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.

Strength Methods

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

Strength Skill

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:

  1. Pick a weight that represents a solid "training max" (not a true 1RM, but about 90-95% of it).
  2. Start by doing 5 sets of 1 with that weight.
  3. Every session, add one set, until you reach 10 sets of 1.
  4. 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:

  1. Pick an RPE (Rate of perceived exertion), and a rep range to use (usually 1-4 reps)
  2. Work up to a weight that matches the target RPE
  3. Select a percentage drop (the bigger this number, the higher the volume) - e.g: 5%
  4. 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)
  5. Keep doing sets at that weight until the RPE reaches the target RPE again - that's you done.

Practical example

  1. Target RPE 9 (1 more rep in reserve), with 2 reps, 5% fatigue drop
  2. Ramp up the weight in sets of 2 on the squat -> reach 2@160kg with RPE 9
  3. Drop 5% off of weight : 152kg
  4. Do sets of 2 reps. The first set might be an RPE of 7.
  5. Keep doing sets of 2 until the RPE reaches 9 again.
  6. This auto regulates the volume

Bodybuilding Methods

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. 1 set to failure with 4s eccentrics - 6 reps
  2. Attempt the 7th rep, but fail to complete it, but keep trying for 5-10s
  3. rest for 10 deep breaths.
  4. Repeat 2 more times (managing 4 and 2 reps on each set respectively)
  5. After, do a loaded chest stretch for 30-60s
  6. 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.