Category Archives: Strength Training

A Simple System for Progression: 3 Set Total Reps


We all want to be making progress in the gym, but unfortunately, many lifters remain stagnant. In general, you want to make sure you’re getting stronger over time. Getting stronger means using more load or achieving more repetitions with the same weight. This is the essence of progressive overload, which I discussed in great detail HERE. While there are a million ways to progressively overload, I’m going to outline a very simple system I use in my own training and with my clients.

3 Set Total Reps

When I prescribe an exercise, quite often I will use the same load with all 3 sets, and I’ll simply note the total number of reps they achieve (this is in contrast to pyramids, which I wrote about HERE). Once they reach a particular total, I’ll increase the load. I first learned about this method from a Joe DeFranco DVD that I purchased many years ago, and it’s something that I’ve consistently sprinkled into my training since then. With this method, you want to keep the rest periods fairly consistent, say around 90-120 seconds. Let me give a specific example.

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What The Gambler Can Teach You About Strength Training

Kenny Rogers sang The Gambler in 1978. On the surface, the song appears to be about gambling, but there’s a much deeper meaning pertaining to life in general. The song is very appropriate for the field of strength & conditioning, and the lessons contained within take most lifters two decades to fully comprehend. Here’s the video:

And here’s the chorus:

You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em
Know when to fold ‘em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done

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Your Own Personal World Records Are The Only Thing That Matter

Your Own Personal World Records Are The Only Thing That Matter
By Charles Staley

When I was still relatively new to lifting, I can remember thinking how incredible it must be to break a World record in sport. I remember in particular watching former Soviet weightlifter Leonid Taranenko break the clean & jerk World record in the late ‘80’s with a monstrous 586-pound effort.

Fast forward to today, and despite decades in the gym, I’ve come nowhere close to breaking any kind of World (or even National) record in any sport, but I can tell you that I have achieved things that I never would have thought possible for myself, and these achievements have brought me tremendous satisfaction, as well as continued motivation to continue my favorite pastime. A big part of why I’ve done as well as I have is that I’ve always been laser-focused on bettering my own “PR’s” (personal records) in the gym.

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Are Cheat Reps Beneficial? A Discussion of the Evidence and Implementation

Are Cheat Reps Beneficial? A Discussion of the Evidence and Implementation
Jason Tremblay, President of The Strength Guys Inc.
Andrew Vigotsky, Chief Research Officer of The Strength Guys Inc.

The word “never” is an evil word to use in sport science. How many times have you been told to never use momentum? To never break form? It’s common knowledge. But for the purpose of hypertrophy, is there a role in the training regimen of bodybuilders for cheat reps? So often we see bad form being chastised, but did the old timers like Schwarzanegger and Draper performing cheat curls in the original Golds Gym know something that we didn’t… Do cheat reps and momentum have their place in a bodybuilding regimen? Theory and evidence suggest that this may be the case.

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