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Old 11-17-2013, 04:17 PM   #1
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Default Incorporating heavy singles in a strength focussed program?

I've been running the same program for quite a while and have been gaining strength & size on it at a good rate using lots of sets of 5 and sets of 8. Down the road I'd like to focus on powerlifting eventually and therefore was wondering if adding heavy singles to my program would be a good idea.

I'm not really suggesting anything reckless. Basically I came up with the idea to, before my rep work, work up to a heavy single (a 'training max' or 'technique max whatever word you prefer) and then doing my rep work after that (possibly lowering the total amount of rep sets to give myself time to accomodate to this).

I thought that this way I could get a little practice in with heavier weights without exhausting myself and heavily impacting the rep work.

To clarify I'd, for example, instead of doing just doing 4*8 on bench, do 1*1 and then 3-4*8.

Give me your thoughts mab.

[edit] now that I reread it the title might be a little misleading. Yes I like to focus on strength but I am not chasing purely strength at the moment, also trying to get big. So lets just call it 'powerbuilding'

Last edited by Kleurplaay; 11-17-2013 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 11-17-2013, 05:13 PM   #2
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At this point I wouldn't. Since you are making gains in size and strength I would keep doing what's working. In the future I would look at ramping up to heavy doubles or singles over a period of weeks/months.
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Old 11-17-2013, 08:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kleurplaay View Post
gaining strength & size on it at a good rate...
As long as this continues and you're enjoying yourself, it would be an unwise move to change anything. (Just my opinion/ experience)

Last edited by Disciple X; 11-17-2013 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 11-17-2013, 08:35 PM   #4
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If it isn't broken don't fix it. Getting stronger either in the low rep range or higher is still a strength gain.

If you do want to handle heavier weights I'd say the 3-5 rep range is heavy enough (not going to failure) and then follow with some back off sets of 8-12 for volume. Most people aren't ready to do heavy singles and it be more beneficial than higher reps.
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Old 11-18-2013, 01:29 AM   #5
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There was a link on here on how to increase your 1 rep max using singles that I found helpful http://muscleandbrawn.com/raw-powerl...r-one-rep-max/
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Old 11-18-2013, 02:56 AM   #6
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There was an interview I saw with Ed Coan and he talked about how important sets of 5's were all throughout his training, especially for beginner and intermediates. I'm doing many sets of 5's to with 8's on other lifts and it's great. Over time id lower the sets until it's one top set of 5. If you want you can go with multiple sets of 4's then 3's, but as you said you're doing fine.
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Old 11-18-2013, 04:47 AM   #7
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Doesn't sound like there's much of a reason to change anything, really.

But if you did at some stage, then I'd suggest checking out Paul Carter's routines, and Off Road's log as well (the percentages and stuff are in there somewhere). I think BtB has done a similar kind of training as well, at some stages, though I could be wrong there. Also, the actual "Beyond 5/3/1" routine (i.e., *not* a 5/3/1 variant) is not all that different, IIRC. And that was the only vaguely "5/3/1"-like thing I ended up liking at all, fwiw (doing squat, bench, and deadlift every session, three times a week, in my case).

Basically, you ramp up (after a few warmup sets of more than one rep) with singles, until you're at a given percentage, or perhaps you keep going higher if you're feeling very strong (depending on the routine in question), then drop down to a lower percentage for your actual working sets (e.g., 3x8 or whatever).

Well, that's the gist, but like I said, maybe check out those things if you're curious. And naturally, I'm not claiming that I know what's best for you (or even myself! ) - just some stuff I've seen, and also tried, that seems to be relevant to your question. Hope it's helpful in some way. Best of luck, whatever you decide.
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Old 11-18-2013, 07:57 AM   #8
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If you think it will be fun, do it. Changing things up to have more fun (= more motivation = greater effort = more PRs) is never wrong in my book. I dont think it will hurt to work up to a heavy 2 or 3 and then lower weight and do 8s, ive been training that way myself off and on and its fun and challangeing. Be prepare to lower your rep-work weight some in the beginning though, and look for indicators that show a lack of progress.

Have fun, kill it.
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Old 11-18-2013, 09:42 AM   #9
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Great advice from big swede. If it is fun, do it!

That said, I am not sure where you are at in your training "life" (beginner, intermediate, advanced) so take this with a grain of salt. I would start doing sets of 5 before I started doing singles. After I had done sets of 5 for a while, I would start incorporating triples. Going down to singles, you will be shifting your focus from volume to intensity based training which will condition your CNS and build strength more so than it will generate muscular hypertrophy. Perfect example, I put 150lbs on my deadlift this year doing singles (I was a deadlift noob and started training my deadlift at the beginning of the year), but I did not gain any weight while doing so while staying at pretty close to the same bodyfat% I started at.

I think it is fine to incorporate low volume/high intensity into a routine, but if you like what you are doing and you are making progress toward your goals, then there is no reason to change if your sole focus isn't strength.

I still bodybuild in the 6-15 rep range with assistance exercises though. Main lifts are kept to singles, doubles and triples with the occasional 5 in there.
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Old 11-18-2013, 02:49 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the replies folks! You're right that there's no need to change anything if what you're currently doing is working. I just think it'd be fun to do singles somewhat regularly to get used to handling heavy weights. I'll try it out once and see how it effects the rest of my workout/how I feel the next day and I'll let you guys know!

Quote:
Originally Posted by afraziaaaa View Post
Great advice from big swede. If it is fun, do it!

That said, I am not sure where you are at in your training "life" (beginner, intermediate, advanced) so take this with a grain of salt. I would start doing sets of 5 before I started doing singles. After I had done sets of 5 for a while, I would start incorporating triples. Going down to singles, you will be shifting your focus from volume to intensity based training which will condition your CNS and build strength more so than it will generate muscular hypertrophy. Perfect example, I put 150lbs on my deadlift this year doing singles (I was a deadlift noob and started training my deadlift at the beginning of the year), but I did not gain any weight while doing so while staying at pretty close to the same bodyfat% I started at.

I think it is fine to incorporate low volume/high intensity into a routine, but if you like what you are doing and you are making progress toward your goals, then there is no reason to change if your sole focus isn't strength.

I still bodybuild in the 6-15 rep range with assistance exercises though. Main lifts are kept to singles, doubles and triples with the occasional 5 in there.
Exactly why I asked here if it'd be a good idea! I still have lots of muscle to gain before it would be sensible to switch to very high intensity training. I'd like to eventually get a sickening powerlifting total (hehe) but I'm still building my 'base' (which I will be doing for a long time still probably.

Thanks again guys.

Last edited by Kleurplaay; 11-18-2013 at 02:52 PM.
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