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Thread: The Great Debate

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    Wannabebig New Member
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    The Great Debate

    I have been lifting off and on now for the past 5 years. Recently I had taken some time off because of elbow problems but am looking to get back into lifting. In the past I have done Rippetoes Starting Strength program and a different program with less weight and higher reps in the 3x10 range. My question is what do you guys think is the better method for gaining mass? I know a lot of people consider Rippetoes more of a strength program rather than to gain muscle. Honestly I have done variations of both programs and have gotten good results off both. I was just wondering what you guys think is more effective or if it really matters if you do high weight and low reps like in rippetoes or lower weight and higher rep programs like many bodybuilders seem to typically due to hit that target hypertrophy rep range etc.

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    DeaTH BeFoRe WeaKNeSs sCaRz*Of*PaiN's Avatar
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    Heavy weight and heavy eating = mass. Higher reps are more for endurance.
    "The only easy day was yesterday."

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    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Low reps first. Build a good base. Get your numbers to 300/400/500 or better. Then see if you can use other stuff.
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    There is no great debate, there is only one answer, Heavy weight, low reps, lots of sets is best

    but there is a progressions

    when people start out i like to suggest 10-12 reps just to learn the movement, then after that i drop them to around 6 to 8 reps, getting them ready for heavier weights, then afterwards i keep the reps below 5, and start adding in more and more sets, sometimes as many as ten, then cycling weights, poundages and sets is the key, but thats another discussion.

    lets just say heavy weight and low reps is key
    Why live if one can not Deadlift?- John Paul Sigmasson

    Accept that which is useful and reject what is not- Bruce Lee

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    Senior Member Gymjunkie's Avatar
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    Starting Strength is not just for beginners.. I don't get why people stop using something that works so well in the beginning (heavy weights, compound exercises) and switch to some stupid-ass magazine 4 day split or even worse, do 6 day split. S. McRoberts was right saying that it is a big myth that routines like SS are for beginners only. They work always.
    I can't say that 3 day split for example doesn't work, it does.. but I think routines like SS are more effective!
    Lifts:

    Bench Press 60kg 5x5
    Squats 77,5 kg 5x5
    Deads 112,5kg 5x5
    BB Rows 80kg 5x5
    Overhead Pr. 40kg 5x5

    My training journal:
    http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=125238

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    You can't get big if you're not strong.

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    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    It simply can not be argued that heavy weight and a lot of food builds muscle.

    Whether you do higher reps or lower reps doesn't really matter. It's the progression that matters. You keep adding more weight onto the bar for the set amount of reps, and you keep eating in a caloric surplus, and your muscles will get bigger.

    As for the different rep ranges (1 - 3 being for "strength", 3 - 7 for "strength and size", 8 - 12 for "hypertrophy specific", 13+ being for endurance, etc...), well to be quite honest I don't know.....and I don't believe anyone else really does either. People may have theories about the different types of muscle fibres, adaptations, types of hypertrophy, and all that mumbo jumbo, but when it comes down to it, no one REALLY knows what the hell is going on. The only thing that we can be sure of (through experience) is that constantly PROGRESSING from workout to workout and eating in a surplus builds muscle. And it just seems that the guys that can lift more weight happen to be bigger and more muscular then the guys that can't lift as much weight, which would lead to the reasonable conclusion that the fact that they lift heavy weights made them the way they are.
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    WBB's Juggernaut/Liason BigCorey75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brihead301 View Post
    It simply can not be argued that heavy weight and a lot of food builds muscle.

    Whether you do higher reps or lower reps doesn't really matter. It's the progression that matters. You keep adding more weight onto the bar for the set amount of reps, and you keep eating in a caloric surplus, and your muscles will get bigger.

    As for the different rep ranges (1 - 3 being for "strength", 3 - 7 for "strength and size", 8 - 12 for "hypertrophy specific", 13+ being for endurance, etc...), well to be quite honest I don't know.....and I don't believe anyone else really does either. People may have theories about the different types of muscle fibres, adaptations, types of hypertrophy, and all that mumbo jumbo, but when it comes down to it, no one REALLY knows what the hell is going on. The only thing that we can be sure of (through experience) is that constantly PROGRESSING from workout to workout and eating in a surplus builds muscle. And it just seems that the guys that can lift more weight happen to be bigger and more muscular then the guys that can't lift as much weight, which would lead to the reasonable conclusion that the fact that they lift heavy weights made them the way they are.
    I bed to differ on that.

    You have different type of muscle fibers and motor units, for the same of simplicity lets just group them into 2 groups, better yet 3.

    they are listed as what size, and there contraction speed

    Big and fast, medium and medium, small, and slow.

    and your fibers are recruited in reverse order of that. meaning your biggest and strongest fibers are recruited last. This does not mean at the end of a hard set but they are recruited only when needed to move a heavy load.

    light weight, u only use ur small muscle fibers ie moving around, picking up stuff, yadda yadda yadda

    lifitng weights will recruit mostly the medium and small fibers, ie training with weights 20-8 reps per set in most exercises

    heavy weight, recruits all three levels off fibers, ie, max attempts, heavy doubles, heavy triples and things of that nature.


    So when you routinely train in the high rep range you only recruit the medium and small muscle fibers which do not have the same size capacity as ur biggest fibers. So these work and work, and blood and fluid is forced into the muscles bellies and capilaries to make the contraction of the msucle, and over time this expands the size of the bellies between the fibers and capillaries, so it swells the muscle fluid and these fibers over time grow. as well as the space between them. which can lead to the muscle growing and looking great when pumped, but when the workout is over the muscles can return to a flatted out state until pumped up again.


    Now when you go in the 1-5 rep range, with heavy weight, you recruit all of your muscle fibers to move the load, this will work the biggest fibers and they have great potential for growth. since the working sets are usually no longer than ten seconds per set, there is not alot of time for blood to get super forced into the spaces between the muscle fibers to expand the capillaries and the fibers have to work, and these fibers grow bigger and dont allow for space for excess blood and fluid in the muscle.

    another thing to consider is muscle fibers can convert. distance runners tend to have more smaller slow twitch enduranced fibers in their bodies when compared to sprinters who have alot more big fast twitch muscle fibers in their bodies, and these fibers can be converted bepending on how u train.


    the more high rep training one does, his body converts those fibers to more medium and slow twitch fibers, while those who train with heavy weights their bodies will convert more big fast twitch muscle fibers.


    This explains why light weight PLer and Oly' lifters and gymnast look very hard and dense, because the bulk of their training is done with heavy weight and high tension, and its this high tension that truly changes the tone of the muscle its has tension on it and its full of big fast twitch muscle fibers.

    Also explains why BB'ers tend to look puffy and rounded, also why they look more full when pumped up. they have large bellies and space between fibers to take on blood and fluid to power the longer TUT sets, they have alot of medium twitch fibers from their style of training.

    this also explains why BB and PL of the same size, the PL is going to be way way stronger because the nature of his training and what it has done to the tonus and fiber make up of his muscles.



    so yes it does matter, and it makes a difference as to whats going on, and the rep ranges you train with.


    dont throw science out of the window, its your friend and its here to help
    Why live if one can not Deadlift?- John Paul Sigmasson

    Accept that which is useful and reject what is not- Bruce Lee

    Reason and Logic trump religion- Me

    Restriction of education, Censorship of knowledge, and Proliferation of religion helps keep the masses tamed- Me

    "Money does not fix everything, Smart fixes everything"

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    Senior Member Gymjunkie's Avatar
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    Hall of Fame post!! Thanx a lot!

    BTW, any sources about gymnast training? They look awesome and are strong, how do they train besides rings I wonder...
    Lifts:

    Bench Press 60kg 5x5
    Squats 77,5 kg 5x5
    Deads 112,5kg 5x5
    BB Rows 80kg 5x5
    Overhead Pr. 40kg 5x5

    My training journal:
    http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=125238

  10. #10
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    Ok, you win.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    But my main point really was that there's really no "magical rep range" that builds size the best. I was arguing the whole higher reps for hypertrophy, lower reps for strength thing.
    How to Find Your Dream Job
    My personal blog/website dedicated to giving answers on the age old question - how to escape the "rat race". I now play guitar for a living!

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    WBB's Juggernaut/Liason BigCorey75's Avatar
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    gymjunkie- Gymnast train alot on their movements and body weight exercises, plus they will throw in some deadlifts and squats occasionally check out a book by Pavel Tsatsouline called "Naked Warrior" its pretty easy to find and an easy read, he goes into alot of great detail on body weight training and mastering the one leg squat as well as the one arm one leg pushup, and all types of tension focused work on incorporating the entire body into lifts and movement, its quite fascinating.


    brihead301- ill take that victory....lol


    not trying to bash you or anything, just trying to expand your own knowledge when you hit the gym so u can get more effective results, feel free to PM me anytime if u have a question
    Why live if one can not Deadlift?- John Paul Sigmasson

    Accept that which is useful and reject what is not- Bruce Lee

    Reason and Logic trump religion- Me

    Restriction of education, Censorship of knowledge, and Proliferation of religion helps keep the masses tamed- Me

    "Money does not fix everything, Smart fixes everything"

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    WBB's Juggernaut/Liason BigCorey75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brihead301 View Post
    But my main point really was that there's really no "magical rep range" that builds size the best. I was arguing the whole higher reps for hypertrophy, lower reps for strength thing.

    yep, its the low rep range that trains all the muscle fibers, if u want a more size impact quicker, do more sets.

    a good flip is most peple love the 3 sets of 10 reps, try 10 sets of 3 reps, i bet that will throw some bulk on your armor.


    do the the pump and sarcoplasmic effect of high rep training, much of the muscle built that way is what i like to call false muscle. its a huge collection of sarcoplasmic fluid and blood capillaries, not true dense muscle fibers
    Why live if one can not Deadlift?- John Paul Sigmasson

    Accept that which is useful and reject what is not- Bruce Lee

    Reason and Logic trump religion- Me

    Restriction of education, Censorship of knowledge, and Proliferation of religion helps keep the masses tamed- Me

    "Money does not fix everything, Smart fixes everything"

  14. #14
    SchModerator ZenMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gymjunkie View Post
    Starting Strength is not just for beginners.. I don't get why people stop using something that works so well in the beginning (heavy weights, compound exercises) and switch to some stupid-ass magazine 4 day split or even worse, do 6 day split. S. McRoberts was right saying that it is a big myth that routines like SS are for beginners only. They work always.
    I can't say that 3 day split for example doesn't work, it does.. but I think routines like SS are more effective!
    SS is made for the novice who can progress from workout to workout... so yea... its a beginner routine. Most people jack around on so many BS routines that they can progress on SS but they are still novice.
    Sarvamangalam!

  15. #15
    Senior Member Gymjunkie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZenMonkey View Post
    SS is made for the novice who can progress from workout to workout... so yea... its a beginner routine. Most people jack around on so many BS routines that they can progress on SS but they are still novice.
    Ok, I guess I should have said that basics-first routines like SS are best but unfortunately people use them at the start of training and then forget them and take some routine from muscle mag or a stupid 6 day split.. Modify the SS after you become intermediate and you have a better workout than any 3x10 3 day split full of machine exercises..
    Last edited by Gymjunkie; 07-17-2009 at 02:44 PM.
    Lifts:

    Bench Press 60kg 5x5
    Squats 77,5 kg 5x5
    Deads 112,5kg 5x5
    BB Rows 80kg 5x5
    Overhead Pr. 40kg 5x5

    My training journal:
    http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=125238

  16. #16
    Senior Member Gymjunkie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigCorey75 View Post
    gymjunkie- Gymnast train alot on their movements and body weight exercises, plus they will throw in some deadlifts and squats occasionally check out a book by Pavel Tsatsouline called "Naked Warrior" its pretty easy to find and an easy read, he goes into alot of great detail on body weight training and mastering the one leg squat as well as the one arm one leg pushup, and all types of tension focused work on incorporating the entire body into lifts and movement, its quite fascinating.


    brihead301- ill take that victory....lol


    not trying to bash you or anything, just trying to expand your own knowledge when you hit the gym so u can get more effective results, feel free to PM me anytime if u have a question
    Funny you mention it, I have watched the Naked Warrior videos and yes those exercises are nice. But looking at Pavel he is not as big as gymnasts (they aren't big though too). So I guess those rings are the main thing for them.

    Also, I can relate to your saying that high rep training is building empty muscles. I gained like 20lbs with it but I didn't get much stronger and I was thinking "I did get bigger, but it's like my muscles are just air or something.. just bloated muscles.. something is not right here..". Then I started training 5x5.. and I prefer this to 3x10 type of training from now on!
    Lifts:

    Bench Press 60kg 5x5
    Squats 77,5 kg 5x5
    Deads 112,5kg 5x5
    BB Rows 80kg 5x5
    Overhead Pr. 40kg 5x5

    My training journal:
    http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=125238

  17. #17
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    Consider the speed at which you're able to lift a weight. This is very important because when you can do 20+ reps with 300lbs you're able to put enough force into the bar to use all your available muscle fibraz. When you are training super slow, it's because you're either avoiding force production, or having to produce so much force you end up barely doing any work and blasting your nervous system for weeks to come.

    Use max work conservatively, and get most volume in between 70-85% where speed and force production mate.


    Alternatively, you can use the dynamic effort system, to save on unnecessary fatigue and stay fresh for consistent strength training.

  18. #18
    Squat Heavy, Squat Often Cards's Avatar
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    I didn't read the other posts, but I think if your goal is to gain muscle, you need to find the training program that looks the most entertaining to YOU and just stuff your face. The real key to gaining muscle is intensity and the amount of food you eat. If you went to the gym every 2-3 days and you just squatted but you stuffed your face and pushed your self beyond your limits you would gain muscle.

    Intensity and Food. The routine is just about movements you enjoy doing.
    Last edited by Cards; 07-19-2009 at 05:14 PM.
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    WBB's Juggernaut/Liason BigCorey75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cards View Post
    I didn't read the other posts, but I think if your goal is to gain muscle, you need to find the training program that looks the most entertaining to YOU and just stuff your face. The real key to gaining muscle is intensity and the amount of food you eat. If you went to the gym every 2-3 days and you just squatted but you stuffed your face and pushed your self beyond your limits you would gain muscle.

    Intensity and Food. The routine is just about movements you enjoy doing.
    Yes and no

    intensity and passion trumps all, but if your routine suck ass as far as exercise selection you wont get much out of it as you are looking for
    Why live if one can not Deadlift?- John Paul Sigmasson

    Accept that which is useful and reject what is not- Bruce Lee

    Reason and Logic trump religion- Me

    Restriction of education, Censorship of knowledge, and Proliferation of religion helps keep the masses tamed- Me

    "Money does not fix everything, Smart fixes everything"

  20. #20
    Squat Heavy, Squat Often Cards's Avatar
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    yeah, your right. the problem i see most often though doesnt have to do with the routine. hell we recommend ss to everyone on this board. the problem is the intensity people put into the routine. way to many people half ass the workout or just do the motions. id rather see someone with a ****ty routine whos passionate about their goals than half assing a good routine.
    H: 5'7" W:185
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    “Persistence Persistence.” - Calvin Coolidge.
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    WBB's Juggernaut/Liason BigCorey75's Avatar
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    i agree whole heartedly, and i wanna take these people with heart and ambition, and guide them to the right exercises and routines
    Why live if one can not Deadlift?- John Paul Sigmasson

    Accept that which is useful and reject what is not- Bruce Lee

    Reason and Logic trump religion- Me

    Restriction of education, Censorship of knowledge, and Proliferation of religion helps keep the masses tamed- Me

    "Money does not fix everything, Smart fixes everything"

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