guitar ,, baby steps lol

  86. no i woke up had a protein drink with milk , then went to the gym i usually train at night , after this set i did 3 sets of inclines with only 60 lbs and dragged , through some flys and rear delts , i was just in a hurry to do this , i notice my right side was tight and slow i usually am much faster , next week il be on … thanks though take care

  87. Just an update, I jacked up my shoulder 3 weeks ago. So knowing I had to lay off the upper body weights, decided to start cutting hard and dropped 8.5lbs. I got back on it today but it’s going to take a while, I lost quite a bit. I’ll report back in a few weeks.

  88. Sorrry to hear, I’ve been doing a ;to of rear felt and rotator cuff stuff. I have also stopped doing heavy inclines they always seem to bother my shoulders. .also you might want to look into these thin elastic rubber bands , i went to a medical supply store they are not for weight lifters their for stretching exc, anyway they cut the size you want , mine is 48 in the strongest strength , basically i take from the front and as i lift it over my head i pull it apart and down to my but and back over each time stretching overhead as wide as possible .This really improves my posture and looseness I’ve been coin this a couple weeks I’m sold on it , i stubbled on to this my dad was using one for his hams i started playing around with it my shoulders feel looses after work or anytime , i just do this maybe ten reps . i took some time off from the gym , the guy doesn’t wan tot bet me anymore i guess my friend was to adamant about it and oh well i cant get 50 reps anyway maybe in a couple weeks , I’m going to keep my training from 20 reps down to 6 anyway .. good luck ..

  89. I have been powerlifting for a few years and lifting for along time. I have always believed in lower reps to build dense muscle. After a serious shoulder injury the doctors were very surprised at the lack of wasting, I attribute this to carrying dense muscle. I have always thought doing a light rep will always only trigger a small, almost superficial, portion of the muscle while a heavy rep will trigger the full muscle. A heavy compound lift will also invoke the central nervous system. I am starting to revisit my theory, I think a hybrid training method would be more ideal. It can get hard to see gains with limited bulk.
    excellent article

    • This is what Leroy Colbert has to say about 50 reps.

      Leroy Colbert is the first man to develop 21 inch arms without any supplements, not even protein powder, it does’t exist back then in 40’s when is start bodybuilding.

      I m Thomas Mir on facebook.

      • I like Leroy’s videos, but Testosterone and Dianobol were available in the 40s and were mainstream (with pro bodybuilders) by the 50s. Just sayin…

        Anywoo, saw this article and posts about a month ago when I was looking for a change up from the heavy weight to failure HIT protocol. I was getting a little burned out after 6 months of it and needed something different, so I decided to give it go. Now, I’ve tweaked it a little, so I’m doing a 25-45 rep, one set to failure per body part routine of 8 exercises, twice per week. When I fail around 45 reps, I add 10 pounds to the exercise. So far I like it a lot! I am doing more reps in each exercise every workout and the pump is great. I did some more poking around which led me to Clarence Bass’ website.
        http://www.cbass.com/

        Check it out as there are numerous articles on high reps versus low reps for strength and hypertrophy gains. Seems like there’s little difference in your method as long as you are working HARD (to failure). I plan on using this program through the end of the year and then I’ll see how I feel about it. I did gain a pound this week and look leaner in the mirror even though I’m a couple hundred calories below maintenance with my diet. Diet is fairly clean…lots of lean protein, complex carbs and good fat. The above being said, it could be the change in the routine or the routine itself…time will tell. I’ll post back periodically and advise on my progress.

  90. Just saw the vid , thank you i realized a few weeks into this high rep routine ,it was crap , i stuck with it more for ego just to see how heavy i could go with 50 reps .Ironically as i posted a while back i had no visible changes despite starting at 50lbs for 50 and ending at 85lb for 44 . I agree with Leroy this ultra high reps don’t traumatize the muscle enough to build or alter it , its more of a work capacity inmprover and i did feel it was burning me out ,

  91. Thanks in advance for response via email.
    I am forced to use bodyweight exercises for high reps.
    What is the best set/rep progression for the following to build muscle if done 5 days weekly.
    BW Squats
    Chin ups
    Pushups
    Dips bet Chairs
    Crunches
    Sprints
    My morning session is 15 minutes of stretching and I would do the exercises in the PM.

  92. I am interested in high reps, but increasing the weight over time like maybe 5% a month. My though is this, it would help a person develop a high level of muscular enduance, for sports like wrestling or mixed martial arts. Imagine if someone could bench 225 lbs 50+ times, dont you think this person would be huge! or if one could squat 225 lbs 50+ times, they would have superior size, strength and endurance?

  93. Hey chuck I did a high rep routine a while back , I had posted many comments . I started at 50 lb db press for 50 it took a few months and I got to 85 lb for 44 reps I have a utube video. Look up 80 lb db press for 35 reps. When I got high in weight my shoulder started hurting bad. I had no increase on chest size none and I took a month off and went back to sets of 15 with 100 lb db. Shoulder got worse I don’t feel high reps are good for size or max strength sooner or later 40 reps or 30 with heavy weight is going to cause issues

    • I have to agree with David. There was no problem when we started out with the lighter weights but when we ramped up to heavier weights with the high reps it lead to over use joint issues.

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