Friday, May 31, 2013

Why Do The Progression Standards You Lay Out All Require Such High (Often 20+) Reps? I Thought Low Reps Were Better For Strength?

In...bodyweight programs, it’s typical to use target reps that are in the higher range; at  least ten, often up to twenty or beyond. The reason why has to do with the logic of bodyweight training. Often, the move from one bodyweight exercise to the next, tougher step, represents quite a hike in strength. The jump from half one-arm pullups (step 8) to assisted one-arm pullups (step 9) is a good example. Working with triple reps might be theoretically “better for strength”, but if  you can only barely do three reps on the half one-arm pullup, your chances of being able to move on to the assisted pullup next time is zero!

With bodyweight progressions, the best chance of moving on forwards is to gain as much  strength possible from the exercise you are working on, before attempting something significantly more difficult. One of the best ways to really master an exercise is through high reps. In this sense, higher reps can be used by bodyweight athletes as a strength tool. (Who is stronger at one-leg squats? An athlete who can only do two reps, or an athlete who can do twenty?)
In contrast, lower reps are fine if you are training with weights. Let’s say you can curl 100 pounds for three reps. If three reps is your progression goal, you can add 5 pounds to the bar and try again. That only increases the output of the set by 5%. With bodyweight training, it’s much more difficult to add progress in such small, measurable increments. The most reliable way is by focusing on higher reps. Low reps sets make progress harder. If you can do four pushups, adding one rep makes for an output increase of 25%. But if you can do 20 pushups, adding one rep is an increase of just 5%. This is why higher rep sets are much more manageable and make progress smoother over time.

Paul Coach Wade
Convict Conditioning Super FAQ

Comments: This is very similar in the progression method in Kettlebell Sport where micro increases in the weight is not available. Commercially kettlebells have increments of 4kg. How to progress up the weights? By utilizing very high reps in the lighter weights before moving up.

No comments: