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Are single reps dangerous?

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  • Are single reps dangerous?

    Powerlifters and Olympic lifters do lots of low reps in the 1-3 range, most BB’ers do not. I have known BB’ers that have lifted for 5-10 years and have NEVER taken a single rep max, even benching. Ask most of these guys why and they will tell you it’s just an ego lift and doesn’t build muscle. And they will usually follow up with how dangerous they are. Are these allegations valid? Lets look a little closer to see.

    Are they truly just an ego lift that doesn’t build muscle? Well if they are only being done once in a great while the answer is yes. Taking a max every so often just to check what you are capable of is mostly just stoking your ego and obviously doing 1 rep with the most weight you can handle every three months will not contribute to strength gains. But what about using low reps to build strength? For many bodybuilder brought up on high rep volume training this probably sounds like heresy. Whats the point? The point is that the fastest strength gains will occur when doing extremely low reps, and the strength gains will be to a large part transferable to your lower-medium range hypertrophy reps. That means you will soon be able to use heavier weights in the rep ranges that build muscle. Does that make it sound like extremely low reps don’t build any muscle? Well for most people the answer will be very little compared to mid-and high rep hypertrophy sets. But again, if you can get a lot stronger doing low reps, what happens when you do the higher reps with a lot more weight? Bigger you is the answer.

    has long been a big advocate of using low reps by boudybuilders and you need only look at what Dexter and Ronnie to see what some low rep training can help provide to your physique.

    Now onto the question of safety. Are low reps really the body wreakers they are often made out to be? Well, the answer is sometimes. The potential is definitely there IF your form isn’t good. Get out of the groove, or just have plain bad form to begin with and you are likely to get hurt. If your form is good, and you are using a solid power rack and/or competent spotters I think the dangers are grossly exaggerated. Do you know when people most often get hurt? When they are at the end of a high rep set and are compromising their form to get in those last few reps. When doing a singe or three rep set, you only have 1-3 reps to give your TOTAL focus to form to. This means for should be PERFECT! When I miss a single I am always still in perfect form, but the weight just doesn’t make it up and is lowered back down on the pins in the rack or on the floor. It really is that simple, unlike the almost enevitable small form breakdown that occurs on 8-20 rep sets done all-out.

    If you are new to low rep work I suggest you start with 5’s for a few weeks before doing some 3’s and then finally going for a max. Beware! Using the same lift for more then 4 weeks WILL result in a decrease in performance so if it is your intent to us them on a long term basis, the lift must be rotated to a different lift that targets the same prime movers every 1-3 weeks as per Westside Barbell. Does this type of training work? Ask those competing against the WSB crew. They usually do quite well!

    Iron Addict
    www.ironaddicts.com

  • #2
    iron addict, as you know, power lifters are a breed unto themselves. Their training no way follows a typical BBers program. Their techniques are learned just like BBing. Hell, any lift is dangerous if it's not done right...

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    • #3
      I agree, the typical powerlifter trains WAY smarter than the typical BB. Why do I say that? Because powerlifters care about one thing. Bringing their total up. Yes, they care about getting stronger as job one. Your typical BB is so caught up in all the fringe details that they often lose sight about getting stronger.

      Until you have a totally solid strength base that should be your sole worry. Most struggling BB'ers are simply weak. See the correlation? I sure do on a daily basis. Am I saying BB'ers should train exclusively like PL'ers? No, not at all, but most would be better off if they laid the foundation structuring their routines more like PL'ers and spent their time worrying if they were getting stronger every week instead of thinking about what isoation lift they should be using to pump their rear delts, or other trivial rubbish.

      Iron Addict
      www.ironaddicts.com

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      • #4
        I will take that as a compliment.
        International Elite Raw Powerlifter
        Blood - Sweat - Chalk

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        • #5
          Well if you think Powerlifters lift safe, talk to them and see how many have had serious injuries like take you out of the game injuries and most BBers have bad rotators, wrists, elbows and some with knee problems but they can still train the BBing way.

          And I hope we are not talking about PowerBuilders, BBing is a different thing totally...
          "That damn log book"

          www.trueprotein.com Highest quality protein at the lowest price...

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          • #6
            Yes, the injury rate for Pl'ing is higher than BB. I know that. I work with and talk to Pl'ers on a daily basis. Good Pl'ers handle a LOT more iron than most BB'ers and do things that are more risky.

            They still on average train a lot smarter though IMO. Doggpounders and HIT'ers not included-lol.

            Iron Addict
            www.ironaddicts.com

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            • #7
              If thats code I don't get it.

              IA
              www.ironaddicts.com

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              • #8
                IA - very insightful post - Thank you Bro !
                Stay Hard and Get Huge !


                Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius , power and magic in it. Begin it now. - Goethe

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by iron addict
                  Yes, the injury rate for Pl'ing is higher than BB. I know that. I work with and talk to Pl'ers on a daily basis. Good Pl'ers handle a LOT more iron than most BB'ers and do things that are more risky.

                  They still on average train a lot smarter though IMO. Doggpounders and HIT'ers not included-lol.
                  You know I can't think you can use the word, "smarter", I do not think it applies to just how heavy you are going, and I think if you are constantly looking for that 1RM that is not smart in IMO at all, yes I understand perfect form is needed, but when it comes down to meeting records constantly, that is not so smart with very low reps, injury is way to high.

                  I think the pushing yourself to that new 1RM falls into a realm of at all costs, and that just is not a smart thing to do if you wish to be in any type of lifting program...
                  "That damn log book"

                  www.trueprotein.com Highest quality protein at the lowest price...

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                  • #10
                    In-Human,

                    I think we are on the same page here and don't know it. When I say average BB I am talking accross the board. The average BB is soooo caught up on trival shit they miss the forest for the trees. The ones that do well are those that have the goal of betting stronger on a WO to WO basis. There is a trainer named Dante I beleive that stresses the extrem importance of using the log-book and shattering last weeks goals every damn week. Do most BB'ers do this? No.

                    I did not imply smarter to training methods at all, just training results. PL'ers as a whole are concerned about getting stronger week in week out. A big chunk of the BB'ers out there are more concerned that they got a good pump and hit every muscle from all anles to ensure "complete development", and other trival points for under muscled lifters.

                    Iron Addict
                    www.ironaddicts.com

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                    • #11
                      I will say that at my best as a natural powerlifter I had one of the most detailed training systems I could have imagined. In that regard it was smart...but yeah I suppose there are others that are smart that bb.

                      Powerlifters do have to create training cycles etc which takes alot of organization etc that may not be required for bb'ing.
                      International Elite Raw Powerlifter
                      Blood - Sweat - Chalk

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