The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

Itís no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
    Useful Idiot Meatplow's Avatar
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    20 rep squat sets

    For those familiar with 20 rep squat sets:

    I typically have kept it simple with squat sets, that being two warm-up sets, then worksets of 6-10 reps working my way up with weight with a 1RM here and there.

    I've recently began doing 20 rep squat sets, and I was looking for feedback on my approach to it. I split my leg training into two (Quads and hams on separate days). When doing 20 rep squats, it looks something like this:

    1. Warm-up with bar
    2. Lightweight warm-up
    3. 20 rep work set
    4. 20 rep work set (same weight from previous workset, or added weight)
    5. Lower rep, heavy set
    6. Lower rep, heavy set

    I also sometimes throw in a high-rep lower weight burn-out set to get some extra bloodflow to the quads. In your opinion, is this an efficient method of doing 20 rep worksets with squats? I've read to avoid combinations of 20 reps with lower reps with heavy weight.

    Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.
    You're only as big as your experiences. - Scott Weiland

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    One high rep set is usually enough to do me in, but what you have looks fine. After those I really don't think you need a burn-out set...

    I've done heavier sets after 20 rep sets and did all right. Unless you are specifically training for strength-endurance or are too exhausted to lift heavy weights safely, I don't think that doing a couple heavier sets at the end will hurt you. Make sure you are recovering well though.
    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
    Lifting Clips: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=johnnymnemonic2
    Blog: http://squatrx.blogspot.com/

  4. #3
    Squatting in the Curl Rack
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meatplow
    For those familiar with 20 rep squat sets:

    I typically have kept it simple with squat sets, that being two warm-up sets, then worksets of 6-10 reps working my way up with weight with a 1RM here and there.

    I've recently began doing 20 rep squat sets, and I was looking for feedback on my approach to it. I split my leg training into two (Quads and hams on separate days). When doing 20 rep squats, it looks something like this:

    1. Warm-up with bar
    2. Lightweight warm-up
    3. 20 rep work set
    4. 20 rep work set (same weight from previous workset, or added weight)
    5. Lower rep, heavy set
    6. Lower rep, heavy set

    I also sometimes throw in a high-rep lower weight burn-out set to get some extra bloodflow to the quads. In your opinion, is this an efficient method of doing 20 rep worksets with squats? I've read to avoid combinations of 20 reps with lower reps with heavy weight.

    Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.
    If you're doing heavy 20-reppers ala "Super Squats", you won't be able to do heavy low-rep sets afterwards. Seriously, the fatigue is so great that the risk of injury gets pretty high, IMO.

    What I did for squats last cycle was almost the opposite of what you describe: I warmed up to two heavy sets of 5, then backed off to a set of 20, adding 5-10 pounds per workout. Around the 9th rep, I'd start thinking "15 reps is enough. Really." but by 14 I'd be too obsessed to stop.

  5. #4
    Senior Member deeder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustLost
    If you're doing heavy 20-reppers ala "Super Squats", you won't be able to do heavy low-rep sets afterwards. Seriously, the fatigue is so great that the risk of injury gets pretty high, IMO.

    What I did for squats last cycle was almost the opposite of what you describe: I warmed up to two heavy sets of 5, then backed off to a set of 20, adding 5-10 pounds per workout. Around the 9th rep, I'd start thinking "15 reps is enough. Really." but by 14 I'd be too obsessed to stop.
    I kind of agree with this. Although I've never done 20rep squats I've read that you're supposed to pick a weight that you would normally do for 12-15. So yes, you will be pretty dead after a set... But given a few minutes rest I can't see why you'd be in such a great risk of injury in doing a few heavy sets after.
    Full Powerlifting
    Squat - 595lbs -- 270kg -- Dec. 31, '09 (Provincial Record @100kg class)
    Bench - 374lbs -- 170kg -- Dec 20, '08 (@100kg class)
    Dead - 589lbs -- 267.5kg -- Dec 20, '08 (Provincial Record @100kg class)
    Total: 1537lbs -- 697.5kg -- Dec 20, '08 (Provincial Record @ 100kg class)
    Bench Only -- 358lbs -- 162.5kg -- Nov. 25, '07 (Provincial Record @ 90kg class)
    Bench Only -- 376lbs -- 171kg -- Jan. 26, '08 (Provincial Record @ 100kg class)

  6. #5
    Squatting in the Curl Rack
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    Quote Originally Posted by deeder
    I kind of agree with this. Although I've never done 20rep squats I've read that you're supposed to pick a weight that you would normally do for 12-15. So yes, you will be pretty dead after a set... But given a few minutes rest I can't see why you'd be in such a great risk of injury in doing a few heavy sets after.

    The "classic" advice form Strossen, McCallum, et al is to start witha weight you can doa normal set of 10 with. So, really, you end up doing like 5-8 reps, then a bunch of rest-pauise singles. It gets pretty intense after a couple of weeks.

    Give it a try!

  7. #6
    Iron4Life
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    I've tried do heavy sets after 20 rep sets.. and unless I get about 10 minutes of rest, my legs are usually so exhausted, it feels unsafe - like I'm about to injure myself...

    So I usually do my heavier sets first...
    My typical 20 set day goes like this:
    Bar x 10
    135 x 10
    225 x 5
    275 x 5 x 2 (or 305 x 5 x 2 if it's a mid-afternoon WO)
    205 x 20-25 > depending upon my gonads and upchuck levels that day..
    135 x 5 x 2 > this cool down has helped me from cramping up a few times..

    I have horrible muscle endurance... After reading a post of Sensei's one day, I now have a goal of 225 x 41 reps.. weight x age... that would be cool..

  8. #7
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearwolf
    I have horrible muscle endurance... After reading a post of Sensei's one day, I now have a goal of 225 x 41 reps.. weight x age... that would be cool..
    I didn't make it by my 35th birthday, but it's still a goal of mine to hit 225 x 35 before I turn 36.

    Anyway, depends on the person and goals, but I think if you give yourself enough rest, a couple heavier low rep (1-5) sets after the high-rep work should not be out of the question.
    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
    Lifting Clips: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=johnnymnemonic2
    Blog: http://squatrx.blogspot.com/

  9. #8
    Useful Idiot Meatplow's Avatar
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    I appreciate everyone's responses. I definitely agree with the fact that your legs are damn near useless after a 20 rep set. The fact that I do deadlifts on quad day doesn't help my ability to walk out of the gym, either.

    If I feel significantly unsafe for those heavier weight reps, I throw on some knee wraps, though.

    Thanks for the advice, guys.
    You're only as big as your experiences. - Scott Weiland

  10. #9
    Senior Member deeder's Avatar
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    Weight times age... Hmmm... So for me it'd be fairly easy

    165lbs x 19years

    I'll have to try it sometime.
    Full Powerlifting
    Squat - 595lbs -- 270kg -- Dec. 31, '09 (Provincial Record @100kg class)
    Bench - 374lbs -- 170kg -- Dec 20, '08 (@100kg class)
    Dead - 589lbs -- 267.5kg -- Dec 20, '08 (Provincial Record @100kg class)
    Total: 1537lbs -- 697.5kg -- Dec 20, '08 (Provincial Record @ 100kg class)
    Bench Only -- 358lbs -- 162.5kg -- Nov. 25, '07 (Provincial Record @ 90kg class)
    Bench Only -- 376lbs -- 171kg -- Jan. 26, '08 (Provincial Record @ 100kg class)

  11. #10
    SFW! drew's Avatar
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    I haven't done 20-reppers with any kind of regularity (it just doesn't fit in with my goals) but I wuold say if you're going heavy after doing 2 sets or 20, I would be very careful with setup and form. Missing the groove when you're doing singles is probably going to mean you struggle or miss the lift. Missing the groove when your endurance is at the limit could result in injury.

    Stats: Age: 34 Weight: 205 Height: 5'6"
    Gym PRs: Squat:635 Bench:560 Deadlift:495
    Meet PRs: Squat:575 Bench:520 Deadlift:510 Total: 1605@220

  12. #11
    Senior Member
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    with 20 reppers you should only want to do one set, because of the difficultly, ive done them and crawled away lol.

    age x weight? pft, 194 x 16 CHICKEN FEET lol.
    2000 or bust

  13. #12
    Senior Member bill's Avatar
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    On the 20 reps you should need stop at about 10 -12 to regroup do 3-4 regroup another 3~ until your done. You definetly should feel up to another set of 20 + adding wt.
    After I do a 20 rep set. If I want to do some other work its in the form of extensions, hacks squat, leg press or even real light squats.
    Remember, to get big, you have to get strong. The two are interconnected. Lift heavy, work hard, and size will come. Like night follows day. It works. Arnold
    Do work son. Big Black (Rob and Big)

  14. #13
    Senior Member
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    Meatplow, I do my squats very similar to yours.

    I start with 135 for 10 reps just to get warmed up. Then I do 185 x 20, the last 10 take a bit of effort and my legs get really pumped. I'll usually take a 10-15 minute break now, then its onto my heavy 20 rep set... I'm using 220lbs now (up it 5lbs every week). After this I'm pretty much dead and very close to puking. I'll take a 10 minute break then do a final set of 245 x 10.

    For comparison, when I'm doing my squats with a normal rep range (5-10), I do 275x8 and 300x5.

    After squatting I usually just do lighter good mornings until I'm pretty much dead.

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