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Widowmaker vs Straight sets

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  • Widowmaker vs Straight sets

    Do you perform a WM set the same way as you perform a SS?

    For example, "is it ok" during the WM set to make lets say 12 reps in a row then pause, not racking the weights but just enough for a quick extra breath and then make 3 more reps, pause litte bit 3 more, pause and then make 2 more to reach 20 reps, or do you have to do all reps in a nonstop fashion until you reach technical failure and then stop, as with the SS set?

    Or is it up to your self to choose?

  • #2
    I've never been able to get a straight 20 without a few breaths here and there. For me It helps keep the intensity up with a few breaths and also allows you to use more weight than you could if you went for 20 straight. I feel it's personal preference too. Just don't take a prolonged pause and like you said don't rack the weight mid WM

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    • #3
      Widowmaker vs Straight sets

      It's kinda like an inverse relationship. If you had a lightish weight on the bar, you'd probably be able to make the 20 reps without a pause. Up the weight on the bar for the sake of progression to tax oneself, and it becomes very difficult to then make it to 20 reps without a pause.
      The idea is to manage 20 reps, but fail at roughly 20. Therefore, it should be a difficult set. So for mere mortals, a pause for breath etc... once or twice within the 20 reps would probably be about right.
      How you pause is up to you. If I'm squatting, then I'll probably still keep a break in my knee to keep the tension on.....if I can. And I'd be pausing for a second or two. When I fail, I fail. Don't always make 20. I normally try to gauge the weight to try to fail roughly between 15-20 reps.
      That'd be my version of it anyway.

      Edit:

      "I'll probably still keep a break in my knee to keep the tension on."

      I've just re-read my post. Probably cobblers......
      If the weight is heavy and you're trying to 20 rep, they'll probably be no break in the knee to keep tension on. Maybe just standing huffing and puffing would be more fitting a scenario
      Last edited by ChubChub; 04-28-2016, 04:41 PM.

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      • #4
        Ok, thanks guys, then I'm doing it right Because it is very taxing!

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        • #5
          Especially with squat, it is totally fine to "take a break." If you read the original 20 rep squat book, a true 20 repper set or widowmaker should take a couple of minutes. They used to call them "breathing Squats" because that was an integral part of keeping pace and strength throughout the duration. In terms of other movements, the "breaks" should not be as long, as form would most likely break down. A compound movement like back/front squat lends itself well to a windowmaker because one can rest at the top of the movement without it being too taxing if you compare it to a row or bench

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          • #6
            20 Rep front squats just don't work for me, since my upper back gives up long before my quads.
            http://fs5.directupload.net/images/151004/qbpit24s.jpg

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            • #7
              from reading it looks like some people switch from squats to leg press for the widowmaker

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              • #8
                I believe DC outlined it somewhere that anything you could get injured on, or has a propensity to have your form go to shit with a widowmaker should be avoided (low bar squats, deadlifts, etc). Your better bet would be leg press, hack squat, 45 degree hip sled, etc. I alternate between leg press and hack squat machines for widowmakers. The key is to pick a weight you can normally only do 10 reps with and gut out 20 reps without racking it. Yes, you can stop and hold the weight to catch your breath, but you just can't rack it. The widowmaker is really priming you (filling the muscle FULL of blood) for the immediate extreme stretch (which will then make you cry like a little bitch if you are doing it correctly).
                "It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument." -William G. McAdoo

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dranziel View Post
                  Do you perform a WM set the same way as you perform a SS?

                  For example, "is it ok" during the WM set to make lets say 12 reps in a row then pause, not racking the weights but just enough for a quick extra breath and then make 3 more reps, pause litte bit 3 more, pause and then make 2 more to reach 20 reps, or do you have to do all reps in a nonstop fashion until you reach technical failure and then stop, as with the SS set?

                  Or is it up to your self to choose?
                  I'd say taking a breather once or twice during a set is fine assuming it isn't a ten second delay lol. Just grind until you can't :bb:

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Michael Travis View Post
                    I've never been able to get a straight 20 without a few breaths here and there. For me It helps keep the intensity up with a few breaths and also allows you to use more weight than you could if you went for 20 straight. I feel it's personal preference too. Just don't take a prolonged pause and like you said don't rack the weight mid WM
                    i agree with you!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Michael Travis View Post
                      I've never been able to get a straight 20 without a few breaths here and there. For me It helps keep the intensity up with a few breaths and also allows you to use more weight than you could if you went for 20 straight. I feel it's personal preference too. Just don't take a prolonged pause and like you said don't rack the weight mid WM
                      Agreed as well

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                      • #12
                        The way Dante described it in application to the quads was basically take a weight that causes you to fail at 10 reps straight, and then take as many breaths as needed in between reps and go for another 10.

                        To me it is just another form of rest pause, so to speak. We are just not reracking in between reps on a widowmaker.

                        Hence, a little different than a true 20 RM where we fail after pumping out 20, without holding the weight in the contracted position and taking breaths.

                        I also use this when doing my straight sets for forearms. I'll usually grind out at least 5 more reps by holding the weight at the bottom of my reverse and hammer curls and doing one rep at a time.
                        Last edited by andishehhank; 01-26-2018, 07:39 PM.

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                        • #13
                          I do remember reading a post by Dante where he described a slightly different approach to wm's. Starting at a weight where you can complete 30 reps with failure achieved at the last rep. Then every time you repeat the same wm's you add weight and get as many reps as possible. This is then repeated adding weight every time until you finally get down to only getting 10 reps and at that point you lose the wm and move onto another. You wouldn't take any pauses or breaks just push out a straight set.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MAC_collo View Post
                            I do remember reading a post by Dante where he described a slightly different approach to wm's. Starting at a weight where you can complete 30 reps with failure achieved at the last rep. Then every time you repeat the same wm's you add weight and get as many reps as possible. This is then repeated adding weight every time until you finally get down to only getting 10 reps and at that point you lose the wm and move onto another. You wouldn't take any pauses or breaks just push out a straight set.
                            Yeah I think I read this in cycling for pennies about weak body parts.

                            More or less from following dusty hanshaw I might've thought if this method was used we would strive to (ideally) keep the reps the same (high.)

                            Also, I thought it was about just 20 rep WMs, but I must've not read as many threads as I thought, then,

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