23 Loading Methods for Effective Set and Rep Schemes

TAGS: Strength Drop Set Style, Cluster Sets Style, Complex Style, Contrast Loading Style, Compound and Plyometric (Contrast) Style, Straight Sets Loading Style, loading methods, Wave Loading Style, Drop Set Breakdown Style, Rest Pause Style, training plan, Ashley Jones

column gray 032715

For a number of months now I have been asked by various people to detail some of my loading methods. Without further ado, here they are in no particular order of importance or significance. I would love to build on this list, so if you have any protocols that you have seen or used to good effect, please do not hesitate to write in and let us all know about them. I am a collector. I am unsure as to the majority of original contributors for this list, but having all of them with various athletes over the years, I can guarantee you one thing: they work if you will.

  1. Rest Pause Style. 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 extended set. 15 seconds rest between each set start with a weight which is approximately 80% of maximum and stay with the same weight through the set. Perform three to five sets with a two to three minute rest between extended sets.
  1. Drop Set Breakdown Style. 6 – 12 – 25 extended set. Minimal rest between each set start with a load of approximately 75% and decrease by 10 – 15% each set. Perform two to three sets with a two to three minute rest between extended sets.
  1. Wave Loading Style. Near maximal weights used. Perform three sets with a 60 – 90 seconds rest between each set in a 3, 2, 1 fashion loading approximately 90%, 95%, 97.5%. Then after a two to three minute rest repeat procedure with a 2.5- 5% loading increase. This can be done for two to three waves.
  1. Wave Loading Style. Near maximal weights used. Perform three sets with a 60 – 90 seconds rest between each set in a 5, 3, 1 fashion loading approximately 80%, 90%, 97.5%. Then after a two to three minute rest, repeat procedure with a 2.5- 5% loading increase. This can be done for two to three waves.
  1. Wave Loading Style. Sub maximal weights used. Perform three sets with a 60 – 90 seconds rest between each set in a 7, 5, 3 fashion loading approximately 70%, 80%, 90% . Then after a two to three minute rest repeat procedure with a 2.5- 5% loading increase. This can be done for two waves.
  1. Contrast Loading Style. 6/1, 6/1, 6/1. Perform three groups each with a 90 second rest between each set, around 80% for six reps then above 95% for one rep, repeating the procedure three times and increasing the load by 2.5 – 5% each set.
  1. Compound and Plyometric (Contrast) Style. Perform a set with a specific loading above 80%. Then with minimal rest, perform a plyometric exercise for the same group of muscles. For example, band bench press for five reps then clap chest push ups for five reps, then rest 90 seconds before next set.

rugby-673462_1280

  1. Straight Sets Loading Style. Perform all sets for a given exercise before moving onto the next exercise. For example:

Box Squat

6 @ 100kg, then 5 @ 120kg then 4 @ 140kg. This can be done over a 3-week block where the subsequent weeks take the loading down to a heavy double or single:

Week 1 - 6, 5, 4, 4

Week 2 – 5, 4, 3, 3

Week 3 – 4, 3, 2, 2

  1. Complex Style. Using the beastly complex as an example: Six exercises performed without putting the bar down between any of the movements for the duration of the complex set. Perform six reps on each of the six movements and perform six rotations through with a set rest decreasing over time between each complex.

Beastly Complex 666 

Power Snatch from Floor

Overhead Squat

Push Press Behind Neck

Combo Good Morning

Jump Squats

Romanian Dead Lift

10. Strength Drop Set Style. 2–3 RM loading. Rest 15 seconds drop weight by 5% perform as many reps as you can keep dropping load and perform one rep until six total reps are performed.

11. Cluster Sets Style. Using 85% - 100% sets of two to six reps using an intra set rest period of 15 seconds perform the required number of reps for each set. Can use up to eight sets, with a two-minute rest between sets.

12. Rest Pause Style. Can be a single, double or triple drop method to achieve the desired number of reps for the zone. Decide which zone you need to work in to achieve the desired results, select from one of the following zones:

Zone 1: 1–3 reps

Zone 2: 4–6 reps

Zone 3: 6–8 reps

Zone 4: 8–12 reps

Zone 5: 12–15 reps

Perform a set with set load then rest 15 seconds reduce weight by 10%–25% and perform as many reps as you can to failure repeat process until you complete the required number of reps for the zone you are working in.

13. Super-Set Style. Two exercises for the same or opposite group of muscles performed with a minimal rest <15 seconds between each movement. A pre-fatigue super set is where you perform an isolation exercise before performing a compound movement, for example DB lateral raises before shoulder presses.

14. Tri-Set Style. Where three exercises for the same body part are performed with minimal (<15 seconds) rest between each exercise. For example, three-way DB shoulder raise (plate front raise, DB lateral raise, cable bent-over raise).

15. Specific Number of Reps Style. Usually performed with body weight exercises, perform the required number of reps on a given exercise in as few as sets of possible or in a set time. For example, 50 chins in no certain number of sets.

16. Westside Style. No explanation needed, simply one of the best ever.

17. Rule of 24 Style. A method utilizing a combination of sets and reps equaling 24 total reps, selecting the desired result be it maximal strength, speed strength, size or endurance.

24 x 1, 12 x 2, 8 x 3, 6 x 4, 4 x 6, 3 x 8, 2 x 12, 1 x 24

18. Cluster Protocols. 4 x 6 either changing each week for a four week period or using a different method for each of four total sets of six in one workout:

4 x 6 – straight style with no rest in between each rep

4 x 3/3 – 3 reps rest 10 seconds then perform a further 3 reps

4 x 2/2/2 – 15 seconds rest in between each block of 2 reps

4 x 1/1/1/1/1/1 – 20 seconds rest between each single rep

Thornley Variation:

4 x 3/2/1 – 3 reps, add weight, rest 10 seconds, 2 reps, add weight, rest 15 seconds, 1 rep.

19. Accentuated Eccentric. 3–6 sets x 1. 6 reps at 80+% 1RM with a four to six second eccentric component

20. Mechanical Advantage

Style 1: Weight is kept constant for the complete set but the angle or the exercise changes. For example: High Incline DB Bench Press/Medium Incline DB Press/Low or Flat DB Bench Press or Overhead Squat/Front Squat/Back Squat or Incline Bench/Flat Bench or Front Squat/Back Squat. 3–6 sets x 3–6 reps on each angle or exercise.

Style 2: Same weight is maintained but resistance is changed by either adding assistance with bands or removing resistance via bands or chains or weight releasers. For example: Back Squat + Band Assisted Back Squat, Chain Bench Press + Bench Press. 3–6 sets x 3–6 reps on each movement.

21. Three-Week Wave Load

Strength

Week 1: 2 x (6,5,4) @ (75%,80%, 85%)

Week 2: 2 x (5,4,3) @ (80%, 85%, 90%)

Week 3: 2 x (4,3,2) @ (85%, 90%, 95%)

Size

Week 1: 2 x (12, 10, 8)

Week 2: 2 x (10, 8, 6)

Week 3: 2 x (8, 6, 4)

Second wave on both styles of training increase weights slightly, ideally using fractional plates to ensure you are lifting a small increase on each of the sets.

22. 30’s Style. Select a weight to be used that allows you to get out a 6–8 repetition maximum on the first set, then rest no more than 30 seconds and perform next set for as many reps as you can manage. Continue on in this manner until all 30 reps have been completed.

23. Ladder. Perform 1 rep, rest 10 – 15 seconds only, then perform 2 reps. Continue in this style until you have performed a final set of 10 reps (you will have performed a total of 55 reps).

rugby-673453_1280

Protocols Used

Protocols that I use regularly when a certain number of sets is required for the exercise in a priority listing such as the Joe Kenn Tier System.

6 Sets

Three-Week Wave Load Cycle

Week 1 – 2 x (6/5/4), Week 2 – 2 x (5/4/3), Week 3- 2 x (4/3/2)

5 Sets

Three-Week Strength Cycle:

Week 1 – 5 x 5, Week 2 – 2 x 5, 3 x 3, Week 3 – 5/4/3/2/1

4 Sets

4 x 6 Cluster Cycle:

Week 1 – 4 x 3/3 20 seconds rest, Week 2 – 4 x 2/2/2 20 seconds rest, Week 3 – 4 x 3/2/1 20 seconds rest

4 x 6 Reverse Pyramid: Decrease weight on each set

3 Sets

Three-Week Strength Cycle (modified):

Week 1 – 3 x 5, Week 2 – 3 x 3, Week 3 – 5/3/1

Three-Week Size Cycle:

Week 1 – 12/10/8, Week 2 – 10/8/6, Week 3 – 8/6/4

3 x 8 Pyramid: Increase weight on each set

2 Sets

2 x 12 Plateau Load: Maintain the same weight for both sets

Training Plan with Use of the Various Methods Listed

 

Option 1: Three Days Per Week

 

Monday

  • Box Squat (CT method)
  • Rack Dead Lift (three-week strength progression)
  • 60-degree Incline Bench Press s/s Chins (palm facing you) (30’s method)
  • Seated DB Shoulder Press s/s KB Renegade Row (three-week size progression)

 

Wednesday

  • Sprinters Squat (three-week strength progression)
  • Block Clean Pulls (CT method)
  • Standing Military Press s/s Towel Chins (30’s method)
  • Close Grip Bench Bar Press s/s Prone Row (Ladder method)

 

Friday

  • Double Step Ups (three-week strength progression)
  • Romanian Dead Lift (three-week strength progression)
  • 30-degree Incline Bench Press s/s DB One Arm Row (30’s method)
  • Push Press with Thick Bar s/s Weighted Chins (palms facing wall) (three-week strength progression)

Option 2: Four Days Per Week

 

Monday

  • Overhead Pressing Complex
  • Military Press/Push Press/Push Jerk/Split Jerk
  • 4 x 1/1/1/1 (use same weight)
  • 60-degree Incline DB Press (30’s method)
  • 30-degree Incline Cable Flyes (Rule of 24 method)
  • Close Grip Bench Bar Press (three-week strength progression)

Tuesday

  • One Arm DB Power Snatch (CT method)
  • Block Cleans (Rule of 24 method)
  • Double Step ups (three-week strength progression)
  • Chins (30’s method)
  •  Bent Over Row (CT method)

 

Thursday

  • Incline Bench Press (three-week strength progression)
  • Seated DB Shoulder Press (30’s method)
  • DB Flat Bench Press (ladder method)
  • Seated DB Lateral Raise (three-week size progression)

 

Friday

  •  Box Squat (Rule of 24 method)
  • Rack Deadlift (CT method)
  • Weighted Chins (three-week strength progression)

rugby-673461_1280

Methods Explanation

30’s

Start with a weight that is about 6RM, then go to failure with that weigh. Rest 30 seconds only and try and get as many reps as you can each time, resting only 30 seconds between sets until you have completed 30 reps total.

 

CT

Based on 24 method with a twist:

Week 1: 4 x 6

Week 2: 4 x (3/3) with 15 – 20 seconds intra set rest

Week 3: 4 x (2/2/2) with 20 – 30 seconds intra set rest

Week 4: 4 x (3/2/1) with 30 – 40 seconds intra set rest (increase weight slightly within the set)

Week 5: 4 x (1/1/1/1/1/1) with 30 – 45 second intra-set rest

 

Rule of 24

Use a set and rep combination that adds up to a volume of 24 reps for that exercise:

1 x 24, 2 x 12, 3 x 8, 4 x 6 (more for size/endurance)

6 x 4, 8 x 3, 12 x 2, 24 x 1 (more for strength/power)

Three-Week Strength Progression or Progressive Wave Load

Week 1: 6/5/4/4 or 2 x (6/5/4)

Week 2: 5/4/3/3 or 2 x (5/4/3)

Week 3: 4/3/2/2 or 2 x (4/3/2)

Three-Week Size Progression or Progressive Wave Load

  • Week 1: 15/12/10/10 or 2 x (15/12/10)
  • Week 2: 12/10/8/8 or 2 x (12/10/8)
  • Week 3: 10/8/6/6 or 2 x (10/8/6)

Ladder

Perform 1 rep, rest 10 – 15 seconds only, then perform 2 reps. Continue in this style until you have performed a final set of 10 reps (you will have performed a total of 55 reps).

Selection of Programs Using A Selection of the Methods Listed

 

6 Day Program

Rule of 24 Maximal Strength and Power Program

Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 2.57.07 PM

Four-Day Olympic Program

 

Monday

  • Olympic Snatch
  • Safety Bar 30-centimeter Box Squat (three-week progression: 6/5/4/4, 5/4/3/3, 4/3/2/2)
  • Thick Bar Zercher Lift and Squat (five progressively heavier singles)

 

Tuesday

  • Power Snatch + Push Press Behind Neck
  • Power Snatch  + Snatch Balance
  • Power Snatch + Over Head Squat
  • Use a variety of sets and reps. Could be 1 PS + 1 each of the others, or as written above, but 3 bars set up with different weights and do the three doubles with 10 - 15 seconds rest between each, then 3 minutes between sets, or treat each double as a separate exercise)
  • Military Press (three-week progression - 6/5/4/4, 5/4/3/3, 4/3/2/2)

 

Thursday 

  • Clean & Jerk
  • Cambered Bar 45-centimeter Box Squat (three-week progression: 6/5/4/4, 5/4/3/3, 4/3/2/2)
  • Rollouts (weighted or unweighted, change each session)

 

Saturday

  • Barski Cleans (three squat clean reps from different hang starts usually high to mid thigh)
  • Borreginne Complex: 1 Squat Clean + 1 Front Squat (can be singles, doubles or triples)
  • Burgener Complex: 1  Front Squat + 1 Split Jerk (can be singles, doubles or triples)
  • Three-day Per Week Power/Strength/Size Program

 

Monday

  • Snatch clusters 20/20 style (3 x 5, 5 x 1)
  • Military Press (30’s style) s/s
  • Chins (30’s style)
  • Squat @ 90-110% of your 1RM C&J for 3 sets of 5 reps
  • Front Squat @ 90% of heaviest recent weight used for 3, for 3 sets of 3 reps
  • 3 x 5 snatch grip Deadlifts

 

Wednesday

  • Pulling Complexes from three positions (3 x 3 each complex)
  • A)   Power Snatch (top of thighs)/Power Snatch (knees)/Power Snatch (ankles)
  • B)   Power Clean (top of thighs)/Power Clean (knees)/Power Clean (ankles)
  • Over Head Pressing Complex
  • Military Press/Push Press/Push Jerk/Split Jerk
  • 4 x (1/1/1/1)
  • Over Head Squat 3 x 3
  • Good Morning Combo 3 x 4
  • Kneeling Squat 3 x 5
  • Sprinters Squat 3 x 6
  • Tri Set of seated DB shoulder press (30’s style)/chins (30’s Style) / one-arm DB snatch (4 x 6 – multiple variations)
  • Week 1: 4 x 6
  • Week 2: 4x (3/3) 20 seconds intra set rest
  • Week 3: 4 x (2/2/2) 30 seconds intra set rest
  • Week 4: 4 x (3/2/1) 40 second intra set rest
  • Seated DB Lateral Raise 2 x 12
  • Rollouts 50 reps (any combination just get 50)

Friday

  • Clean Clusters 20/20 style (3 x 5, 5 x 1) s/s
  • Push Press 20/20 style (3 x 5, 5 x 1)
  • Incline Bench Press (30’s style) s/s
  • Chins (30’s style)
  • Front Squat @ 90-110% of your 1RM C&J for 3 sets of 3
  • Back Squat @ 90% of heaviest recent weight used for 5, for 3 sets of 5
  • 3 x 5 Clean-Grip Deadlifts

 Q&A banner

Loading Comments... Loading Comments...