The older trainer will find higher reps more forgiving, and combining them with in supersets can develop better conditioning, as well as a stronger desire to continue training.
The occasional high-rep split will prime the muscles to be more productive when you go back to your relatively lower-rep workouts. One way that it does this is by increasing the mitochondria, which are the energy source for most cells. Higher reps will also bring more red blood cells to your muscles, which will in turn deliver more oxygen.
When you get back to your heavy workouts, you'll be refreshed and ready to go. When training with high-rep supersets, make sure that, once acclimatized, you don't use weights that have you just going through the motions. For each set, try to find a weight that will have you close to or hitting failure at the prescribed number of reps.
A great high-rep training split is to break up your workouts into two days:
- Back | Shoulders | Biceps | Forearms
- Legs | Chest | Triceps
Alternate back and forth between the two days for six days per week, which will have you hitting each muscle group three times a week. You're going to want to start with the larger groups (i.e. back and quads) and work your way down to he smaller groups. For each muscle group, pick two exercises that you will superset back and forth, trying to take no more than 15 seconds of rest between sets.
With each superset you are going to progressively decrease the number of reps by 10, in drop-set fashion, and (hopefully) increase the weight used. We want to use a weight that allows us to hold great form while failing at the desired number of reps. If you hit failure before the desired number of reps, you can set the weight sown and take five deep breaths, then continue from where you left off until you get all of the reps. Even if you have to take a break more than once, that's okay as long as you finish the set after your short, five-breath breaks.
The reps for these supersets will go 40, 30, 20, 10. So, you will do 40 reps of exercise one, 15-second rest, 40 reps of exercise two, 15-second rest, 30 reps of exercise one, 15-second rest, 30 reps of exercise two, 15-second rest, and so on until you've completed all the sets and reps. By the end of the last set your target muscles should be at maximum fatigue. It not, you are lacking in intensity. Next time, up your effort level.
The examples shown below utilize same-bodypart supersets. You can also quite easily set up antagonist supersets in your high-rep superset training programs. The split would then be different. An example of the latter will also be shown.
Sample Back/Shoulders/Biceps/Forearms Day
Dumbbell Rows - 40, 30, 20, 10 superset (as described above) with
Supinated Bentover Rows - 40, 30, 20 10.
Dumbbell Overhead Press - 40, 30, 20, 10 superset with
Lateral Raise - 40, 30, 20, 10.
EZ-Bar Curl - 40, 30, 20, 10 superset with
Dumbbell Curl - 40, 30, 20, 10.
Reverse-Grip Barbell Curl - 40, 30, 20, 10 superset with
Barbell Wrist Curl - 40, 30, 20, 10.
Examples of Antagonistic High-Rep Supersets
Chest and Back:
Dumbbell Bench Press - 40, 30, 20, 10 superset with
Lat Pulldown - 40, 30, 20, 10.
Biceps and Triceps:
Barbell Curl - 40, 30, 20, 10 superset with
Pressdown - 40, 30, 20, 10.
You can also compose Tri-Sets here.
Low Incline Bench Press to Supinated Pulldown to Lean Forward Shrug
Hack Squat to Leg Curl to Seated Calf Raise