The top set

Those of you who follow this blog will know that I have recently been thinking about the value of going balls out on the top set. That is doing as many reps as possible. In some cases my guys who are on 5/3/1 are getting 15 reps on the deadlift. Now this has been great for a while as the are building an amazing base. But I do see signs of physical and mental fatigue. I’m not a scientist of course. But I am gym smart and I wonder about this. I do like a prescribed number of reps and beating this is fine. But going to 15 is too much for the intermediate lifter in my opinion. I am in favour of leaving a rep or two in the tank and thinking about breaking another record the next week.

I am a fan of a top set of 5 reps and I like to leave something in the tank. The main reason is that I want to taste success and build confidence for the next week. I like breaking new ground and I find reps of 5 are perfect. Having a rep or two in store will ensure that you are mentally fresh to break new ground again the following week.

Ed Coan once said that sets of 5 represented the perfect balance between strength and size.

In closing, I found this quote from Wendler. Wendler would seem to hold similar views.

He states “Many lifters will get stronger when they dial back the last set. You don’t always have to push to failure to make gains – this is a belief held by novices and those with limited knowledge.”

Interesting stuff. Let me know what you think.

bigger stronger smarter


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