What is it with all these reps?

I’ve noticed that I read a lot of threads/posts on this site about doing high amount of reps such as 20-25 in certain exercises. Or someone will say I try to shoot for 8-12.

Anyway, Time Under Tension is what really matters.

Guys like this annoy me.

It’s appears he has at least a basic understanding of exercise science, and therefore thinks he knows how to train athletes optimally for strength.

He wears a shirt and tie while training his clients (seriously??) and he doesn’t seem to know how to teach his subject to do proper dips.

So when I see a video like this, the bullshit meter is all the way up to begin with.

But I will actually address some of the ideas he talked about in the video.

He’s right that the body is going to rely on different energy systems depending on the length and intensity of the activity. For <30 seconds, the ATP-PC system is used, for 30 seconds to 2 minutes (according to most sources) the Glycolytic system is used and above 2 minutes until fatigue you’re tapping into the Aerobic energy system.

I don’t have a problem with him saying we should be focusing on energy systems instead of reps. Fine. Either way allows for progressive overload, its just which way is easier for you to measure.

For me personally, I would rather go into a set with the goal of “do 10 squats with 300 lbs” than “do 30 seconds of squats with the heaviest weight that you can so that at the 30 second mark you are completely fatigued.”

What I have a problem with is his notion that you need to do slow and controlled reps to achieve optimal results. Wheres the scientific proof that he claims to have? Wheres the empirical proof? He doesn’t appear to have any kind of basic strength level of his own or in any of the athletes in his videos. What makes him an authority on this?

Is there not a neural component to strength? Is lifting explosively not equally about improving neural recruitment of muscles as it is about developing fast twitch muscle fibers?

Isn’t there a difference between teaching your muscles to activate the slow fibers, then gradually activate the fast twitch fibers as opposed to training your body to activate all fibers at once in a split second, as in sports? Isn’t there a reason olympic lifters are absurdly strong in comparison to bodybuilders, many of whom do slow and controlled reps until fatigue?

This guy has the science, but not the practical experience. He may sound smart (though he’s talking about very basic principles) but it’s clear to me he’s making claims that he absolutely can’t back up with any sort of data or empirical evidence.

This has been a late night rant against what I find to be a misleading video that could easily trick young guys who don’t know any better. If it comes off a little strong that’s not necessarily my intention.

Also, the way The UnDiscovered promotes this guy’s website/ videos as though he is bulletproof just motivated me to make a point. Again, it’s late and I have not proofread my post. I’m sure somebody will have questions about what I’ve written, and I’ll be happy to explain it further.

[quote=“LankyLefty”]Guys like this annoy me.

It’s appears he has at least a basic understanding of exercise science, and therefore thinks he knows how to train athletes optimally for strength.

He wears a shirt and tie while training his clients (seriously??) and he doesn’t seem to know how to teach his subject to do proper dips.
That’s called being a professional.
So when I see a video like this, the ***** meter is all the way up to begin with.

But I will actually address some of the ideas he talked about in the video.

He’s right that the body is going to rely on different energy systems depending on the length and intensity of the activity. For <30 seconds, the ATP-PC system is used, for 30 seconds to 2 minutes (according to most sources) the Glycolytic system is used and above 2 minutes until fatigue you’re tapping into the Aerobic energy system.

I don’t have a problem with him saying we should be focusing on energy systems instead of reps. Fine. Either way allows for progressive overload, its just which way is easier for you to measure.

For me personally, I would rather go into a set with the goal of “do 10 squats with 300 lbs” than “do 30 seconds of squats with the heaviest weight that you can so that at the 30 second mark you are completely fatigued.”

What I have a problem with is his notion that you need to do slow and controlled reps to achieve optimal results. Wheres the scientific proof that he claims to have? Wheres the empirical proof? He doesn’t appear to have any kind of basic strength level of his own or in any of the athletes in his videos. What makes him an authority on this?
Science is the authority, if you don’t believe these kind of workouts build strength then you need to google Casey Viator and Mike Mentzer. Also where is your scientific proof???

Is there not a neural component to strength? Is lifting explosively not equally about improving neural recruitment of muscles as it is about developing fast twitch muscle fibers?
yes but how is doing fast reps gonna help your nervous system if anything its going to confuse it

Isn’t there a difference between teaching your muscles to activate the slow fibers, then gradually activate the fast twitch fibers as opposed to training your body to activate all fibers at once in a split second, as in sports? Isn’t there a reason olympic lifters are absurdly strong in comparison to bodybuilders, many of whom do slow and controlled reps until fatigue? How are you measuring strength?

This guy has the science, but not the practical experience. He may sound smart (though he’s talking about very basic principles) but it’s clear to me he’s making claims that he absolutely can’t back up with any sort of data or empirical evidence.

This has been a late night rant against what I find to be a misleading video that could easily trick young guys who don’t know any better. If it comes off a little strong that’s not necessarily my intention.

Also, the way The UnDiscovered promotes this guy’s website/ videos as though he is bulletproof just motivated me to make a point. Again, it’s late and I have not proofread my post. I’m sure somebody will have questions about what I’ve written, and I’ll be happy to explain it further.[/quote]

The less reps the better in my opinion, less wear and tear on the joints and muscles.

Skill Training

ED: At Florida State University, I studied extensively about the need for strength training to be general and skill training to be specific. Since most skills are best performed quickly, motor learning experts recommended that skill practice be done at full speed. What has your neuromuscular study and experience shown you about skill learning?

JK: I agree with the motor learning experts. The neuromuscular pathways for the development of various sports skill must be mechanized through repeated, competition-like practices. Strength training needs to be based on the general functions of the major muscle groups. Skill is specific and strength is general.

Perhaps most importantly: Do not try to simulate in the weight room what happens on the athletic field. Many coaches fail to grasp this principle and instead, jump aboard the misleading philosophy based on power cleans and explosive bench presses.

Once again, coaches who recommend fast lifts are doing a disservice to their athletes. Such lifting so can lead to neuromuscular confusion and possible injuries.

Coaches would do well to remember the following: Skill train fast; strength train slow.

http://www.drdarden.com/readTopic.do?id=412352

Re: LL: “He wears a shirt and tie while training his clients (seriously??)”

The Undiscovered: “That’s called being a professional.”

----------Yeah, right, and the actor who wears glasses and a white lab coat and carries a clipboard around while he’s telling you how great company X’s gasoline additives are…he is also a professional. Doesn’t mean he knows a damn thing about gasoline. All it proves is: He can read a script and dress to impress.

  1. Maybe training a client in a shirt and tie is “professional” to him, but in the field of strength training it is a red flag. You aren’t going to demonstrate proper squatting form in slacks, or demonstrate the proper way to do “dips” in a shirt and tie. In my opinion, the guy is setting a terrible example for his clients. It’s like the fat doctor who tells people they need to eat better. Not really relevant to this argument, but it’s something that got to me when I saw the video

  2. I don’t know the exact routines of Casey Viator and Mike Mentzer, and you don’t know everything that they did to achieve their levels of strength. Regardless, using two genetic freak, juiced-up bodybuilders to illustrate your point is not convincing. Speaking more generally, it is well known that elite bodybuilders generally do not have near the max strength capabilities of elite powerlifters for their size. Bodybuilders often do work with higher reps/time under tension. This may be advantageous for building size, but not strength. Maybe an elite level bodybuilder can rep out 500lb squats for 15 reps, but you put him head to head against a similar sized powerlifter and his max strength is nowhere close.

  3. What do you mean by “confusing” the nervous system? I know you’ve just been quoting all of this guy’s material but I actually want to hear from you what is neuromuscular confusion? If we’re trying to train an NFL guy’s vertical jump, for example, this is an activity that requires a lot of power. There is a strength component as well as a speed component. The stronger you are, the more force you can potentially apply into the ground, but you’re not going to jump very high unless you can apply this force in a short amount of time. To do this your nervous system needs to be able to recruit as many motor units as possible in as little time as possible. Are you saying that doing something like jump squats or explosive squats will confuse your nervous system by teaching your muscles to turn on maximally in a short amount of time? It seems to me this is exactly what you need to be able to do in the vertical jump.

  4. Functionality of an exercise varies depending on the sport/activity. A bicep curl is a very sport specific exercise for arm wrestlers, MMA/UFC fighters, football running backs, but that same bicep curl may not have much carryover to a baseball pitcher. So I guess my point is, some sports or activities are less skill-based, and you can very closely replicate them in the weightroom, while others (like throwing a baseball to a target) you cannot replicate as closely in strength training.

LankyLefty: Now do you have any factual information like some links or studies I can read, or is everything your saying just “word of mouth”?

“Strength performance depends not only on the quantity and quality of the involved muscles, but also upon the ability of the nervous system to appropriately activate the muscles. Strength training may cause adaptive changes within the nervous system that allow a trainee to more fully activate prime movers in specific movements and to better coordinate the activation of all relevant muscles, thereby effecting a greater net force in the intended direction of movement. The evidence indicating neural adaptation is reviewed. Electromyographic studies have provided the most direct evidence. They have shown that increases in peak force and rate offeree development are associated with increased activation of prime mover muscles. Possible reflex adaptations related to high stretch loads in jumping and rapid reciprocal movements have also been revealed. Other studies, including those that demonstrate the “cross-training” effect and specificity of training, provide further evidence of neural adaptation. The possible mechanisms of neural adaptation are discussed in relation to motor unit recruitment and firing patterns. The relative roles of neural and muscular adaptation in short- and long-term strength training are evaluated.”

Strength gains have been attributed to neural adaptations such as alterations in recruitment, rate coding, synchronization of motor units, reflex potentiation, co-contraction of antagonists, and synergistic muscle activity. Although most training studies show increases in EMG, a few have shown increase in strength with no apparent changes in neural drive. This may highlight the importance of motor control and the reorganization of supraspinal inputs. High intensity concentric and eccentric contractions with arousal and imagery techniques merit further study in promoting optimal neural adaptations. Specificity of training mode, type of contraction, and angle and velocity have been documented. Most velocity specificity studies have emphasized movement rather than contraction speed, which may be the predominant factor. The high rate of force development achieved with ballistic contractions should serve as a template for power training. The extent of muscle hypertrophy is dependent upon protein degradation and synthesis, which may be enhanced through high intensity, high volume eccentric and concentric contractions.

http://books.google.com/books?id=cV5LXY195PsC&lpg=PA87&ots=p6orwSN3Pd&dq=erforming%20these%20exercises%20during%20a%20fatigued%20state%20may%20interfere%20with%20learning%20or%20stabiliz-%20ing%20proper%20technique%20and%20results%20in%20diminished%20adaptations%20for%20maximum%20strength%20and%20power%20(2%2C59).%20...%20Slow%20movement%20speed%20does%20not%20necessarily%20mean%20that%20an%20exercise%20&lr&pg=PA90#v=onepage&q&f=false

“Training gains are specific to the velocities at which exercises are performed. In other words, training-induced strength gains in a resistance exercises program primarily occur at the training speeds, with very limited physiologic overflow to other speeds of movement. Training at slower speeds improved the efficiency of movement at slower speeds, but there is little transfer to faster speeds…it has been shown that high-velocity training provides more improvement at low velocity than vice versa…” (90)."

the references are in the book but google wouldn’t actually let me view them, so I’m sure this quote means nothing to you.

Outstanding stuff, Lefty, but more importantly…did you wear a shirt and tie when you posted it? :lol:

I’m guessing you just confused the neural systems of about half the people who read those research extracts :shock:

In any case, I’m very compelled by the idea of large numbers of high quality reps for skill-related strength training…giving the body’s neural adaption processes a chance to do their job, so to speak. I share your skepticism about Darden’s relevance to pitcher training and conditioning.

LA, do you have an example in mind for where you might do high rep skill-related strength training?

I’m interested in the idea as well. It seems to me that the best way to ingrain the proper movement pattern is a high number of quality reps of the actual skill, but strength training could come into play especially if there’s an issue with mobility, muscle activation, etc.

If a sprinter isn’t activating his glutes properly when he’s sprinting, more running won’t necessarily help. You may need high repetitions of glute activation work in the weightroom, or maybe you have a flexibility restriction in the hip flexors that is inhibiting the glutes and so you can work on this in the weightroom as well.

There’s still the issue of actually getting this work to transfer to the skill. It seems that in some cases (flexibility restriction) this works should instantly transfer to the skill, but perhaps not immediately in others (muscle activation patterns). I don’t really know much about motor learning yet, so I’ll stop before I go too far here.