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Number of Reps for Percent Training

by Tom McCullough MEd., MSS
Optimal Total
55 - 65
3 - 6
18 - 30
70 - 75
3 - 6
12 - 24
80 - 85
2 - 4
10 - 20
> 90
1 - 2
4 - 10

Prilephin's table can be used as a tool to plan you next workout.  This table takes advantage of both the maximal  and dynamic effort methods of strength training.  The reason we exercise using several methods is to vary the level of resistance so to cause differences in metabolic reactions, intramuscular coordination, and biomechanical variables.  By training this way we enable ourselves to work intensely enough to bring about the optimal gains in strength.

When maximal weights are lifted the largest number of motor units are activated .  Using the maximal effort method is thought to be best for training the muscles and CNS due to the great load place on them.  Because of the high level of motivation needed to lift maximal weights, the lifter can easily become over trained.   Therefore, only about 10% of our training cycle will be spent lifting maximal and supramaximal weights.

As we all are very aware, a good maximal lift is often determined by the amount of explosion we generate out of the hole.  If the momentum is great enough, we will generate enough speed to get through our sticking point and be able to lock out the lift.  Therefore, the dynamic effort method is very useful in training the explosive strength necessary for getting those new personal records.  By training with intermediate loads, we are able to move the weights quickly, thus improving the rate of force development and explosive strength.   Dynamic effort training is best done in the 55-82.5% range, with controlled eccentrics and very explosive concentric lifting.  While the loads are intermediate in weight, maximal efforts should be used in moving the weights.

As for the repetition range, Prilephin found that a given percent can be optimally trained in the suggested repetitions per set range.   Any less than this and you have not done enough work, any more and the bar speed slows too much.  For example,  if 55% is trained for 4 sets of 6 repetitions, the total repetitions done will be 24.  We are well within our optimal total repetition range.  Let's look at another example, 55% is trained for 8 sets of 3 repetitions.  The total work done is still 24, with is still within our optimal repetition range.  So we can see how versatile this table can be.


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