Myo-reps in English

Welcome to my new blog. I thought I would start off with an article I wrote a while ago, first published at www.mountaindogdiet.com, the site of an awesome coach and my good friend John Meadows. For those of you who followed my previous blog at www.myrevolution.no/blade – I will do my best to update more often with some new insights or just plain craziness.

Myo-reps – a time-efficient method for maximum muscle growth

In 2006 I developed the first version of Myo-reps, and I later refined it to the current version in 2008. It has proven to one of the most effective tools I have ever used in both myself and my clients, and I will present the basics of it in this article. Myo-reps is, simplistically speaking, a rest-pause method, and the most famous permutation of it is DC/Doggcrapp training. Most of you probably know how to perform a rest-pause set, and I didn’t just reinvent the wheel here, I refined it building on research on hypertrophy in recent years.

First of all I must give credit where credit is due, to Mathias Wernbom, who presented the most comprehensive meta-review to date on strength and hypertrophy training in 2007 (1), and has been deep into the field of occlusion training the last few years. Matt has provided vast amounts of data to me, hooking both himself and subjects from various populations – a lot of them elite athletes (Toppidrettssenteret, Olympiatoppen) – to EMG machines and sticking huge biopsy needles into muscles (if you ever had a biopsy performed you will know how excruciatingly painful that experience is). Do a search on Wernbom at PubMed and you will see a list of published papers by him. I’m fortunate enough to have access to some unpublished research as well, obviously.

Much credit also goes to Dan Moore (originator of the Max Stimulation method), a brilliant man having what must be a photographic recall of various studies and their results.

And last, but not least, all of my clients over the years who have provided me with valuable feedback and allowed me to fine-tune and evolve Myo-reps principles and templates.

Growing bigger

Let’s first look at the primary identified mechanisms of hypertrophy:

  1. Mechanical deformation: Stretch and contraction under load will initiate a signaling cascade translating into a cellular response, increasing the contractile machinery of the muscle cell. You need to lift weights to grow. Fundamental stuff, indeed.
  2. Motor unit and muscle fiber recruitment: The research is pretty clear on the fact that you eventually need to recruit most of/all of the motor units and muscle fibers in a muscle to stimulate maximum muscle growth.
    1. At approx. 80%+ of 1RM (about 5-8RM loads) you are pretty much at 100% fiber recruitment from the very first rep. I generally don’t use Myo-reps for loads heavier than 5RM.
    2. At lighter loads, you won’t recruit all muscle fibers from the beginning, but as you fatigue you will have to call upon more muscle fibers to complete the set. The last few reps of a set will achieve 100% fiber recruitment, so e.g. a 12RM set has approx. 3-4 “effective” reps at the very end. Not saying that the first reps are ineffective, they are needed to accumulate sufficient fatigue to reach all fibers of the muscle. There has been a lot of research into occlusion-type training where dramatic hypertrophy is observed even with very light loads (20-50% of 1RM) just by tying a blood pressure cuff around an arm or a leg. The main mechanism seems to be an earlier full fiber recruitment effect from the hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) created from occluding the blood flow. Research by some of the most renowned scientists in the field (2) has shown that lifting 30% loads to failure induced more muscle growth than 90% loads to failure, and we’ll have a look at how Myo-reps takes advantage of this mechanism and even improves it further.
    3. You will also achieve full recruitment transiently by lifting a light load as fast as possible, but only in the turn-around phase from the eccentric to the concentric phase and in the early part of the rep when the weight is still accelerating. By using elastic bands or chains you may increase this acceleration phase by having to push harder vs. slowing down as leverages usually improves at the top of e.g. deadlifts, bench press and squats.
    4. Metabolic stress, calcium flux and volume: The muscle has to perform a minimum threshold of work with the imposed load and mechanical tension. Reps and the work:rest ratio sets the metabolic state of the muscle. Short duration high-amplitude pulses of calcium into the muscle by high load contractions and rest between sets induced muscle hypertrophy, longer duration low-amplitude pulses such as in cycling or running induces endurance adaptions. Metabolic stress and volume is said to “modulate” the hypertrophic response, i.e. the load is the primary variable, the sets and reps determines the magnitude and duration of the muscle growth you will get out of it. Your volume threshold increases over time, so as you get more advanced not only can you *tolerate* more volume, you will also *need* more volume to stimulate further gains. This also explains why bodybuilders are more muscular than weightlifters or powerlifters, even though the loads used are less, they perform more work in less time with it. Two additional benefits, and one caveat:
      1. Metabolic stress “sensitizes” the muscle to growth signaling, i.e. you achieve more growth from less work.
      2. Metabolic stress increases the supply of energy substrates to the muscle, i.e. glycogen stores, blood flow, oxygenation, capillarization, mitochondrial function, and also the cardiovascular component of the heart and lungs which will improve intra-set and intra-workout recovery in the long-term.
      3. If you overdo it, you increase AMPK – one of the primary energy-sensors of the cell – and this can inhibit protein synthesis and initiate endurance adaptions. This is why extensive interval training (20+ minutes of sprints with short rest, Tabatas with a 2:1 work to rest ratio etc) doesn’t necessarily lead to massive muscle growth – excessive metabolic stress and calcium flux combined with depletion of energy substrates turns on endurance and turns off muscle growth.
      4. Hormones and amino acids: The usual suspects testosterone, GH/IGF-1, insulin, cortisol, protein. Some more important than others, and the hormones seem to play more of a permissive effect in muscle growth, some studies show rapid hypertrophy in knock-out models where the receptor for various hormones are removed altogether. Getting hung-up on transient elevations from what you eat or how you train is pretty much irrelevant and more of a correlative than a causative effect. Amino acids are pretty much mandatory as they provide building blocks for muscle growth, but the body is very good at recycling them which is why you can grow muscle even under fasting conditions.

 

A great summary of the above principles can be found in Keith Baar’s meta-review (3).

Two things to note here: 1. Kaatsu (blood flow occlusion by pressure cuffs) increases the EMG signal, and hence fiber recruitment earlier. 2. After the first set and a short rest period, you achieve higher fiber recruitment earlier in the subsequent set. This forms the basis for Myo-reps. (illustration from (4)).

 

The Myo-reps set from start to finish

Simplistically speaking we basically need to lift a sufficiently heavy load, for a sufficient number of sets and reps, sufficiently often to build muscle at the optimal rate. There are many ways of achieving this, and Myo-reps is simply a very time-efficient and productive tool to have in your repertoire. Don’t get married to one rep range or one method of training if you want maximum results, a planned and strategic variation with both heavy and lighter loads, high and low volume, high and low frequency is needed if you want to maximize results, but that is an extensive topic to cover and I will save it for later articles.

Let’s see how you perform a Myo-rep set from beginning to end. I recommend 2-3 warm-up sets of progressively increasing loads of 8-12 reps prior to the work set both to increase neural drive, to provide additional volume and to let you determine your daily strength level and hence, work set load.

  1. Pick a load you can perform 9-20 reps with (depending on your programming and exercise selection). I will sometimes go even higher, to 25-40 reps.
  2. Go to failure or 1-2 reps short of failure, judged by when rep speed slows noticeably. This is your “activation set” where you achieve full fiber recruitment. Total failure isn’t an absolute requirement, and leaving a rep or two in the tank will allow you to do more total reps, as we shall see soon.
  3. By keeping constant tension on the muscle, i.e. shorten the ROM by 10% on top (avoid locking out the weight) and 10% in the bottom (resting the weight or overstretching the muscle), you will mimic the occlusion effect and reach higher fiber recruitment faster.
  4. Now the important part – rerack the weight and rest for a maximum of 30 seconds – unrack the weight and keep going for several short mini-sets of 1-5 reps (depending on the load used). By keeping the rest period short you will maintain fatigue level, and hence – fiber recruitment at a high rate. All reps of the mini-set are now “effective” reps. I simplify the rest period prescription by counting deep breaths, similar to the DC method, where 5 deep breaths (in+out) is about 10 seconds, 10 is 20 seconds and so on. You can get away with the higher end (30secs) with heavier loads, at lighter loads you should keep rest periods short (5-15secs) to maintain high fiber recruitment. It is also productive on the Myo-rep series to keep constant tension on the muscle by shortening the ROM.

Let’s illustrate the difference between a “traditional” 3 sets of 10 vs. a Myo-rep set, the asterisk ‘*’ denoting “effective” reps:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8* 9* 10*

1-2min of rest

1 2 3 4 5 6 7* 8* 9* (a typical drop off in reps if using a 10RM load)

1-2min of rest

1 2 3 4 5 6 7* 8* 9*

So you did 28 total reps in about 6 minutes, where 9 reps were “effective” reps (at sufficiently high fiber recruitment).

Now a Myo-rep set:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8* 9* 10* – 15sec rest – 1* 2* 3* – 15sec rest – 1* 2* 3* – 15sec rest – 1* 2* 3* – 15sec rest – 1* 2* 3* – 15sec rest – 1* 2* 3*

Here you did 25 total reps in about 2 minutes, where 18 reps were “effective”. The premise here is to *manage* fatigue to get in more work in less time, and you have to balance the reps and rest periods in the Myo-rep set appropriately.

Auto-regulating your way to better results

There are two ways of managing volume here.

First, you can prescribe a total number of reps for an exercise, and I would recommend that you get at least 10 reps after the activation set. An example would be (the ‘+’ denotes 10-20sec of reracking the weight and resting): 12 +3+3+2+2 (or 12 +10). Lighter weights generally need more volume, so: 20 +5+5+5+5+5 (or 20 +25) which would also be a productive Myo-rep set. You generally just keep doing mini-sets of 2-5 reps until you hit the prescribed total rep count.

The second way, and my favorite, is auto-regulation where you use a set of “rules” to let the total volume (number of reps) take care of itself based on how you feel that day – your individual recovery level. You will also see this prescription in most of my programs where I implement Myo-reps. Example protocols:

6-8 +2x

9-12 +3x

12-15 +4x

15-20 +5x

20-25 +6x

The first part (e.g. 9-12) denotes reps in the activation set, the number after the + is how many reps you will do in the Myo-reps mini-series. So 9-12 +3x will play out like this:

200lbs x 10 +3+3+3+3+2 – you weren’t able to do the third rep of the last set so you stop there

Here’s how auto-regulation works:

Let’s say you had a good night’s sleep, ate well, had a day off from work, and generally feel great and well recovered. The 9-12 +3x protocol would most likely turn out like this:

200lbs x 12 +3+3+3+3+3+3+3+2

Now, let’s say you had a couple of drinks too many at your brother’s bachelor party last night, your girlfriend broke up with you because you fondled the stripper, the neighbour’s cat kept you awake, and you’ve been dieting for 3 months. The same protocol would most likely deteriorate to this:

200lbs x 8 +3+2

Doing less work when your recovery and adaptive reserves are compromised makes logical and practical sense, and you will most likely come back stronger the next time (provided you stay sober, stop dieting, kiss and make up with your girlfriend – or the stripper if she was really hot) vs. struggling to do the same amount of work you had planned to, or even more by adding sets and dropsets to punish yourself for being such a failure as a human being. Stimulate, don’t annihilate.

You will also note that various muscle groups and exercises have different recovery rates and volume tolerances, so if you consistently get something like 8 +3+2 I recommend the following adjustments:

  1. Do 9-12 +2x instead of 3x. (3x instead of 4x etc)
  2. Add more rest in the Myo-rep set, e.g. 15 deep breaths instead of 10
  3. If you insist on going to absolute failure on the activation set, I strongly recommend a period of leaving 1-2 reps in reserve. There’s not so much to be gained from that last rep or two in terms of muscular stimulation – but it vastly increases the neural stress, and it is easily compensated by getting in more total volume at the end.

If your recovery rate and volume tolerance is exceptional and you seem to be able to just keep going forever with +3x, you would obviously use the opposite strategy to compensate (4x, shorter rest, work closer to failure).

Note that you can also do more reps in the Myo-rep series by doing short ROM partial reps.

What exercises?

I won’t go much into detail on exercise selection and template structure, there are many ways of programming your training strategy and I would rather save that for a later article. I will just briefly mention that I usually do at least 2 exercises for major muscle groups, and more if it is a priority muscle group (or another Myo-rep set of the same exercise). Dumbbell presses are less suitable for Myo-reps, as it requires a lot of energy to get them into position and stabilize them. Having only a few seconds of rest makes you run out of breath before you get the load to do sufficient work on the muscles. I’m also careful with Myo-reps on squats, deadlifts, and even bent rows as the accumulating fatigue, in the lower back in particular, may compromise technique and increase injury potential.

Concluding remarks

As you can see, a Myo-rep set takes advantage of the primary mechanisms of muscle growth – mechanical load, increasing fiber recruitment and maintaining it at a high level to get more “effective” reps, increasing the muscle sensitivity to the growth stimulus via metabolic stress, modulated by the volume effect (total sets and reps) and doing more work in less time.

With Myo-reps you can get in and out of the gym in 30 minutes if you are short on time, you can provide a different stimulus to a muscle group from the “traditional” way of structuring sets and reps, and it can even serve as a deload following a high-volume phase. Myo-reps is a great tool to have in your toolbox in the quest for a massive and strong physique, feel free to play around with it and let me know if you have any questions or comments. Hate mail due to severe soreness is also more than welcome…

 

Borge A. Fagerli

coach@borgefagerli.com

 

References:

  1. Wernbom M, Augustsson J, Thomeé R., The influence of frequency, intensity, volume and mode of strength training on whole muscle cross-sectional area in humans., Sports Med. 2007;37(3):225-64.
  2. Burd NA, West DW, Staples AW, Atherton PJ, Baker JM, Moore DR, Holwerda AM, Parise G, Rennie MJ, Baker SK, Phillips SM., Low-load high volume resistance exercise stimulates muscle protein synthesis more than high-load low volume resistance exercise in young men., PLoS One. 2010 Aug 9;5(8):e12033. – PMID: 20711498
  3. Baar K., The signaling underlying FITness., Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2009 Jun;34(3):411-9.
  4. Yasuda T, Fujita S, Ogasawara R, Sato Y, Abe T., Effects of low-intensity bench press training with restricted arm muscle blood flow on chest muscle hypertrophy: a pilot study., Clin Physiol Funct Imaging. 2010 Sep;30(5):338-43. Epub 2010 Jul 4.

262 Comments

  1. trt

    Great to have one by you in english.

  2. Martin

    Hi Blade, thank you for posting in English.
    I intend to utilize myo-reps in the next 8 weeks, 3 fullbody workouts every week (mon/wed/fri), 1 exercise for chest (dips), 2 for back (row/lat pulldown), 1 for legs (leg press) and 1 for shoulders (OHP, 3 sets across), hypercaloric diet. This week I’m “dialing in”, adjusting weight and reps for each exercise. Myo-reps seems almost too good to be true, I’m enjoying it so far.

    Thanks once again and looking forward to your next articles.

  3. Dave

    Borge,

    This article is fantastic. Please put a facebook ‘Like’ button on each of these articles so we can recommend them to our friends easily and get more traffic.

    -Dave

    • Borge

      The plugin is installed, just trying to figure out how to make it work…should be up soon, hopefully.

  4. MM

    Great article and well written. For clarification, do you do all your sets with 80% ROM?

    Thanks.

    • Borge

      Primarily high-rep training but I do like some continous tension 4-6 rep sets on squats and bench, too.

  5. Trt

    Blade, what do you think about Milos Sarcev’s Giant Set training method ? Is it legit like yours, which is based on science, or is this another useless training method ? Pros/cons of it ?

    I just noticed that few of the huge guys do this recently..

    • Borge

      You would have to be very particular about exercise selection and sequence to make it work. E.g. going from leg extensions to leg press to squat would have fatigue affecting technique too much, but if you go to complex to less-complex/isolation it could work. So split squats/lunges – squats – leg press – leg extensions

  6. Antonio

    I have arthritis rheumatoide that manifests itself as a severe leg pain after stress and whatnot, but doesn’t affect that much my upper body for some reason, at least for now. How would you go on about if you had nothing to train but just the upper body ? (Just leave this unpublished if this goes too much on personal training side)

    • Borge

      I would train the upper body then. Not sure what you´re asking.

  7. Jam

    Hi Borge ,
    When performing the myo reps after the activation set, should they be to failure? Also, should one decrease the weights it they can’t complete the myo reps at the weight used for the activation sets? What are some exercises that would work well with myo reps?

    Thanks!

    • Borge

      You have to balance fatigue/failure in order to do enough work with a given load. Sometimes you´ll hit failure, sometimes it´s better to stay away from failure. It´s a means to an end, not an end goal.

      You may reduce the load, something also known as a “drop-set” so not really Myo-reps per se – but definitely doable.

      I specifically mentioned which exercises were less than optimal for Myo-reps, so all other exercises than those mentioned would work well.

  8. Dieff

    Borge,

    I will follow the suggestion of 2-split training given in the fourth part of the article on myo-reps on the site MyRevolution (http://myrevolution.no/s/myo-reps-del-4-baseversjonen/). However, since you suggest two exercises for the back, was in doubt concerning about the total volume in myo-reps set. Must I mantain 15 reps in myo-rep set or, since they are two exercises for the same group, must decrease to 10 reps in myo-reps set for each exercise?

    Thanks in advance

    • Borge

      If you can handle it, more volume is generally better.

  9. Jeff

    Borge,

    Interesting stuff…gonna have to give it a try!

    Is there any way you could translate the article that Dieff linked to in the comment above? That’d be cool..if not no worries.

    Thanks for your time and wisdom.

    Jeff

    • Borge

      Nah…just use Google Translate ;) I have several other articles in the works, I don´t want to spend time tediously translating something I´ve already written…

  10. Massimo

    And what about the gradual increase of the weight on the barbell? Do you suggest to increase it when in the first set you go over the initial number of reps (example: from 8 to 10)? Many thanks in advance!

    • Borge

      Yes.

  11. Luke

    Is this recommended for beginners?

    • Borge

      Not needed until you have at least 2-3 months of regular training under your belt.

      • Vit

        Hi,

        few questions. Can you clarify what do you mean by 2-3 months of regular training? Are there any clues or hints when I’m ready to start with myoreps (say “when you are able to do 10 chin-ups with your bodyweight and with good technique” or something). From what I’ve read some other authors who have quoted your myoreps even say that I first have to be training for 2-3 years. Is that true?

        And my second question is what do you think about calisthenics? I’ve seen quite a few people from my neighborhood who were weak and fat to get into fantastic shape, gained lots of muscles and from what I’ve seen they seemed to be strong as well… Do you think calisthenics is good way to build muscle and strength? And could they benefit from each other (myoreps and calisthenics)? Thanks

        Vit

        • Borge

          You should know what it means to push to failure, and hence – to keep a rep in reserve. You also need to build a sufficient tension/volume tolerance to be able to handle more advanced training techniques, Myo-reps is mechanically and physiologically speaking not too far off from doing 3-4 traditional sets. A beginner with a very low volume threshold for adaption usually responds equally well from 1 and 3 sets, so 3-4 sets simply isn’t needed until you have 2-3 months of training experience.

          Bodyweight training is fine until you get to a point where it limits the loading you can subject your tissue to. Chins will last you a long time, pushups will begin to lose its effect once you get strong enough to do 15-25 reps and you will have to load them up (then they are actually an awesome exercise). Calisthenics in the context of doing 30-50 reps is not going to build strength and muscle, it is mainly for strength-endurance.

  12. norath

    I was really surprised by the strength gains you get from myoreps/rest-pause. I’m now doing a full dc template, after this going to try a full myorep routine. Did you ever try rest-pause as Dante Trudel explains it and did you like it?

    • Borge

      Yes, I did – I was actually coached by Super-D for a while. For me, it was too little volume and I felt slightly burned out on it. I´ve been doing various cycles of higher volume and higher frequency with much greater success. I´m now training 6 days/week and feel better, look better, and improve more. Combination of RPE-based training and Myo-reps.

      • norath

        I haven’t felt burned out yet, low volume and few exercise are keeping the recovery in check for me. What frequency do you use in 6x week training?
        It will take some time to adjust to that 6x week for sure after this. I’ll start with 1.5-2 frequency for four-three times per week when I’m done with this cycle of DC.

  13. Serguei

    Do you use any type of load’s strategic planning for Myo-Reps? I saw in your earlier publications, that you used a sort of HST-like setup that time….

    • Borge

      Yes, I constantly vary reps – just like I do in the program I’ve set up for you ;)

      The linear progression is mostly for beginners.

      • rihad

        > The linear progression is mostly for beginners.

        What about linear progression (as in HST) combined with a period of Strategic Deconditioning? As its author says, HST is equally well suited for seasoned athletes. You wrote so much about it in the past. You do not believe in its principles any more?

        • Borge

          I’m still not sold on SD, although there are studies showing you don’t lose much during a short period of rest, and growth plays “catch-up” once you start training again. I still wouldn’t necessarily recommend 1-2 weeks of rest more than 1-2 times per year.

          Other than that, the HST principles of progression, frequency and overall volume are still basic and true.

  14. Bruce

    I read the predator nutrition interview, and it appeared that you recommend accumulation intensification phases in some situations. I take it this is when you are not using a DUP model? Is accum/intense more appropriate for intermediates? Thank you!

    • Borge

      As you get more advanced, some sort of volume increase is inevitable – and preplanning it in phases is a good way to go about it. I’m working on an article on dynamic periodization which will delve deeper into that area. You can apply DUP on top of accumulation and intensification phases.

  15. Bruce

    Borge,

    I love myo reps because i don’t have a lot of time to train. Is a triple drop ok on Squats and RDLs since myo reps are not safe on these excercises? if so, would you use a longer than 30 second rest? Thank you!

  16. Darren

    @Bruce, I’m sure Borge just missed your question but I have asked him similar on MyRevolution forum and it is fine to use drop sets with squat/deadlift etc.

    Should look here for ideas on how he uses drop sets- http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?act=url&hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=no&tl=en&twu=1&u=http://myrevolution.no/s/auto-regulering-for-optimale-%25C3%25B8kninger-i-styrke-og-muskelmasse/&usg=ALkJrhhtvJCM9P0UFQzZC4OiikxfxKTLDw

  17. Per Brisk

    Borge
    I have a practical question about doing myo-reps. When using all the techniques to reach higher fiber recruitment, like doing every lift as fast as possible and also keeping constant tension on the muscle during a set, it limits the number of reps I can do in the activation set severely. I end up with being able to only do 10 or 11 reps with a weight I otherwise could lift 15-20 times.

    I seem to end up training with very light weights, and it is quite tempting to skip the above mentioned techniques. So what should I do?

    Great to see you with your own site!

    • Borge

      Well, you have to choose – do you want to train your muscles to get stronger, or train your ego and stay where you are? ;) By performing reps correctly you WILL get stronger.

  18. Per Brisk

    OK:)

  19. Pingback: Q&A: How can I go about building some muscle?

  20. 2ndLtFjun

    Super article. I got started with myoreps and experimenting a bit with the autoregulation “feature”. Really love the fast intense workouts, and I had some massive DOMS too from the high rep beginning workouts. Let’s say I get 11 reps on the activation set, then move on to +3 +3 +2 before dropping lifting speed significantly. Then it’s time to stop. Is this a good way to think?

    Or should I stop the activation set a bit earlier so I can get in more work afterwards to get closer to the 9-12 +15 recommendation, alternatively take longer pauses between the extra sets? What’s better?

    Thanks a lot.

    • Borge

      You got it right in the first example, and this will work itself out just fine – on some exercises (mostly pressing) you will see a significant drop off and thus get a lower total volume, whereas on back, bis and legs you usually get a lot more – which ties in with muscle fiber makeup and also what volume and rep ranges these muscles respond better to.

      However, playing around with the rest period to get in more total reps now and then is also fine. Read my article on Dynamic Periodization for more info: http://myrevolution.no/s/tren-optimalt-med-dynamisk-periodisering/

      • 2ndLtFjun

        Thanks for the answer. I can see this in pressing exercises just as you say, and especially if I for example do a shoulder exercise after benching (which is pretty logical).

        Doing an 8 week experiment combining myoreps and the biorhytm diet right now and feel awesome on it so far.

  21. Frank

    Borge,

    I’ve read your article about dynamic periodization (amazing article, by the way) and I have a couple of questions about the frequency progression that you outlined there.

    You wrote that after a deloading period, it’s useful to train with high frequency (every muscle group 4-6 days a week) and 15-20 reps.

    How long generally this training phase last? Do you keep high reps/high frequency throughout it or do you scale both down while increasing intensity and volume?

    Thanks in advance and keep up the good work!

    • Borge

      As per the point of the article – “when it stops working”…or to be more useful, probably about 2-3 weeks as that is when you have to increase loads further and a high training frequency might not be sustainable.

  22. andrew

    Hi Borge, I found out about you through the HST forums. Is it a good idea to run my HST cycle exclusively using Myo-reps with auto-regulation? This will be my 4th cycle, so I want to set it up with an undulating periodizaation style (monday 20 rep, wed, 8 rep, fri 12 rep). I’m not doing the usual 15, 10, 5 as I have done it the last 3 cycles already. The only difference between this and HST is that I will obviously be working with near maxes from the very beginning to use Myo-rep style. It will still be 3 days a week with 1 complex exercise per bodypart with a few iso’s (9 reps total).

    • Borge

      Yes, that is actually a very good way to implement Myo-reps.

  23. andrew

    Edit: I mean 9 exercises total

  24. andrew

    Hi Borge, thank you for responding to my question. As a follow up question,since HST uses full body 3x a week,would it make sense to break the body over 2 days and maybe do 4 sessions per week which would work each bodypart 2x a week? The reason behind this thinking is that myo reps are a lot more demanding than straight sets, so my concern is that I would burn out using myoreps within a traditional HST cycle. What are your thoughts ?

    • Borge

      I don’t really consider Myo-reps more demanding, in fact research demonstrates the rest-pause technique to be less demanding than straight sets. But sure, a 2x/week frequency, especially when you get into 5s, is fine.

  25. Andrew

    I really appreciate your help Borge. One final question… I outlined a routine for myself for my next cycle after this current HST undulating cycle I am doing. The routine that I outlined will exclusively use Myo-reps auto-regulation style also with each day being a different rep range (Daily Undulating Periodization). The format will be A/B where A has one half of the body trained which includes squats and B is the other half of the body which has Sumo Deadlifts. Since I would do A and B each 2x per week on a Mon/Tues/Thur/Fri schedule, would it be too much to do Squats day 1, deadlifts day 2, squats day 4, and deadlifts again day 5 all using Myo-Rep auto regulation? This is in addition to all the other exercises I would be doing. Don’t mean to make this message too lengthy, but let me just quickly give you the proposed routine…

    A: reverse pulldowns, barbell rows, cable tri extension, deadlift, Abs
    B: shoulder press, dumbell laterals/rear, incline bench, bodyweight pushups, barbell curls, squats, obliques

    Day 1 – Light (20RM) Day 2 – Heavy (8RM) Day 3 – Medium (12 RM)

    So weeks 1 and 2 would look like this: Mon 20RM workout A, Tues 20 RM workout B, Thur 8RM workout A, Fri 8RM workout B, Mon 12RM workout A, Tues 12RM workout B, Thurs 20RM workout A, Fri, 20RM workout B

    My initial thoughts are to try out the routine as I plan on a 4 day per week schedule and if I feel like I’m overreaching and weights/reps aren’t going up every so often, then I would turn it into a 3x per week schedule: Mon – Wed – Fri (wk1 A B A) (wk 2 B A B).

    Also, I am strongly considering doing a 1 week break after every 4 weeks of working out to keep the nervous system in check. I am still striving to follow HST principles as I really believe in them, but it feels like I’m almost going to be doing an HST / DC hybrid using Myo-Reps instead of rest-pause failure sets.

    Again, I didn’t mean to make the message this long, but I just wanted to get everything off of my chest.

    Thank you!

    • Borge

      I have lifters doing squats 4-6 days per week, often on the same day as deadlifts – so it just depends on how you manage the volume/intensity and what your exercise tolerance is. And you know that better than me. Exercise tolerance is also trainable. How long is a rope? It depends.

  26. Andrew

    Thanks for your advice Borge. I think the best thing for me to do is try the routine as outlined with squats and deadlifts 4x a week and if my body tells me that it cannot handle it after a given period of time, then I will listen to my body and back down a bit. The changes that I would make would either be to change to a 3x A B A routine OR to keep 4 days per week but only do squats and deadlifts 2x per week instead of 4x per week.

  27. john

    hey Borge..regarding frequency per muscle group do you think that for an intermediate lifter it’s better to hit everything two times per week/every 5th day in a training circle as many recommend or given sufficient volume once per week can be optimal? note that I’m talking about strictly size gains. Thanks a lot.

  28. andrew

    hey Borge, I know this may sound like a very beginner and amateur question, but if I were to do myo-reps and ONLY myo-reps for the rest of my life hitting each muscle group 2x a week with 1 compound exercise per bodypart, would it be possible to reach my genetic muscular potential assuming that diet is 100% in check?

    • Borge

      It sounds more like a hypothetical but somewhat unrealistic question to me, people get bored over time and will not stick to the same method and frequency forever – but the answer is: yes.

  29. andrew

    I can assure you Borge that boredom for me has no bearing on how I workout… only the effectiveness of the workout routine. Results aren’t ever boring and I can continue doing the same thing every week for 20 years if it will bring about continuous results without me having to devote a lot of time in changing to different workout routines. So that “Yes” you gave me means that for the next year, I will only do myo-reps on a 4x a week basis hitting each bodypart 2x a week. Utilizing myo-reps means that workout will probably take 45 min to an hour each which fits into my schedule quite well. As long as results keep coming, I will remain very happy.

  30. Andrew

    Hi Borge, I was just wondering… if following a routine that exlusively consists of myo-reps can bring me to my genetic potential, then what is the point of “switching it up” so to speak. A lot of bodybuilders mention that no routine works forever, which is there reason for switching their routines every 6 weeks or so, but you mentioned that only doing myo-reps with 1 or 2 exercises per bodypart 4x a week can bring one to their genetic muscular potential.

    • Borge

      I don’t believe a huge amount of variation is needed, and it will be counterproductive to just “switch it up” randomly, but if you want to know how I periodize you will have to wait for my Dynamic Periodization article.

  31. Andrew

    I will definitely read that once it comes out. I would also like to mention that my myo-rep routine will already include undulating daily periodization which I would think would provide all of the “change” I need without actually having to create new routines. Also, I think hitting each bodypart 2 x a week in an upper/lower split using exclusively auto-regulation myo-reps for every exercise will provide all the stimulation the muscle needs. And since it is auto-regulation, my body will tell me when it is ready to go up in weight and/or reps for each exercise in all of the different rep ranges I would be using. I don’t think I would ever need to change my routine again. I’m assuming that you agree with me.

    • Borge

      Well, it might and it might not. There is a volume threshold for optimal hypertrophy and as you get more advanced you can tolerate more volume – and you probably also NEED more volume. However, this must be balanced with a sufficiently high frequency, and I consider 2x/week minimal. Some short phases with less volume but higher frequency (4-6x week) can be very productive. The basic routine, or at least exercise selection and structure might not need to change much at all, no.

  32. Andrew

    Ok, thank you!

  33. andrew

    “Borge, allow me to beg your indulgence once more. I reread your last message and I realize what you mean by “volume threshold for optimal hypertrophy”. However, this seems to contradict the whole idea of auto-regulation where your body regulates the volume based on a set of certain parameters, in our case, Myo-Reps. Even if one were to switch to a higher frequency protocol working each body-part 4 times per week, then wouldn’t myo-reps still take care of the volume aspect? From your message, it almost seems as if you are saying that we should set a total volume per body-part goal within a week’s time, but in the same time, based on your article, you are saying that auto-regulation within the parameters of Myo-Reps is the best approach. Are these two aspects of auto-regulation vs. volume threshold dualities or is there a solution to this conundrum?”

    • Borge

      Well, obviously as you get more advanced and your volume threshold increases, your volume *tolerance* also increases – so auto-regulation takes care of it, at least within reason. However, you still have to monitor progress and determine whether what you are doing is working for you. Even with an effective training method and a “perfect” program there is still no guarantees. The downside of auto-regulation is that some may not be able to push themselves to the point where optimal progress is realized. Let’s say you started grinding on rep 6 and thought to yourself “ok, I’ll stop here, this is an RPE 9″. Then someone offered you a million dollars if you could get to 10 reps, and if not you they would empty your bank accounts and kill your family. Could you get 10 reps? Just a thought experiment, of course…

      My point is that although Myo-reps is an effective training method, and training twice a week with 1-2 Myo-rep sets on a couple of exercises SHOULD be sufficient to get you to where you want to be, there are too many variables involved to say that you would reach it in the shortest amount of time possible, or that more volume/frequency/intensity wouldn’t work better. I’m sorry if that triggered your paranoia/OCD, but that is just a cold, hard truth you have to accept – it is one of the driving motivators behind my own eternal search for whatever training variable and programming idea will improve results in both myself and the people I share my knowledge with.

      Also read this: http://myrevolution.no/blade/2011/11/02/the-perfect-program/

  34. andrew

    I appreciate the explanation, thank you. I’m sure you recognized my OCD/paranoia, hahaha. I definitely like the idea of Myo-Reps because it reminds me of DC which I know gave many people good results, on AAS and and not on AAS. Rest-pause seems to be very effective. It seems like the best thing that a trainer who is training to achieve a muscular physique can do is keep a written log of their progress and make sure that numbers are going up (weight or reps). By the way, I’m just wondering what your input is on how the biggest guys around such as champion bodybuilders mostly train each body part once per week. I noticed that you mentioned various times that each bodypart should be trained at least 2x a week. Other than steroids, why do you think training each body part once a week with high volume allows them to get so big?

    • Borge

      It is really all that simple. With AAS, the growth response is always ’on’ and even subjects using AAS and NOT training at all grow more muscle than people do without AAS and training. In a natural trainee, even with an optimal load and volume, the growth response lasts for only 48hrs – and the more advanced you are the shorter duration the growth response is.

      I’m not saying that training a muscle once/week doesn’t work, because clearly it does, just that you are wasting a lot of time not training it more often.

  35. Frank

    Wow, the comments section is almost as enlightening as the article :)
    I should check it more often.

    Borge, I know what you mean about changing the variables of the training routine to get out of our own confort zone and address weak points, but have you ever meet someone who just seems to simply respond better to a certain type of stimulus (mainly for muscle growth of course)?
    Like high frequency/low volume (or viceversa) or high(er) intensity/low reps or (or viceversa)?

    • Borge

      Sure…for a while. Which is something my Dynamic Periodization article series will talk about (coming soon).

  36. Darren

    Borge, I like to work around the 6-8RM range most of the time for my compound exercises. Do you think myo-reps or your RPE method is better suited to that rep range?

    BTW, are you still going to post new articles on MyRevolution or is this you new home?

    • Borge

      Myo-reps is better suited for higher rep ranges, RPE for lower.

      I do not work with MyRevolution any more.

      • Darren

        Hmm, I thought MyRev was your project from the start. I think most came there looking specifically for your insights and knowledge. On to bigger and better things.

        I have tried both myo’s and RPE in the 6-8 range and feel myo’s are a little too much for my joints at my age (41). RPE gives me a better warm up as I reach my top set then I get a bit of relief from the drop sets rather than continuing with a 6RM load. If I understand correctly, if I keep the rest periods short between the drop sets I should still have high fiber activation and have much the same effect as myo-reps correct?

        • Borge

          It was my project, but having two full-time jobs when you are closing in on 40 gets a little tedious after 6 years. I wanted to focus on coaching people, not running a webshop (I am too nice to be a salesperson).

          You have max fiber recruitment from the very first rep at around 5-6RM loads so Myo-reps shines at higher reps to achieve full fiber recruitment and more “effective” reps. Use the RPE-method and keep rest periods longer to get in sufficient work at a higher load, don’t try to make it into a Myo-rep hybrid.

  37. Mark

    Wow. What a great exchange!!! Thanks for sharing your insight.

  38. Sam

    Do you believe a lower rep activation set and back off sets are possible? Like 3-5 reps +1+1+1+1+1+1 ?

    • Borge

      Possible, but since you have full activation from the very first rep at heavier loads, it is kinda pointless to do an activation set. You can just do regular cluster rep training, e.g. a single rep every 10-15 seconds.

      • Sam

        Okay great, have you ever seen the benefit of adding an additional activation set if you go over your target reps? So say you want 6-8 and you reach 10, could you add 2.5-5 and reattempt?

        Cheers Borge!

        • Borge

          Of course. We’re not paranoid of adding volume here, are we?

          • Sam

            I see, i will likely do that then.

            What did you think of CT’s hypertrophy clusters?

            5 RM – aim is 10 reps total per set

            5 reps + 2-3 + 2-3 , rest 3-5 min
            5 reps + 2-3 + 2-3, rest 3-5 min
            5 reps + 2-3 + 2-3, rest 3-5 min

            I quite liked the idea of doing with with your method, say

            6 reps + 2 +2 + 2, rest 3-5 min and repeat.

          • Borge

            Cluster training is old and he seems to recycle some of his methods in 2-3 year cycles. It works just fine. The muscle reacts to the mechanical tension and how much time it is subjected to this tension, at a sufficently high intensity (as % of 1RM) you have max fiber recruitment from the first rep, so there is no real practical difference between 5 +2-3+2-3 or 6+2+2+2 or 5+4+3+2+1 or 4+4+3+3+2+2+1+1 or whatever.

  39. Dan

    Borge would you recommend +10 (2,2 etc) with a 6-8 rep max weight. Or would less be enough, like

    7+2+2+2

    • Borge

      Define “enough”. The auto-regulation takes care of the volume if you re-read the article, but whether it is sufficient to get an optimal volume for that muscle group is impossible to answer – it depends not only on what muscle group you are training, but also the training frequency and your training age (i.e. volume tolerance and needs).

      • Dan

        Okay, thanks borge :)

    • Sam

      Okay cool, when using that cluster method for the heavy work, should i just work up to a 3 rep max and go from there and retest say in 6 weeks, or should i always attempt to beat that 3 rep max depending on how i feel?

      So far i preferred the method of 6 + 2′s. The 5 followed by 3 was a bit much for me.

  40. Sam

    Should you increase the frequency of muscles you want to focus on, or just increase the volume? Like 4 days a week, or 2 days with extra volume?

    • Borge

      Both will work, it depends on what you are doing now. Wait for my article series on Dynamic Periodization, will publish it here soon.

      • Sam

        Hey man, cheers. At the moment i wanted to emphasize shoulders.

        I do a push pull routine, but including some biceps on my push days so it’s 4 x weekly as you recommended before. I’m also doing an overhead press on both pull days.

  41. David

    Hey Borge,

    First off, I want to say thank you for posting all these incredibly informative articles and then continuing to follow up by taking the time to answer peoples’ questions.

    The question I have is about how to best implement Myo-reps into a HST routine. I’ve been using Myo-reps in an auto-regulatory fashion for a while now and really love the way I feel after finishing a set, but I recently started reading up more on HST training and I decided that I want to give it a try.

    My question is: since HST calls for specific periods of higher-rep max training, where you are working under your 15RM for 4-5 of the 6 sessions, would it be best to set a rep mark for your Myo-reps or just continue to try it utilizing auto-regulation?

    The reason I ask this is because, while I think that auto-regulation is definitely the way to go when working from a particular RM, if I’m working say, 10-15lbs under that RM, I could probably bang out subsequent +3s or +5s for the next hour (which I feel may be SLIGHT overkill). For the final (max) session of each block, I definitely can see auto-regulation working swimmingly…just maybe not so much for the sessions using weight under that specific RM.

    Any insite you could give into whether it would be better to continue trying to auto-regulate or better to set a rep target (like +20 (or so), for 15RM) would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks again for the time!

    • Borge

      You can still auto-regulate, you just think RPE 8 at the beginning of each rep cycle, transition into RPE 9 and finish off with RPE 10s.

  42. Andrew

    Borge, just to make sure I understand…. RPE stands for perceived effort?

    • Borge

      Rating of Perceived Effort.

  43. Sam

    Not to cause a stir here Borge, but other then fatigue control, what other benefits does Myoreps have over DC if you used the same 2 way split (with biceps on the lower day).

    • Borge

      DC uses fatigue as a measuring stick, I try to control fatigue to get in more effective reps/volume. Myo-reps leads to more hypertrophy and less CNS burnout IMO.

  44. Dan

    Hey Borge, i want to do less exercises but more myosets, would i be best doing the heavier set first?

    Ie 6-8+2+2+2 etc, 3-5 min rest then 9-12+3+3+3 etc

    or

    9-12+3+3+3 etc, 3-5 min rest then 6-8+2+2+2+2

    I was going to include the “occlusion” (10% top and bottom) on the 9-12 set.

    • Dan

      Sorry should have asked would it be more optimal to repeat them on the same day, like 2 myorep sets of 6-8 then do the 9-12 sets on a completely different day?

      • Borge

        Muscle responds to a combination of tension and volume, studies show that non-linear periodization – i.e. varying load from day to day or week to week is usually better than a straight linear progression where loads increase and reps drop as time goes by. The spread between 6-8 reps and 9-12 reps is about 5% of loading so pretty much irrelevant. There are benefits both to combining high loads and lower load, high rep training in one workout – there are benefits to separating them into two workouts. We have no data showing if one is better than the other, and IMO this is a lot less important than a sufficient load x volume integral.

  45. Sam

    Borge, can increasing your 9-12 rep max, actually increase your overall strength (ie 1 rm)?

    • Borge

      Yes, it can.

      • Sam

        Can you tell me if i have this right…

        Because of the last few reps of a set to failure, (ie 8,9,10 of your 10rm) take full activation of your motor units, it’s not really any different on strength building then using a heavier low rep load, because the max effort is the same?

        The only benefit of the heavier low rep load is that every rep is classed as a max effort because of the weight used?

        • Borge

          Not quite. For strength increases, you cannot totally disregard intensity, i.e. load on the bar. Effort is just part of the picture.

  46. Sam

    Another thing, if under 8 reps provides “full activation” for each rep.

    What is the reason for rest pausing it? Would their be any benefit to rest pause in the 5-8 range if your already fully activated?

    Cheers

    • Borge

      I mainly use Myo-reps on 8-9 reps and up.

      • Sam

        Hey, yeah i thought as much… If that’s the case why do people do lower rep clusters?

        Like 5+3+2, 6+2+2+2…

        Is there any real benefit over straight sets? Or just to get more work in quickly in that range of intensity?

        • Borge

          I guess you should ask “people” and not me about this, but yeah – a benefit of clusters is more work within a shorter period of time.

          • rihad

            Then can myo-reps be assumed to essentially work on same thing as cluster reps, namely doing most effective work in limited time, with one obvious exception that heavier cluster sets, by their very nature of being fully activated, don’t require limiting intra-set rest time? There seems to be a slight difference: heavier loads don’t put muscles through same metabolic stress. So does somehow combining the two approaches seem like a logical outcome?

          • Borge

            It is a matter of training different growth pathways, and although Myo-reps is great in its own way I do not want to rely on only one tool for everyone, all the time.

          • rihad

            Borge, one last question if you don’t mind: I’ve been training myself following HST principles 3 times a week (MWF), and the last 2 weeks of 5′s or negatives are really kicking butt taking up to an hour and a half, although I’m only doing 2 sets per major exercise, which totals to 2-4 sets per muscle considering some overlap. I was thinking of combining myo-reps with HST on those hard 5′s like this: Mon & Fri continue doing HST normally. On Wed switch to high-rep (15 +5x) myo-reps. Is myo-reps likely to allow me to rest from heavier, neural CNS work of 5′s, and would heavier HST allow me to rest from metabolically taxing myo-reps style training?

          • Borge

            That would be one non-linear periodized way of setting up the training week, yes.

  47. Sam

    Hey Borge, few more questions as usual :)

    Ever found a benefit of a rep target? Ie Bench Press with 10rm, then rest pause to a rep goal, like 50 total reps?

    Is there an ideal rest period? I’ve been using 30 seconds, is that too long? Should i try shorten it?

    Bit confused on what you say is the ideal rep total per week of a muscle group?

    • Borge

      Depends on training age, individual muscle groups, overall training program structure etc etc – but yes, there is an optimum volume threshold.

      On Myo-reps, limit rest periods to 20sec.

      • Sam

        Well i really like your one of basically do what you can manage on the day, i was a little worried it would affect the next exercise, like doing benching, doing a ton of volume because i feel good that day, but when i go to overhead press i have barely anything left in the tank?

        Also, if people have a certain goal, say strength and explosiveness, is there a rep range they should never really wander into because of fiber conversion etc?

        • Borge

          Then take longer rest periods, e.g. do another exercise for an antagonist in between and you will have recovered for the OHP.

          I hesitate to use the word “never” as it is a matter of degrees, but obviously a lot of 20+ rep training is going to detrimental for power and explosiveness if you overdo it.

          • Sam

            Haha, it would be a lot lower then that, yeah i get you, i will try that thanks :)

  48. Dan

    Hey, i’m doing this split twice a week, what do you think? Is it missing anything?

    D1 – Bench press, incline bench press, rope pressdowns, overhead dumbbell extensions (single arm), dumbbell side laterals
    D2 – Chin-ups, pull-ups, chest-supported rows (or seated rows), rear delt flyes, preacher curls
    D3 – Romanian deadlifts, front squats, leg curls, leg extensions, standing calf raises, seated calf raises

    • Borge

      Not missing anything, I would personally drop or replace some of those exercises but this is an individual choice and exercise selection should both hit all major muscle groups without creating any major overlap, as well as address your weaknesses.

      • Dan

        Hey Borge, what ones was you thinking of?

        I heard the triceps should have two because of it’s structure?

        I don’t really have any glaring weak points, i was going for a general routine, if there’s anything you would advise i should remove / add please say :)

        • Borge

          It is a complex topic, but in general you shouldn’t need the rope pressdowns if you are doing overhead extensions for triceps. Chins or pullups, but not both in the same workout. I rarely use rows anymore, I prefer face pulls for upper/mid-back/trap work. I would alternate preacher curls with incline curls (more stretch). Drop the leg extensions, add a single leg squat/lunge variation. I prefer front foot elevated bulgarian split squats for greater ROM.

  49. rihad

    Hi, Blade. You said: “At approx. 80%+ of 1RM (about 5-8RM loads) you are pretty much at 100% fiber recruitment from the very first rep. I generally don’t use Myo-reps for loads heavier than 5RM.”

    Maybe you mean you don’t use myo-reps for loads heavier than 9RM?

    • Borge

      That is correct, but read the discussion, this topic has been covered previously.

  50. rihad

    > Amino acids are pretty much mandatory as they provide building blocks for
    > muscle growth, but the body is very good at recycling them which is why you
    > can grow muscle even under fasting conditions.

    Wow, you mean we don’t have to eat over maintenance (whatever that is) even during a bulk? I’d be glad to eat less, as I tend to get fat, but would I still grow?

    • Borge

      That is what I said, yes. Not only does the body make use of ingested calories, but also stored calories in the body (fat stores). The more fat you have, the greater the available energy (unless you cut calories too hard).

      • rihad

        Borge, just to top things off, this assumes that an individual is training 100% naturally? I.e. no tren, slin, gh or some such?

        BTW the distinction between dieting for bulk/cut seems blurry. Does it mean a person willing to cut would lower calories even further, or he would just “lean bulk” this way forever?

        • Borge

          Of course, I don’t recommend the use of illegal drugs anywhere in the article or here in the comment section, do I?

          That is because I hate the terms “bulk” and “cut” in the traditional sense of the wording. People will diet for 3-6 months on excessive deficits and cardio, get lean but lose a lot of muscle. Then they switch to bulk-mode and eat 1000kcals or more above maintenance needs and gain muscle at the same rate as they would on a more moderate surplus, but also gain a ton of fat. Which they proceed to spend the next 3-6 months dieting off while losing all the muscle they just gained. And on and on it goes.

          I recommend you adopt a more gradual approach, adjusting calories according to progress weekly or bi-weekly, being patient and monitoring strength, bf%, weight, hunger, energy to name a few. This way you can push things in the right direction by small and incremental changes.

          • rihad

            Thanks, very instructive overall.

            > People will diet for 3-6 months on excessive deficits and cardio, get lean but lose a lot of muscle.

            Looks like here you’re not thinking in terms of HST training (obviously :) ). The idea is SD coupled with progressive overload would keep protein synthesis elevated at all times, and losses during cutting would be minimal. In case you’re interested, you can see this thread http://thinkmuscle.com/forum/showthread.php?41707-Balanced-diet/page5#42
            as not everyone thinks what you’re saying is true.

            I do like your idea that eating less would allow me to lose fat (25%) while bulking (hopefully), that’s what I did today eating half of what I did before. And strangely, I’m not starved at all, even though I had a workout today.

          • Borge

            I am not omnipotent, no – but I do this all the time with my clients and it is measured via DXA. It does require that a lifter is still below his genetic potential, and someone like Totentanz who is at the very upper limits of what he can achieve naturally – and also quite lean if he looks anything like his avatar pic – it will be impossible. So it is about context. And you can quote me on that.

            And to add: “I know very few people making progress who bulk on 1000 calories over maintenance, or who use excessive deficits with too much cardio.”

            He must have a very special and competent circle of friends then, because this is the way most people in the general population approach bulking and dieting and even how many quite competent coaches approach it. If everyone is using sensible approaches, how come there aren’t more lean and muscular people who have achieved their dream physiques in gyms everywhere? Where are these people who can do sensible bulks and moderate deficits with just enough cardio to create steady rates of fat loss without muscle loss? I fear that his competence has created myopia for what others are actually doing.

  51. Sam

    Hey Borge, atm i’m doing 5 days per week training. I want to primarily go for strength, power explosiveness etc.

    But i want to include maybe 1-2 days of higher rep work like this system. Any ideas on how i should best split it up?

    Most of my training is the big compounds and olympic lifts, but i really want to include this somewhere. Should i just do like a 3 day strength routine, with 2 days of this?

    Like a push day and pull day at higher reps with the other 3 days as 1-3 reps?

    • Borge

      My preferred sequence during a week is moderate loads moderate volume early in the week, high load low volume in the middle, and high volume low loads at the end of the week.

      • Sam

        Okay i think i get what you mean, but would adding two hypertrophy based days to a 3 day strength routine be okay?

        Should the hypertrophy training be seperate from the strength days basically? If so, would two be okay? So two days of a push pull or upper lower hypetrophy training. Then the other 3 days are low rep strength based?

        • Borge

          Have you seen PHAT? 2 strength/power days, 3 hypertrophy days. So it can work just fine – although I think the volume and sequence of PHAT could be different. I would simply sit down and design the routine from scratch and not just add 2 extra days to an existing 3 day routine, but that is beyond the scope of this article or comment section.

          • Sam

            Is this a form of DUP? (daily undulating periodization)?

          • Borge

            Yes.

  52. Sam

    Okay borge, thanks for all of your input :)

  53. Darren

    “I usually do at least 2 exercises for major muscle groups, and more if it is a priority muscle group (or another Myo-rep set of the same exercise).”

    So a set up similar to Lyle’s Generic Bulk where you have bench/incline, chin/row, squat/leg press, RDL’s/leg curl and one exercise a piece for arms/delt/calves/abs would be a solid base plan?

    “If you overdo it, you increase AMPK – one of the primary energy-sensors of the cell – and this can inhibit protein synthesis and initiate endurance adaptions.”

    How much volume would this take? I ask because a guy called Kelei on BB.com is pushing a myo reps routine using a 10rm for 50 reps/2-3 exercises per muscle group (so 100 reps minimum rest paused) each muscle twice a week.

    My first thought was that it was a bit overkill if we consider Wernbom’s data but perhaps as you alluded to here in your posts a more advanced trainer may need to push the volume like that for short periods.

    • Borge

      I cannot give you a generic answer to how much volume it takes, as it depends on your volume tolerance. If you have worked up the capacity to do more volume, you will also be able to handle more volume. Going by Rhea and Wernbom’s meta-reviews, however, we can infer that more than 80-100 reps per muscle group per bout over time could be excessive. There is an optimal amount, and doing more isn’t going to be better. Finding that elusive optimum is going to be difficult, and erring on the conservative side is for most people better than erring on the excessive side and risking regression.

      • Darren

        Thanks Borge, so going by the available research 30-60 reps per bout is about optimal for most and 80-100 being the practical limit (although there would be diminishing returns for time/energy invested). Now this is based on straight sets right, so my understanding is using myo reps/rest pause that we would need around half that because we are racking up more ‘effective’ reps? So 15-30 up to 40-50 myo’s after the activation set (with heavier loads requiring less and lighter loads requiring more)?

        • Borge

          Something like that, yes.

          • Darren

            Thanks again Borge. Must get annoying to keep going over the same things with all of us. Very appreciated.

          • Borge

            Something like that, yes. (I kid I kid)

  54. daniel

    Hola Borge:
    Querìa saber si podrìa resultar provechoso convinar el Myo-Reps con el sistema de Tensiòn Dinàmica de Charles Atlas. Personalmente he logrado muy buen resultado con esta convinaciòn y ademàs hago un ayuno intermitente (IF) del tipo LeanGains. Todo esto me ha llevado a un ràpido mejoramiento de mi estado fìsico. Daniel Sìvori

    • Borge

      I don’t speak Spanish.

  55. Andreas

    Hello Børge, I was simply wondering if this was the exact same program as the one published in Norwegian on myrevolution.no (4 parts) in January 2010, simply translated? Or is this an altered or improved version?

    • Borge

      This is a summary of the 3 first articles.

  56. Tibor

    Hello Børge, If your goal is to increase 12RM for a competition where according to the rules you have to do 8-12 repetitions with as much weight as possible on a given exercise – as this is a “volume”-contest, you obviously would like to shoot for 12 – would you rather suggest a Myoreps 9-12+3x approach or a DC 10-12 + RP approach? What are the trainee-dependent things to consider? The questions are little vague, but I would appreciate your insight. Thanks a lot!

    • Borge

      I would use Myo-reps since the point there is to get in more volume, but if you want to get stronger in the 12RM range you also need to increase absolute strength, so a heavy/light program with one in the range you are competing in and one training day in the 3-6 rep range is recommended.

      • Tibor

        Børge, thanks. That is what I have come up with: a traditional 5×5 part and a “repping” part in the 10-12 range (using Myoreps in my next training cycle). Thanks for your input! Best regards, T.

  57. Anthon

    Dear Borge:

    If you have to choose only 2 rep ranges for hypertrophy, to do in a workout, two exercise for a muscle group, what would you choose:

    9-12 + 12-15
    or
    6-9 + 9-12
    or
    9-12 + 15-20
    or
    6-9 + 15-20

    For example for chest (dips + flies)

    • Borge

      Depends on who I’m working with. Someone less advanced or slow-twitch dominant might respond better to higher rep ranges, more advanced/elite and fast-twitch dominant, lower rep ranges. If someone had been doing low reps exclusively I might have them do higher reps for a while, and vice versa.

      My favorite would be the 6-9 + 9-12, though.

      • Anthon

        Why do you recommend 30-40 seconds for 6-9 reps? Other rest-pause methods recommends maximum 12 deep breaths (20-25 seconds)

        • Borge

          I go by breaths, and it will end up in that same range. But seriously, you are stressing over 5-10secs difference? In a more neural range where fiber recruitment is already high, I will actually go with normal sets instead of Myo-reps most of the time anyway.

          • Anthon

            in my experience, probably that much time (specially if you are using auto – regulation) avoid the high-fiber-recluiment.

            Do you agree that in this case (auto-regulation) would be a better choice to short rest to 15-20 secs maximum, even with the higher loads that you recommend for myo reps (6-9 + 2x)?

          • Borge

            At higher loads (80-85%+), you have high fiber recruitment from the first rep, so it becomes more of a cluster rep strategy and you don’t lose fiber recruitment by extending the rest period.

  58. Anthon

    Yes, but if a I leave 1-2 reps in the tank, I’m not really in my 80-85%. You use 30-40 seconds personally for the 6-9 range? Or you use 15-20 seconds instead?

    • Borge

      Why do you leave 1-2 reps in the tank? The activation set should be very close to failure. Use 25 seconds, and hopefully the universe can be at peace again.

    • Frank

      He recommended me by e-mail 10 deep (20 secs or so) breaths for the 6-8 range. I think it’s a good general recommendation.

  59. Dmitr

    Dear Borge,

    I’ve been lifting weights for 3 years, and I’ve been competing in wheelchairs bodybuilding shown in the last year.

    A friend of mine (wheelchair bodybuilder also) is trying your program, and I want to give it a try. Could I have your opinion about my routine?. It’s a push – pull, twice a week pull, twice push.

    Pull-

    DB Row 6-9 + 2x
    Chin 9-12 + 3x
    Shrugs 12-15 + 4x

    Biceps 12-15 + 4x

    Push-

    Low Incline Bench press 6-8 + 2x
    Incline Flies 9-12 + 3x

    Shoulder DB Press 8-10 + 3x
    Sidehev 12-15 + 4x

    JM Press 12-15 + 4x

    I was going to send you an email, as my friend did, but it does not work, don’t know why. I hope you will read it hear.

    Sincerely,

    Dmitr
    Apapelkhin, Россия
    676058750
    Dmitr@admin.ru

    • Borge

      The general format looks fine to me, knowing nothing about you or having worked with you I cannot go into more specifics wrt exercise selection, volume etc.

      • Dmitr

        Thanks for the answer, and for your great work :)

      • Dmitr

        Forgot to talk to you about something else. I’ve been thinking about taking the following split:

        Monday Thursday- Back + Shoulder
        Tuesday and Friday- Chest + Arms

        Looks fine?

        Sincerely,

        Dmitr
        Apapelkhin, Россия
        676058750
        Dmitr@admin.ru

  60. Francesco

    Dear Borge,

    For rest periods, I feel that maybe a progressive increase in them may be superior to just go with the same rest.

    For example

    Activation set: 9 reps, 5 deep breaths, 3 reps, 7 deep breaths, 3 reps, 9 deep breaths, 3 reps, 10 deep breaths, 3 reps…

    Activation set: 7reps, 10 deep breaths, 2 reps, 12 deep breaths, 2 reps, 14 deep breaths, 3 reps, 15 deep breaths, 3 reps

    So 5-10 in the first example, and 10-15 in the second.

    • Borge

      This is already mentioned in the original article, and is obviously completely fine.

  61. Steve

    Hi Borge, I’ve been using Myo-rep as my primary intensification technique for a while now, and enjoy it very much. In that regard, I have a question regarding exercise variation. In your opinion, what role (if any) is there for varying exercise selection from one workout to the next on a high-frequency program employing the Myo-rep technique? For example, say someone trains Chest Myo-rep style on M/W/F–is there an hypertrophy advantage to be gained by performing the same 2-3 exercises on each of those training days? Or would it be better to program different exercises for each of the three Chest workouts? Thanks.

    • Borge

      I would recommend you find a selection of exercises and stick with them for as long as possible. If you want to change out some isolation stuff or use variations of the compounds lifts to avoid boredom or pattern overload that is fine – but people who change exercises too frequently only fool themselves into thinking they are getting new growth due to the neural learning aspect which increases strength when you implement a new exercise.

  62. Andrew

    Borge, do you recommend myo-reps for 6-8 reps? In the articles you give the 6-8 reps range. But in your answers, you say that you don’t use myo-reps for higher than 9RM load.
    Doing 6-8 reps, not hitting failure, means that you are in reality at an 8-10RM? So i’m not really at an 80-85%RM??

    • Borge

      This is already covered in the comments thread.

  63. Katia

    Borge, I’ve read all your and norwegian and english articles about this wonderful system, I have read all the articles, and some seem to disagree with yourself, because you give different rep ranges.

    Today, what is your overall recommendation of rest between sets for different rep ranges (i.e. 7-9; 9-12;12-15…)?

    From a girl who admires your work,

    Katia

    • Borge

      This is covered both in the article and in the comments thread.

      Listen people: Myo-reps is about achieving high fiber recruitment by working close to failure on the first set – called the activation set. The lighter the loads, the more important it is that you go to failure. In the 6-8RM range you are already achieving close to full fiber recruitment from the very first rep. This is basic physiology.

      When you reach the high fiber recruitment point, you maintain this by inserting short rest periods and keep doing series of reps – balancing the work:rest ratio so that you can get in more “effective” reps and thus get in more quality work in a shorter amount of time.

      Going back and forth on whether you should use 20secs or 25secs rest or starting at 5secs and increasing to 15secs, doing 3 or 4 reps in the series etc etc – these are irrelevant details and you are missing the point completely. I just implemented a set of rules so that people would understand the concept faster, it is by no means a hard and fast rule you cannot deviate from or else lose all the effects – or modify the parameters so much that you make a set last forever (which would induce endurance adaptions and not strength/hypertrophy).

      So within the framework given there are plenty of options and variations, feel free to play around with them – I will not respond to further questions or validate whatever minor adjustment you have so brilliantly come up with. Chances are I have already done it, I spent a couple of years developing and refining the method in collaboration with reknowned scientists such as Mathias Wernbom, and hundreds and thousands of clients who have tried it in the programming in the 3-4 years since I first released it.

      • Katia

        Then you don’t recommend myo-reps for the 6-8 reps range? I can find in the article the 6-9 range, but in your comments you apparently say that you would not use them. In your words:

        > I mainly use Myo-reps on 8-9 reps and up.

        Then you would not use them for the 6-9 range in a regular basis?

        Katia

        • Borge

          No.

  64. mad3bris

    Borge to see if I understand … After a set of activation, each set is equivalent to a straight set?

    For example, 7 + 2 + 2 + 2 (7 + 2x protocol) instead of 7 +7 +7 +6(4×7 or whatever). Is it correct?

    • Borge

      Yes.

      • Vasilo

        I don’t think do. 24 reps are effective in the normal series, whereas in the MYOS 12 repetitions would be effective … actually less work.

  65. Katia

    OK, I’ve been reading articles and more information on myo – reps, thanks to google translator (bork, bork: S)

    I found this:

    Week 13-14: 80-85%, 6-8 +4, reduce load by 10-20% and continue 5-10 +6 (6-8 +2 +2 # 5-10 +3 +3)

    Could do such a thing in a routine for calves:

    1 – Calf Raise 6-8 + 2x – 3x + 10% 5-10
    2 – 3x + 9-12 Seated Calf

    Please bear with me Fagerli, I am particularly clumsy, and English is my second language :(

  66. Katia

    Sorry, typing mistake, I meant:

    1 – Calf Raise 6-8 + 2x drop weight 10% 5-10 + 3x
    2 – 3x + 9-12 Seated Calf

    Other example:

    1- Bench Press 6-8 + 2x drop weight 10% 5-10 + 3x
    2- Pec Deck 9-12 + 3x

    • Borge

      Yes.

  67. Francesco

    6-8 + 1x with 10-15 deep breaths is fine?

    • Borge

      Yes.

  68. Heikki

    Could you illustrate us how an straight set of 6-9 reps vs 6-9 + 2x would look like (effective vs non-efective reps)?

    • Borge

      No. Please read the comment thread.

      edit: Alright, I will indulge you this one time, but I swear if I get another question on those 6-9 reps I will block further comments.

      Regular:
      1* 2* 3* 4* 5* 6*

      Myo-reps:
      1* 2* 3* 4* 5* 6*
      2* 2*

      Regular:
      1 2 3* 4* 5* 6* 7* 8*

      Myo-reps:
      1 2 3* 4* 5* 6* 7* 8*
      2* 2* 2*

      As you can see, the benefits of Myo-reps don’t become apparent until you hit higher rep ranges since heavier loads already have a high MU recruitment from the very first rep.

      • Heikki

        Yes, i was thinking something like that… Today for example, for back I did:

        DB Row 6-8 + 2x perform as 8+2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2 (8+24) 20 seconds rest between sets.

        Those are about 30 ”effective” reps.
        With 4 sets with longer rest, I would take 30 ”effective reps”, even less.

        Would it be possible, for a bodybuilder, not use lower reps than 8 reps? For example, being the range of 8-10 reps the lower. Then do something, as a regular basis, with DUP, like 9-12 + 12-15. Example with shoulders:

        DB Shoulder Press 9-12 + 3x
        Sidehev 12-15 + 4x

        instead of using ”straight sets”, like

        DB Shoulder Press 4×6
        Sidehev 3×10

        P.D. Are you accepting new clients right now?

        • Borge

          I think you are missing out on growth potential by not going down into 3-6 rep territory. The more advanced you are, the heavier loads you will benefit from. Not to mention that e.g. hamstrings which are in general 70% fast-twitch dominant just “dies out” above 8 reps, so I do my hip-dominant training in the 3-8 rep range 95% of the time.

          My client and waiting lists are currently full. Check back with me in another 4 weeks, I will have a better overview then.

          • Heikki

            Ok, my last question:

            The range of 42-66 reps for optimal hypertrophy count the ”non-effective”. Those are more or less 30 ”effective” reps right? For example, in a typical 5×5 + 3×8-12, those are 25 ”effective” reps + 9 ”effective” reps = 34 effective reps. That’s right, or I’m missing the point?

          • Borge

            Something like that, yes – but it depends on the loading range.

  69. Blas

    Borge, do you prefer, DUP in the same training routine or throughout the week. Instead of a heavy day and one light (as in Layne Norton PHAT) do light and heavy at the same day (as in the routine of Lyle Mcdonald).

    • Borge

      Usually on separate days.

  70. Heikki

    Borge, where can I find the RYP program?

    • Borge

      https://www.tn.no/drivkraft/artikler/release-your-potential-ver-20

      (note that this is their updated version, there are a few changes since the first version I was involved in designing, many of which I don’t agree much with).

      • Heikki

        Thanks for the link.

        > 6-9 reps – 1 or 2 reps on Myo-reps series, 15-20 breathing pause – notation 6-9 2 x or 9.6 x 1

        could I use both? 6-9 + 2x + 1x. i.e 8+2,2,2,2,2,1,1,1 i can’t do 1 rep anymore so I stop there.

  71. Vasilo

    Borges, dones not the effort matters at least the same as the MU?

    • Borge

      Of course it does. You cannot go to the point of failure without applying effort to the bar. Was that what you asked?

  72. Dalinda

    Borge, I’ll be very busy in the coming days and I need a program that allows me to be a few hours in the gym. I follow a routine made ​​by my coach, Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. It is this: Leg Press 2-3×6-8-3 ‘ Leg Curl 2-3×6-8-3 ‘ Quads Extensions 2-3×12-15-90 secs. Leg Curl 2-3×12-15-90 secs. Calf Raise 2-3×5-3 ‘ Seated Calf 2-3×10-12-90secs How could I add the myo-reps to the routine? My coach says this system is to burn fat, not gain muscle by short breaks … Is it true?

    • Borge

      Your coach is an idiot. There aren’t really any specific “fat burning” or “muscle building” routines per se. You can do some short-rest metabolic work to increase caloric expenditure and fat oxidation, and I frequently do that with my clients – but the diet is the main determinant (creating a calorie deficit). The same stimulus that built the muscle and strength on a surplus will maintain it in a deficit, so the training program looks fine (except for the dominance of machine training) for that purpose.

  73. assasswe

    Borge, 6-8 + 3x is fine? Which are the differences between 6-8 + 2x and 6-8 + 3x?

    • Borge

      I swear I will ban your ass if you don’t read the comments thread before asking the next question. I am serious.

  74. Olsen

    Borge, I tend to lose in minors details, generally I get lost in details … Do you have any routine, without any kind of difficult progression for muscle growth? i.e do the same every workout

    • Borge

      I see you are Norwegian, so read this: http://myrevolution.no/s/myo-reps-del-4-baseversjonen/

      • Olsen

        Borge, today I’ve done:

        Row 32kgsx8 + 2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2 with 20-30 secs between sets=> activation set (8 reps) + 16 mini-sets of 2 reps

        Shoulder press 18kgsx8 + 2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2 with 20-30 secs between sets

        Chins 48×12+3,3,3,3 with 10-20 secs between sets

        Sidehev 6×11 + 3,3,2 with 10-20 secs between sets

        Shrugs 26×13 + 3,3,3,3,2 with 10-20 secs between sets

        That’s correct, or would you change somethins? Maybe to much mini-sets? I did for Rows and Shoulder Press 8+2x and for chins, sidehev and Shrugs 12+3x…

        Olsen

        • Borge

          Shorten your rest between sets in the myo-rep series on the 6-8 rep range. You should usually hit 3-6 sets after the activation set (e.g. 8 +2+2+2+2 or thereabouts). Or do 6-8 +3x instead of +2x. This is all in the article.

          • Olsen

            Which one would you try/is better (short rest periods vs 3x)?

          • Borge

            Scroll up to my response earlier in the comment thread, the second line starts with “listen people”. Read that before asking any more questions, please. My patience is at the point of exploding right now.

  75. Darren

    Oh man we are so gonna lose Borge if people keep asking inane questions!#$!

    Borge, I understand Muir reps in the 6-8 range but what about 5-7 reps? ;-)

    • Ron

      Agreed ;)

  76. Ron

    Borge, I’ve read all your stuff at my revolution, and I have a few question about setting up my routine. For Hypertrphy, probably stay in a range of 4-12 reps most of the time is optimal, and a frequency of 2-3x with 42-66 reps (30-40 effective reps more or less). Add some ”metabolic work” is just fine and can help. So i’ve been thinking in the following set-up of DUP on the routine you recommend in Myo-Reps Part 4 (2-split):

    Mon. Upper
    Tuesday. Lower
    Wednesday. Rest
    Thursday. Repeat

    As you can see, I end with frequency 2 one week, frequency 3 the other… So, could it work something like this (example of lower body)

    Week1
    Tuesday- Heavy (4-8 reps)
    Friday- Medium (8-12 reps)

    Week 2
    Monday- Heavy (4-8 reps)
    Thursday- Medium (8-12 reps)
    Sunday- Light (15-25 reps)

    2 heavy days, 2 medium days, 1 light day

    Looks fine?

    • Borge

      I would probably skip the light day altogether and just add it on to the Medium day if you are moderately advanced.

  77. Said

    Borge, which time-efficient method do you recommends for heavier weights (3-6 reps)?

    • Borge

      Cluster training. Still, depends on your goals, you can be time-efficient by doing a total of only 10 reps for a lift if your main focus is neural strength. If you want hypertrophy, you’re going to need to increase the time-tension integral and get more total reps (at least 20-40 reps, up to 60-100 reps, depending on your level of advancement, loading range, frequency etc), so being time-efficient is for all intents and purposes going to be in direct conflict to the need for sufficient volume.

      • Said

        To substitude let say a 5×5 with cluster training, how would it look like? 5 sets of 10 reps with my 5RM?

        For chest, back, and legs I use one compound (5×5) and one isolation movement (3×12-15). I could use them 5 sets of 10 reps with my 5RM (first exercise) plus 12-15 + 4x?

        Thanks for your patience Borge

        • Borge

          Yes, something like that.

      • Darren

        How does reverse pyramid training compare to clusters/rest pause? Is one better for strength vs growth etc?

        With clusters/RP you can rack up some decent volume with a heavier load and with reverse pyramid your dropping the load each set but may get more overall volume but I’m not sure how that effects growth/strength signalling.

        • Borge

          You need a sufficient load, volume and frequency to induce strength and hypertrophy. The loading range and volume changes with training experience and absolute strength levels, the more advanced you are the more volume you can tolerate (and need) to grow, and while 60% of 1RM might work just fine for beginners you will need to get into the 80-90% range the more advanced you get. There doesn’t seem to be a major difference between training 2 or 3x/week at this point, except for powerlifting/strength where the neural effects of high-frequency training with a more limited volume are well documented.

  78. Tjark

    Hey Børge,
    not really a question with regards to MyoReps (which is awesome, btw), when doing auto-regulated training via the RPE/RTS method with straight sets in the 6-8 range, would you rather do a “rep-drop” with the same weight, instead of the standard load-drop? I’m thinking, a load-drop would put the load below the threshold for full fiber recruitment. Whats your take on that and would it even matter?

    • Borge

      Not a major difference IMO, try both and see which one allows you to get in more quality work. And varying between them isn’t going to be detrimental either. I think you should stop trying to look for the answer to perfection. There aren’t any. If it were, I would get rich writing a 50-page pamphlet, and lifters all over the world could just throw away all their training literature.

      • Tjark

        Very nice points, thank you so much! :)

  79. Birt

    Børge, I’m using this routine for pecs:

    Bench Press 5×5 with 3′ rest
    Incline Flies 9-12 + 3x

    For the 5×5, I don’t really know how to do the RPE, I don’t really feel the difference between RPE 8,9 or 10… Is there any other auto-regulation method easier to implement? With myos is easier because I repeat myo-sets until I hit failure in the rep 3.

    • Borge

      Don’t overthink it, just end the set when rep speed noticeably slows down and you start grinding reps. This is not necessary when loads are sufficiently heavy.

  80. Daniel

    Hi Borge,

    I am starting your recommended 2-split routine with Myo-reps. Can I start with auto-regulation or should I use a fixed set pattern for the first cycle according to article #4 guidelines?

    Thanks.

    • Borge

      If you can properly define and apply the RPE-scale, i.e. being able to honestly determine whether you have 0 or 1 reps in reserve, you can go ahead with auto-regulation.

  81. Chan

    Borge, could I have your opinion about the following Split(for a bulking cycle)?

    Mon- Back+Chest+Abs
    Tuesday- Delts + Arms

    5×5 and 9-12+3x for each muscle (except arms, in which I do just 9-12+3x or 12-15 + 4x), and for shoulders, I do 9-12+3x (Shoulder ^Press with dumbbells), and Sidehev (12-15+4x)

    • Chan

      **Tueday- Delts+Arms+LEGS

    • Borge

      Your delts and arms are getting hit on chest/back day as well, so I wouldn’t count on tolerating that kinda frequency forever.

  82. daniel

    Daniel 7 januar 2013 kl 20:21 Svar Svar Hei Borge:
    Jeg lurte på om kunne med fordel Myo-reps convinar systemet med Charles Atlas Dynamic Tension. Personlig har jeg oppnådd meget gode resultater med denne convinación Og gjør periodisk faste (IF) LeanGains type. Alt dette har ført meg til en rask bedring i fitness min. Daniel Sivori

    • Borge

      You are joking, right? Except for in rank beginners, there are no muscle or strength building effects of just flexing and contracting a muscle without resistance.

  83. daniel

    Borge.
    I’m not kidding. The dynamic tension requires strength but without any equipment, using your own body weight, plus he has served thousands of men to grow worldwide. There are many exercises that require no equipment, such as the squat Sissi and have been unjustly neglected in gyms just for this. Curiosity led me to try and I have had excellent results, rock hard to keep my 50 years, with a weight of 100kg to 1.90 meters. A big hello to you

    • Borge

      I love bodyweight exercises, as long as you can load them. It is pretty much a given from all the research and practical experience we have available to us, that you eventually will need to move loads heavier than your 10-12RM (70% of 1RM) if you are advanced, to get the sufficient mechanical tension on the contractile structures for strength and hypertrophy stimuli. By “dynamic tension” I interpreted it as e.g. flexing your biceps and the only resistance provided is from the antagonist, i.e. triceps. If that is the case, it is not going to work, sorry – and hello to you, too.

  84. daniel

    Borge
    “Expand+Journal of Applied Physiologyjap.physiology.orgPublished online before print December 8, 2005, doi: 10.​1152/​japplphysiol.​01267.​2005 Journal of Applied Physiology May 2006 vol. 100 no. 5 1460-1466
    Article
    Muscle size and strength are increased following walk training with restricted venous blood flow from the leg muscle, Kaatsu-walk training
    Takashi Abe1, Charles F. Kearns1, and Yoshiaki Sato2
    + Author Affiliations
    1Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Tokyo Metropolitan University, and 2Department of Ischemic Circulatory Physiology, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
    Address for reprint requests and other correspondence: T. Abe, Dept. of Exercise and Sport Science, Tokyo Metropolitan Univ., 1–1 Minami-Ohsawa, Hachioji, Tokyo 192–0397, Japan (e-mail: musclethickness@yahoo.co.jp)
    Submitted 3 October 2005. Accepted 29 November 2005.
    Abstract
    Previous studies have shown that low-intensity resistance training with restricted muscular venous blood flow (Kaatsu) causes muscle hypertrophy and strength gain. To investigate the effects of daily physical activity combined with Kaatsu, we examined the acute and chronic effects of walk training with and without Kaatsu on MRI-measured muscle size and maximum dynamic (one repetition maximum) and isometric strength, along with blood hormonal parameters. Nine men performed Kaatsu-walk training, and nine men performed walk training alone (control-walk). Training was conducted two times a day, 6 days/wk, for 3 wk using five sets of 2-min bouts (treadmill speed at 50 m/min), with a 1-min rest between bouts. Mean oxygen uptake during Kaatsu-walk and control-walk exercise was 19.5 (SD 3.6) and 17.2 % (SD 3.1) of treadmill-determined maximum oxygen uptake, respectively. Serum growth hormone was elevated (P < 0.01) after acute Kaatsu-walk exercise but not in control-walk exercise. MRI-measured thigh muscle cross-sectional area and muscle volume increased by 4–7%, and one repetition maximum and maximum isometric strength increased by 8–10% in the Kaatsu-walk group. There was no change in muscle size and dynamic and isometric strength in the control-walk group. Indicators of muscle damage (creatine kinase and myoglobin) and resting anabolic hormones did not change in both groups. The results suggest that the combination of leg muscle blood flow restriction with slow-walk training induces muscle hypertrophy and strength gain, despite the minimal level of exercise intensity. Kaatsu-walk training may be a potentially useful method for promoting muscle hypertrophy, covering a wide range of the population, including the frail and elderly.
    muscle hypertrophydynamic and isometric strengthanabolic hormonesischemia
    Copyright © 2006 the American Physiological Society"

  85. frerlo

    Børge, I’m trying the PHAT (Layne norton routine) and I want to make the hypertrophy workouts shorters. For example, for biceps I’m doing:

    Barbel Curl 3×8-12
    DB Curl 2×12-15
    Cable Curl 2×15-20

    I would do, with myos, instead:

    Barbell 9-12+3x
    DB Curl 12-15+4x
    Cable Curl 15-20+5x

    That’s right?

    • Borge

      Yes.

  86. daniel

    Borge:
    From the above it follows that the Myo-reps “that can mimic and even improve” the effects of occlusion or Kaatsu training, gaining more muscle development and strength by working out on a treadmill, then you can also be achieved with the old method of the “dynamic tension”, no doubt.
    A phrase that people still repeated, even today, as if the truth of the Gospel: “You can only build a muscular body, with barbells and dumbbells.” It was said by Bob Hoffman (owner of York Barbells) in 1930 who further accused Atlas and his method as “fraud Dynamic” and that even he could have gotten his physique without the use of weights. Faced with a possible false advertising that caught the attention of the Federal Trade Commission, Atlas went to trial because he had money and commercial interests involved. Hoffman was ordered to cease and desist to edit comments of this type in the future in the pages of his magazine Muscular Development, strength and health.
    In 1999 A & E Biography, “Charles Atlas: Modern Day Hercules” included testimony of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jake “Body by Jake” Steinfeld. A big hello to you

    • Borge

      If you knew ANYTHING about biomechanics and physics I am sure you would reconsider, but alrighty then – good luck with that.

      People who ask for advice when they already have the answer…

  87. Sam

    Borge If I wanted to spend some time doing heavier myoreps in the 6-8 range using 2 rep sets. How many sets should I be hitting minimum?

    • Borge

      1?

  88. Ryan

    This is genius!! I can’t wait to implement this into my plan! Efficient and safe!

  89. lako

    Blade, been following you since ‘discovering’ you on HST forums.

    I currently do a progressive load ala HST, where I start a cycle using about 70% of my 1rm, then progressively add weight until I’m using about 90%. I have started using myo-reps most of the time and cluster reps with the heavier weights.

    I’ve loved the workouts so far. I’m in and out of the gym quicker, but have also grown a bit and gotten stronger. My question is, while linear progression is fine, what do you recommend as far as what weight to use? I believe I saw where you alter the weights used and wondered what you used to determine the given weight used.

    • Borge

      A loading range of 70-90% of 1RM is perfect, and the most productive for moderately advanced lifters, so I wouldn’t change a thing. Perhaps as you get even stronger and more advanced you could narrow it down to 75-85% of 1RM, but I would still say that some easier 70% work and some heavier 90% work for short periods of time would benefit even the elite lifters. So you are pretty much spot on there.

  90. Darren

    Borge, wrt above, 75-85% of 1rm is around 5-10 reps. Does this suggest that myo reps becomes less useful or plays less of a role for more advanced trainers?

    • Borge

      I still prefer to get in some higher rep work, but it will become a lower %age of the total weekly workload for an advanced lifter, yes.

      • Darren

        Thanks Borge, enjoy your holiday!

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  92. David Meyer

    Cool blog dude! I never knew!

  93. rihad

    Borge, you mentioned Dan Moore’s Max Stim, which is essentially myo-reps with no activation set being done. What do you think their main difference is? Convenience? Meaning no need to rack the load starting from the very first rep? Thanks.

    • Borge

      I think there is sufficient evidence in favour of some metabolic effects, so I prefer series of 3-5 reps instead of 1 rep. I also prefer reaching maximum MU recruitment earlier by doing the activation set, but I have experimented with intra-set rest training which is basically Myo-reps without the activation set – e.g. 3-5 reps, 3-5 deep breaths rest, 3-5 reps, 3-5 deep breaths rest etc etc

  94. Joachim

    Hi,

    Found out about Myo-reps through the Swedish bodybuilding Magazine Body and will give it a try since I Think it sounds great!
    I have two questions related to the reps following the activation set.
    Let’s say the activiation set is 12-15 reps followed by a 15 second rest.
    In this example I will aim for a number of 4 reps sets.
    - If I have a good day and I can do more than 4 reps in the first set.
    I assume I will continue until the motion slows down even though I have reached above my target of 4 reps?
    - If the reps in my first set in the above example is 6, I assume I will go on until I can not do 4 reps (since that was my target), right?

    //Jocke

    • Borge

      I think it is pretty clear from the article that you will do sets of 4 reps until you start to slow down, on good days you will do more total reps – e.g. 4+4+4+4+4+4, whereas on bad days you might do +4+3. If one or the other keeps happening consistently, you may do more reps per set in the Myo-reps series – e.g. instead of ending up with an endless series of 4+4+4+…etc you would do +5+5+5 or +6+6+6. I think it is wise to not keep going forever on a set, so when you have doubled the reps from the activation set (e.g. 12 +3+3+3+3) you should consider ending there and doing another set/exercise.

      • Joachim

        Thanks for the quick answer!!
        Just to be 100% sure.
        If I can manage to do 6 reps (even though my set target is 4 based on previous days), will I stop at 4 anyway or will I do 6 (since I can) and then stop when I slow down and only can do 5. I.e. 6 reps will be my “new” target…..

        • Borge

          Going to failure on every set is DC/Doggcrapp training. Myo-reps is a fatigue-management technique, so no – you do not go to failure. If you do 6 reps and hit failure, you can not do another 6 reps after a short break.

  95. Aaron

    Hey Borge, fantastic recent article, just want to confirm some numbers for reps.
    I used to do, 9-12+3, 12-15+4, 15-20+5.
    Have you changed / raised some of these? At one point it appears 15-20+4 and 20-25+5.
    Just wondered if there was any typo’s.
    Cheers

    • Borge

      You are really intent on getting a response, seeing as you posted this both to the original article thread, to my Facebook account, and now here?

      No typos, there are many ways to implement Myo-reps, but I have indeed raised the reps as it is more in line with Wernbom´s research and we don´t have any data on lower reps to say whether it would provide the same benefits, especially as it pertains to SC activation. I still use Myo-reps for loading purposes, though.

  96. Joachim

    Sorry, but I see now I was not clear enough.
    If my goal after the activation set is 4 reps and I typically end up doing 4+4+4+3.
    The next workout I manage to do 5 reps (ending before failure just as the idea with myo reps is) in the first set after the activation set.
    Is my new target 5 reps in this work out and I end when I can only manage 4 reps? For example 5+5+4.
    Or will it still mean I end when I only reach 3 reps? For example 5+4+4+3.

    • Borge

      The point of the reps in the Myo-rep series is to balance fatigue so you can get in more effective reps (at a high MU recruitment). If 4 reps allowed you to get in 15 reps after the activation set, stick with 4 reps. Increase the load or reps on the activation set as a progression. If you do 5s, end the set when you cannot do 5s anymore, e.g. 5+5+5 (the next set would be 3 or 4) – or when you hit 4, e.g. 5+5+4.

  97. Phil

    Borge, Ive been training muscle groups with a frequency of every 4-5 days using straight sets in the 75-95% of 1RM for years now and I’m pumped to change it up and add Myo-reps to my new routine to generate hypertrophy with this new stimulus!

    Having just read your interview on predator nutrition it really opened my eyes to manipulating volume, frequency, and load when progress stalls even in the face of deloads/back-cycling the weights.

    My question was considering my past load and frequency, would perhaps a wise change of routine be to drop load 10% across the board (to 65-85% of 1RM) and increase frequency to hitting each muscle 3x/week?

    Also Ill be using aas for the first time (500mg test/week for 12 weeks) so I think a drop in intensity additionally might be good when trying maintain a sufficient stimulus afterwards during pct. Any thoughts would be much appreciated, thank you for this guide!

  98. AC

    Thanks for sharing such a great program.

    I also prefer the auto-regulated version, but I am doing it slightly differently. Instead of doing the mini sets until the reps drop below a certain number I do a fixed number of total sets, usually 5 (including the activation set), but I always stop every mini set 1-2 reps before failure, just like the activation set, regardless of the number of reps I get in.

    In theory I aim for 3 reps in every mini set (never less) but I usually end up a little higher, and I adjust the rest around that. So a heavy Myo-rep set might look like this:

    60kg x 9 (15 sec rest) + 4 (15 sec rest) + 3 (20 sec rest) + 3 (25 sec rest) + 3

    Whereas a lighter set might be:

    50kg x 16 (10 sec rest) + 6 (15 sec rest) + 5 (15 sec rest) + 4 (15 sec rest) + 3

    That way I am “guaranteed” to get a minimum number of reps for each muscle while at the same time I can autoregulate, and I figure that since every mini set is a little closer to failure they are a little more productive.

    It’s a small difference compared to your autoregulated version but I was curious to know your opinion of it, based on the available research and your much greater experience?

    • Borge

      This ends up being more similar to DC training, and the point of Myo-reps is to reduce – or at least *balance* fatigue – in order to get more total volume (still, without overdoing it). You will also be able to do more explosive reps with a higher rep quality. My preferred current version is the high rep activation set (15-25 up to 30 reps) +3x with only 2-3 short breaths pause in the Myo-rep series. I also make sure to stop at 10-15 additional reps, so e.g. 22 +3+3+3+3

      • AC

        Thanks for the prompt reply.

        I would have to significantly reduce the weight in order to get to 20+ reps, and I have always tended to fatigue quickly during a set.

        But just so that I understand the reasoning behind your preferred version:

        - You do higher reps in the activation set because Wernbom’s research is based on those rep ranges.
        - The shorter rests of 2-3 deep breaths, as opposed to 5-10 that you mention in this post, is to maintain “the pump” and thus maximize the occlusion effect. The effect of the short rest is that you have to reduce the number of reps in the mini sets (from 5 to 3) for that rep range.
        - You do no more than 10-15 additional reps, even if you could on a particular day, in order to minimize fatigue between workouts so that you can train more frequently instead.

        Would that be correct?

        • Borge

          1 and 2 – correct. 3 – the point is to avoid going into the strength-endurance continuum where AMPK and all related signaling to endurance adaptions (which directly inhibits hypertrophy) takes over.

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  100. Carl

    Hi borge, let say today is my ‘light’ day in reference to my 3 days full body workout, Heavy/Medium/Light.

    For my bench if I only do one set in a higher rep range like 15-20 for activation set and a +3+3+3+3, would it cause my heavy day to stall?

    • Borge

      There is no way of answering that. Everyone is different.

      • Carl

        Okay thanks for the reply, I know its too vague to gauge as different people has volume tolerance. But that one set is definitely enough to stimulate protein synthesis for up to 48 hours right?

        Also 1 more question, why don’t you do myo-reps in the heavier weights like 85%-90% 1rm, do 10 singles and complete it within 10 mins. As you’ve mention, any weight in the 85%-90% 1rm will recruit all muscle fiber on the first rep.

        • Borge

          The one set will stimulate protein synthesis, whether it will max it out depends on your training status. The more advanced you are, the more volume – in general – up to a certain point. Since protein synthesis is only elevated for 12-18hrs when you are more advanced, I think it makes more sense to increase frequency once you get to a certain volume threshold. This, again, is individual.

          Cluster training, i.e. singles with a heavy load, is a tried and true method for strength. Myo-reps is a specific technique to get in more reps at a maximum MU recruitment at lighter loads, with various advantages. The most interesting one, based on recent research, is the potential to restart satellite cell activity (proliferation and differentiation) – a crucial step in further hypertrophy since it is a process which has been shown to be stagnant in advanced lifters.

          • Carl

            Hmm seems interesting. Meaning you’d do a ‘light’ isolation or compound movement of 12-15 +4x set the day before the actual heavy day will actually restart satellite cell activity (proliferation and differentiation)? Am I right?

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