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  • more sets, fewer reps--or--fewer sets, more reps?

    i'm wondering...

    when it comes to body weight exercises, is it better to do several sets of a lower, set amount of reps (say 5 sets of 6 pullups), or fewer sets with higher reps (3 sets of 10)?
    i usually do more sets, a la simplefit, but today i three sets of exercises until failure...and i was way more spent by the end.

    is one way better for strength? one for endurance? thoughts? opinions?
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread60178.html

  • #2
    Both, actually. It's called "muscle confusion". Confuse your muscles as much as possible and you'll see greater results. So, one week do high reps/low weights amd the next week do low reps/high weights.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by primalrob View Post
      is one way better for strength? one for endurance? thoughts? opinions?
      Yes. Lower volume, more challenging weight/exercise tends to yield more strength; a higher volume with an easier exercise will add endurance. For instance, doing sets of 3-5 explosive pull-ups will aid in power production and strength; sets of 10 conventional pull-ups (or more) will aid in muscular endurance.

      Resistance training is resistance training. The same principles apply for bodyweight training as in conventional weight training.
      Are you a college student, trying to navigate college while being Primal? Do you know any other PB college students on a tight budget? Heck, for that matter, are YOU trying to live Primal on a budget? Enroll at Primal University!

      For after all what is man in nature? A nothing in relation to infinity, all in relation to nothing, a central point between nothing and all and infinitely far from understanding either.
      -- Blaise Pascal

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Velocity View Post
        Yes. Lower volume, more challenging weight/exercise tends to yield more strength; a higher volume with an easier exercise will add endurance.
        This in turn will offer two "looks" if you will. Heavy weights with lower reps will result with a bigger, thicker, stronger muscle build. Lower weight with more reps will result in a much leaner, toned muscle not capable of handling the super heavy weights but able to preform better on the cardio side. It depends on what kind of look you going for.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by profdjj View Post
          Both, actually. It's called "muscle confusion". Confuse your muscles as much as possible and you'll see greater results. So, one week do high reps/low weights amd the next week do low reps/high weights.
          I'm sorry but it takes a brain to be confused. Muscles don't have a brain, therefore they can't be confused. It comes do to how does the body respond to a physical test. The body will do everything it can to become stronger before it grows more muscle. Growing more muscle means more food to feed the body... finding food was often a problem in ancient times... therefore the body will use synaptic facilitation and other means to get stronger without growing muscle mass.

          I can't answer your question. However for long term health you need to exercise to promote muscle mass and increase vo2.

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          • #6
            thanks for the feedback, everyone. i probably will mix things up a bit. i'm really liking bodyweight exercises more than i ever did getting under the bar. it's a little harder to measure strength since 50 pushups doesn't really equal a specific bench press weight (it doesn't, right?), but i feel just as strong and more fit and able than i ever have before. but i've hit a bit of a stall, so i'll see if mixing short, intense sets with longer, controlled sets helps me get to the point where i can one day do a muscle up and flag.
            http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread60178.html

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            • #7
              There was another post about this recently, so I pretty much just cut and pasted what I wrote in that post:

              There is no one best way to train. There are certainly some methods that are more effective than others, but it need not be a question of high rep vs. high weight as the two are not at odds with each other as far as I can tell. In the world of bodyweight training, the same people are usually good at both. Take me for example - I can do a one arm pull-up for one rep strength (or two reps on a good day!) AND I can also do a crapload of regular two arm pull-ups. What does that tell you?

              Stop worrying about finding the "holy grail" workout plan and just focus on training hard and training consistently. I discuss this idea in more detail in my book.
              "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they couldn't be more different."

              "You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want."

              My blog: http://www.AlKavadlo.com

              sigpic

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              • #8
                Originally posted by primalrob View Post
                i'm wondering...

                when it comes to body weight exercises, is it better to do several sets of a lower, set amount of reps (say 5 sets of 6 pullups), or fewer sets with higher reps (3 sets of 10)?
                i usually do more sets, a la simplefit, but today i three sets of exercises until failure...and i was way more spent by the end.

                is one way better for strength? one for endurance? thoughts? opinions?
                While it’s always best to do a bit of both, the breakdown of strength vs. endurance as I understand it is this:

                - More tension (be it added weight or your own bodyweight) and fewer reps: strength gains
                - Less tension (less weight) and higher reps: muscular endurance.

                But you should work on both because you need both, what do you get out of being strong if you crap out after 15 reps? Inversely, what’s the point of doing 40 light reps and never being able to do 5 heavy ones?

                I also think one follows the other. For instance, let’s say someone can’t yet do a good push-up. They work on knee push ups and can manage only three for a while (so they’re developing strength, if the above breakdown holds) after a while of working their three reps they manage to work up to 15 good reps, in theory both their strength and muscle endurance have gone up.
                Now, they’re ready to tackle regular push-ups, but again they can’t do more than 3, so they plug away for a few weeks getting their strength up with their 3 to 5 reps, eventually working up to 20, so again both strength and muscle endurance have increased.
                Now they’re elevating their feet, same idea, 3-5 at first because they’re not strong enough, eventually 15-20.

                And on and on …

                Make sense? I think I’ve got it right…
                I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by iniQuity View Post
                  let’s say someone can’t yet do a good push-up. They work on knee push ups and can manage only three for a while (so they’re developing strength, if the above breakdown holds) after a while of working their three reps they manage to work up to 15 good reps, in theory both their strength and muscle endurance have gone up.
                  Now, they’re ready to tackle regular push-ups, but again they can’t do more than 3, so they plug away for a few weeks getting their strength up with their 3 to 5 reps, eventually working up to 20, so again both strength and muscle endurance have increased.
                  Now they’re elevating their feet, same idea, 3-5 at first because they’re not strong enough, eventually 15-20.

                  And on and on …

                  Make sense? I think I’ve got it right…
                  I think so, too - great way of explaining it! Imagine how many knee push-ups this hypothetical person could do by this point.
                  "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they couldn't be more different."

                  "You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want."

                  My blog: http://www.AlKavadlo.com

                  sigpic

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Al_Kavadlo View Post
                    There was another post about this recently, so I pretty much just cut and pasted what I wrote in that post:

                    There is no one best way to train. There are certainly some methods that are more effective than others, but it need not be a question of high rep vs. high weight as the two are not at odds with each other as far as I can tell. In the world of bodyweight training, the same people are usually good at both. Take me for example - I can do a one arm pull-up for one rep strength (or two reps on a good day!) AND I can also do a crapload of regular two arm pull-ups. What does that tell you?

                    Stop worrying about finding the "holy grail" workout plan and just focus on training hard and training consistently. I discuss this idea in more detail in my book.
                    +1

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I think Al makes a great point. Better to come up with a fitness plan that you'll enjoy and stick to than get into the dreaded "paralysis by analysis." The scientific literature actually doesn't support the idea that any rep/weight scheme is best for strength or size, by the way, though that is the conventional wisdom. Clarence Bass has some well-done articles on this topic ('effort-based lifting') over at his website.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Better for what haha!

                        For example pull ups:

                        Example A

                        Say right now you can do 5 pull ups. 4 weeks from now you get to 10 so you add 25 lbs strapped to you. 4 weeks later you get to 10 again so you add another 25 lbs. 4 weeks later you get to 10 again so you add another 25lbs. 4 weeks later you get to 10 and add another 25lbs. 4 weeks later you can do 10 with 100lbs hanging from your belt. You take off the weight and bang out 1 set of 20ish pull ups.

                        Example B

                        Say you can do 5 pull ups. 4 weeks later you can do 10. 4 weeks later you can do 15. 4 weeks later you can do 20. 4 weeks later you can do 25.
                        4 weeks later you can do 30 pull ups. Then you strap on 100 pounds and you bang out 7 pull ups maybe maybe.

                        What would you like?

                        To be able to bang out 10 pull ups with 100lbs hanging from you or bang out 1 set of 30? Both impressive.

                        Example A will take fewer reps with higher sets say 3-4 X 6-10.

                        Example B will take fewer sets with higher reps say 1-2 X 15-F or near F.

                        There are trade offs. A you will be "stronger" and B you will have "endurance".

                        Compared to where you started either way you will be both stronger and have more endurance.

                        That is the way I experience it any way.
                        Don't be a paleotard...

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by iniQuity View Post
                          While it’s always best to do a bit of both, the breakdown of strength vs. endurance as I understand it is this:

                          - More tension (be it added weight or your own bodyweight) and fewer reps: strength gains
                          - Less tension (less weight) and higher reps: muscular endurance.

                          But you should work on both because you need both, what do you get out of being strong if you crap out after 15 reps? Inversely, what’s the point of doing 40 light reps and never being able to do 5 heavy ones?

                          I also think one follows the other. For instance, let’s say someone can’t yet do a good push-up. They work on knee push ups and can manage only three for a while (so they’re developing strength, if the above breakdown holds) after a while of working their three reps they manage to work up to 15 good reps, in theory both their strength and muscle endurance have gone up.
                          Now, they’re ready to tackle regular push-ups, but again they can’t do more than 3, so they plug away for a few weeks getting their strength up with their 3 to 5 reps, eventually working up to 20, so again both strength and muscle endurance have increased.
                          Now they’re elevating their feet, same idea, 3-5 at first because they’re not strong enough, eventually 15-20.

                          And on and on …

                          Make sense? I think I’ve got it right…
                          Exactly. Makes great sense.

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