Updates: 2022-01-27: first published 2022-02-25: added Fatigue Percentage Drops
A List of Strength Training Methods
This is a living document cataloguing a variety of different training rep, set, and programming schemes I've liked and used over the years. The only requirements for inclusion are any combination of: i) it works; ii) I liked it.
Some of these are progression schemes, others are just structures that i can use as a framework when i'm looking to "exercise" versus training for some specific goal.
Because my bias leans towards strength training, most of the methods have a focus on increasing weight lifted.
HML - Heavy-Medium-Light
Heavy: 1-3 (or 3-5 if legs) reps. Medium: 5-7 (or 8-10 if legs) reps. Light: 12-15 (or 15+ if legs) reps.
Pick a weight that allows you to hit the bottom end of the heavy range for an exercise. For the other sets, the weight depends on that first one:
less than 100kg = -10kg/set less than 200kg = -20kg/set more than 200kg = -40kg/set
When you reach the top rep range on the light set, increase the weight by 5-10kg
I've ran this framework at least 6 times over the years, and found that it's especially good to rebuild a base strength after having been away from strength focused work for a long time. Here's the link to the original article.
The Basic premise:
- Pick a weight that represents a solid "training max" (not a true 1RM, but about 90-95% of it).
- Start by doing 5 sets of 1 with that weight.
- Every session, add one set, until you reach 10 sets of 1.
- Repeat the cycle with a slightly heavier weight.
I like to pick a weight i can solidly accelerate for at least the first 5 reps.
Reactive Training System's RPE - Fatigue Percentage Drops
Used this method by Mike Tuchscherer a lot back in my earlier strength training days - and it was an awesome way to auto-regulate volume for performance. Use this primarily on primary strength lifts (bench press, squat, deadlift, etc... the big compound lifts). Here's an article outlining the basic gist.
How to use:
- Pick an RPE (Rate of perceived exertion), and a rep range to use (usually 1-4 reps)
- Work up to a weight that matches the target RPE
- Select a percentage drop (the bigger this number, the higher the volume) - e.g: 5%
- Take that percentage off of the weight worked up to on step 2. (this drops both the weight, and, because you are not very fatigued yet, the RPE)
- Keep doing sets at that weight until the RPE reaches the target RPE again - that's you done.
- Target RPE 9 (1 more rep in reserve), with 2 reps, 5% fatigue drop
- Ramp up the weight in sets of 2 on the squat -> reach 2@160kg with RPE 9
- Drop 5% off of weight : 152kg
- Do sets of 2 reps. The first set might be an RPE of 7.
- Keep doing sets of 2 until the RPE reaches 9 again.
- This auto regulates the volume
Rest Pause / DC Training
This is one I keep going back to, and the post detailing the method covers most of the questions around it and it's origins.
The basic gist:
- 3 mini sets, each separated by 10 deep breaths.
- Each mini set is to be taken to failure
- Each rep is performed with a 4 second eccentric (lowering) portion of the lift
- On the final failed rep, continue to attempt to move the weight for 5-10 seconds
- after the 3rd and final mini set, perform a loaded stretch for the targetted muscle group.
Concrete example: Using the DB Bench Press
- 1 set to failure with 4s eccentrics - 6 reps
- Attempt the 7th rep, but fail to complete it, but keep trying for 5-10s
- rest for 10 deep breaths.
- Repeat 2 more times (managing 4 and 2 reps on each set respectively)
- After, do a loaded chest stretch for 30-60s
- Count the total amount of succesful reps
Progression: Pick a rep target (e.g 16 cumulative reps over 3 sets), and keep repeating the exercise each session with teh same weight until you have reached it. Then increase the weight and start again.