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Other/Mixed Recommended monthly number of repetitions for various lifts?

Other strength modalities (e.g., Clubs), mixed strength modalities (e.g., combined kettlebell and barbell), other goals (flexibility)

Stacy Sigfusson

Level 4 Valued Member
Today I was lucky enough to stumble upon a reference to a Pavel article I had not heard of before, "Ladders Reloaded," in MILO Vol 23 No. 1. Purchased the journal through Amazon and read through the article. In it Pavel recommends 200-400 reps per month (4 week period) for squats, and 300-500 reps per month for presses and pull-ups. Being a huge programming nerd I am curious as to recommendations for other lifts.

My personal thoughts are that single kettlebell ballistics (for hip hinge dominant patterns) would range somewhere from 1000-2000 reps /month?; S & S would average around 2000 per month, the lower end of Dan John's 75-250 realistic rep recommendation done 3 sessions/wk would be 900/month. Double kettlebell ballistics, with their inherently greater systemic stress I would expect to require about half the volume the single 'bell ballistics (500-1000/month?).

TGUs I would guess to be somewhere in the range of 100-200 (sum of sides). S & S would average 200/month.

Loaded carries might reasonably require half the volume of TGU, depending of course upon duration of each "rep" and density (work:rest). I am guessing less volume because loaded carries do not possess the skill component of TGU, and therefore would not require "practice" per se.

Deadlifts I would also expect to be low, maybe 100-200 per month or even less.

Curious as to the opinions of other students of the art of programming.
 

Deleted member 5559

Guest
I have found Intensity Number of Lifts (INOL) to be helpful if one knows the percentage level of intensity. {Number of lifts / (100-intensity %)}

I have reverse calculated some popular/successful programs and they all average similar loading over time. Keeping in the 1.00 +- 0.20 range. Some are more linear, others more wavy, but over time keep in that range.

Upper body can handle the higher side better and deadlifts do a little better in the low side but it's a good place to start.

For ballistics, I'm not sure if calculating a max using ((weight * .033 * max reps) + weight) works but its probably not that far off either.
 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
A great topic for a thread. But a quite demanding one.

I think that there's a massive amount of variety between successful programs. So much so that it can be daunting to find what the commonalities are between them, and it can be hard to evaluate and compare the success of each style, even if they all look impressive.

In one end we have the extreme minimalism for powerlifting that Marty Gallagher likes to write about. A single top set in each of the powerlifts a week, 2-8 reps of it, and a suitable ramp up to it.

Then we can do a lot of volume. There's some data on soviet weightlifters in The Science... by Zatsiorsky, but it's hard to say how much of it is in the competition lifts and how much in total of all training. But we see numbers like 5000 tons a year, with hypertrophy ambitions making it crazy higher, like 50 tons a session. At some point I think I calculated that there were 20 000 competition lifts a year.

Personally, I have found success with different methods and I think a certain amount of variety is only beneficial. None of the training exists in a vacuum, so it's really hard to give out generalized recommendations.
 

william bad butt

Level 6 Valued Member
A great topic for a thread. But a quite demanding one.

I think that there's a massive amount of variety between successful programs. So much so that it can be daunting to find what the commonalities are between them, and it can be hard to evaluate and compare the success of each style, even if they all look impressive.

In one end we have the extreme minimalism for powerlifting that Marty Gallagher likes to write about. A single top set in each of the powerlifts a week, 2-8 reps of it, and a suitable ramp up to it.

Then we can do a lot of volume. There's some data on soviet weightlifters in The Science... by Zatsiorsky, but it's hard to say how much of it is in the competition lifts and how much in total of all training. But we see numbers like 5000 tons a year, with hypertrophy ambitions making it crazy higher, like 50 tons a session. At some point I think I calculated that there were 20 000 competition lifts a year.

Personally, I have found success with different methods and I think a certain amount of variety is only beneficial. None of the training exists in a vacuum, so it's really hard to give out generalized recommendations.

If it all works, why would anyone ever want to do more and more NL's? Over the last few years, I am learning that I lean more towards your Marty Gallagher example, ultra minimalist training for strength. I am progressing because I'm fully recovered and I have more free time to live my life. I have no interest doing squats 5 times per week if I can still progress 1 day/week. For strength training, why would one choose to do more vs do less?
 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
If it all works, why would anyone ever want to do more and more NL's? Over the last few years, I am learning that I lean more towards your Marty Gallagher example, ultra minimalist training for strength. I am progressing because I'm fully recovered and I have more free time to live my life. I have no interest doing squats 5 times per week if I can still progress 1 day/week. For strength training, why would one choose to do more vs do less?

I'd say it all works to some extent. And I'd wager it all works for the recreational trainee. It becomes hazy when we seek to optimize performance or we want to be competitive athletes.

I think both high frequency/volume and the opposite work, though other may be more optimal for a certain person at a certain time. And that it would be a good idea to switch things up every now and then.

Some people really enjoy their time at the gym. They're more driven by the enjoyment of the training than the results they get. Nothing wrong with that, though it's something that one should recognize.
 

william bad butt

Level 6 Valued Member
I always strive for the MED (minimum effective dose). I think this is important. Because over time, when one transitions from beginner to intermediate to advanced, one may be forced to work harder (i.e. more volume) to advance. If you are doing a MED approach, you have a lot more room to add more if necessary, in the future. This has always been my thought. Fortunately, I havent really had to add lots of volume to improve.

I think it also comes down to Recovery (stress/recovery/adaptation cycle). If one is squatting or deadlifting with sets/reps at 500 lb, that person may need 1 week to fully recover to allow adaptation to occur. Or if it is close to their max they may need more than 1 week. If one is doing KB presses with a 24-32kg bell (and their max is 48+kg, or much higher than their work set), they may be recovered by tomorrow or the day after.
 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
I always strive for the MED (minimum effective dose). I think this is important. Because over time, when one transitions from beginner to intermediate to advanced, one may be forced to work harder (i.e. more volume) to advance. If you are doing a MED approach, you have a lot more room to add more if necessary, in the future. This has always been my thought. Fortunately, I havent really had to add lots of volume to improve.

I think it also comes down to Recovery (stress/recovery/adaptation cycle). If one is squatting or deadlifting with sets/reps at 500 lb, that person may need 1 week to fully recover to allow adaptation to occur. Or if it is close to their max they may need more than 1 week. If one is doing KB presses with a 24-32kg bell (and their max is 48+kg, or much higher than their work set), they may be recovered by tomorrow or the day after.

I can understand the reasoning in your approach. If it works well for you, even better.

I don't think increasing volume is the only way to modify the stimulus. Classically there are three options: intensity, volume and novelty. I think all of them should be used, the exact balance between them a question worth a thread of it's own. That said, increasing volume is a simple and solid approach.

Personally, I think I train too much for my own good. I look for more than the minimum. I just like it. Though I suspect my overall volume is rather reasonable, I just like to spread it over multiple sessions.

I also agree when it comes to the absolute training load and how it demands recovery. I think it is also mentioned in the literature, how the heavyweights use relatively lighter intensity percentages than lighter lifters
 

william bad butt

Level 6 Valued Member
I've been thinking about this and I kind of want to clarify what I stated before. I'm going to basically contradict what I previously stated. I dont do much volume on an individual lift. But I was thinking too narrowly. I do a lot of accessory/supplemental lifts that buildup my powerlifts (for technique, strength for weaknesses, hypertrophy, and recovery aid). I think, to be fair, and make things apples to apples, I need to count these excersises as NL's. I'm only doing about 120 NLs for my squat, deadlift, and floor/bench press. However, when you include all my "accessories", the numbers can become huge. I'm not really on a 1 day/wk program (even though I only train my main lifts 1 day/week right now). I train 5 days/week (2.5 days 10/20/Life and 2.5 days A&A snatches). See below (I'm probably forgetting a few things as well)...

Here is my approximate NL/month, at the moment, just for comparisons sake:

Squat (and related excersises):
-barbell squat=120
-light goblet squat=180
-leg extensions = 240

Deadlift (and related excersises):
-barbell deadlift=120
-kb swing/snatch=1200
-1 leg deadlift kb= 160
-leg curl=240
-shrugs=160
-farmers walks/sandbag carries= 1000 yds
-pullups=200

Press:
-floor press=120
-chest press machine=280
-DB inclined press=280
-skull crushers=240
-1 arm kb bottoms up press=240
-1 arm kb bottoms up bench press (uneven on the bench)=160
-DB lateral raises=200
-cable tricep pressdowns=200
-pushups=Not that many, warmup...

There are other excersises too, but ones that dont specifically build upon my squat, deadlift, and press (but in general it does). Core strength for example, lots of body weight stuff...

If you look at my bench press for example, I'm only doing 120 NL's/month. Which is very low compared to what is taught at PlanStrong (about 300-500 NL/month). However, when you account for my "press accessories", I'm at 1700+NL's. Of course, 1 accessory rep is not necessarily equal to 1 bench press rep. Most of these accessory lifts are easier to recover from.

So I've kind of come a 180 degrees on this... LOL! Maybe when comparing western style programming to eastern style programming, accessories need to be taken into account. These accessories may explain why these 2 training philosophies both can work. It is not as simple as saying 1 person only does a little bit of deadlift volume, one has to look at how the whole program (the other lifts) builds up the deadlift. I'm deadlifting 1 day per week. But I'm pulling 5 days/week.

I'm not sure where I am going with this. But I wanted to clarify my previous post. I over simplified the situation. It wouldn't surprise me that if you pulled back the curtain on a lot of those Marty Gallagher minimalist programs, you may find more than meets the eye.

Regards,

Eric
 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
That chart, used in Pavel's work, has always stayed with me. It represents plenty of reps, that are hardly breaking a sweat.

Yes, a lot of reps with relatively low intensities. And not for a lot of reps a set. I think the competition lifts were mostly done for doubles or triples and accessories such as squats for three or four reps.

I've been thinking about this and I kind of want to clarify what I stated before. I'm going to basically contradict what I previously stated. I dont do much volume on an individual lift. But I was thinking too narrowly. I do a lot of accessory/supplemental lifts that buildup my powerlifts (for technique, strength for weaknesses, hypertrophy, and recovery aid). I think, to be fair, and make things apples to apples, I need to count these excersises as NL's. I'm only doing about 120 NLs for my squat, deadlift, and floor/bench press. However, when you include all my "accessories", the numbers can become huge. I'm not really on a 1 day/wk program (even though I only train my main lifts 1 day/week right now). I train 5 days/week (2.5 days 10/20/Life and 2.5 days A&A snatches). See below (I'm probably forgetting a few things as well)...

Here is my approximate NL/month, at the moment, just for comparisons sake:

Squat (and related excersises):
-barbell squat=120
-light goblet squat=180
-leg extensions = 240

Deadlift (and related excersises):
-barbell deadlift=120
-kb swing/snatch=1200
-1 leg deadlift kb= 160
-leg curl=240
-shrugs=160
-farmers walks/sandbag carries= 1000 yds
-pullups=200

Press:
-floor press=120
-chest press machine=280
-DB inclined press=280
-skull crushers=240
-1 arm kb bottoms up press=240
-1 arm kb bottoms up bench press (uneven on the bench)=160
-DB lateral raises=200
-cable tricep pressdowns=200
-pushups=Not that many, warmup...

There are other excersises too, but ones that dont specifically build upon my squat, deadlift, and press (but in general it does). Core strength for example, lots of body weight stuff...

If you look at my bench press for example, I'm only doing 120 NL's/month. Which is very low compared to what is taught at PlanStrong (about 300-500 NL/month). However, when you account for my "press accessories", I'm at 1700+NL's. Of course, 1 accessory rep is not necessarily equal to 1 bench press rep. Most of these accessory lifts are easier to recover from.

So I've kind of come a 180 degrees on this... LOL! Maybe when comparing western style programming to eastern style programming, accessories need to be taken into account. These accessories may explain why these 2 training philosophies both can work. It is not as simple as saying 1 person only does a little bit of deadlift volume, one has to look at how the whole program (the other lifts) builds up the deadlift. I'm deadlifting 1 day per week. But I'm pulling 5 days/week.

I'm not sure where I am going with this. But I wanted to clarify my previous post. I over simplified the situation. It wouldn't surprise me that if you pulled back the curtain on a lot of those Marty Gallagher minimalist programs, you may find more than meets the eye.

Regards,

Eric

That is relatively a lot of work. At a glance far more than I do.

Like take the classic Westside example, looking for 2-4 so called work reps, singles, on a max effort day. But follow it with lots and lots of assistance. Which do you count as the more meaningful training?

It's also worth a question whether we should count all sets towards the total volume or only sets over a certain intensity, like 50%, 60% or 70% of 1RM. I typically log every rep I do, even with an empty bar. But I don't really see those reps as meaningful when calculating the training effect. And when I try to make simplistic comparisons, like see if a session was stronger than an earlier one, it's something like if I did more weight for a set of five or if I got more reps on an AMRAP set. I don't really count anything before those ones.

Regarding the Gallagher example I think there are two ways. Take the powerlifters like Coan, Furnas, Karwoski, they typically did something like a 2-3 sets of 2-4 exercises or so on top of the main exercise of the day. But when talking about Chaillet, for example, he says "I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times over the years I saw him do any lift or exercise other than the three powerlifts."
 
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