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50 repetitions for size | T nation

Years ago I saw Derek Poundstone, a strong competitor, at work with 100 repetitions and asked him why he did that. One of his main reasons? Mental hardness.

Different types of work in the gym require different ways of thinking. Squats with 20 reps – with a maximum load for this rep range – are brutally heavy. It requires mental and physical hardship.

Ultra high rep work (50 reps and more) is no different. It requires tremendous intestinal potency and mental strength to be included in this set and to keep it going. And this kind of brutality is great as a finisher.

The Main Condition for Progress

Most people who complain about lack of progress simply do not train hard enough to get a program up and running. Therefore, they tend to the "volume" approach. You will make a whole series of sets with a series of repetitions in reserve. This is not hard training; it's "junk volume" and it's damn sure not going to lead to growth or strength gains.

At some point you have to train hard enough to force your body to adapt. You have to strain the muscle. There is literally no way around it. To overcome a plateau, you have to train harder than ever before. Ultra high rep work is a tool that allows you to do just that.

The Benefits

It's not just about mental hardship. The following may still do it:

Metabolic stress

High repetition numbers ensure the right performance. And bodybuilders have been using the pump for a long time. It is not just a fleeting cosmetic effect, but an instrument for muscle growth.

Metabolic disorders can drive muscle growth due to increased cell swelling and the potential for additional recruitment of motor units (through metabolic acidosis). Increased lactate response can increase metabolic stress and growth hormone. Proper work with a high repetition rate is the driver for the accumulation of metabolites.


This stands for "excessive oxygen consumption after exercise" and is referred to as the "after-burn" effect. If you train very hard, you increase the thermal effect of the activity, especially if this activity is more anaerobic than sprints or hard lifting.

EPOC refers to the intake of oxygen above your resting levels after you have completed the workout. An increase in oxygen consumption has an energy requirement. This means that you will still burn more calories after training.

A very high number of repetitions is a great way to induce a specific EPOC and achieve that energy demand. burning effect after leaving the gym. While the after-burn of high-intensity interval training (or a really intense workout) is somewhat overrated in terms of calorie burn after exercise, it's still an advantage.

Joint Pain Relief

This may not be the case scientifically proven, in recent years a tremendous amount of people have told me how very high-level empty dumbbell curls relieve their constant and agonizing pain in the elbow when everything else, what they had tried had failed.

I have seen the obvious as an increase in blood flow that moves excessive inflammation out of a joint or connective tissue. Or just strengthen the forearm flexors and extensors in a more balanced way. The point is, if the root of your elbow pain is between your elbow and wrist, it can relieve some of that pain.

Now let's turn to the nuts and bolts of the work with ultra-high repetitions.

50 reps Finisher

Your goal: Shoot down all 50 reps in one set. Can not you do that? Then split them up into rest / pause sets. In this case, perform the iterations using one of the following methods:

  • Do as many repetitions as possible. Breathe in and out 1
    0 times. Repeat this process until all 50 repetitions have been completed.
  • Split the 50 reps into 2 sets of 25 reps each with a pause of 30 seconds each.

Remember, however, that all 50 repetitions should be achieved at once. Now notice that there are load options for most of them. Why? Because not everyone has the same strength or strength endurance. It also allows a little progress and a certain purpose.

Barbell Curls

Some lifters have to use an empty 45-pound bar for them. others may need to beat on some baby plates and use 50-65 pounds. If your soul is still intact after 50 repetitions, add weight.

Behind the Neck Press

Use a barbell loaded with 65-95 pounds. Sitting or standing is fine. We work with metabolic stress on the shoulders – that's the main point. If you're really dreadful, you can play the Bradford press, with the bar on the crossover barely touching your head. But that would be absolutely painful. Excellent. I will allow it.

For those who make fun of pushing behind the neck and hitting the shoulder, do it in front of the neck. Or correct your shoulder mobility.

Gull Squats

Find a dumbbell that makes up a quarter of your body weight. So if you weigh 200 pounds, that's a 50-pound dumbbell (or kettlebell).

Now do squats for 50 reps. This can be a "broken" sentence. You can stand on demand and gasp, but you can not lay down the dumbbell or sit down.

If you're really sadistic, do it in a pump / butt rep style where you do not go nuts. These hurt very much and boost the metabolites much faster than full-range repetitions and many pauses during the set.

Feet with elevated push ups

I prefer these over standard push ups because they will make the clavicular pec more biased. Also, they are more difficult than regular pushups. I do not include a simpler option here, but neither am I the Stalin of the fitness world. Nobody can stop you from making a simpler push-up version.

When most people start to lift, they naturally tend to flat bench press and place far less emphasis on uphill and upper body work. Although they are not naturally prone to having good upper chest muscle development, it is still a good idea to emphasize this, as the chest muscles are more commonly biased in other exercises. So do this version and just work on the 50 reps.

Bodyweight Row

This will blow up the entire upper back and rear claws. In fact, there are two versions. I allow both, because I'm so nice.

The hardest version is where your legs are supported on something, so you're oarring a bigger percentage of your body weight. In the other version, your feet are on the ground and you're rowing a smaller percentage of your body weight and you're probably getting a bit of support from your legs as well.

You could actually use a mechanical drop kit here: Start with your feet up, and then walk to the planted feet to make up for the remaining reps.


Because they are finishers, they should be run at the end of the workout. You'll probably want to use them on those days when you're training the muscle groups they're meeting.

But you could use it as a "pump" work for this muscle, even if they were not directly targeted by the previous movements. Let's say you trained your chest, shoulders, and triceps on that day. You could end up with the squat squats as pumping work for your legs.

The other option would be to train three times a week. You could hit the upper body hard in one day, make the lower body heavy at the other, and then use all of them as the third training session for the week. That's a pretty sweet option. It might look something like this …

Monday: Upper Body

  • Chest Press Variation: 1 set x 6-8 repetitions, 1 set x 12-15 repetitions
  • Flight Variation: 2 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Vertical move: 1 set x 6-8 reps, 1 set x 12-15 reps
  • Horizontal move: 1 set x 6-8 reps 1 set x 12-15 reps

Wednesday: Lower Body

  • Squat Variation or Leg Press: 1 set x 8-10 reps, 1 set x 15-20 reps
  • RDL / Leg Diffraction (alternating week to week ): 2 sets x 8-10 repeats
  • Longe Variation: 3 sets x 15-20 repetitions
  • Calf Raise: 2 sets x 10-15 reps

Friday: Whole Body (A set of each exercise)

  • 50-Rep Goblet Squat
  • 50-Rep Feet Elevated Push-Up
  • 50-Re p Bodyweight Row
  • ] 50-Rep Shoulder Press
  • 50-Rep Curl

Whatever you decide to use is entirely up to you. Just do not complain about the choice of charge or the pain involved. Lifting weights should never be easy or weak.

6 Ball busting finisher

The true engine of muscle growth

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