Saturday, May 19, 2018

Super High-Rep Training

Here's an interesting training technique, one that might help you in several ways when applied appropriately and at the right time. I've used super-high reps, 50s and very occasionally 100's, but not for the reasons this unknown author from an undisclosed time and source lists. 

You may have trouble at times, and it comes and goes, with getting a good "feel" in some bodyparts, establishing a strong mental connection with the muscles in question. One well known way of training yourself to FEEL the muscle working is to s - l - o - w down rep speed, and to hold the contraction STRONGLY for a few counts. Forcing focus on the desired muscles don't come easy in some cases. Nor does it come easy in the land of proper grammar. It's worth the effort though, and if you're an older lifter (65 and up, well, that should read "down" I suppose, 'cause it's all a decline by then and you have to fight to slow it up and slow it down. Sorry to break the bad news to any gung ho forever-young pups here), ANYHOW . . . being able to really feel the muscles you're working as an elder lifter has a lot of additional application in your non-gym life. Declining propreoceptive abilities can be a problem, to put it mildly, and anything you can do to increase "awareness" of your body will be a plus. Also, those who experience that dead body feeling thanks to the wonders of clinical depression and/or slowing brain function (but not you, you'll never experience that thanks to your scientifically proven diet and lifestyle, eh) sometimes find it can be lessened through establishing a closer mind/body connection, when possible.   

Another way is to burn out the muscle with very high reps. Of course, you have to perform the exercises in a way that forces the desired muscles to do the brunt of the work, but once you have that down some super high rep sets can definitely help you feel the work in the right place, and after some effort you'll never forget how to get that mind/muscle link going right from the first warmup set.  Barring brain damage mishaps or potential mental illness you didn't count on, of course. I'll confess to saying a little prayer for you now and then, seriously. Who am I talkin' to! You, who else, idiot.

Bodybuilders, some, don't bother to count reps. It's all about feeling the muscle being worked in this case. I can honestly say it took me a little while to get out of the habit of constantly counting reps in all my physique training. Crazy, eh?  We get so used to relating the rep count to work done. Now, I'm not talking strength training here and if you don't know the difference between physique and strength training you shouldn't be reading this. It pretty much surprised the shit outta me to find out, after communicating with some seasoned trainers of the bodybuilding ilk, that counting reps went out the window for a lot of 'em. BUT . . . when doing super high reps, 50s and 100s, the rep count is an essential motivational tool. There's just too many ways to train and still see good results!  Why can't an "expert" who's never met me ignore 75% of 'em and tell me the "truth" and the right way so it's all easier!!! Wait a hot minute, here . . . I think that's already going on everywhere you look. Again, I'm assuming that people with less than a decade of lifting experience won't be reading this one particular post by now, and that all the strength trainers will have skedaddled as well. That is a great word. 

Numbers, Buddy! When did numbers start? 

"Duh, kindergarten?" 

Numbers, some say, originated in Sumeria somewheres between 3500 and 3000 B.C. This would be quite a deal, this realization that humans could store information outside of their brains. Quite a revelation, that one, and it changed human history to a huge extent. From written numbers came written words, and that next deal REALLY put humanity on a different level. This was all quite a while ago. In correct historical terms, a "wee while." Incidentally, did you know that up until around 1800 almost all governments were monarchies or aristocracies? Democracy is a very new governing method, relative to the length of human history. We still haven't seen all the potential screw-ups loopholes in this method will allow. Some of yer learned men truly believe this method of government was actually devised for the main purpose of building in loopholes that could be used. Some even say the charter of rights, the constitution and the bill of rights were designed with that same plan in mind.  Democracy. It's just a wee baby at this point. Not necessarily the greatest method, simply the latest. Personally, my favorite line about democracy at this point in our evolution is: Democracy can't work. Loosed from the leash, the dogs will devour one another. If a true democracy ever comes to be and survives without meddling and manipulation for any appreciable length of time I guess we shall see. 

This is all very depressing, I suppose. How 'bout a quick joke or three?

If a couple of cons set up an auto insurance scam with a fake accident could you call that a
Two Car Collusion? 

Does a vegetarian lifter listen to this tune for inspiration . . . 
It's the Eye of the Tater
It's the Dream of No Blight. 

A colonoscopy has gotta be the worst way to get free ginger ale. 

And Now . . . 
for a real treat, here's an exceptionally good new article by Dave Draper on Training Past 40 - 

I'm not putting a book reference here this time. Them other ones are taking longer than I figured to read. You know, going over certain parts and all that.

And that's one of the things I love about Dave's articles. You can go over them for repeat readings and . . . IT NEVER FAILS . . . you'll latch onto something you missed the last time through. One of the marks of a great writer is just that. That ability to pack so much into what at first appears to be a small article. And of course, to come up with a "subjective" creation. One that will be seen to address one thing for one reader and another for a different reader. And another. And another. Like I says,

Numbers, already. Related to training. You got your reps, right? They're much like letters. Sets, much like words. You see where this is headed, I'm sure. Tell a story next lifting session. Embellish on it the following workout. Edit that story. Too airy for ya? Move on. There's all kinds of lifting schtuff out there written with you in mind. But you know how the almighty IT in everything sometimes works. A guy studies the art deal after seeing a modernist painting, only to realize understanding the abstract quality of it gives him a deeper understanding of "primitive" cave paintings. Experiencing and understanding the ethereal qualities of physique training can lead some to a deeper experience of the visceral aspects of lifting. Or not.    

Okay, to the little article.

Start by forgetting everything you think you know about high-rep training. If you think high-rep training is for senior citizens in circuit training or for orthopedic rehabilitation, you're in for quite a surprise! Out of all the high-intensity, plateau-busting, muscle-shocking techniques used today (whenever that might be), this one just might be the most painful . . . and did I mention effective? It takes willpower, guts, stamina, the eye of the tater and maybe even a few aspirin afterward to get through this type of training. 

Super high-rep training (50-100 reps per set) isn't something you do on a day-to-day basis. In fact, I don't think you could. For one thing, long term use of super-high rep training will most likely never yield the results you're looking for. Not to say it doesn't have many useful applications when used judiciously. But, if used as your sole training technique, super-high reps won't build muscular strength and/or size like traditional overload training will. Used periodically, though. SHR training can break the most stubborn of plateaus. But be forewarned -- this isn't for novices. Blasting out rep after agonizing rep will give new meaning to muscle soreness. 

Shock Treatment

If you're still reading, I'll assume that you are ready to take the next step in your pursuit of higher levels of musculature, mental toughness, and hard fought mind/muscle connection. Continue reading to find out why, when and how you can incorporate HRP into your program. 

If you've been working out long enough, you know that using the same training technique or program over and over again for too long will eventually lead to staleness, a plateau and finally the complete cessation of gains. This kills motivation faster than anything; after all, you're putting in a lot of effort and not seeing any results! 

One of the most common reasons for a training plateau is simply a lack of variation. Too often, bodybuilders get caught up in doing the same routine without making the slightest change, thinking that it doesn't need to be modified because it was so effective thus far. Sure, it may have been, but what worked in the first place soon becomes stale, and all you end up doing is maintaining a certain level. If you're lifting weights to make changes to your physique, you must add some variety to your routine. You have to shock those muscles into responding, and SHR training is one way you can accomplish just that. 

Why Super High-Rep Training? 

You may already know a few other high-intensity training alternatives to shake up your program when necessary, so why should you use this particular technique? Most training variations involve heavy resistance for overloading the muscle; negatives, partials, forced reps and rack training all demand very heavy poundages that, if used for extended periods can eventually do damage to tendons, ligaments and cartilage. 

That's why many bodybuilders incorporate periodization into their training. Basically, for our purposes here, periodization involves using relatively lighter resistance from time to time to help rebuild and strengthen connective tissues while also improving local muscular endurance and vascularity. If you improve muscular endurance and vascularity,then your muscles can work harder and longer when you return to heavier workouts. That's exactly why SHR training can help you break new barriers. Boundaries? Barricades? Limits? Impediments? No matter the word selection, use it to shock your muscles. Use it to refresh your motivation. Use it to expand your pain threshold.  

Incorporating SHR Training in Your Workouts

As was mentioned, super high-rep training isn't something you'd do on a regular basis. Rather, use it as a tool to shock your muscles out of a training rut and back into progressing mode. Here are some of the ways you can incorporate SHR training into your training routine for better results. 

1) Last Set Burnouts: 
SHR training can be used during any of your regular workouts on your final set of a particular exercise to really get a good burn. This will totally fatigue, exhaust and flush each muscle being worked -- not to mention the tremendous pump you'll get. When it's done on your last set, your target muscle group will already be pre-fatigued from the previous work. While this will help you totally finish off a muscle, you won't be able to give it 100% if you trained a particular bodypart using just SHR sets that day. 

2) Shock a Lagging Muscle Group: 
Lets say your biceps haven't been responding the way you want them to. What next? Try using SHR sets as your sole biceps training method for a few workouts. For example, instead of doing 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps for a few biceps exercises, try doing 1-2 sets of just 1-3 exercises using the SHR method. By doing this you'll be able to really work these high rep sets because you'll be fresh, not pre-fatigued like you would be by using the burnout method explained above.

3) Blasting Your Whole System: 
The final and most intense method for incorporating SHR training into your program is to use it as a full body blast. This will, of course, shock your whole system. Do a full body workout 2-3 times a week for a week or two. Your workout should consist of 1-3 exercises for each muscle group. Start with major muscle groups . . . legs, back, chest . . . then move on to the smaller groups . . . shoulders, biceps, triceps etc. 

Start by choosing a weight that is 40-50% of your one rep max, and begin lifting it with a quick but controlled pace. Pause every so often when you feel that you can't force another rep out. Rest only a few seconds -- 10 tops -- then pump out some more reps. If your form begins to suffer too much and you find yourself bouncing reps or swinging the weight up, drop it and quickly take 20% of the weight off and continue on. You're want to rest a good two or three minutes between sets if you're attempting another set for the same bodypart. 

Some trainees find that using machines instead of free weights for SHR training allows them to get more reps without their form suffering. Experiment with this. Try both and find out what's best for you.       

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