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Power-Up: Big Weights, Low Reps!
By: Luis Berrios
Power-Up: Big Weights, Low Reps

- Powerlifting Articles -

A guide to the use of high sets and low reps for powerful strength and size gains.

Unfortunately, most bodybuilders and powerlifters perform far too many sets and reps. When you lift with high sets and high reps, you are asking for trouble. Such training does at times produce a large amount of muscle mass, especially in steroid users, but the mass never develops in proportion to strength, and muscle without strength is nothing but a joke. As for drug-free lifters, high-set, high-rep training can wreak on cortisol level, which is definitely not what you want if you plan on ever putting an ounce of muscle on your frame.

High-set, low-rep training is another story entirely. It can produce phenomenal strength and size gains as no other type of training can. If you doubt it, then consider these examples routines and give it a try.

High - Set Singles

One of the most popular forms of low-rep training among old-timers, this approach is highly effective at making a muscle stronger. Start off with a weight you absolutely know you can get at least three singles with. Remember, it's better to start off too light than too heavy. Make sure you warm up well for the lift using very low reps.

Then after three minutes rest, go directly into singles. Perform a single, rest three to five minutes and then do another single. If you manage to do eight singles, stop performing the lift, add 2.5 to 5 pounds at your next workout and start the progression again.

If you goal is simply to be stronger, then end the workout at this point. If you want muscle mass to go along with the strength, rest five minutes and perform 3 sets of 5 reps, taking 90 minutes rest between sets.


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Here is the example workout:

DAY 1: Chest & Arms

DAY 2: Calves & Abs

DAY 3: Legs

DAY 4: Calves & Abs

DAY 5: Back & Shoulders

DAYS 6 & 7: Off

The Power-Up

This approach will probably seem a bit more conventional to most bodybuilders and, easier to get used to the usual method. Perform three different exercises for each muscle group for three sets of three reps each. If you haven't been achieving any results with the more popular, high-rep routines, this method may be just what you need.

It also enables you to use more exercises for each bodypart and will probably result in the most muscle growth if you've already used the high-set singles for few months.

Here is the example workout:

DAY 1: Chest & Shoulders

DAY 2: Legs

DAY 3: Off

DAY 4: Back & Abs

DAY 5: Arms

DAY 6 & 7: Off

Two very good routines for adding a combination of size and strength that use low reps and multiple sets. There are many variations on the idea, but these are a good foundation to start with. Give them an honest try, and you should see the different.

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