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.
edit: February 24, 2023 – I’m in the process of updating this article and the Myo-reps e-book with everything I’ve learned these last few years, so check back here or subscribe to my e-mail list if you want to be notified when this happens.
I have written a FREE book on Myo-reps – you can access it by scrolling to the bottom of this article!
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 I’m fortunate enough to have access to some unpublished research as well, obviously.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.
Let’s first look at the primary identified mechanisms of hypertrophy:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Metabolic stress “sensitizes” the muscle to growth signaling, i.e. you achieve more growth from less work.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. (Edit 2016: when you are familiar with Myo-reps, you will be using lighter loads that do not actually require any extensive warm-ups. Sometimes you may just go straight into the Myo-rep set with only a general, dynamic warm-up beforehand.)
- 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. (Edit 2016: I will normally select 30% loads – of 1RM – for beginners, 40% loads for intermediates and more advanced lifters, 50% loads for advanced/elite).
- 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.
- 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.
- Now the important part – rerack the weight and rest for (edit 2016: 3-5 deep breaths) – unrack the weight and keep going for up to 3-5 short mini-sets of 3-5 reps (staying close to failure on each mini-set). 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 3 deep breaths (in+out) is about 6-8 seconds, 5 is 10-15 seconds. 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. (edit 2016: I rarely use heavy Myo-rep training nowadays, it is far more productive as a metabolic/pump-type stimulus).
- End the Myo-rep set when you lose 1 rep from the initial or 5 mini-sets.
Examples (all correct):
20 +4+4+4+3+3 (stop when you lose a rep from the initial)
22 +3+3+3+3+3+3+3+3+3 (stop at 5 sets of 3 reps)
18 +5+4+3+2 (same as the first one, stop when you lose a rep from the initial)
Let’s illustrate the difference between a “traditional” 3 sets of 20 vs. a Myo-rep set, the asterisk ‘*’ denoting “effective” reps:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15* 16* 17* 18* 19* 20*
1-2min of rest
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14* 15* 16* 17* 18* (a typical drop off in reps if using a 20RM load)
1-2min of rest
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12* 13* 14* 15* 16*
So you did 54 total reps in about 6 minutes, where 15 reps were “effective” reps (at sufficiently high fiber recruitment).
Now a Myo-rep set:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15* 16* 17* 18* 19* 20* – 15sec rest – 1* 2* 3* 4* 5* – 15sec rest – 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*- 15sec rest – 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*- 15sec rest – 1* 2* 3* 4* 5* – 15sec rest – 1* 2* 3* 4*
Here you did 34 total reps in about 2,5 minutes, where 29 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 let the total volume (number of reps) take care of itself based on how you feel that day – your individual recovery level. Example protocols, if I prescribe reps for the activation set (sometimes I test or estimate 1RM, then prescribe a load of 30-50% of that for the activation set:
The first part (e.g. 12-15) denotes reps in the activation set, the number after the + is how many reps you will do in the Myo-reps mini-series. So 12-15 +3-5x may look like this:
200lbs x 14 +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 12-15 +3-5x protocol would most likely turn out like this:
200lbs x 15 +5+5+5+5+5
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 11 +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 11 +3+2 I recommend longer rests (6-7 deep breaths), if you consistently get 15 +5+5+5+5+5 and feel like you could have kept going forever, use shorter rests (1-2 deep breaths).
Note that you can also do more reps in the Myo-rep series by doing short ROM partial reps.
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.
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
- 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.
- 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
- Baar K., The signaling underlying FITness., Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2009 Jun;34(3):411-9.
- 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.
422 Comments on “Myo-reps in English”
Great to have one by you in english.
Hola borge,se puede mantener las repeticiones siempre en 25 saludos
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.
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.
The plugin is installed, just trying to figure out how to make it work…should be up soon, hopefully.
Great article and well written. For clarification, do you do all your sets with 80% ROM?
Primarily high-rep training but I do like some continous tension 4-6 rep sets on squats and bench, too.
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..
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
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)
I would train the upper body then. Not sure what you´re asking.
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?
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.
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
If you can handle it, more volume is generally better.
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.
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…
Myo-reps in english! Enjoy
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!
Is this recommended for beginners?
Not needed until you have at least 2-3 months of regular training under your belt.
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
Right now I´m hitting every muscle 2x/week, up to 3-4x/week if there´s something I want to specialize in. You can see my general philosophy on dynamic periodization (I will get an article published in the near future) here:
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….
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.
> 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?
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.
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!
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.
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!
@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
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!
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.
Q&A: How can I go about building some muscle?
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.
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/
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.
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!
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.
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).
Yes, that is actually a very good way to implement Myo-reps.
Edit: I mean 9 exercises total
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 ?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I think twice/week is minimum, but frequency should vary – use Google Translate on my article here: http://myrevolution.no/s/tren-optimalt-med-dynamisk-periodisering/
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ok, thank you!
“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?”
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/
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?
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.
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)?
Sure…for a while. Which is something my Dynamic Periodization article series will talk about (coming soon).
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?
Myo-reps is better suited for higher rep ranges, RPE for lower.
I do not work with MyRevolution any more.
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?
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.
Wow. What a great exchange!!! Thanks for sharing your insight.
Do you believe a lower rep activation set and back off sets are possible? Like 3-5 reps +1+1+1+1+1+1 ?
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.
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?
Of course. We’re not paranoid of adding volume here, are we?
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.
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.
Borge would you recommend +10 (2,2 etc) with a 6-8 rep max weight. Or would less be enough, like
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).
Okay, thanks borge 🙂
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.
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?
Both will work, it depends on what you are doing now. Wait for my article series on Dynamic Periodization, will publish it here soon.
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.
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!
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.
Borge, just to make sure I understand…. RPE stands for perceived effort?
Rating of Perceived Effort.
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).
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
Hm, this does put HST under pressure 🙂 If it’s not too much to ask, could you link to the relevant studies?
There are others, but I am sure you can find them yourself by using Google Scholar or Pubmed
Borge, can increasing your 9-12 rep max, actually increase your overall strength (ie 1 rm)?
Yes, it can.
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?
Not quite. For strength increases, you cannot totally disregard intensity, i.e. load on the bar. Effort is just part of the picture.
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?
I mainly use Myo-reps on 8-9 reps and up.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
That would be one non-linear periodized way of setting up the training week, yes.
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?
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.
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?
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.
Haha, it would be a lot lower then that, yeah i get you, i will try that thanks 🙂
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
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.
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 🙂
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.
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?
That is correct, but read the discussion, this topic has been covered previously.
> 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?
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).
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
Is this a form of DUP? (daily undulating periodization)?
Okay borge, thanks for all of your input 🙂
“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.
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.
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)?
Something like that, yes.
Thanks again Borge. Must get annoying to keep going over the same things with all of us. Very appreciated.
Something like that, yes. (I kid I kid)
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
I don’t speak Spanish.
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?
This is a summary of the 3 first articles.
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!
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.
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.
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
6-9 + 9-12
9-12 + 15-20
6-9 + 15-20
For example for chest (dips + flies)
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.
Why do you recommend 30-40 seconds for 6-9 reps? Other rest-pause methods recommends maximum 12 deep breaths (20-25 seconds)
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.
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)?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
DB Row 6-9 + 2x
Chin 9-12 + 3x
Shrugs 12-15 + 4x
Biceps 12-15 + 4x
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.
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.
Thanks for the answer, and for your great work 🙂
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
For rest periods, I feel that maybe a progressive increase in them may be superior to just go with the same rest.
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.
This is already mentioned in the original article, and is obviously completely fine.
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.
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.
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??
This is already covered in the comments thread.
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,
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.
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?
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?
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.
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 🙁
Sorry, typing mistake, I meant:
1 – Calf Raise 6-8 + 2x drop weight 10% 5-10 + 3x
2 – 3x + 9-12 Seated Calf
1- Bench Press 6-8 + 2x drop weight 10% 5-10 + 3x
2- Pec Deck 9-12 + 3x
6-8 + 1x with 10-15 deep breaths is fine?
Could you illustrate us how an straight set of 6-9 reps vs 6-9 + 2x would look like (effective vs non-efective reps)?
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.
1* 2* 3* 4* 5* 6*
1* 2* 3* 4* 5* 6*
1 2 3* 4* 5* 6* 7* 8*
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.
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
P.D. Are you accepting new clients right now?
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.
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?
Something like that, yes – but it depends on the loading range.
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).
Usually on separate days.
Borge, where can I find the RYP program?
(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).
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.
Borges, dones not the effort matters at least the same as the MU?
Of course it does. You cannot go to the point of failure without applying effort to the bar. Was that what you asked?
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?
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.
Borge, 6-8 + 3x is fine? Which are the differences between 6-8 + 2x and 6-8 + 3x?
I swear I will ban your ass if you don’t read the comments thread before asking the next question. I am serious.
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
I see you are Norwegian, so read this: http://myrevolution.no/s/myo-reps-del-4-baseversjonen/
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…
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.
Which one would you try/is better (short rest periods vs 3x)?
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.
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? 😉
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):
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)
Tuesday- Heavy (4-8 reps)
Friday- Medium (8-12 reps)
Monday- Heavy (4-8 reps)
Thursday- Medium (8-12 reps)
Sunday- Light (15-25 reps)
2 heavy days, 2 medium days, 1 light day
I would probably skip the light day altogether and just add it on to the Medium day if you are moderately advanced.
Borge, which time-efficient method do you recommends for heavier weights (3-6 reps)?
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.
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
Yes, something like that.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Very nice points, thank you so much! 🙂
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.
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.
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?
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.
Borge, could I have your opinion about the following Split(for a bulking cycle)?
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)
Your delts and arms are getting hit on chest/back day as well, so I wouldn’t count on tolerating that kinda frequency forever.
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
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.
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
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.
“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
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: email@example.com)
Submitted 3 October 2005. Accepted 29 November 2005.
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"
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:
DB Curl 12-15+4x
Cable Curl 15-20+5x
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
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…
Tengo una respuesta adecuada que es el resultado de investigaciones científicas en cuanto a la ganancia muscular sin necesidad de pesas o aparatos. Lo lamento por los dueños de gimnasios y sus negocios,pero cualquiera puede desarrollar todos sus músculos utilizando los métodos adecuados, ya que el músculo sólo percibe el esfuerzo, pero no sabe nunca si estás levantando tu propio peso o una pesa brillante y cromada. Nadie puede decir que hay una sola forma de ejercitar los músculos para su desarrollo, sin cerrar la puerta a toda investigación. Daniel Sívori.
What makes you think I speak Spanish?
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?
This is genius!! I can’t wait to implement this into my plan! Efficient and safe!
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.
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.
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?
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.
Thanks Borge, enjoy your holiday!
Myo-reps in English | Höf-day
[…] http://311997-www.web.tornado-node.net/myo-reps-in-english/ […]
Cool blog dude! I never knew!
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.
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
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?
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.
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…..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Hi, I would recommend that you read my latest article which goes in depth on these and other topics:
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?
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
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?
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.
Rest-Pause Training Guide » Strength Unbound
[…] are a refinement of general rest-pause training made by Borge Fagerli that has become relatively well known. Instead of using failure and predetermined total reps/sets […]
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?
There is no way of answering that. Everyone is different.
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.
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.
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?
I prefer going higher reps to get the occlusion effect (15-20 at the minimum, 20-25 better). I should have been more specific – you will start proliferation, but need heavy loading to induce differentiation – which is why occlusion training on its own stops working after approx 7-12 days.
How would you completely deplete muscle glycogen using myos? Right now I’m doing 6 sets per muscle group in the 15-20 rep range twice, for a total 12 sets for each muscle group
I would not deplete muscle glycogen, but if you were really intent on doing it – if it normally takes around 10-12 sets, you could do it in a total of 6-8 with Myo-reps. (15-20 +3x).
Thanks Borge! I also have a question related with creatine… Is there anyway to avoid extra muscular water retention? Last time I take it gave me a awful moon face
Go with moderate dosages and split them up, e.g. 1-2g x 2-4 for a total of 3-5g/day. Make sure you get pure creatine monohydrate and take it with meals (no need for loading phases or taking it with 100g of fast-acting carbs).
“I prefer going higher reps to get the occlusion effect (15-20 at the minimum, 20-25 better)…. which is why occlusion training on its own stops working after approx 7-12 days.”
I know you wrote that one shouldn’t stick to a single rep range, but do you think that the time limit of 7-12 days also applies to Myo-reps training?
I.e. if one were to stick to Myo-reps ONLY (with 20-25 reps activation sets), and no heavy training, would it be less effective over time (for hypertrophy) than only doing a traditional routine of 4×8-12 reps?
Yes, you eventually need heavy loading to progress.
For the heavy loading training, do you prefer straight sets or Myo-reps?
If it’s the latter, what rep range would you do for the activation set?
I primarily reserve higher rep work for Myo-reps.
Borge when doing the “warm up 12,10,8) set before your activation set what percent do you like I know you increase the load each set but is the goal to use the last set of that” 8″ for your activation set of 20-30? Or how do you go about that? Thanks
I don’t do 12,10,8 for warmups and have no idea where you think I said that. Warmups aren’t needed at loads like these – they are warmup loads.
in the article “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. So before you start your activation exercise what load % should the 8-12 reps be at for that exercise? should what you used in the warmup at 8 reps be something you should use to do your set of 20-25
2. and is you preferred way still 20-25 +3x? even up to 30?
When Starting MyoReps i know you like 15 reps up to 30… I will most likely do a progression of 15 reps +3x week 1& 2; 20 reps +3x week 3 & 4; 25 reps +3x week 5 & 6? How do you track total volume and how many reps should you be aiming for total for each muscle group as a minimum? Do you track the activation set or just the myo reps as progression? How many reps total for each muscle group do you recommend and how do you go about tracking the progress when using Myo Reps? Use the same weight possibly as the previous workout and try to increase the myo reps until you max out at 15 (++3+3+3+3+3) ? then increase the weight next workout?
Know I repeated alot just trying to get a better handle on how to track progress a bit. with some linear progression and not just Auto Regulate it every time. and try to progress Auto Reg I save for the 3-6 rep range
first of all, thank you for your great work and all this information on your blog. Love it!
What do you think about training only with variations of rest pause training principles?
For example I do bench with my 6RM and do one activation set and then 2 mini sets.
After the heavy weights I switch to incline presses and do a set with Myo Reps to get the volume in and work with lighter loads for higher reps.
Frequency is high (3-4 times per lift/muscle).
Do you think it`s necessary to train with normal straight sets or is the method discriped above a good one?
Thanks so much.
I prefer to separate heavy and lighter work into different workouts, there is a load/rep specificity so there is a case for making the stimulus more “pure”. A rest-pause approach to heavy work doesn’t allow the same total volume as regular sets do, and since the point of rest-pausing lighter loads is really to maintain high MU recruitment there is no point to doing it with heavier loads, as MU recruitment is high from the very first rep.
Thank you for the fantastic articles.
I really love your myo-reps method of training!
What do you think of the DC style extreme stretching after training a muscle group?
Does it enhance muscle growth?
There is reason to believe that stretching a muscle while contracting it, after having pumped it with higher rep training, is indeed very effective at increasing stimulus (also seems to be particularly effective at increasing satellite cell activity). Jacob Wilson and his team at Tampa U have done some interesting research on this.
Is it ok to hold your breath while doing short series of myo-rep sets? I’m doing very high repetition behind the head DB tricep extensions – 70-75 in the activation set, and a number of 4-rep long sets spreaded 4 deap breaths apart. The last of which is a deep inhalation and another 4 reps done in one breath. I find it easier this way with somewhat less burn and fatigue.
Skriver på svenska hoppas att det går bra ändå. Har börjat köra myo-reps på gymmet för några veckor sedan. Det jag undrar är om jag kan köra detta upplägget hela tiden eller om det ska köras periodvis blandat med andra träningsupplägg?
Idag kör jag 4 ggr i veckan, underkropp, över, under och överkropp. 2 övningar per muskel.
Har även kört det på knäböj och marklyft men där kanske man borde köra “tradionellt” med mer vila osv sen köra myo-reps på resterande övningar.
Vad anser du?
Tack på förhand och för bra artikel
Hei, anbefaler at du går inn på min norske hjemmeside http://www.borgefagerli.no der du kan få tilsendt gratis e-bok om Myo-reps + program ved å melde deg på nyhetsbrev. Da får du svar på alle dine spørsmål.
From part 4 in your series, specifically the 3-day sample routine, is this correct? The translate option is not quite working for me. Performed M-W-F:
Day 3, repeat day 1.
This would be an every week outline, correct? Not an 1-2-1, then 2-1-2 then next week.
Also, what would you recommend for cardio performed during the training session. I’m extremely busy, and I have to combo it in with weights. Priority is gaining muscle.
That is correct, yes. You would repeat it sequentially: 1-2-1-2-1-2 so if you managed to train 4x/week you would fit in 1-2-1-2 every week, on a 3x/week schedule you would do 1-2-1 week 1 and 2-1-2 week 2.
15-30mins of low intensity cardio (50-60% of maxHR) after the session is fine. There is also the option of doing it in between the sets, as mentioned in this article:
So do the lower body exercise first, then upper body, then start doing 5min of cardio (HIIT is also possible) in between sets of each upper body exercise.
Thanks, Blade. I’ll tack on some low intensity at the end this cycle, and experiment with HIIT in between sets on my next one.
Another question for you. Do you think a push/pull split would work as well, or with only 3 training days per week should it really be full body?
I thought so. Thanks for the replies Borge, and the article. Myoreps is a lot of fun!
Its now 3 years since you wrote the article. Do you believe one could reach their natural genetic potential regards muscle mass, only using the myo reps protocol?
No, I do not. Myo-reps should not be used exclusively if you want to reach your maximum genetic potential in muscle mass. It is a potentiator and may actually increase your maximum muscular potential if introduced when an advanced lifter has stagnated. See my EliteFTS article for more information.
Thanks dude for taking time answering. I will continue to use it with higher intensity then (eg. heavy squat -> moderate split squat -> leg extension myo reps style for metabolic stress).
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[…] For the muscle groups that can’t be trained effectively with heavy weights taking very short rest periods can simulate heavy training. Greg and I use this style of training for lateral and rear delts and sometimes for arms. But Børge Fagerli who invented this training system, explains how you can use it for compound movements as well. […]
Very informative article. Just wondering if you can use this protocol for Bodyweight exercises like push-ups, dips, pull ups and squats?
Yes, of course – any exercise with a load that allows the required reps is fine…if you are strong enough to do 15+ reps of pullups I would expect you to need some external load for the remaining exercises, though.
Thanks! Appreciate it!
Huge fan of your work through the years. Literally doing myo-reps as I type this!
Just a quick question, I know there is emerging research showing that shorter rest periods are inferior to longer rest periods.
Can you explain why myo-reps would be an exception? Because in theory even if the shorter rest period group is doing less reps on each set, most of the research in that area all sets are taken to failure. So they would most likely be hitting the same number of “effective reps” between long rest periods vs short rest periods yet the longer rest periods show greater hypertrophy. I just find this rather confusing.
Thanks in advance!
Hi Julian, and great to hear that you like Myo-reps 🙂
The rest periods between traditional sets need to be 1-2mins+ (depending on the exercise) as you will limit the intensity and volume you can do at the appropriate loading ranges (60-85% of 1RM or so). Myo-reps is commonly done at 30-50% of 1RM where we take advantage of the occlusion effect and metabolic stress to increase muscle activation and induce muscle growth through various growth pathways that compensate for the lack of mechanical stress (through loading). Thus, shorter rest periods where you in practice extend a set and repeat the last few “effective” reps are more conducive to staying in that growth pathway. Still, I don’t want to incur excessive metabolic stress which may activate signals that interfere with the muscle growth and instead, direct adaptions into the endurance continuum – hence the “limit” of 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps after the activation set, and most of the time only 1 set for a given exercise.
That’s interesting.So if I understand you correctly then you’re saying that the traditional sets used in the rest period studies are generally using mechanical tension as the primary stimulus, so when shorter rest periods are being used then the stimulus is compromised and not enough metabolic stress is present to compensate. But with myo-reps the shorter rest periods are there to enhance the metabolic stimulus essentially to the maximum effect right below the level of endurance. I’m just trying to wrap my head around it conceptually because I’m still confused as to why shorter rest periods would be inferior as long as sets are taken to failure. Especially since we know the sets of 5 are the same as sets of 30. Which in a way, myo-reps are taken advantage of this idea but without all the extra reps!
I think it’s also an important point about limiting 3-5 mini sets after the activation set because I experimented with doing roughly 12 mini sets, trying to essentially aim for a total of 60 effective reps twice a week and did not see much growth! So I’m interested to see now if limiting to 3-5 will change my results! I learned over the years that unfortunately it takes higher volumes for me to grow, hence the 12 mini set experiment. But I would also anticipate based on the occlusion training that the endurance continuum must be pretty high since most of the research has their muscles occluded for over a couple of minutes and even more in the thigh experiments where they use a stationary bike
Yes, that’s essentially what I’m saying. There might be something to the interference effect, where too much metabolic stress may interfere with the mechanical signaling, but when we are working with occlusion type training we can get away with (and maybe even need) more metabolic stress to compensate for the lack of mechanical signaling. We just don’t know that yet, and hopefully more research will enlighten us.
I am of the firm belief that most people overdo volume, and that many conflate the growth they are experiencing on an acute basis with swelling. After only a few months of structured training, muscle growth will slow down to a rate that researchers are barely able to measure unless the study is performed over 12+ weeks, so it is obviously something you would have a hard time objectively measuring with crude instruments such as a measuring tape or the mirror. The latter obviously not being an instrument, and not at all an objective measurement 😉
I think you should be more focused on getting stronger over time, while making sure you’re not undereating – or overeating and gaining so much fat that you are destroying your nutrient partitioning – while living an optimized lifestyle with a focus on stress management and biorhythm to ensure that your hormones and metabolic processes are working at peak efficiency.
Thank you so much for the replies! But you also just broke my heart 😛
I always looked at the research, and on average, in the lab they usually show around 5-9 percent growth in an 8 week research study. But you’re saying that that cannot be observed without their high tech equipment?
Because I always looked at that as for instance, measuring arms, if one had 15 inch arms then you could expect an increase of .75 inches in 8 weeks.
I wanted to touch base with you. I know you’re a busy guy so I’ll cut straight to the point. I was born with one hand, my arm stops just below my elbow so I can flex my bicep and tricep. But with that said I’m struggling greatly with adding muscle to that side of my body. I’ve experimented with isometrics, band work, BFR, Myo reps, and prosthetics. High volume, low volume, high frequency, low frequency, no sets to failure, all sets to failure.
I would say that using bands seemed to be the best initially because I was able to use the full range of motion for curls and tricep extensions, and the research has shown variable resistance to be similar to constant load. It just seems like my gains would virtually disappear as soon as I took a week off. I then did very heavy isometrics but was skeptical about how much muscle could really be gained by doing isometrics. And honestly. BFR just didn’t seem to really get much done for me.
I did traditional myo reps, 5 mini sets, and then even an extreme cycle of 12 mini sets of 5 . All to failure and still no growth
Nothing really seems to get the job done. Even if I do see some growth, the growth disappears rather quickly if I take a break which make me question how much muscle was really gained during the training cycle.
The interesting thing is I absolutely go up in strength. If you have any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it. This has by far been the most frustrating part of my fitness journey.
I’m curious if maybe it’ going to take such an extreme signal to turn on MPS. I’m wondering if either something super heavy such as 5-10 second max isometrics, or an obnoxious amount of volume in a single bout to ensure MPS on a single day like 15-20. Just some of my thoughts, but all in all I’ve run out of ideas.
Thanks so much for your time!
Hi, and sorry for the late response, completely missed this.
I would have a look at your nutrition, as the stimulus for hypertrophy doesn’t need to be that excessive at all – thus a lack of growth is most likely due to a lack of nutrients. Muscle takes months and years to accumulate, so there is nothing to suggest you will lose it in just one week of detraining/rest. Various studies looking at unloading shows that a single stimulus every 2 weeks can maintain pretty much all of your gains. I am inclined to think that it is just the temporary swelling from fluids and glycogen that go away after a week of rest, not true muscle mass – but my question to you would be if you are getting stronger at all, and how you are measuring muscle mass? Tape measure? Do you get bf% measurements with any regularity? Is your bodyweight going up?
No worries Borge! I understand you’re a busy man! And I appreciate the response. I measure muscle mass with my tape measure on my arm and I have began to take skinfolds in that specific area to monitor fat mass as well. My bodyweight does go up. I aim for about a half pound a week. I am very strict with my diet. I make sure I have all my macros dialed in daily. That’s why I’m so confused. I eat sufficient protein and calories, my strength goes up. I get a pump. But no true muscle gain. My right arm is essentially a brand new beginner muscle. It should honestly shoot up in growth. My left arm is roughly 15 inches. Not massive but pretty big for a natural amateur. My right arm is barely 11.5 inches.
I would assume that there is a neural reason for this, and missing parts of a limb would obviously affect how much muscle you can grow on that side. I would keep training it within reason, but simply accept that this is a natural imbalance and nothing you should spend too much time or energy worrying about IMO.
>Single stimulus every 2 weeks can maintain pretty much all of your gains.
Were any of those studies done on a completely immobilized limb? I’d bet not. Lucas’ seems to me like a case of severe atrophy and deconditioning which a bout of exercise is not enough to mitigate. Looking at limb immobilization studies, deconditioning starts as early as 6h after immobilization in non training subjects. Atrophy begins when MPB > MPS, and MPS falls quickly in immobilized limbs.
I have not used studies on immobilization in my discussion, as that would be an irrelevant condition for most people.
I am in the cutting phase. I am following RPT training method with rep-range of 5-8. Due to cutting, my strength is lost a little bit, my bench is reduced from 82.5 x6 down to 80 x 2. My goal is losing fat and maintaining muscle so I cut back 2/3 of the volume (adding cardio) but the intensity remains the same (Lyle McDonald’s recommendation).
I am very interesting with your training approach and gonna give it a try. What is the weight and rep-range will you recommend for my case in order to maintaining muscle mass? For example, If I cut my bench to 50 x 10 +3+3+3+3+2, will I lose muscle? (because it seems like a type of metabolic weight training, light weight-short rest and as Lyle McDonald said, you will lose muscle).
Or is it more reasonable for me to lift heavier weights and lower reps range like 75 x 6 +2+2+2+2+1 ?
I am really looking forward to hearing from you. I just don’t want to lose my hard-earned muscle.
Thank you very much.
I think the risk of losing muscle mass with lighter loads is exaggerated. If it can produce robust hypertrophy compared to high load training, there is nothing to suggest it would be different in a deficit.
really aprrectiate your work and the time you take answering each question. I couldn’t find an answer in the comment section or anywhere else, so here i go:
If you choose to autoregulate myo reps, then do you think it’s okay to do more than 5 sets? Example: 20, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 4
Or do you think its better to stop at 20, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5 even when you know you can do more sets without loosing a rep, and then instead increase the weight next time?
If yes, then why?
I advise my clients (and in the Norwegian e-book) that you stop at 5 sets in the Myo-rep series, as we don’t want to deplete ATP excessively and thus increase AMPK – leading to endurance adaptions instead of hypertrophy adaptions (or potentially inhibiting hypertrophy).
If you can do more than 5 sets I would look at shortening the rest periods and making sure you keep a constant tension on the muscle to maximize the occlusion effect.
Thank you so much!
I cannot find this Norwegian ebook. Do you have a direct link? I tried searching the entire site, and using google translate on the pages. I see pdf’s for articles, but no ebook.
I have removed it for now. I want to do some minor edits and updates, and also translate it to English.
I lifted since 6 months, I’m on an upper-lower split 3 days/week, 4×10 reps with compound exercises, 2×12-15 reps with isolation and I’m cutting.
I want to try your myo-rep. How can I set my training ? For example, 4×10=40 reps. So I switch to 2×10+2+2+2+2+2, it’s always 40 reps. I’m good ?
Should I wait to finish my cut before trying your myo-rep ?
Also… Do you have a beginner template please ?
Thank you 🙂
I can unfortunately not offer program design through the comments section on my blog, as this is a service I offer to my clients based on a thorough and individual physique assessment.
There is a routine in the article you can use, and you can also go to my Norwegian page (www.borgefagerli.no) and get a copy of the free e-book and an Excel spreadsheet with various programs. Run these through Google Translate, and although not a great alternative you should still be able to pick up the basics.
Another question Borge… Is myo-rep better with a full-body workout ? If yes, do you have an example ? It’s not too demanding if we do myo-rep with full-body ?
I know… A lot of questions…
Thanks for everything, I really wait your reply to test this protocol 😉
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Are you no longer using the Fatigue Stops technique in the myorep series?
Based on the article above, it appears you have done away with the FS1 and FS2 technique and now use either a reduction in reps or a total of +5 sets to determin the end — only wanted to clarify.
Thank you for the stellar work
That is correct, I use the notation +3-5x to show that you pick a rep number and go until you lose one rep or until you have done 5 sets. So anything from +3+2 to +5+5+5+5+5 is correct. I just want to prevent someone with exceptional work capacity to turn it into an endurance stimulus by going forever. If you fail to approach and stay at a sufficiently high fatigue point you probably didn’t go to failure on the first set and/or using too long rests between sets in the Myo-rep series. 3-5 breaths is sufficient, with the lower end at higher reps in the 20-30 range being advisable.
Do you think myo-reps can still be effective for me if I did just one myo-rep set for an exercise (e.g. for bench) once per week with high >15 -20 reps in initiation set, and with other 2 bench sessions on other days done in regular way (3-5 relatively heavy sets with 5-8 reps say).
I’ve always lifted 80%+ of 1RM for months on bench, so wanted to try something different on one of the days to get different stimulus in.
That is fine, yes.
This may be interesting. check it out
“A single set of exhaustive exercise before resistance training improves muscular performance in young men.”
I’ve seen it, yes – and there is also an older study looking at a single high-rep set after the main work, but we do not know yet whether it is simply due to the extra volume or some intrinsic additive effect of the higher rep training 🙂
If I was trying to stay within a common recommendation of 60-120 reps per week for a given muscle group, would I be correct in counting the total number of Myoreps toward that total? In general, do you feel this recommendation is applicable to a Myorep routine?
For example, if I was to do full body, 3 times per week, and use the following for a given muscle group:
Let’s say I hit all of the reps and get:
15 +5 +5 +5 +5 +5, for a total of 40 reps
I would only need one exercise, 3x per week, for a given muscle group, since I am doing 120 reps per week total.
I don’t really use total reps to count volume, for various reasons. I think it is more helpful to count number of (hard) sets, as research has shown these last couple of years that e.g. 3 sets @30% is equivalent to 3 sets @80% provided that the lighter load set is taken to failure. In my experience, 1 Myo-rep set (with at least 2 sets in the series, e.g. 20 +5+5) is comparable to 3 normal sets in effect.
Volume recommendations are specific to your training level, and an intermediate lifter may do well with 9-18 sets per muscle group per week (which, if you only do Myo-rep sets would be 3-6 sets per week). But this is also highly individual and according to stress, sleep, nutrition (if you are a highly stressed person with poor sleep and nutrition, you have to lower your volume and frequency) –
and even personality traits. E.g. someone who is extremely competitive, very intense and demonstrative, extroverted and easily bored are high in what is called “novelty seeking” and this trait is related to low dopamine levels. This person will do well on short activities like sprinting and can go hard for low reps, but usually can’t tolerate volume or going to failure in excess.
You probably understand why I spend 150+ pages and 5 hours of video covering this in my Norwegian online course. I have plans to do more seminars and possibly also get an online webinar in English covering program design some time this year 🙂
Thanks for the reply, Borge.
I am planning to drop frequency to every fifth day, with an Upper/Lower split (ABA, BAB, 3 days per week). Using myorep sets, I would be at 6 one week, and 3 the next, for a given muscle group. If you have a different/favorite way to divide training for this frequency, I welcome a recommendation.
Also, do you still recommend lowering volume per week for overlap (less sets for biceps/triceps when trained the same day as back/chest)?
You also do not recommend using myoreps for rep ranges below 8-10 reps, correct?
Individual Differences: The Number 1 Consideration for Physique Progress
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I worked with myoreps and small modifications of it during my cutting phase (January – June) this year and the results were amazing!
If you want, I can share my observations/feedback with the program here or somewhere else you like.
The next thing I want to try is to use them when I’m in a calorie surplus. But before that I’d like to do about 3 months of strength-oriented training. Do you have any recommendations when it comes to only strength-oriented training?
Thank you and have a nice day
That is great, Andreas – feel free to share.
Recommendations for strength training, would in general be to do 8-20 sets per week, training each lift or muscle group 3-6x/week, at an intensity of 60-90% of 1RM. To increase 1RM strength, you should probably train closer to your 1RM, and I’ve had success with templates where you work up to a daily max (close to 1RM, but not an absolute 1RM) twice per week on the compounds lifts, then do submax and technique work (e.g. 4-6 sets of 3 reps @ approx 80-85%) 1-2x/week.
How you should program this depends on factors such as training age and strength levels, previous programming, sleep, stress and recovery, how many workouts per week, and even neurotransmitter balance (dopamine, serotonin, noradrenalin, acetylcholine, GABA).
The details of this are something I spend about 200 pages and 10 hours of video explaining in depth in my Norwegian online course, so you can probably understand that it is hard to provide you with specific guidelines in a comments thread.
Thanks for your input! Totally understand that the topic is too much for the comments, might be more efficient when I learn Norwegian instead. ?
Like I said, I did nothing else but Myo-reps for 6 months.
The first month, I trained four times a week in the gym (Tue, Thu, Sat, Sun) with a full body work out. Two exercises and one Myo-rep set for each of the following:
– chest: 1 push exercise and 1 butterfly movement
– back: 1 horizontal and 1 vertical pull movement
– shoulders: 1 push exercise and 1 raise exercise
– arms: 1 isolation for triceps and biceps each
– legs: 1 hamstring exercise and 1 quad exercise
I would always start off with either two chest or two shoulder exercises. Back always came in second. Then followed two shoulder/chest exercises, depending on what I did in the beginning of the workout. Then arms and then legs where squats always came in last. Squats were the only exercise I had on several days, for all other body parts I never did the same exercise twice in a week. The rep scheme I used in the first month was a maximum 20+5+5+5+5+5. When I reached that, I increased the weight.
In the second month, I wanted to try something new. I got rid of the isolation exercises for the arms. To make up for that, one of the exercises for the back or the chest was now one with a bit more biceps / triceps involvement (like close grip bench press). I also came up with a plan until June where I would decrease the reps of the Myo-rep set from 20 in February to 17 in March to 15 in April to 12 in May to 10 in June.
As it turned out, that wasn’t a good idea as I had to stop this approach in April. For me it didn’t work to have 15 reps, followed by 5+5+5+5+5. The weight was too heavy to move it again that often. Not necessarily for the muscles but for my passive apparatus. The quads and squats are one of my strengths so I could progress almost every workout, resulting in some tendon pain in my knees.
However, I liked the different rep ranges and so I trained from mid-April to end of June with this rep scheme:
Again, I never performed an exercise twice in the same weak. Exception: Squats that I did on Tuesday + Thursday and I only do them with 25 reps in the first set. With that high rep number in the beginning, I avoid the high weights that give me pain and still have good results.
On top of going to the gym on 4 days, I had a quick workout at home on 2 and sometimes 3 of the other days. Only one Myo-rep set of push-ups, rows using a table, hip thrusts with a 5s hold at peak contraction and one handed overhead presses with a rubber band. Rarely to failure but still taxing.
My (random) observations for Myo-reps in general and “my” approach:
1. Use exercises where you have to bring the weight in the right position on light (25 and 20 initial reps) first. Dumbbell shoulder presses or decline dumbbell bench press for example. For squats: I don’t re-rack the weight after the sets but this requires discipline to stay within 5 breaths in the break between the sets.
2. Avoid exercises that use the lower back a lot. Squats are a borderline case for me but still ok. I didn’t do deadlifts or bent-over rows although I like both. For deadlifts, I would sometimes do stiff-legged ones but only lower the bar until it was in line with my knees, not lower. If you still have exercises with low back involvement, do them on the high rep days.
3. Chose rowing exercises where you have support in some kind of way. Reason for that is the lower back involvement. My only exception were modified cable rows. My gym has this setup for cable rows: https://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/exerciseImages/sequences/45/Male/l/45_2.jpg
But instead of my feet pushing against the plate, I would use my knees with kneepads between the plate and my knees (don’t wear the kneepads, just tuck them between the plate and the knees). This way, the upper body cannot travel forward. That makes it almost impossible for the upper body to swing the weight in the concentric phase. By that, lower back involvement is reduced. It also increases the angle in the hips which gave me a better feeling with this exercise.
4. Don’t force the reps too much. Of course, push yourself but don’t grind out every rep. With Myo-reps you do a lot of reps in a stage where the muscle is already tired and sloppy form quickly leads to injury.
5. Try to use exercises where you can increase the weight in small increments. My smallest increment was 1kg (0.5kg on each side of the barbell). I did this because I have the feeling that my progress is more sustained and sustainable with those small increments. When you cannot up the weight in small increments (e.g. with dumbbells that sometimes have increments of 2.5kg each), perform those exercises on the higher rep days.
6. To save time, try to find unilateral exercises that can be performed with both limbs at the same time.
7. A counting scheme I came up with because I sometimes got confused with the number of sets. After the initial set count:
11, 12, 13, 14, 15
21, 22, 23, 24, 25
31, 32, 33, 34, 35
And so on. Where the first number is the set and the second the rep in that set. Or you count continuously from 1 to 25.
8. Although not my primary goal, I became quite strong. This week I started with my strength phase and thought I would be a lot weaker than before after training with relatively light weights for half a year. I am typically very weak in upper body push exercises. At a body weight of 82kg, my best front press was only at 1x65kg. Today, I did 4×62.5 and I could have done maybe one more rep. Unfortunately, I don’t know if this was because of the rep scheme or because I worked every muscle group several times a week. Yet, I will certainly stick to a full-body workout many training days a week. I definitely have had far better results compared to split training.
Well, that went a bit longer than I thought it would. I certainly forgot some stuff but maybe you still can find some value in it.
Hey my friend!
Could you share links to part 1 through 3 of MyRev 4-part Myo-rep series, please?
Part 4 is fantastic but have hard times to find the rest.
Thanks a ton!
This is parts 1-4 in one article 🙂
Aha… I see …i’m very stupid
Would I be able to incorporate myoreps on a 6 day upper lower routine that hits every muscle group 3x per week? Would it lead to overtraining quickly? I’m getting mixed information of whether myoreps help with fatigue or make it worse / burn the cns more or less. Thank you.
That would work just fine depending on your previous training history and individual stress and volume tolerance.
Myo-reps, like rest-pause training, is no more neurologically taxing than other training methods and arguably less since you are spending way less time in the gym – i.e. doing more work in less time.
Also see this: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21940213
Awesome, thanks! Great study as well. One more question, should the activation set and myo reps be lifted as explosively as possible? Say I’m using about 75-80% of my 1rm where I fail or hit close to failure from reps 8-12. Should all reps be explosive? Or is a well controlled tempo with a TUT of like 2-1-2/1-0-1 fine?
Because i dont like to train with the auto regulation method, i always do 3-6 reps (depends on the exercise) until i hit my prescribed total of 20-25 reps after the activation set.
Could you tell me please if thats also ok to do Myo Reps that way?
That would be fine, but I just don’t think a certain total rep target would be a good way to prescribe volume for all muscle groups. It will vary according to various factors, and also if you account for overlap – muscle groups such as biceps and triceps should get less direct volume.
Ok, then i will just do 5 sets of the rep number i got in the first Myo set or stop as soon as i lose a rep.
Is there any specific reason to stop at 5 reps if i can do more in the first Myo set (like going for 6×5) if my rest time is already below 10sec?
I prefer that you don’t extend sets too far. Go closer to failure on each set if you find that you can do that many sets in the Myo-rep series, e.g. by doing 6 reps per set.
How many hard sets of this should be done? Also, should the weight be dropped after the activation set? Having a difficult time following the activation set with the same weight.
Not sure I understand your first question. A Myo-rep set is “hard” but how many sets in the Myo-rep series you do is auto-regulated as per the recommendations in the article.
You should be using the same weight. If you can’t manage any reps after a rest period of 3-5 deep breaths, you are either using a too heavy load (you should manage at least 12-15 reps on the activation set), you are grinding too hard (stop when rep speed noticably slows down), or your strength-endurance simply sucks and you should ease into it gradually by doing sets of 1-2 reps in the Myo-rep series.
Sorry for the late reply. By hard, I didn’t mean difficulty, sorry. I meant how many total sets of a myo rep workout do I do? For example I do DB curls using myo reps. Get 12-15 on the activation and then 5 “mini” sets of 4 reps. Would that activation set + mini sets be regarded as 1 total set? If so, how many of those should be done? Around 1-2?
I usually find 1 to be enough, but depending on your volume and work tolerance you can go with 2 sets. I have yet to see anyone do well with more than 2 sets.
Can I use the myo rep method regularly in my training instead of straight sets? Or should it only be used once in a while?
Should the load be lifted as fast as possible? If so, should activation set be finished immediately after rep speed slows down? Or 1-2 reps off failure?
1. You can use it all the time just like straight sets.
2. Lift under control.
3. You should go to failure, or as close to it as possible. 1 rep in reserve is fine.
At lighter loads, the pain / burn is really hindering my ability to go to total failure on the activation set. Would it be fine to stop as soon as the burn is felt? Or does that completely negate the whole full recruitment effect?
1 rep to failure is fine. You will get used to the pain.
Borge, using myo reps with 2 set for “big” exercise is ok or too much stress?
How is possible count weekly volume with myo reps?
And last question, which is the lowerest range of RM where it has sense to use myo reps (i think 6-8RM ar able to activate all the motor unit)?
1. 2 sets for compounds should be fine, but I would try with 1 first and also reconsider if by “big” you are talking about squats or deadlifts – for the reasons mentioned in the article (running out of breath before you really tax your muscles)
2. A rule of thumb is to consider 1 Myo-rep set as 3 normal sets, roughly speaking.
3. I don’t generally use Myo-reps below 10-12 reps. Although this type of cluster training can also be effective – it just doesn’t take advantage of the main benefit of Myo-reps – occlusion/hypoxia and the subsequent increased motor unit recruitment.
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Borge, how do traditional drop sets compare to Myo-Reps?
200 x 10 (failure)
Drop 20% (no rest)
160 x 10 (failure)
Drop 20% (no rest)
130 x 10 (failure)
Would all reps in the 2 sets after the first drop be “effective” reps (high fiber recruitment)? Or does the drop in load cause these reps to be less effective?
Just curious as I love drop sets as a time effective way to train.
And thank you for all of the excellent information you have provided.
Dropsets are also a very efficient way to train, but it falls somewhere between Myo-reps and regular sets in muscle activation and total “effective” reps vs. total reps performed. Since you are dropping the load, muscle activation falls on the dropset, but with the fatigue from the previous set you still reach pretty high activation levels on the last few reps. I’d say a set of e.g. 160 x 20+5+5+5+5 would be feasible for the person who was able to perform this dropset, hence 40 total reps—25 effective reps with Myo-reps vs. 30 total reps and around 15-18 effective reps for the dropset protocol—but at a slighty higher average load (163lbs).
Can you use myo-reps for developing power/strength/explosiveness as well? In terms of say leg training if one is playing sports and just want to get stronger to be able to generate more power/explosiveness that makes him run faster. How would you approach that?
Myo-reps is not a good stand-alone method to develop those qualities, no. To produce maximum rate of force development, I would use a combination of plyometrics, explosive work (30-60% loads and 3-5 reps), as well as (a low volume of) maximum strength work (1-3RM). Depending on weekly training volume, it could be of benefit to separate these qualities or at least group them with similar qualities.
I’m entering intermediate zone in my bench and overhead press. Before I go on a cut, I’d like to try myoreps for direct arm work. I’m worried if triceps work will affect going up in weight on my presses. I do:
Monday: BP 4×5
Wed: OHP 1×1, 4×5
Fri: CGBP 4×5
If chances for affecting my pressing are small, how would I implement myoreps in this routine?
I doubt a Myo-rep set will affect your pressing strength, but if you are concerned with it you just place it as far away from your heaviest workout as possible, so in this example do it after CGBP on Friday.
Have your thoughts/methods on using myo reps changed at all? I know you generally tend to only use lighter loads now (15+ reps), has your philosophy on other parts of it changed at all? Also, is this a good protocol?:
I personally use Myo-reps in the 10-15 rep range, but that’s because I am more advanced and also fast-twitch dominant/explosive in my neurology. Other than that, I recommend you get the Myo-reps e-book where I go in depth about how I use the method – as well as example programs. It is bundled with the Zero Carb e-book, and even though it’s not something you would want to experiment with, it is worth a read and I think the price of $10 for both is an incredible deal: https://gumroad.com/l/KFrM
Great stuff! I’d absolutely love to try this.
I usually train to failure in a relatively high rep range.
So, I will probably go to failure on the first set.
I did check the comments, but I couldn’t find the answers there.
But, let me see if I got this right;
First set (failure) 15 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 3 (failure too)
Would that be a good “setup” or should I avoid failure on the lasty myo-rep set?
With that, if I were to do every myo rep set to failure (for a total rep goal style), would that be overkill?
No need to kill yourself to get that last rep, the point here is to “balance” fatigue and not so much “chase” fatigue.
Thanks for the fast reply, awesome!
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Hi, Borge! What’s RM stands for? Sorry for the ignorance as I’m beginner. Tks.
RM = Rep Max, the maximum load at the prescribed reps, so 1RM is your maximum lift for 1 rep, 5RM the load you can do 5 reps (but not 6 reps) with etc.
I’ve been reading up on myo reps again, including the Q&A’s. There’s one thing that’s not clear to me. It relates to the exclusive use of myo reps, which I’m interested in because of time constraints to my training. I’ll have to copy and paste some Q&A questions & responses to illustrate.
OCTOBER 21, 2012 AT 11:36 PM
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?
OCTOBER 22, 2012 AT 8:21 AM
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.
A couple of years later:
OCTOBER 15, 2015 AT 11:02 AM
Its now 3 years since you wrote the article. Do you believe one could reach their natural genetic potential regards muscle mass, only using the myo reps protocol?
OCTOBER 15, 2015 AT 11:09 AM
No, I do not. Myo-reps should not be used exclusively if you want to reach your maximum genetic potential in muscle mass. It is a potentiator and may actually increase your maximum muscular potential if introduced when an advanced lifter has stagnated. See my EliteFTS article for more information.
I find this interesting, not because of the contradiction, but because I figured that if hypertrophy is the main goal, the constant use of myo-reps (either autoregulated or not) would be a great way to reach that goal, while saving time. Ofcourse the trainee would have to keep progressive overload (in either weight or volume) in mind & also keep in mind that things like switching around the rep range after a “periodized” training block could be beneficial or even use undulating periodization for the course of a training block to prevent the repeated bout effect.
So, I’d like to hear your position on this, from a purely hypertrophy based point of view! (Maybe you adress this in the e-book about myo-reps, but my brother is hellbent on getting it for my b-day in a month, so I’ll have to wait for that as well)
Thanks in advance & I’m sorry for this long-ass post.
Well, I guess my answer is that I don’t have an answer. Myo-reps have their value at loads lighter than 80-85% of 1RM, where fiber recruitment is lower and you need some fatigue to reach maximal muscle fiber recruitment. By also doing more work in a shorter amount of time, you induce higher perturbation to the internal environment of the muscle, and exposing all the muscle fibers to mechanical loading by managing metabolic stress. So you activate all the pathways necessary for muscle growth in a very efficient manner, and this will lead to optimal rates of muscle growth.
However, there is value to doing heavier loads (80-85%, perhaps up to 90% or higher if doing eccentrics) for both strength and hypertrophy at some point. Whether this is absolutely needed to achieve maximum muscle mass for everyone is still up for debate.
I think you can use Myo-reps exclusively for long periods of time and then – if you have the option or inclination – do a 3-4 week phase of heavier loads and either straight sets or cluster sets.
Thanks for coming trough on this Borge! I feel like working in a high % of 1RM could be of value, especially for people aiming to gain strength for sure.
I’ll keep using Myo-reps exclusively for now and see how it goes. I mean, I love using them, they’re very efficient & I personally couldn’t think of a real good reason to not be able to use them exclusively. I’ll call it an experiment and see how it goes. If I stall often/for a longer period of time, I’ll try cluster work at a heavier load.
And, by the way! Your autoregulating set-up of Myo-reps really saved my ass during my last cut, as I’m prone to just keep going when I know I shouldn’t. The autoregulation helped me out (A LOT) on my bad days.
Hey Jurjen! Any updates on your experiment of using myo-reps exclusively?
I came across Borge’s work and myo-reps just a week ago or so. I’ve done a few myo-rep work-outs by now and I feel like I don’t want to go back to regular sets haha. Not only am I saving time, I just enjoy the work-outs more. Although yea, there’s probably a novelty component in play as well 😛
Right now I’m thinking of periodizing my training by doing ~80% or so of my training using lighter loads (eg. 8-15 rep range) using myo-reps and then the remaining 20% or so using higher loads (eg. 3-5 rep range) but instead of regular sets, would rest-pause the higher load training as well.
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Hello Borge! I train full body 3 days a week HIT style ( 1set per exercice, superslow). Is it possible full body 3 days a week using Myo-reps? IS each rep slow or fast? And training session in less than 1 hour?
Thanks for your answer.
Yes, of course it is possible, that’s the default split in one of the programs in the e-book.
You should lift under control, no need to intentionally slow the rep down unless you have an injury – not at these loads, at least. The rep speed will slow down naturally as you approach failure.
Most sessions using Myo-reps only, lasts for about 20-40mins.
I’ve just started using your Myo rep method which has led to a pump but no DOMS.
I’ve been going to technical failure with one rep in reserve on the first set and 4 sets as recommended.
Should I expect DOMS?
DOMS is a reliable indicator of pretty much nothing at all, so there is no reason to use that as a proxy for training effect. Believe it or not, but researchers still don’t know exactly what causes DOMS – but the most reasonable explanation is simply that it’s a low-grade inflammation of the connective tissue as a response to an unusual stimulus. So you could be the biggest bodybuilder in the world and still get sore from doing e.g. a hill sprint.
I am over 60 and trying to build some muscle as I get into this period of my life. I have stayed active and “worked out” my adult life and so I look similar to how I did in my 20’s. Can I use Myo reps to do a three day a week workout with an upper lower split (aba, bab, etc). I am using islolation exercises, and also playing a sport on the off days. I was thinking of one set per body part (activation of 20 reps, plus 4-5 myo reps). My weight has stayed basically the same for years. I am 6 foot tall and 177lbs. Thank you!
Hi Bob, you can indeed use Myo-reps on that split and setup. See the free e-book for example programs, too. If your weight has stayed the same and you would like to see if you can build some muscle, try increasing your calories slightly (5-10%).
Welll the gyms are closed here once again. Any suggestions on using myo reps at home with some dumbells?
Also, I am increasing my calories but I also have some stomach fat to contend with. How do I get rid of that while increasing calories to gain muscle. Perhaps this is too much at 64 years old, but I am trying! Thank you!
Yeah, it’s a bummer. Fortunately the gyms where I live are still open, but the big cities have closed again.
What suggestions specifically are you asking for? Exercises?
I tend to think that fat% isn’t always about a calorie surplus, it may also be an imbalance between stress and recovery – i.e. fat is protective, and it has been shown that the same amount of calories can cause more fat gain in someone with e.g. a history of previous dieting, nutrient deficiences, overly processed food, excessive training, during examination periods or deadlines, during divorces/breakups, job loss, etc etc.
So I would see if any of these applies to you, the metabolism and hormones needs to function optimally if you want positive body recomposition and before you start applying a deficit (which is also a form of stress, after all).
Yes, some at home exercises would be great. I can split them up throughout the week,
Thanks and I am going to try to stay about 100 grams of carbs and see if that helps with the stomach fat, and also work on mobility as well. I am starting to notice a decrease in that and I dont like it
Thanks again for your help!
Still not sure what you are asking for help with. Mostly any free weight exercise can be done at home with DBs, the DB is the same implement whether you’re at home or at the gym. If you don’t have a bench for e.g. bench presses you can do floor presses. Even squats can be done, either by holding the weights in your hands, placing them on your shoulders, or by doing the goblet squat (look it up on YouTube).
Am I misunderstanding something?
Thank you, Borge. One final question (im sure you hear that all the time!)- I read the section regarding keeping constant tension on the muscle by reducing the total movement of each exercise. This was to prevent lockout or the effect of gravity to be minimized on the load (assuming we are taking about free weights and their relationship to gravity). Does this also apply to machines where the load is unaffected by gravity? Thanks again!
If the machine provides resistance throughout the movement, then you can use the ROM you feel is most comfortable.
No, thats it and very helpful. Thanks and I will give it a go.
Hi coach, as an early intermediate bodybuilder i am structuring the bulk of my training around getting stronger in the 5-10 rep range on a few exercises, following a linear periodization model:
Bench Press, Barbell Row and Back Squat are trained on one day
Barbell OHP, Chinups and Trap Bar DL are trained the other day.
I train 3x week and alternate between the two workouts, so that each movement pattern is trained once every 5 days.
Would it be ok to employ myo reps sets in what coach Thibaudeau calls “Beach Window”? (that is training beach muscles 10-15 minutes at the end of a workout otherwise based on big basic movements):
Workout 1: Curls, Extensions, Forearm Curls
Workout 2: Upright rows, Shrugs, Calf raise
(again everything once every 5th day).
Do you think 1 myorep set per exercise would be enough, or i’d better up volume to 2 myorep sets per wokout per exercise?
Do you think it is a reasonable approach anyway or am I missing something in the big scheme?
Yes, you can use Myo-reps for “beach work” and I would start with 1 Myo-rep set and go from there – adding another if you are recovering well and you feel like you’re leaving some gains on the table (you probably already know that I lean towards the more conservative side of things).
Hi Borge, still working on diet and exercising at home. I had been working upper lower split on a three day a week rotation on Mon, Wed, Fri. Not seeing too much change yet. Do you think that waiting 5 days inbetween workouts is too long of a wait to optimize my chance at muscle growth? Would I be better off at a 3-4 day wait ? Perhaps I need to be patient, or just try it and see.
Hi coach, how do you determine wether to do mini sets of 3, 4 or 5 reps.
How do you progress? Do you top out minisets before you increase weight/reps on the activation set?
Generally just by feel, but also experience by the rep tolerance and work capacity (may vary between muscle groups and exercises).
So on bench (low work/rep tolerance) it could be 10 +3+3+2, on rows (high work/rep tolerance) it could be 10 +5+5+5+4
I don’t really consider the mini-sets, that’s just for adding volume. The activation set is the indicator for whether progress has been accomplished since last time.
11 +3+3+2 is progress
10 +3+3+3+3+2 is not progress, just higher volume (so progress might be more likely next time)
These are just my progression guidelines, of course – you can certainly consider scenario 2 to be progress and thus increase load next time.
If someone wants to do (pure example) 10 sets of bench for the chest, why not try to do 1 activation +9 minisets instead of 2 myo rep sets (1+4 and again 1+4) as you write in your ebook?
Are there any advantages?
10+4+4+4+4+3+3+3+3+2 (1+9 mini)… tot 10
1st set: 10+4+4+4+4 (1+4)
2nd: 9+3+3+3+2 (1+4)
Tot : 10
First of all, that would be very difficult and draining to do. Second, I prefer to auto-regulate Myo-reps as it specifically addresses individual work capacity and volume tolerance, I find that to be a major benefit vs a predetermined volume of work (and generally I prefer auto-regulated progression strategies overall). You want a sweet spot combination of mechanical tension and fatigue, and the one downside of rest-pause and dropset strategies is a worse stimulus:fatigue relationship compared to traditional sets. So increasing fatigue doesn’t necessarily improve the stimulus for growth, based off the current literature it’s the opposite.
So the reasoning is solid, but in practice it doesn’t really work really well unless you specifically wanted to focus on the strength-endurance part of the continuum.
For more reading, see Chris Beardsley’s articles on fatigue here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/41551479
Thanks Borge for the response.
Why with myo reps you preferr 5 deep breaths instead of more rest like for example other forms of rest pause (with 10-12 deep breaths)?
If the goal is to quality work, resting less between mini sets, will impair the total work?
If you rest for too long, you have to do more reps to reach full activation again, and this induces more fatigue than stimulus according to the existing literature. So traditional rest pause goes to failure on both the activation set and the mini-sets after, Myo-reps intentionally stops 1RIR in order to manage fatigue and thus get in more overall volume at a higher activation level.
Ok. Then with the autoregulation principle, there is no opportunity to do less than 3 “total” sets?
Infact if you do:
the activation sets… 8 reps (example)
the 1st mini set.. 3 reps
the 2nd mini set.. 2 reps (drop in reps then stop here)
How I can understand if for that day I need only 1 or 2 (1 + 1 mini set) for a given work capacity, instead of 3 total sets (1+2)?
I honestly don’t understand what you are asking, could you please clarify?
The goal is to manage fatigue and get in more total reps at a high activation level, and it is auto-regulated since work capacity is both individual and may vary between muscle groups and even exercises (for the same muscle group).
I’ll try to rephrase..
with the auto-regulation rule of myo reps, the minimum unionable someone can do for a muscle is 3 sets.
example for the minimum amount of work..
after the second set (of 3 reps) , I perform 2 reps. In this 2nd mini set you see a drop in performance and then stop the set.
but we now assume that for that given muscle, on that given day, fewer total repetitions are optimal.
for example 10-13 total reps are fine:
only the activation set, or the activation set + the one from 3 reps.
but I “waiting” the set where the reps fall, and then stop, I continued to run the last set from 2 reps.
if these 2 reps are “redundant” or too much, I can not know before.
so the question is…
the minimum amount of work I will do with myo reps is 3 sets close to muscle failure.
but if I, to recover at best, need only 1 or 2 sets, how can I understand it , if the rule of self-regulation “asks” me to continue until I see a drop in reps?
Aha, I see what you mean now. Kinda refreshing to see someone afraid of doing too much, when the rest of the world is afraid of missing out and doing too little 😉
The minimum stimulus is likely around 5 effective reps, i.e. 1 set to failure. Most should be able to recover from that, and if not there is something else going on in your life affecting your recovery that should be addressed.
The optimal is in my opinion close to 12-15 effective reps, and the most is around 20-25 effective reps – of course there might be individual variations going on, but I pretty much think that if anyone is getting more out of more than 5 sets, they’re not really training hard enough.
I know some prominent experts in the field recommending 6-10+ sets PER SESSION but when you see them working out they are staying 3-5 sets from failure on most sets. That can work too, but we have some compelling research indicating that you simply get more out of less by approaching 1RIR (but suddenly at 0RIR you just require more recovery time without necessarily adding much to the stimulus).
So in your case, if you indeed notice that you can’t recover from a Myo-rep set, i.e. you don’t see any performance increase from workout to workout – first try increasing rest days between workouts (or change the split to allow more rest between workouts of the same muscle group(s)), do 1 single set instead. At that point, I would actually consider a training cycle of sub maximal work (2-4RIR sets) and slightly higher volumes (e.g. 3 sets of 6 submaximal instead of a set of 10 to failure) to improve your work and recovery capacity.
Im an old “dog” and member of abbreviated training group , and I progress at best when I remain conservative with volume.
I tend to recover better from high intensity of effort instead of high volume approaches.
I use the 1st (activation) set of the myp reps as a compass to understand my recovery.
If I progress, I continue with the mini sets. Green light.
If I do the same number of reps of the last time I continue with the mini sets but it’s a yellow light.
If my reps drop from the last time, red light, I stop after the activation set.
In the end, I tend to use slower reps.
2 seconds positive
4 on the negative
1 at the bottom to eliminate momentum.
This is the only way I can assure to myself to avoid joint discomfort.
Using slower reps (7″ x 1 rep) I preferr to go at 0 rir. Not fail the last rep. But a sort of AMRAP set.
I leave in the tank the rep that I will fail.
I will do less total work? Probably. But from my exp bodybuilding is more a quality work, instead of quantity (and we come back to the 45 sets study 🤣🤣🤣 ).
After having tried EVERY TYPE of muscle split routine.. I preferr to do an upper lower on consecutive days, then 5 complete days of rest.
I’ve seen that having a bit more of rest permit me to be more flexible with my life.
And also.. if bastionhead has built a monster body with a stimulus x group every 12 days, why I think I need less recovery than him?
Cheers coach !
Yes, that is exactly it – if you fail to progress you simply end the set (and exercise/muscle group) there.
You can vary rep speed from set to set or even within a set, sure – the only thing to be wary of is that it makes it harder to evaluate whether you progressed or not, i.e. if you did 10 slow reps the previous workout but 11 slightly less slow reps this workout, you might not have progressed at all.
I also don’t think there are any benefits to intentionally slowing down the rep speed unless it is for injury prevention, so while I still encourage a controlled eccentric – e.g. 2-3sec down – I think the benefits of trying to push explosively (even though the weight may move slowly due to fatigue or the load simply being too heavy to move fast) are clear, so I try to accelerate the load for the first part of the lifting phase.
I fully support experimenting to find the split and recovery needs of the individual, and this is an iterative process – i.e. try a certain frequency for a while, then add rest days and if you notice your performance increasing, try adding another etc until more rest days don’t add any noticeable progress, then go back to your sweet spot.
Thanks for answering all of the questions, and I looked through the repsonses but still a bit unsure as to how to progress using Myo Reps. Am I looking to increase the reps on the activation set, or increase the reps on the moni sets, or both? I assume that progression is needed to allow the muscle to respond and grow. Thanks very much for your repsonse!
You increase the load whenever you hit the upper rep range, regardless of reps in the Myo-rep series, e.g.
15+4+4+3 -> increase the load
12+5+5+2 -> stay with the same load
Thanks very much, Borge. So keep pushing up the reps/weight in the activation set.
Is there a minimum amount of reps one should strive to achieve on the mini sets, or is this whatever works out for that day? Thank you.
I would like you to expand on whether you think Myo-Reps is a valid method for retaining muscle mass when a) eating at maintenance calorie level and b) eating below maintenance level when on a weight-loss diet, ideally losing mostly fat. Are there any significant differences one should take to consideration when compared to regular training (i.e. straight sets to near failure) when it comes to muscle mass retention?
What builds muscle mass in a surplus will maintain muscle in a deficit, given that you don’t overdo the deficit. Myo-reps is also a high-effort training method, so some may find it too exhaustive if the deficit is severe – but other than that, I find it excellent for dieting.
Do you still like a set up where you do:
Day 1: Myo Reps 20-25 3-5x
Day 2: Heavy 4-6 reps 2-4 sets
Days 3: Hypertrophy 10-15 reps 2-3 sets
Rest /repeat full body
If someone was trying to include all those rep ranges or do you think keeping them seperate isn’t needed like we used to think?
I’ve been running that spilt 5-6 days a week for years and years.
Any suggestions to a better ‘optimal split’
I’ve been using Myo reps now for about 2 months, but stumbled on your book recently and really gained alot more knowledge how this approach is supposed to be applied. Very well thought out.
Some background first so that you can better address my question.
I’m 57 and have been lifting with various lifting protocols over the last 35 years. I have moderate/severe arthritis (OA) in both shoulders (most likely from crappy lifting techniques back in 80s and 90s)
Anyway, I found that the MYO rep techniques allow me to lift without stressing the joints due to the nature of using the lighter loads. I’ve been using MYO reps on everything (Lat Pulldowns, Cable Rows, Leg Press, Lunges, Weighted pushups etc). No big moves like squats and dead lifts since I have bone spurs in my spine as well (again from crappy lifting form on squats etc when I was younger).
My plan is to continue using MYO reps for everything as keeping my shoulders and back from getting any worse are paramount as I continue to try and maintain/gain strength and some additional size. I’m thinking this may be the best way for me to train long term with my current limitations.
I see from your book longer term use has MYO reps intermixed with traditional sets/rep schemes.
From a long term perspective, in your opinion, can MYO reps be used exclusively or have you seen that this type of training can’t or shouldn’t be maintained as the only protocol?
I know that at 57 I’m swimming upstream when it comes to making gains, but it’s more about a long term game plan to stay healthy and maintain as much muscle as possible as I age.
Looks like I should have read through all the previous comments before I typed up my long winded question. You already answered this back in 2018.
Sure thing. Kinda hard to go through all the comments when there are several hundred of them, but I have probably answered most questions you can think of already 🙂
For a trainee with limited time/recovery what would be the best method? Also limited to DBs up to 50s and bands
1. BW exercises such as squats, push ups for either straight sets (2 sets) or Myo Reps with additional resistance band exercises such as rows, good mornings, biceps, etc in similar straight or Myo Reps for all?
2. Lower volume full body 3 times per week with various compound and isolation exercises to cover muscle groups similar to Dr. Michael Yessis’ 1×20 program with 20 exercises done for 1 set each for 20 reps? Goal of progression over time.
Awesome to see that there is an update of the ebook coming.
I am running the intermediate push/pull split from the example templates for some time now and love the progress and the workouts.
I adjusted the myo rep sets to be in the 10-15 rep range for better fatigue management.
Can’t wait for the updated ebook and the last program course.