Training Intensity and Rep Ranges | Science-based Natural Bodybuilding | Basics of Training (Ep.5)

Yo what’s up?! Dr. Swole here: MD body
builder, here with my fifth video in the series Basics of Training. In this video,
we’ll be talking all about training intensity and rep ranges. So as a brief
introduction, the definition of intensity is basically the amount of weight that
you’re lifting. So say that you’re one repetition maximum in the squat is 300
pounds if you were squatting 150 pounds, that’s 50% of your one rep maximum
and that is an intensity. Now from the literature that we have so far, basically
as long as you’re lifting with greater than 30 percent of your one rep maximum
and taking sets of failure you will get about the same amount
growth. Practically speaking, that means that any set that’s 30 reps or less
taken to failure will result in similar hypertrophy. This is why we usually count
our volume in terms of the number of hard sets rather than actually
calculating number of sets times number of reps times the amount of weight
lifted ,which is the technical definition of volume. Now what’s a hard set?
Basically a hard set is a set taken to a sufficient relative intensity. Relative
intensity is the proximity you take a set to failure. Going all the way to
failure it’s a very high relative intensity and stopping a set when you
have four reps left in the tank is a lower relative intensity. For our intents
and purposes, we usually count a hard set as one that’s taken to four reps in
reserved or fewer. You’ll see a lot of people who are in favor of taking all
their sets to failure. Now I’ll say that training to failure is not necessarily a
bad thing, but it’s something that should be used cautiously depending on how much volume you want to perform. The thing is, training to failure is very fatiguing and
it limits the amount of volume that you can do in a week. Now,
if you’re only in the gym twice per week it makes sense to go to failure and
really push yourself because you’re gonna have a few days to recover before
the next session. On the other hand, if you’re training four days a week or more
I would suggest using failure very sparingly. Now, my general recommendation
for beginners is to train with one to two reps in reserve. Why not just train
with four reps in reserve because it’ll produce less fatigue and still
gives us that hard set? My main reason is that when you get beyond two or three
reps in reserve it gets hard to judge how close you are to failure. In actual
fact, there is literature to say that people are very bad at judging how
close they are to failure and if you think you have four reps left in the
tank but actually have six or seven you won’t be getting as much growth as you
could be. So I just said that sets of less than thirty reps, as long as they’re
taken to sufficient relative intensity, will produce similar growth. So why not
do all our work in sets of three or sets of thirty? The reason is there are a few
other concepts that come into play that narrow down our ideal rep ranges. In
general I like Dr. Eric Helms’ recommendation of two-thirds to
three-quarters of your volume to be done in the 6 to 12 rep range and the rest to
be done outside of that rep range. The 6 to 12 rep range is actually what is
commonly recommended in traditional bodybuilding and it’s actually ideal for
the most part, for a few reasons. The thing is, when you go below 6 reps and
use heavy weight you generate a lot of fatigue per set
the problem with fatigue is it limits the amount of work that we can do over
entire week. Furthermore, low rep sets with heavy weight also generate a lot
of connective tissue damage, which can lead to chronic injuries. So although
doing say heavy sets of squats and the 3-5 rep range might be great for
building strength it actually generates a lot of fatigue in one session and you
will probably be able to do more volume if you did sets of say 8. As you recall
in our staircase of training priories, volume actually ranks higher than
intensity and rep ranges. Our rep ranges should be set in a way that allows us to
maximize the amount of volume that we can do over a week. The reason why we
don’t usually do sets greater than 20 reps is because they’re just very
mentally fatiguing. If you’ve ever tried it doing a set of squats for 30 reps all
the way to two reps shy of failure, it’s actually immensely painful! Okay, now that
we’ve talked about the intensities and the rep ranges that we should be
shooting for, how do we set this up in life? Let’s use quads as an example. In
this example we’ll be training the quads twice per week, according to our
frequency recommendationm and this will be in the context of say, a full body
split or perhaps an upper lower split And according to our volume
recommendation of 10 to 20 sets per body part per week, let’s say we’ll be
training quads for 10 sets per week. Now, using our recommendation of about two
thirds of your volume in the 6 to 12 rep range, let’s say that we’ll be doing
seven sets in the 6 to 12 rep range and three sets
outside of that rep range. Now what does that look like? On day one, one heavy set
of five and then we do four sets of leg press in the 8-12 rep range. On day two,
we’re going to squat three sets six of 10 reps and then we’re gonna do leg
extensions for two sets in the 12 to 15 rep range. And how does this work into
our recommendation – we said we were doing 7 sets in the 6 to 12 rep range so we’ve
got 4 sets here: leg press 8 to 12 reps and 3 sets here in the squat: 6 to 10
reps. That leaves us with 3 sets outside of the 6 to 12 hour rep range. And
here we used one set of squats for 5 reps and two sets of leg extensions at
12 to 15 reps. Now, lastly I’ll mention that different exercises work best in
different rep ranges. Compound movements usually work better in the lower rep
ranges. The reason is that higher rep ranges generate a lot of systemic
fatigue. Now what are compound movements? These are usually movements that use
more than one joint and are usually bilateral. Examples would be the squat,
deadlift, bench press, overhead press, and barbell row. Now, isolation movements –
those involving just one joint, usually work better in higher rep ranges. That’s
just because usually for an isolation movement, it’s difficult to actually move
heavy weights with good balance and coordination. If you do try and use low
reps and heavy weights you tend to risk cheating a lot which, shifts the emphasis
on to other muscle groups, and you also risk injury. So now that we have an idea
of what intensity to use and what rap ranges to
use and we know that these work differently for different exercises,
which exercises do we choose? That is the topic of our next video!
That’s all for now guys. Thanks for watching, make sure you subscribe, like
the video, and leave me a comment – let me know what you want to see next on Ask
Dr. Swole! See you next time

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *