From about ten years ago…
Ten quality reps a workout is about all I can do.
So, 3 by 3 is great for me, as is 2 sets of 5, or 6 singles.
I only count the real sets though. I remember one guy who said at the Upper Limit Gym that he was doing 5 x 5s, with 4 sets at 135 and one at 225. Well…, I don’t know about that, I look at that as a 1 x 5.
High volume, lots of reps, lots of sets has its place. I had one of my throwers, Mike Slazac, do 8 by 8 in the squat one day a week, military press another, and a back movement another to put on some weight after football season. He grew like a weed on this…for a few weeks. But, not one single set of 8 was with any serious weight!
The “Rule of Ten” seems to keep reminding me about the key element: intensity.
Even if I do five sets of three, for example, I will still strive for three serious sets.
For the past month or so, I have been following some advice from MLL and Steve Shafley, with some help from Mike Rosenberg, and I have attempted to cycle my lifting…at the same time playing with various low carb/high protein diet cycles.
Well, it is working. From very subjective evidence, my wife Tiff, I look better. I am also lifting rather well, too. Not using straps, I am snatch pulling 260 fairly easily and adding plates to all my lifts without really pushing it.
First, I attempted to go “nerveless” in training. That means no mental effort above the bare minimum. So, if I am going to do something that is heavy, I just do it. I keep striving to make the reps with the same weight easier and smoother. If it is a full lift, like a squat snatch, I am trying to make each rep easier in the cluster of reps.
Second, I tried to follow my “Big Ten” advice. I had discovered that I have about ten quality lifts per exercise…not including warmups, back off sets or speed related sets. So, I cycled up from 2 sets of five to three sets of three to six heavy singles over a three week period. It really seemed to work. Now, I certainly do more than just those ten reps, but those are the work sets. It seemed to work well.
Third, I tried hard to stay very clean some weeks with my MLB diet and go meat and water on other weeks (the “off lifting” week…well, five days). In addition, I backed way off on supplements for the whole time. I am going back to Mg and Fish Oil Capsules for general health, but that is it.
It is working. The idea of gently prodding the lifts up seems to be working. You know, in the discus, John Powell believed the same thing. He told Tiff in Las Vegas that what I am doing in the weight room is exactly how he pushed his discus marks up. “How easy can I throw x?…If my goal is 200, if I can easily throw 180, then 181, then 182…what is happening with my best throws? It should be going up!”
Like I say at the top of the program, any variations to the program are fine, but I think the idea of cycling the reps, sets and diet has some merit.