I am guessing that probably about 75% of people that workout stick to the rep range of 8 to 12, and they will repeat it for perhaps 3 to 4 sets. We have the infamous chest day on Monday, where we will have some presses, some flyes, a few cheeky cable crossovers and chuck a few press ups in there for good measure? Then we have back day the next, shoulders day, arms day, and maybe leg day if the ‘knees aren’t bad’.
If you are meticulously checking off whilst you read that, I will foretell something else:
1. It bores you
2. You’ve reached a plateau.
3. You go in to the gym with the same frame of mind, you check off the same weights and the same reps day in day out whilst checking your phone in between lengthening rest periods.
Well don’t give up now my friend! I am here to show you that it isn’t all doom and gloom of 12 repetition workouts.
This is part I of III of shaking up your workouts: in this article I have 2 workout styles to shake it up and push you past that plateau!
1.The Buddy Workout
You can keep to your bodybuilding split if you really can’t let go of it!
But it’s simple, instead of resting for unknown amounts of times, you will only rest for the time that it takes your buddy to complete his reps.
Pick a time that you are going to do the exercise for (e.g. 2 to 3 minutes) – try and get through as many sets as possible in that allotted time.
So let me break it down with a couple of examples:
2 minutes of barbell bench press: complete 10 reps whilst your partner rests, after 10 reps your partner will jump in and complete 10 reps whilst you rest. Repeat until the 2 minutes is up.
3 minutes of barbell squats: complete 6 reps whilst your partner rests, after the 6 reps your partner will jump in and complete the 6 reps whilst you rest. Repeat until the 3 minutes is up.
You can do this for anything! Press ups/burpees/pull ups/smaller accessory work.
One thing I will emphasise though – you will not be breaking any PRs with this. Pick a weight that you know you can maintain throughout. However, the pump will be awesome!
2. The 6-12-25 Workout
You complete 3 exercises back to back in a tri-set:
The first exercise is 6 reps with a count of 4:0:1 – 4 counts on the eccentric phase, and 1 on the concentric phase.
This part focuses on strength so keep the weights high. Try and keep to compound movements on this exercise.
The second exercise is 12 reps with a count of 2:0:1 – 2 counts on the eccentric phase, and 1 on the concentric phase.
This part focuses on hypertrophy.
The third exercise is 25 reps with a count of 1:0:1 – 1 count on the eccentric, and 1 on the concentric phase.
This part focuses on muscular endurance.
Why this rep range?
It is a method used to build muscle strength, size and endurance in one big swoop.
As you are completing three exercises back to back with different rep ranges, you don’t need to be in the gym for hours on end; this is a method to create and intense and short workout to build fitness fast and effectively.
But more important of all, most individuals that enter the gym want strength but they also want to look good, especially in the summer season. So the 6-12-25 workout is a compromise between both worlds – it is great for building strength but it also helps to building muscle size and endurance.
So an example:
Let’s look at a shoulder workout –
6 reps of shoulder press
12 reps of upright row
25 reps of lateral raises
Repeat 3-4x. Simple!
Choose appropriate weights for each set:
For the 6-rep sets, choose a heavy weight that barely allows you to finish the set.
Decrease the weight somewhat for the 12-rep set and decrease more for the 25-rep set.
Intensity is key – train as hard as you can during each set with an RPE of 9 (the last rep should be a struggle bus).
And let’s see how you get on!
Next article I will be showing you 2 more workout methods to try out!