Weight and Resistance Training - ~Sets and Reps~

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10-03-2005, 10:41 AM

I'm thinking about training for BULK this next 4 weeks. So I want to lift really heavy, yes? I want to lift heavy but how many reps and sets do I do? I want to lift enough to fail after 5 reps, so do I do 3 sets of 5 reps or 5 sets of 5 reps?

If this seems a bad idea to anyone, got any suggestions otherwise?

I want to keep doing the same exercises that I was doing the week before last:

Stiff Legged Dead
Split Squats
Calf Raises

Dumbbell Press
Standing Shoulder Press
Tricep Press
Lying Tricep Press
Ab Crunches

Dumbell Row
Biceps Curl
something I can't remember the name of - where you hold 1 DB with both hands and extend over your head whilst lying on a bench :?:

So I want to keep doing these exercises but I just wanted to change the sets and reps up! So for "bulking", how many sets of how many reps do you guys recommend?

10-03-2005, 03:25 PM
I have some questions for you before I can answer this- but I have to run back to the gym. Will post later!

10-03-2005, 04:23 PM
That depends. If you are like Mel and quite advanced than I would say that you probably need "moderate" weights and a LOT of volume (10x10) plus plenty of food. If you are less advanced then you might respond well to training for strength (higher weights, lower reps) and consuming plenty of calories.

I am also very much against training to failure with heavy weights. IMHO, it tends to burn you out much too fast to give good sustained progress.

What % of your 1RM (one rep max) are you going to be training at in each of your set/rep schemes? For me anything less than 65% is cardio and greater than 90% tends to burn me out. Triples or ladders (1/2/3/1/2/3 etc.) in the 85-90% range tend to work well for me, strengthwise, on the big exercises. For something like the OHP, six sets of three reps or six ladders at 90%1RM done two or three times a week gives a nice training effect. You could try presses Monday and Friday (or maybe bench one day and OHP another) and curls and abs on all three days.

I like to use Prilepin's table (http://www.angelfire.com/pe/txpls/prilephin.html) as a guide to choosing set/rep ranges for strength training. The table was developed empirically from studying elite Olympic lifters. If you do more work than recommended power tends to decrease, if you do less you fail to get enough of a training effect.

10-03-2005, 10:27 PM
My first reaction is why? Please forgive my bluntness, but you haven't reached your goal weight yet and I don't think you've been lifting for very long. You're probably still in the "golden phase" when you can put on muscle without resorting to tweaks. What kind of set and rep pattern are you using now?

Since you seen to enjoy sports where speed, strength, and endurance are all important, deliberately bulking just doesn't sound like a good idea to me. It would be a great idea if you wanted to do a body building contest next summer and had time to build, then lean down. But are those really your goals?

For strength, endurance and weightloss, I'd stick to moderate to heavy weights with moderate reps, increasing weight through your sets so that you are fatigued at 10-12 reps for your last set. 15-12-10-10 is probably a good rep count for 4 sets for large muscle groups. For shoulders and arms, I keep most of my clients and myself at a rep count of 10. They are smaller muscles and burn out quicker.

The other factor in muscle growth is food. RobertW mentioned lots of food and to a certain extent that's true. But it has to be CLEAN food. Not chips, not ice cream. Lean protein and complex carbohydrates build muscle. If you want to build muscle and not gain significant fat, you really need to fine tune your diet.

Muscle growth also occurs with change- virtually any change in my experience. I've gone from moderate reps-moderate weight, high reps-lower weight (like 20 rep sets), low reps-high weight. Whenever I change, and I do it frequently, I get growth or shape changes.

Again, it comes down to what are your goals?


10-04-2005, 05:04 AM
Righty ho, well, when I said "bulk" I meant that I want to build more muscle but not nescessarily make my whole body bigger. Maybe I shouldn't have used that word! :?: I've been doing the exercises mentioned above, with 3 sets of 10, fatiguing at the 10th rep of the 3rd set.

I was looking at a change in routine. I don't want to change my exercises because I'm really enjoying them, especially leg days! So I thought I would mix it up a bit by doing fewer reps with heavier weights. So I guess this is the change you were talking about. I just wanted to try something different. I've just heard that low reps and heavy weights were for "bulking" so that's why I said I wanted to "Bulk". I just really want to go with heavy weights and low reps for 4 weeks then change it up again after that.

I've been lifting for 3 months with free weights, but I did machines before then. :o So I guess I am still in the "golden phase" although it doesn't seem to be doing me much good! :rofl: I'm just impatient :tantrum: so I'm resolving to make October a good month - starting now!

October is also going to be my month for "tweaking" my food. I've gotta do something about the weekends! Ga!

Thanks for your questions Mel, I realise that I do just want a change!

Edit: Oh last night I tried my leg workout with 3 sets of 5 reps with weights increased by 10-15lbs. I was almost at failure by the last rep of the last set.