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Thread: New Take on Leg Training - "High Reps for Growth"

  1. #26
    Moderator joey54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Songsangnim View Post
    A couple of people had good points: Notably Mr. joey54's remark about consistency and eating and Mr. Acress's remark about the genetic elite growing from almost anything they do.

    But there is quite a bit of misinformation.

    BOTH high and low reps can stimulate growth (PROVIDED that the caloric intake and rest are there to begin with). Muscle is muscle is muscle. If 8-10 reps makes your chest grow, it will make your legs grow. If you are growing everywhere else but not legs...then you are doing something wrong when it comes to leg training.

    Also I disagree (mostly) with high reps as some cure-all. The original concept of the 20 rep squat was not about growth per se (although it does a good job) but about really pushing yourself and breaking past mental barriers. You'll notice that no one really touts 20 rep bicep curls, bench presses, tricep pressdowns, deadlifts (although a few people do this last one). Why? Because it's not about growing from 20 reps it's about challenging yourself. 20 reps is not some magic number (19 or 21 or even 15 would likely work as well).

    Intensity, consistency (in and outside the gym) and self-discipline are all far more important than any number of reps or sets. When everything is taken into account the volume (for the average natural trainer) just isn't that important.

    When everything else is in order, then the amount of volume (unless you are doing ridiculous extremes either way) is not a huge factor unless you are a highly advanced trainee.
    I was waiting for you to contribute to this thread. Quoted for everyone to re-read.

  2. #27
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    And as I think about this some more, is there anyone more genetically gifted in pro bodybuilding than Chris Cormier was? The only one who stands out in my mind is Kevin Levrone.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acress View Post
    Strength is a part of training but when it comes to hypertrophy "limit strength" which is basically 1 RM type strength is not going to develope a great physique. You are limiting your thinking when you think of strength in this way, there is more than one type of strength and for hypertrophy purposes Strength density is more important.

    Of course when you lift weights regardless of volume or high and low reps
    you get stimulation and increase size somewhat. Yes bodybuilders are strong but your missing the point. I'm not saying their weak or they don't lift heavy, but its only heavy relative to them and most don't focus on how much they lift they focus on how it feels whether if its 100lbs they're lifting or 300lbs. When it comes to the genetic elite almost anything will work, but thats about 5% of the population, so what are more average genetic people suppose to do? People are too stuck on numbers and focus on it because of their ego. There will always be exceptions to the rule.

    I'm not saying bodybuilders should never do lower reps like 5-7 because I still do and it has its place as every athlete needs to surf the strength curve, but they should spend most of their time on the end of the curve that will produce the results they are after. For bodybuilders its 8-30 reps and powerlifters its 1-8 reps. A lot of people go the lower volume route because menatlly and physically its much harder to do high volume, just as Chris stated in the article.

    As far as DC training its a system and with any system it can be used for a brief period of time with results, but to use it for long periods of time will not yield the best results for someone seeking size, it will end up beating up the joints. Thats why I use a methodology that integrates everything and not one set system because thats very limiting.
    Good post. At first it just sounded as if you were setting strength almost completely aside.
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  4. #29
    Senior Member Allen Cress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Songsangnim View Post
    But there is quite a bit of misinformation.

    BOTH high and low reps can stimulate growth (PROVIDED that the caloric intake and rest are there to begin with). Muscle is muscle is muscle. If 8-10 reps makes your chest grow, it will make your legs grow. If you are growing everywhere else but not legs...then you are doing something wrong when it comes to leg training.

    Also I disagree (mostly) with high reps as some cure-all. The original concept of the 20 rep squat was not about growth per se (although it does a good job) but about really pushing yourself and breaking past mental barriers. You'll notice that no one really touts 20 rep bicep curls, bench presses, tricep pressdowns, deadlifts (although a few people do this last one). Why? Because it's not about growing from 20 reps it's about challenging yourself. 20 reps is not some magic number (19 or 21 or even 15 would likely work as well).

    Intensity, consistency (in and outside the gym) and self-discipline are all far more important than any number of reps or sets. When everything is taken into account the volume (for the average natural trainer) just isn't that important.

    When everything else is in order, then the amount of volume (unless you are doing ridiculous extremes either way) is not a huge factor unless you are a highly advanced trainee.
    High and low reps can stimulate growth, which is why I said you have to surf the strength curve. But just doing 8-10 reps on legs because it makes your chest grow doesn't have anything to do with your legs. I've seen it first hand in myself in the past 15 years as well as in clients, and many atheletes and talked and discussed it with many experts in the field such as Dave tate and Alwyn Cosgrove. Higher Volume will cause greater Hypertrophy in the quads, especially.

    No one said 20 reps was a magic number or high reps was some cure all. These are examples as other factors are involved. You can do 20 reps for other muscles as wel,l but obviously you can't just do 20 reps and get results. Your limiting your possibilities thinking in such a closed box. You have to step outside the box sometimes to achieve greater things. In this industry there will always be ways to things more efficiently and we have to open our eyes and take cues from other athletes to expand our knowledge.

    Saying volume isn't important fo the natural trainee is ridiculous. One of the main ways to increase workload capacity is thru increased volume. If you don't increase volume at some point no diet or supplement will produce results because you are not causing an adaptive response which is nessasary for progress in any sport.

    You also need to realize when I answer things sometimes its in generalities to appeal to more people. Everyone is different and needs different things whether it has to do with nutrition or their training protocol.

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    Thank you so much Acress It's so awesome to have you here. Nothing better than learning and taking advice from the pros

    Thanks! Happy Holidays!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryumexicano View Post
    Thank you so much Acress It's so awesome to have you here. Nothing better than learning and taking advice from the pros

    Thanks! Happy Holidays!!!
    x2 I love this board.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acress View Post
    High and low reps can stimulate growth, which is why I said you have to surf the strength curve. But just doing 8-10 reps on legs because it makes your chest grow doesn't have anything to do with your legs. I've seen it first hand in myself in the past 15 years as well as in clients, and many atheletes and talked and discussed it with many experts in the field such as Dave tate and Alwyn Cosgrove. Higher Volume will cause greater Hypertrophy in the quads, especially.

    This does not hold true for everyone though which was my point to begin with. Personally I've seen better results from low volume. And higher volume only works to a point. If I get good results from 20 reps will I get double the results from 40? Obviously not...there are FAR more factors to be considered then simply volume then.



    No one said 20 reps was a magic number or high reps was some cure all. These are examples as other factors are involved. You can do 20 reps for other muscles as wel,l but obviously you can't just do 20 reps and get results. Your limiting your possibilities thinking in such a closed box. You have to step outside the box sometimes to achieve greater things. In this industry there will always be ways to things more efficiently and we have to open our eyes and take cues from other athletes to expand our knowledge.

    True, but again only to a point. In this particular industry (barring any scientific advances in supplements, equipment and the like) hardly anything is new or revolutionary. And with the Internet one can find out just about anything. The problem is sifting the wheat from the chaff (so as to speak) but that's for another post.

    Pretty much all the available useful information is "in the box" along with us so as to speak. Pretty much all the stuff outside the box has proven to be (largely over hyped nonsense). You get supplements and training techniques ALL THE TIME promising to be the next big thing...and a few months/years down the road, they're discarded in favor of the next shiny bauble.


    Saying volume isn't important fo the natural trainee is ridiculous. One of the main ways to increase workload capacity is thru increased volume. If you don't increase volume at some point no diet or supplement will produce results because you are not causing an adaptive response which is nessasary for progress in any sport.

    I NEVER said volume wasn't important period. If you are going to respond to my posts, please respond to what I wrote or don't bother. I said it wasn't as important as intensity, consistency and self- discipline. Once you have those three factors in place (along with a few more) you will grow whether you employ low or high volume. This is assuming of course that nutrition and rest are spot on. The goal is PROGRESSION not volume and the best way to measure progression is putting more weight on the bar. Of course another way to measure progression is to do more reps...but there quickly comes a point when the progression from that is progression in endurance and not size/strength.

    You also need to realize when I answer things sometimes its in generalities to appeal to more people. Everyone is different and needs different things whether it has to do with nutrition or their training protocol.

    True we are all different...but we are more alike then different. Assuming no abnormalities or health problems there is no reason for 99% of newbies to NOT start on a low volume free weights compound program like SS. Once they've mastered the basic barbell movements and realized the underlying philosophy behind it, they can move on to other things if they so wish and to other programs that are more individualized for their particular goals.
    Last edited by Songsangnim; 12-24-2009 at 12:04 AM.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Songsangnim View Post
    True we are all different...but we are more alike then different. Assuming no abnormalities or health problems there is no reason for 99% of newbies to NOT start on a low volume free weights compound program like SS. Once they've mastered the basic barbell movements and realized the underlying philosophy behind it, they can move on to other things if they so wish and to other programs that are more individualized for their particular goals.
    You are completely entitled to your opinion and I have nothing against that. I have seen what works and been in the trenches long enuff to weed out what doesn't. Everything has its place and can be used.

    Nothing holds true for everyone and saying 40 reps would be better than 20 has nothing to do with the points being made. With anything there are diminishing returns if its used too much. When I design programs its based on the individual and all the background info I get from them, I don't just gove out high volume programs to everyone. I have many clients who use 5 reps in their training, just never less than that unless they are a powerlifter.

    There are basic principles all experts will always agree on but saying all the useful info is in the box so to speak is limited thinking. Go talk to all the greats, Louie Simmons, Dave Tate, Alywn Cosgrove, Scott Abel, etc... they will definitley tell you thinking outside the box after you are past the beginner stage is nessasary for results. I have tons of Hybrid protocols for bodybulders, powerlifters, and regular clients that have helped them move past plateaus and imroved their strength, both limit and strength density.

    I am not someone who is completey against strength and its usefullness but the purpose of just hypertrophy and especially increasing ones metabolic rate you can not just train to get stronger.

    I know there is a limit to how much volume you can increase, just as their is a limit to how strong one can get. But just because one year you benched 200lbs and the next you can bench 300lbs doesn't mean you will be bigger. I competed in powerlifting for 3 years and competed with guys like Louie Simmons. I was a hell of a lot stronger then and only weighed 180lbs. I could squat 560lbs, deadlift 565, and bench 400 with poor development. Now that I've been back to bodybuilding for the past 4 years and I'm at 215lbs with great development but I could not lift my 1 rep max in any of the lifts but that isn't my goal, size is.

    Now my strength density is much greater and I can deadlift 400 for 8 reps and squat 250 for 25reps. Every thing has its place for a specific goal and the proper sequence of programs will help to achieve that.

    I completely agree intensity is one of the most important factors and once that is established you can progress much more, but you can't say if thats in place you'll grow regardless of wheteher you use low or high volume. When you become more advanced those factors become very important as well. If increasing volume didn't work then my clients over the last 8 years would have not improved as much as they did. The best way to measure progression is based on what the individual is working towards. If they are a powerlifter then yes increasing weight is most important, if their a bodybuilder or looking to have a great beach body increasing weight isn't as important. They need increased metabolic rates and asthetics which you won't contimue to improve by just adding weight to the bar.

    This thread isn't about telling beginners not to do a low volume approach to begin with, but if your a beginner that isn't really low volume. Its fine for a beginner to do something like SS if thats what they choose. I'm talking about continued progress down the road.

    I guess we are just going to have agree to disagree.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acress View Post
    You are completely entitled to your opinion and I have nothing against that. I have seen what works and been in the trenches long enuff to weed out what doesn't. Everything has its place and can be used.



    I completely agree intensity is one of the most important factors and once that is established you can progress much more, but you can't say if thats in place you'll grow regardless of wheteher you use low or high volume. When you become more advanced those factors become very important as well. If increasing volume didn't work then my clients over the last 8 years would have not improved as much as they did. The best way to measure progression is based on what the individual is working towards. If they are a powerlifter then yes increasing weight is most important, if their a bodybuilder or looking to have a great beach body increasing weight isn't as important. They need increased metabolic rates and asthetics which you won't contimue to improve by just adding weight to the bar.

    .
    A few things. I didn't argue that intensity was the sole key factor. I said once everything else (diet, nutrition, intensity, self-discipline, a good working knowledge of training, consistency....) was in place one will and can grow regardless of the volume used.

    I've trained other people as well and found that all things considered a low volume works very well, given a well-structured program...and for a good number of them much better than their former high-volume (15-20 reps) program. There are also people on this very forum who'll tell you that they've also made good progress on a low volume program.

    Also I did mention if you are a highly advanced trainer, then yes volume becomes more important. But for the average beginner or intermediate if everything else is in place, then they will grow off either a high or low volume routine.

    I don't think we disagree as much as you might think. I think our one key difference is in how we measure progression.


    Anyway have a Merry Christmas (it will be Christmas tomorrow over here where I am) and a Happy New Year as well.
    Last edited by Songsangnim; 12-24-2009 at 03:44 AM.

  10. #35
    Senior Member Allen Cress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Songsangnim View Post
    I've trained other people as well and found that all things considered a low volume works very well, given a well-structured program...and for a good number of them much better than their former high-volume (15-20 reps) program. There are also people on this very forum who'll tell you that they've also made good progress on a low volume program.
    One thing I think I didn't make clear is when i say high volume I don't just mean reps, even though that is a big factor in growth. High volume can be with lower reps and more sets as well. I have many templates where the focus is 5 reps with accessory work in high rep ranges.

    Anyway have a Merry Christmas!!

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    Fantastic. I hope everyone is reading this.

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    Alright, I have a question.

    Say a guy lifts 10 lbs 1000 times during the day.

    Say a guy lifts 500lbs 20 times during the day.

    Its pretty obvious, that the guy that lifts the 500lbs is going to spur more muscle growth even though they are training at the same volume.

    This leaves the question, where is the line? At what point is the extra volume not helping? I dont question that volume is important, either.

    I bench 335, squat 405, and deadlift a measly 405. Should anyone with stats like this really be concerned with doing anything more than 10 reps regaurdless of their goals? Right now I am using the texas method after a 6 month hiatus.

    I feel like I am late to the party.
    Last edited by 4g64fiero; 12-24-2009 at 03:35 PM.
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    Same concept as 20 rep squats basically. I made some nice gains with those even though they were brutal. But chris has always said to do heavy weight and lots of reps. part of why he's saying to add plates at a time, and force yourself to do them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4g64fiero View Post
    Alright, I have a question.

    Say a guy lifts 10 lbs 1000 times during the day.

    Say a guy lifts 500lbs 20 times during the day.

    Its pretty obvious, that the guy that lifts the 500lbs is going to spur more muscle growth even though they are training at the same volume.

    This leaves the question, where is the line? At what point is the extra volume not helping? I dont question that volume is important, either.

    I bench 335, squat 405, and deadlift a measly 405. Should anyone with stats like this really be concerned with doing anything more than 10 reps regaurdless of their goals? Right now I am using the texas method after a 6 month hiatus.

    I feel like I am late to the party.

    There's no real answer to this question. Some people do well on higher volume, some do better on lower volume. It depends on the individual as well as a number of variables such as training experience, recovery ability, age, gender.... For strength most people would do well to stick to low volume. For size it's (as can be seen above) more variable and largely dependent on diet.

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    What about the guy who wants to be big AND strong? I hope to bench 300lbs someday but I want to look like I can bench 300lbs too. I hope to squat 400lbs someday but want legs that reflect that. I know size is a function of diet but is there a middle road for high weight / low reps, and not so high weight / with more reps? I'm new.
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    proper 20 rep squat routines are far from light weight. It's all about pushing yourself. Take a weight you can get 15 reps with...and then get 20. If you can do a second set you didn't work hard enough.


    would 21 or 19 give the same results? Most likely. 10000? No. Stop being silly.

    there's a great video on youtube of late jesse marunde doing a set with 400 lbs I think. I'm on my phone or i'd link it.

    it's a different beast than just going lighter and doing more reps. It's a training style and not just a rep range.
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    Quote Originally Posted by darkdan View Post
    there's a great video on youtube of late jesse marunde doing a set with 400 lbs I think.
    That's one of my favourite training videos. He does it after hand-clap pull-ups and power cleans. Its one of the most intense things I've ever seen. He collapses at the end. Somewhat ironically he's also wearing a "squat until you die" t-shirt.

    My take on the "high reps for leg growth" which is what this was originally about is just that you have so much power in your legs and hips that you can push them so much farther, and therefore spur growth. When I'm benching higher reps, I'll hit a point where I just can not press the bar. Its not mental, I just can't physically do it no matter how much I clench my teeth and bug out my eyes. But squats... often I can get that extra rep if I really really try. Heavy weight x many reps = growth. And that can be achieved with the legs more so than the upper body.

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTqz54LCBrM Found it since I'm on my computer.

    The nice thing is the 20 rep squats do build strength and size is it that translates well to lower reps. Those that can squat for 20 have some nice 1RM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by darkdan View Post
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTqz54LCBrM Found it since I'm on my computer.

    The nice thing is the 20 rep squats do build strength and size is it that translates well to lower reps. Those that can squat for 20 have some nice 1RM.
    Really? Whats your 1rm? I have no doubt that it works for those more advanced but I dont think it something anyone who hasnt been training for a few years would need, ofcourse, there are always exceptions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Songsangnim View Post
    True we are all different...but we are more alike then different. Assuming no abnormalities or health problems there is no reason for 99% of newbies to NOT start on a low volume free weights compound program like SS. Once they've mastered the basic barbell movements and realized the underlying philosophy behind it, they can move on to other things if they so wish and to other programs that are more individualized for their particular goals.

    You made a statement about muscle being muscle. That is not true by any stretch. Different skeletal muscles have different properties relative to the tasks they must perform. They also have different requirements in terms of what will stimulate them optimally for the purposes of hypertrophy.


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    Quote Originally Posted by chris mason View Post
    You made a statement about muscle being muscle. That is not true by any stretch. Different skeletal muscles have different properties relative to the tasks they must perform. They also have different requirements in terms of what will stimulate them optimally for the purposes of hypertrophy.


    I was talking about the makeup of muscle and the general principles when it comes to building size. Training, eating and rest (assuming all are adequate) will build all muscles. True, once one is an advanced trainee, one has to devote more time into what builds muscle optimally but that was never my argument to begin with.

    If a muscle is (properly) stimulated and fed (assuming one has not reached one's genetic limit) it will grow. Over-simplified? Maybe, if one is an advanced trainer but for beginners/intermediates (IMHO) they don't need to worry about that just yet. And as I've always said that's whom my advice is generally targeted for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4g64fiero View Post
    Really? Whats your 1rm? I have no doubt that it works for those more advanced but I dont think it something anyone who hasnt been training for a few years would need, ofcourse, there are always exceptions.
    I'm tiny and weak, so I don't count. LOL. I'm just now coming back to lifting again.

    When I was doing 135 lbs for 20, I could easily double 220 lbs. I'm not into testing my limits since I don't want to hurt myself. I lift at home alone, I have a cage, but no spotter still scares me.

    On the contrary, I think it's a great program for beginners or advanced lifters. Less likely to hurt yourself on it and it's very easy to progress. Each week just add a few pounds to the bar and it really keeps you motivated seeing the number climb each week.

    Twenty-rep squat routines aren't anything new, but a lot of people have some major misconceptions about it. No, they're not magic. It's just one more way to train.

    Everyone loves DC training with it's pausing....that's just like 20 rep squats but you don't rack the weight. You just take a few deep breathes between reps and keep going until you're done.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Songsangnim View Post
    I was talking about the makeup of muscle and the general principles when it comes to building size. Training, eating and rest (assuming all are adequate) will build all muscles. True, once one is an advanced trainee, one has to devote more time into what builds muscle optimally but that was never my argument to begin with.

    If a muscle is (properly) stimulated and fed (assuming one has not reached one's genetic limit) it will grow. Over-simplified? Maybe, if one is an advanced trainer but for beginners/intermediates (IMHO) they don't need to worry about that just yet. And as I've always said that's whom my advice is generally targeted for.
    Ok, so why would you not promote high reps for legs?


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    Quote Originally Posted by chris mason View Post
    Ok, so why would you not promote high reps for legs?

    Well I'm not issuing a blanket condemnation of high reps. Like I said, the 20 rep squat can promote gains (assuming as always the other factors are in place). But the law of diminishing returns sets in. I don't see much point in doing 50, or 75 or 100 reps per set if your goals are size and strength (which is a reasonable assumption on a bodybuilding board). I suppose if one believes in "shocking" the muscles or wants to try something new, or is an extremely advanced trainee...then have at it.

    The main problem that I see most trainees having a problem with this type of training is with form, provided they are training with any intensity. Particularly toward the end of such an extended set as fatigue sets in both form and intensity are likely to suffer, unless they are both quite advanced and well disciplined and even then it could be a problem. And if the trainee does more than one set then the chances of form and intensity degrading increase exponentially. And leads to injury and stagnation respectively.

    As for gains, I see that type of training promoting endurance more so than size and definitely more so than strength.

    Also legs are already used for high reps. We walk around on them all day. Why not hit them with something they are unaccustomed to?

    And finally the simplest and easiest way to measure progression is by being able to increase the weight on the bar. Broadly speaking to get more reps one has to decrease the weight on the bar...in other words go backwards.

    Once again certain points I've made do not necessarily apply to highly advanced lifters like yourself or Mr. Acress or several other people here. But many if not most people are not that advanced and therefore it remains a reasonable assumption that they should practise and benefit from simpler training techniques before trying slightly more esoteric routines.
    Last edited by Songsangnim; 12-28-2009 at 01:19 AM.

  25. #50
    hardgaining ectomorph
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    Quote Originally Posted by Songsangnim View Post
    And finally the simplest and easiest way to measure progression is by being able to increase the weight on the bar. Broadly speaking to get more reps one has to decrease the weight on the bar...in other words go backwards.
    You have to go backwards one time.

    After that progression is easy to measure because you add weight every time you lift.

    With 20 rep squats, adding 5 lbs a week to the bar isn't unrealistic, but even microloading can done.

    I agree though, there's not much point in doing 100 rep squats or anything like that for most people. But as I said before, 20 rep squats are less of a number of reps and more of a training style.
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