Has your training gone stale? Do you look over your workout plan and feel like it’s time to make changes but are just not sure what? Perhaps you want to do something interesting to shock the muscles and break a plateau that has plagued you for longer than you care to remember.
As great as the typical three sets of eight to twelve reps can be, it’s not only good to change up your training occasionally but it can be fun to try something new which can be motivating as well.
You can use these protocols to push some challenging weight while also performing a lot of reps. They’re also great ways to get a lot of volume in a short amount of time for those of you that are busy and need to be out of the gym quickly to get on with your busy day.
1. 1-10 Method for an Ultimate Drop Set
This is a great way to push some heavy weight for high reps. Some of you might be familiar with this method but allow me to share details for those who may not know about it.
After warming up, you start with heavy weight for a single, strip a little off and perform a double, strip a little more weight and go for three reps, and you continue that pattern until you’ve went all the way to ten reps.
By the time you’ve reached the end, you’ll have completed 55 heavy reps. It’s best to use a barbell and smaller plates so it takes less time to strip weight. Doing this with dumbbells would result in you using a lot of different pairs which takes more time.
I also suggest using a partner to be available for spotting and to help you strip weight faster so you have less time to rest between lifts, thus making the workout as intense as challenging as possible. You could use a machine with a stack as well if you like. If you find an easier way to do this, you won’t get the full benefits that a protocol like this can offer you.
2. “The 100” for a High Rep Challenge
Now this one is a personal favorite but it’s also a little more complicated so pay attention.
The goal is 100 reps but simply doing light weight for one set won’t cut it. You need to challenge yourself here in order for this to work for you. You’ll also need to be close to a clock or have a stopwatch.
You choose a moderate weight that allows you to get around 20 reps and push yourself to failure. You then take the number of reps you complete and subtract that number from 100 and you get the number of seconds you rest before starting your next set. I know that might be confusing so below is an example of how this would work.
Lateral Raise with 20 pound dumbbells – 25 reps. 100-25=75 seconds rest.
After that rest period, you perform another set but you pick up the reps where you left off on the last set so for our example, we start with “26”. Once you reach failure again, you take your new number and subtract that from 100 to get your new rest time.
Lateral Raise with 20 pound dumbbells – 25 more reps for 50 reps total. 100-50=50 seconds rest.
The shortened rest period will make the next set more intense than the last. The key is to keep pushing yourself despite the brief rest. After you take your second and shorter rest period, you pick up where you left off once again until failure. Now you take your new number and subtract that from 100. So let’s say our lifter only got 20 reps this time.
Lateral Raise with 20 pound dumbbells – 20 more reps for 70 reps total. 100-70=30 seconds rest.
By now, you’ve figured out the pattern. You keep performing more reps and resting less between sets until you finally reach 100 reps. It might take you four sets or it may take you up to eight. You also will be taking rests of as little as five seconds when you get to the end so this is as much of a mental challenge as it is a physical one.
What you can be sure of is that by the time you complete that 100th rep, you will be glad you don’t have to do 101. Obviously, the goal next time is to do “the 100” with less sets the next time you try it. Since you’re using the same weight throughout the exercise, you can use any equipment you want and this works for any exercise.
As you get closer to the 100th rep and have the minimum time to rest, you might be tempted to cheat. Don’t do it. Use proper form until the end to help avoid injury and get the maximum benefit that a system like this offers.
Putting Them Together in One Workout
Now you have two more options to add to your own program and push your limits with but I have yet another idea for you. If you think each of those systems are intense, then wait until you put them together and do them in one workout.
The result is 155 intense reps in a little less than 30 minutes that will leave you reaching for that recovery shake in a hurry. I like using a compound exercise like Incline Barbell Bench Press or Bent Over Barbell Rows for the 1-10 Method and machine movements that isolate the targeted muscles like pec deck or lat pulldowns for the 100.
Below are some sample workouts for you to try for chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, quadriceps, and hamstrings. If you want to try these for abs, traps, and calves, go for it but I found the 100 alone gets the job done for these bodyparts.
If you try these workouts for yourself, let us know how they work for you by leaving your thoughts in the comments section below.