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  1. #1
    RoNNy THe BuLL's Avatar
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    Low Reps & Muscle Growth

    What's up guys,

    I'm going to go out on a limb. First off, I have a degree in Kinesiology & Health Science, I'm a certified fitness trainer through ACE, ISSA and Can Fit Pro and hold a Certificate in Advanced Nutrition....

    But today, I spoke with one of my professor's who happened to be in my gym. He was yapping to me about how he's changed his thoughts about low reps and muscle growth.

    At first he believed that low reps did nothing but build strength (3 reps and under) and originally believed that you'd have to go in the higher rep range to build muscle (8-15).

    But he now tells me that he believes the opposite.

    He used the example of Olympic Sprinters and Speed Skaters. If you look at their legs, they're absolutely massive. He then continued on about how 1 rep max exercises not completely within the poundage you can handle (You would use the 80-90% of your 1RM) with form and speed incorporates more of your CNS and smaller muscle groups.

    Anyways, he continued to make a sound argument. He also pointed out that going with low reps controls Cortisol release so regardless of what you do or how frequently you attend the gym, you drastically reduce your chances of overtraining and slipping into any sort of Catabolic state. Thus preserving and stimulating muscle growth.

    He's currently running an independent study with my University to test some of his theories.

    He came up with more examples, but the Sprinter and Speed skater are what stuck out the most. They rarely will ever go into the higher rep ranges and they're legs are unbelievably developed, especially if you look at their proportion.

    What are your opinons and thoughts?
    Last edited by RoNNy THe BuLL; 11-25-2004 at 09:03 PM.

  2. #2
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    Bump.

    No opinions on this?

  3. #3
    Pork Chop is offline Member
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    Mike Mentzer, Casey Viator and that guy who invented the Nautilus have been arguing this point for 20 years.

    Mentzer's books are the best available.

  4. #4
    bluethunder is offline Anabolic Member
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    I generally employ a higher volume routine vs. low rep<3-5 as it has worked for myself. I never am going to get super huge so my workouts employ 6-12 reps but more mixed sets which has not given me real huge muscles but definately strong and well shaped muscles with great definition. Yes, max weight 80-100% 1RM low rep may yield more mass but imo that mass is not as mature lacking the details so to speak. This is what I am interested in more so then pure mass. As far as cortisol levels I would think they come into play no matter what routine you employ. As far as being less release on the low rep I am not so sure. CNS comes into play and that is what starts adrenal glands to secrete cortisone. So if low reps activate more of the CNS why would it be lower? Maybe time becomes a issue that CNS is stressed. And does the low reps affect the CNS in all muscle groups? Legs for example can stimulate greater hormone release vs bi's so do you still use the low reps(<3) for bi's? I would think ones genetic makeup ie. % of fast/slow twitch fibers will be a factor too. Speed skaters & sprinters IMO have always had strong big legs when they started. Interesting post and would like a update on your professors independent study. One final thought is imo the low rep would depend on how long you have been training, for example someone who just stepped into a gym for the first time would benefit more employing moderate/ higher rep scheme to condition the body and minimize injury while stimulating the connective tissues ie. tendons/ligaments which take a longer time to do.
    Last edited by bluethunder; 11-26-2004 at 04:36 PM.

  5. #5
    RoNNy THe BuLL's Avatar
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    I agree with you on the novice's employing a higher rep range. In regards to the CNS releasing more Cortison with lower reps, it's not the intensity of the neuron being fired, but the consistancy and volume.

    I'm at the point in my training that I'm now gearing towards lower reps trying to completely mature my muscles and add a density that is very rare among the general bodybuilding population. I've been going in the lower rep range the last few weeks and I've noticed a pretty big change in my strength and muscle shape and hardness already.

    Another key point I may add is that I've also found it almost counter-productive to work Bi's/Tri's completey on their own. It seems like less is more when you're going in the lower rep ranges.

    My Tri's are growing as my bench goes up and my Bi's are responding well to both Deadlifts and Chin Ups. My forearms have also grown considerably strong and shapely.

  6. #6
    nsa
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    Sprinters and speed skaters generally have more fast-twitch muscle fibers than slow-twitch muscle fibers. So that might be a possible factor to this issue. Either way this is a good topic up for debate.

  7. #7
    Prime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoNNy THe BuLL
    I agree with you on the novice's employing a higher rep range. In regards to the CNS releasing more Cortison with lower reps, it's not the intensity of the neuron being fired, but the consistancy and volume.

    I'm at the point in my training that I'm now gearing towards lower reps trying to completely mature my muscles and add a density that is very rare among the general bodybuilding population. I've been going in the lower rep range the last few weeks and I've noticed a pretty big change in my strength and muscle shape and hardness already.

    Another key point I may add is that I've also found it almost counter-productive to work Bi's/Tri's completey on their own. It seems like less is more when you're going in the lower rep ranges.

    My Tri's are growing as my bench goes up and my Bi's are responding well to both Deadlifts and Chin Ups. My forearms have also grown considerably strong and shapely.
    What youre talking about i experimented with for a while. I got pretty **** strong and made some good physique gains, but i think i concentrated on it for too long and diddnt allow my body enough time to recover. After a couple of months i burned out and picked up some nasty injuries. Working out in the 3-5 rep range can be beneficial, but i would only do maybe a 6-8 week training cycle tops then take maybe a week off and then return to regular training for a bit. Thats my opinion anyway.

  8. #8
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    i never train in one rep range, i believe in periodization training where you train in certain rep ranges for periods of time. From my own experiences I have injured myself more when training heavy (4 reps and under, up to 5 mins rest between sets) Just my .02

    Now I believe you have to train in both rep ranges for optimal growth and strength.

  9. #9
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    I've asked this question to many people and got different responses from everyone. I think its more of a genetic thing. Keep the post updated on your professors results.
    Thanks

  10. #10
    HOLLYWOOD's Avatar
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    i agree with this style of training also, im a firm believer that the stronger you get the more muscle you will put on! i have a question for ronny i've been natural for about 10 months now or so, and am trying to find a program that will give me both strength and also as much muscle gain as possible, would you be able to give me an example of a good solid routine with this low rep training, ive been thinking about something like the doggcrapp training where its only one exercise per body part but more frequently working that bodypart, or like 3 exercises per body part with only one heavy ass working set per exercise! i like the idea of the doggcrapp training because you can really get the benefit of being as strong as possible on each bodypart because there is no exhaustion from previous exercises! but would you be able to help me out with this im really stressin about this because i want to find a set program but i just cant decide and it seems you know your **** ! thanks

  11. #11
    6_pak is offline Associate Member
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    I believe how beneficial it is, depends on fast/slow twitch fibers, which is all genetics. I would try both approaches and see which one works best for me. Why not incorporate a mixture of both in your routines. On your free weights do low reps, on cables do higher reps.. Any thoughts??????????

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    Wether you're stimulating growth by activating all the muscles fibers by using a machine or free weights is irrelevant. The bottom line is you're activating it.

    As for doing lower reps to attain a more mature musclular look, well you lost me there. As far as i know, you either build mucles or you don't.. and time is the only factor by which it "mature's".. if the bdoy doesn't continuously regenarate muscle tissue (but i could be wrong).

    The DC method doesn't allow enough time to recouperate. This method is training may serve a beginner.. that's it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pork Chop
    Wether you're stimulating growth by activating all the muscles fibers by using a machine or free weights is irrelevant. The bottom line is you're activating it.

    As for doing lower reps to attain a more mature musclular look, well you lost me there. As far as i know, you either build mucles or you don't.. and time is the only factor by which it "mature's".. if the bdoy doesn't continuously regenarate muscle tissue (but i could be wrong).

    The DC method doesn't allow enough time to recouperate. This method is training may serve a beginner.. that's it.
    you're against the DC training???

  14. #14
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    It doesn't allow enough recovery time.
    One of the opening arguments is more "growth phases" are better. Where is the line between enough and too much? I don't think the author knows.. so by this logic you could workout everyday for 365 "growth phases" a year!
    Unfortunatly the human body doesn't work that way.
    Last edited by Pork Chop; 11-28-2004 at 11:46 AM.

  15. #15
    HOLLYWOOD's Avatar
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    can you post your workout to give me some more ideas??????

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    6_pak is offline Associate Member
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    I agree with PC on the DC style!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Recovery= Growth

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by crosby7117
    can you post your workout to give me some more ideas??????
    here's what i do - it's modelled from the Mike Mentzer perspective.

    week 1
    Mon - Chest Shoulder Trap and Tris
    Thursday - Quads, Hams, Calves
    Sunday - Back, Biceps
    Weds - return to Chest and so on..

    I leave myself 2 full days of rest in between workouts.
    On most exercises i do 1 set.

    I've tried similar routines like the Arnold encyclopedia.. it's perfect if you wanna NOT grow.

    You should keep a log. If you're not making gains from one workout to the next - you are doing something wrong.

  18. #18
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    Just ran across this thread. I'm in my last semester for a kinesiology degree myself and I've had the same discussion with a Professor who has a PHD and has written a couple of books. He has said to do 12-15 reps, 5 sets if you want pure muscle growth but are not as much concerned about the strength (which some will come with anyway). He said also to drop it down to 8 reps and 4-5 sets for strength and size. Although he is a runner and a swimmer and doesnt have the experience, he does have the knowledge. I've also talked to a friend who is a football player and he is absolutely huge. He said he's worked out for 5 years and always goes heavy, using the pyramid for his large muscle groups and 3 sets of 8, with about 5 different exercises on smaller groups such as biceps and triceps. He also said he only works the smaller groups 1 time a week, even when he was building. He gave me alot of good info, and his size was purely the reason I asked him.

  19. #19
    RoNNy THe BuLL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crosby7117
    i agree with this style of training also, im a firm believer that the stronger you get the more muscle you will put on! i have a question for ronny i've been natural for about 10 months now or so, and am trying to find a program that will give me both strength and also as much muscle gain as possible, would you be able to give me an example of a good solid routine with this low rep training, ive been thinking about something like the doggcrapp training where its only one exercise per body part but more frequently working that bodypart, or like 3 exercises per body part with only one heavy ass working set per exercise! i like the idea of the doggcrapp training because you can really get the benefit of being as strong as possible on each bodypart because there is no exhaustion from previous exercises! but would you be able to help me out with this im really stressin about this because i want to find a set program but i just cant decide and it seems you know your **** ! thanks
    Here's the routine I'm on right now, works awesome for strength and dense muscle.

    Day 1 - Chest/Shoulders/Triceps
    Incline Bench Press - 4 sets of 3 reps
    Military Press - 4 sets of 3 reps
    Weighted Dips - 4 sets of 3 reps

    Day 2 - Back/Biceps/Traps
    Wide Grip Chins - 4 sets of 3 reps
    Barbell Curls - 4 sets of 3 reps
    Cleans - 4 sets of 3 reps

    Day 3 - Legs
    Squats - 5 sets of 3 reps
    Hamstring Curls - 5 sets of 3 reps
    Lunges - 4 sets of 3 reps

    Day 4 - REST

    REPEAT

    I ran low carb (under 50g a day) and I still made strength gains. And I'm natural.

  20. #20
    6_pak is offline Associate Member
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    How much time b/w sets?? exercises?????

  21. #21
    IamtheChitt is offline Associate Member
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    Great thread..... but i rather incorporate a little of all theories in order to trick my muscles.....

  22. #22
    RoNNy THe BuLL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6_pak
    How much time b/w sets?? exercises?????
    A minute or two. Just until I can catch my breathe. Squats I'll take my time, Chins I'm ready to go within 30-45 seconds.

  23. #23
    HOLLYWOOD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoNNy THe BuLL
    Here's the routine I'm on right now, works awesome for strength and dense muscle.

    Day 1 - Chest/Shoulders/Triceps
    Incline Bench Press - 4 sets of 3 reps
    Military Press - 4 sets of 3 reps
    Weighted Dips - 4 sets of 3 reps

    Day 2 - Back/Biceps/Traps
    Wide Grip Chins - 4 sets of 3 reps
    Barbell Curls - 4 sets of 3 reps
    Cleans - 4 sets of 3 reps

    Day 3 - Legs
    Squats - 5 sets of 3 reps
    Hamstring Curls - 5 sets of 3 reps
    Lunges - 4 sets of 3 reps

    Day 4 - REST

    REPEAT

    I ran low carb (under 50g a day) and I still made strength gains. And I'm natural.
    this routine sounds really good bro im also natural i've been off for about 10 months now and dont want to hit juice again because i want to see how far i can take my body naturally! so you also think this program is for the natural bodybuilder??? also do you use the same weight for all 4 sets??? do you take each set to failure???

  24. #24
    Pork Chop is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by IamtheChitt
    Great thread..... but i rather incorporate a little of all theories in order to trick my muscles.....
    muscles don't think. they aren't smart. you can't "trick" them.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pork Chop
    It doesn't allow enough recovery time.
    One of the opening arguments is more "growth phases" are better. Where is the line between enough and too much? I don't think the author knows.. so by this logic you could workout everyday for 365 "growth phases" a year!
    Unfortunatly the human body doesn't work that way.
    actually, if you follow the program exactly, their is no problem with recovery. you can go ahead and claim what ever you want, i am making the best gains of my life off dc currently. and i am not a beginner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IronReload04
    actually, if you follow the program exactly, their is no problem with recovery. you can go ahead and claim what ever you want, i am making the best gains of my life off dc currently. and i am not a beginner.
    are you keeping track of your gains?
    are you making consistent gains or are they spuratic?

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    If you can't grow muscle, and strength with static training..

    1 - 3 reps.... you aren't doing them right
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by spywizard
    If you can't grow muscle, and strength with static training..

    1 - 3 reps.... you aren't doing them right
    can you explain what you mean by this???

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pork Chop
    are you keeping track of your gains?
    are you making consistent gains or are they spuratic?
    ya i am man. i have been keeping a log book for about a year now. scroll down the threads in the workout section, click on "first day of dc", it has all my progress there. however, i have been sick the last week or 2, so i have not updated that thread in a while. tomarro is my first day of upperbody since i have had the flu

  30. #30
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    Low Reps will cause muscle growth. When doing low reps, your intensity (% 1RM) is extremely high, therefore, activating fast twitch fibers. We all know that fast twitch fibers have a greater capacity to hypertrophy than does slow twitch. You will also increase motor unit activation. This increase will cause more muscle to be activated, resulting in larger more dense muscles. The density comes into play when the tension on the myofilaments are extreme, as in this type of training. This extreme tension causes protein synthesis, resulting in what you call "mature or dense" looking muscles.

  31. #31
    HOLLYWOOD's Avatar
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    what about doing 1rep max in your workout will this also have the same effect???

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by crosby7117
    what about doing 1rep max in your workout will this also have the same effect???
    I don't do 1 reps. That's just asking for injury.

    In regards to the 3 reps, I generally increase the weight.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoNNy THe BuLL
    I don't do 1 reps. That's just asking for injury.

    In regards to the 3 reps, I generally increase the weight.
    i've been doing this workout where you take about 90% your max rep and rest 1 min in between sets for 5 sets! and every workout decrease the rest time by 10 seconds inbetween the sets until you're rest time is 0 and the weight that was once 90-95% max, is now a weight you can do for 5 reps in one set! it's been working so far ill let you know how it goes! this is great for strength! im sure with this program hypertrophy has no choice but to follow!

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pork Chop
    muscles don't think. they aren't smart. you can't "trick" them.
    So, are u saying that if use the same routine everytime, your muscles will react the same everytime???

    Ther is no need to change your workouts???

    Thats new to me.....

  35. #35
    HOLLYWOOD's Avatar
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    hey ronny any up-dates from your prof on this topic of low reps=optimal growth???

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