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  • Super high reps for hypertrophy?

    I am 46 and have been lifting for 30 years. I have found myself coming full circle. When I was 16 I wanted to be HUGE like the monsters of that era: Lee Haney, Gaspari, the Barbarian Brothers, Gary Strydom etc. After several years of training I found I got pretty strong, but not so big.

    In my early 20's I got into powerlifting as it seemed to suit me "skill set" best. I was never big (165 lb or 181 lb weight class) but I was able to hit triple bodyweight in both squat (equipped) and deadlift (raw). Almost got 2x bodyweight in BP (raw). Best lifts were 485/335 (385 equipped)/550. I could have cared less about size...my theory was that size should be a byproduct of strength. Not visa versa. I scoffed bodybuilders as mirror athletes and compared them to a Hollywood movie fa├žade. On the outside they looked like solid buildings, only to find they were hollow with no foundation.

    In 2011 I competed in my final PL meet and decided I wanted to LOOK as strong as I was. I was then 43 and got tired of people telling me that I was strong for my size. The only time I was "impressive" was in the gym. I wanted to look good all the time. I was about 175 lb when I made that decision.

    I switched to a "bodybuilding" style workout and since that time (mid 2011) I have gained almost 20 lb doing nothing more than adding reps and ditching the heavy weight/low rep style of training that I had been doing for 2 decades. (Example I would do 8x3 or 5x5 on almost all lifts).

    I am now paying the price for all those years of heavy lifting. My lower back is SHOT and it is impacting my everyday life. I have to call in sick to work on occasion due to throwing my back out as a result of picking up a napkin or bending over to brush my teeth. Believe me, when your back is out life SUCKS. I was a jerk to my family and was not the person I normally am. I can deal with shoulder or knee pain, but there is no pain like low back pain.

    I was reading Dusty's post on the DC section about forging a body using big weights and I was bummed because I simply cannot do that anymore. I am only 46 and I don't want to be in wheelchair at age 50 just because I wanted to get huge. However I stumbled upon the writings of Doug Brignole and it inspired me. He is a guy over 50 that claims to have added POUNDS of muscle using ultra high rep sets (up to 50) and isolation exercises.

    I have been doing this for a few weeks and I have to admit that NOT doing squats, deadlifts, bent rows etc. has allowed me to live pain free. And I have got some great pumps but I am not smashed after a workout. I am going 6x per week. Split is Chest/Back, Shoulders/Arms, Legs/Calves REST and then repeat. Super short rest between sets and lots and lots of reps with pansy weights. YES it takes a while for a lifelong powerlifter to be OK doing smith incline presses with 115lb for 50-40-30-20 when I could easily hit 275x10. But I tell you what, I have a bigger pump than ever, joints don't hurt and I have already gained 2 lb.

    I do have training ADD so I jump around a lot but based on my overall health I am committed to keeping in the MUCH higher rep ranges. I am always searching for Brignole's latest stuff...no he is not HUGE but for 50 he looks darn good and it makes sense. I will keep you guys posted as to the results, but the most important thing is I can still go to the gym, which I LOVE, and I am minimizing the potential of ending up in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. Reps, reps and more reps keep me in the game and HOPES of adding some more muscle even at my age.
    Last edited by Swaminator; 12-06-2014, 12:51 AM.
    Family Guy but also; Old School SoCal, punk rock loving, powerlifting, hardcore gym rat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtLQ73EutoY

  • #2
    Samples of Brignole's stuff
    http://dougbrignole.fitness/whats-th...muscle-growth/

    http://www.ironmanmagazine.com/torq-...cle-immensity/

    http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2013/11...0-year-of.html
    Family Guy but also; Old School SoCal, punk rock loving, powerlifting, hardcore gym rat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtLQ73EutoY

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    • #3
      sorry to hear that. let us know how it goes. when you were in the 20s/30s though, did you get hurt often or do u think it all came at once?

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      • #4
        Most of this is overlap but he also writes on Lee Labrada's site:

        http://www.labrada.com/blog/author/doug-brignole/



        I remember Doug from back in the 80s (I'm old, too!) You are correct that he has never really been massive, but looks awfully good for a guy in his 50s. I haven't tried to go quite as high rep or high volume as he does, but higher reps for my lower body is about all my lower back will allow. FWIW, I find Bulgarian split squats are about the safest way to hit quads. Good luck with it, Swammy!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by greensoup View Post
          sorry to hear that. let us know how it goes. when you were in the 20s/30s though, did you get hurt often or do u think it all came at once?
          As far as the low back goes, I would tweek it once in a while but nothing major. I would say that in 2012 it all came crashing down on me at once. I was 43. Here are some movements that are absolutely prohibited in order of them being worst (for me) to not quite as bad:

          TBar row/Bent barbell row (nothing is worse than these movements)
          Any type of deadlift
          Seated cable row
          Cleans or any similar movement off the ground
          Barbell full squats (front squats are OK for the most part)
          Leg press (I can do these but have to limit the motion because if I go too deep my ass comes off the pad and stresses the low back)
          Bench press (I can modify these and go with a flat back which is OK. powerlifter style with the arch is no good)

          I love rows so as long as I do chest supported rows I am ok. All pull ups and pull downs are good.

          Bottom line is I love lifting and it would kill me not to go to the gym. Although this might not be the most effective model for adding muscle, it allows me to get in there still get at it. AND, since I had basically spent a lifetime living in the super low rep range, this is a nice shock to the body so I am hoping to have some results like Brignole had and add some lbs of muscle.
          Family Guy but also; Old School SoCal, punk rock loving, powerlifting, hardcore gym rat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtLQ73EutoY

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          • #6
            Swaminator,

            You situation is very much, after about a decade of DC myself (I'm 44), I formulated Fortitude Training. www.fortitudetraining.net .

            -S
            The Book Has Arrived!
            The Book Has Arrived!

            Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a pristine, well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, used up, worn out, and shouting, "Holy #$&^%$^... What a ride!!!"


            www.TrueNutrition.com

            2012 NPC Master's Nationals HW 5th. Mid-USA HW & Overall
            2010 NPC Jr. USA HW 4th, Pacific USA Heavy 2nd
            2009 NPC Mr. Arizona HW & Overall, Jr. Nationals HW 16th, Smoked at USA's

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            • #7
              Why not still train DC but keeping reps higher 20-30 or even higher on all rest pause exercises?
              SAVE 5-10% @ TRUENUTRITION.com Use code: LG100

              - Success is the best revenge

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              • #8
                I did DC for quite a while, but I quit because I wimped out. Seriously. I began to dread that balls to the walls widowmaker set and it got very tough to continue to beat the log book. It is an awesome program. I am so limited now with my exercise selection that I find it better if I stick to "safer" movements and focus on really training the muscle (not the exercise) and going for that pump while limiting rest to 40 seconds between sets. I will say it is a mental hurdle do grab 15 lb dumbbells for lateral raises (50-40-30-20-10 + drop set). Or using just the bar for curls... Or using the same weight as the woman who just used the leg curl machine (albeit she did it 10x and I did it almost 200x by the time I was done.) I have no idea what the end result will be, but like I said I simply cannot go back to hoisting that slag iron on many of those brutal exercises. Walking upright for the second half of my life is my priority.
                Family Guy but also; Old School SoCal, punk rock loving, powerlifting, hardcore gym rat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtLQ73EutoY

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                • #9
                  Super high reps for hypertrophy?

                  Swam. You have a few years on me. So it's good to know I will have program options when I get to your age (hopefully) I just don't think I would be able to count that many reps in a single set never mind the intensity. I was just thinking that even if you made some personal changes to DC or any other program. And did higher reps and perhaps dropped the widow makers even on DC. You would still be in the higher rep ranges but not super high like this program. But I know how you feel about trying new programs. I like to try them too. I recently really enjoyed poliquins AGVT and currently doing his 5% solution program. I plan to return to DC but in the higher rep ranges as mentioned previously. If it's working than keep rocking!
                  Last edited by LG1; 12-06-2014, 03:58 PM.
                  SAVE 5-10% @ TRUENUTRITION.com Use code: LG100

                  - Success is the best revenge

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                  • #10
                    Swami, can you post a day or two from your log. I am all about this as I have beat the crap out of my body for years and it hurts.
                    Save yourself 5% on all your TRUENUTRITION orders by using discount code MTM281

                    My Training Log Here at IM

                    "Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals." -Jim Rohn

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mateus View Post
                      Swami, can you post a day or two from your log. I am all about this as I have beat the crap out of my body for years and it hurts.
                      Disclaimer...I have only been doing this about a month and I have gained 2 lbs but I really cannot attest to the overall effect it has had on me. I need to give it a few months to get a better idea. Also, I am trying to stay within the spirit of what I have read in Brignole's blogs and writings. Talks about muscles primarily serving one function. Example: a curl is a curl and that is what biceps do. So no point in hitting it from 4 different angles when all you are doing is a curl anyway.

                      Mon/Thu (chest-back)

                      1. Close grip lat pulldowns (reps 50-40-30-20) same weight all sets. 40 seconds rest. Then 10>drop10>drop 10. By now my lats are PUMPED

                      2. Decline cable flyes (same exact rep scheme ^^^)

                      3. Chest supported cable rows (same ^^^)

                      4. Incline Smith Press (same ^^^)

                      5. Seated kettle bell shrugs (same ^^^)

                      I usually get this done in 35-40 minutes. Very pumped when I am done.


                      Tue/Fri (Legs-Calves)

                      1. Leg Curls (same as above)

                      2. Leg Extensions (same as above)

                      3. Hack squats just shy of parallel to protect my back(same as above *25 lb plate on each side) no drop sets

                      4. Calf Sled (same as above)

                      5. Seated Calf raise (same as above)


                      Wed/Sat (Shoulders-Arms)

                      1. DB Lateral raise (same reps)

                      2. Rear Delt Machine (same)

                      3. Front DB raise (same)

                      4. Olympic bar curl (zero on the bar, same reps)

                      5. Tricep Pushdowns (same)

                      Sunday is off.

                      Note: On the second day of each workout I will use a different exercise but it will be the exact same plane and/or motion. Example. Instead of DB lateral raises I might do cable laterals. Instead of Smith inclines I might do DB inclines or Hammer Inclines. The only thing I cannot alternate is leg extensions, leg curls, seated calf due to limitations in equipment at my gym. As you can see the above is very low back friendly which is mandatory for me.

                      Pros: So far I have not had any joint/back pain. So far my pumps have been like none I have ever had before. You feel JACKED up when you finish an exercise. In and out quickly (never more than an hour) and since you are using light weights there isn't a lot of warm up time needed. I like being able to hit everything 2x per week. Using such a high rep scheme is so foreign to me, it seems new and keeps my interest high.

                      Cons: Huge ego hit using "pansy" weights. When you read Dusty's post about building a body forged of steel moving heavy iron, you get depressed holding 15-20 lb dumbbells doing lateral raises. Tough to stay mentally focused grinding out so many reps. Hammering out reps is a mental and physical grind. Easy to lose count (if in doubt do more). Typically don't feel anything until you get about 30 reps in on the first set. By the time you hit set #2 the lactic acid build up is very painful. Unknown what the long term benefit will be.

                      Here is a link that helped inspire me.
                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UlaSvEL7Y4
                      Last edited by Swaminator; 12-06-2014, 08:27 PM.
                      Family Guy but also; Old School SoCal, punk rock loving, powerlifting, hardcore gym rat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtLQ73EutoY

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                      • #12
                        Interesting. I am going to give it a go. Thanks for posting the lifts.
                        Save yourself 5% on all your TRUENUTRITION orders by using discount code MTM281

                        My Training Log Here at IM

                        "Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals." -Jim Rohn

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mateus View Post
                          Interesting. I am going to give it a go. Thanks for posting the lifts.

                          Program whore! 😝
                          SAVE 5-10% @ TRUENUTRITION.com Use code: LG100

                          - Success is the best revenge

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LG1 View Post
                            Program whore! 😝
                            You know it lol. I gotta do something. Feel older than I am.
                            Save yourself 5% on all your TRUENUTRITION orders by using discount code MTM281

                            My Training Log Here at IM

                            "Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals." -Jim Rohn

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                            • #15
                              Couple more vids. Purely broscience but it does seem to make sense.

                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gi6R3e6KlTc

                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHqC9t8lfgw

                              And I will say that from an anecdotal point of view, the whole concept of 10x3 with 85% of your 1RM got me strong, but I didn't get big. I did that for years. I gained muscle in the higher rep ranges.
                              Family Guy but also; Old School SoCal, punk rock loving, powerlifting, hardcore gym rat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtLQ73EutoY

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