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  #1  
Old 10-23-2004, 05:00 PM
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Are single reps dangerous?

Powerlifters and Olympic lifters do lots of low reps in the 1-3 range, most BB’ers do not. I have known BB’ers that have lifted for 5-10 years and have NEVER taken a single rep max, even benching. Ask most of these guys why and they will tell you it’s just an ego lift and doesn’t build muscle. And they will usually follow up with how dangerous they are. Are these allegations valid? Lets look a little closer to see.

Are they truly just an ego lift that doesn’t build muscle? Well if they are only being done once in a great while the answer is yes. Taking a max every so often just to check what you are capable of is mostly just stoking your ego and obviously doing 1 rep with the most weight you can handle every three months will not contribute to strength gains. But what about using low reps to build strength? For many bodybuilder brought up on high rep volume training this probably sounds like heresy. Whats the point? The point is that the fastest strength gains will occur when doing extremely low reps, and the strength gains will be to a large part transferable to your lower-medium range hypertrophy reps. That means you will soon be able to use heavier weights in the rep ranges that build muscle. Does that make it sound like extremely low reps don’t build any muscle? Well for most people the answer will be very little compared to mid-and high rep hypertrophy sets. But again, if you can get a lot stronger doing low reps, what happens when you do the higher reps with a lot more weight? Bigger you is the answer.

Charles Poliquin: http://ironaddicts.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1131

has long been a big advocate of using low reps by boudybuilders and you need only look at what Dexter and Ronnie to see what some low rep training can help provide to your physique.

Now onto the question of safety. Are low reps really the body wreakers they are often made out to be? Well, the answer is sometimes. The potential is definitely there IF your form isn’t good. Get out of the groove, or just have plain bad form to begin with and you are likely to get hurt. If your form is good, and you are using a solid power rack and/or competent spotters I think the dangers are grossly exaggerated. Do you know when people most often get hurt? When they are at the end of a high rep set and are compromising their form to get in those last few reps. When doing a singe or three rep set, you only have 1-3 reps to give your TOTAL focus to form to. This means for should be PERFECT! When I miss a single I am always still in perfect form, but the weight just doesn’t make it up and is lowered back down on the pins in the rack or on the floor. It really is that simple, unlike the almost enevitable small form breakdown that occurs on 8-20 rep sets done all-out.

If you are new to low rep work I suggest you start with 5’s for a few weeks before doing some 3’s and then finally going for a max. Beware! Using the same lift for more then 4 weeks WILL result in a decrease in performance so if it is your intent to us them on a long term basis, the lift must be rotated to a different lift that targets the same prime movers every 1-3 weeks as per Westside Barbell. Does this type of training work? Ask those competing against the WSB crew. They usually do quite well!

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Old 10-23-2004, 06:22 PM
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I couldn't agree more bro.
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Old 10-24-2004, 09:56 AM
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I do reps in the 2-3 range about once a month....my ultimate goal is strength not size .....
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Old 12-18-2004, 11:07 PM
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Another great article! Good shit. I was just contemplating this myself. I came up with the same theory. From my experience with deadlifts and watching my training partner get much stronger on the reps, when the main part of his routine is one rep maxing every week. He now benches 460 at 185lbs and 365 for 11 rep, raw. Hes been focusing on one rep max for 2-3 years then pyramiding back down for rep PR's. He wasnt even benching 315 when we started training together. Also, on deadlifts I mainly focused on one rep max doing it weekly for over 14 months. By the time I brought my one rep max from 405 to 510 I was repping 405 for 12 reps. So one rep maxing definately has a huge potential when done consistently, to cause hypertrophy by increasing the weight an individual can do for higher repetitions. Good to find information on this issue. I do one rep maxes pretty frequently myself.
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Old 05-18-2012, 12:56 PM
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Old 05-18-2012, 01:09 PM
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Haven't done anything less than 5 reps in last 15 years at the least...
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Old 05-18-2012, 09:49 PM
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Great article, though what works for some may not work for all. The only issue I wish that article addressed was safety and experience....going heavy can be dangerous for those who aren't terribly experienced in the gym, or those who don't know their bodies all that well.

Still, I love heavy low reps! I do them once a month
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Old 05-19-2012, 02:01 PM
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I have to admit that the single rep is a glam lift...and i am guilty occasionally.... nothing is sexier than a big heavy lift.... for me anyway

I only do single occassionally now, I guess I'm still young at heart with a need to prove i still can...
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Old 05-19-2012, 02:25 PM
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I'm with you BigB, anything under 5 reps doesn't have any use for me...especially as I get older
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