"... vary the quality of reps ..."

Steve Freides

Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
I decided to start a new thread here in our off-topic section in reply to something @Damiola posted here


Does anybody advocate to vary the quality of reps in a set or is it unique to Strong First?
" ... vary the quality of reps in a set?"

@Damiola, have you picked the StrongFirst forum for this ...
Posting also helps me sort out my own thoughts about training. Sort of thinking aloud, so to speak.
... for any particular reason?

StrongFirst has our approach to strength training. Doing anything other than first-quality reps, ever, isn't something we recommend.

With the understanding that none of this is required for participation here, please tell us a bit about your connection to StrongFirst: books or articles you've read, if you've worked with a StrongFirst Certified instructor, etc. I'll repeat myself for emphasis to say that such familiarity isn't required in order to participate, as the many folks new to StrongFirst on our forum amply demonstrates. But I confess I don't understand why you're questioning the StrongFirst approach to strength and conditioning when you seem not to be familiar with it.

A story from my life to, I hope, illuminate the point I'm making here:

I'm an experienced musician and music teacher, at almost 60 and 50 years, respectively, and I recently started playing the cello. After a bit of self-teaching, last week I had my first lesson with a teacher. I had taken my best guesses at a lot of things in the two months I played prior to my first lesson, and was pleased to hear my teacher tell me I'd gotten most of them right. But when I fingered A-B-C# on the third string as 1-3-4, the teacher told me that on the cello, we finger that 1-2-4. I then explained to the teacher why I thought it might be best fingered 1-3-4. My teacher politely nodded his head, smiled, and repeated that we finger this 1-2-4 on the cello, and that was the end of it.

Are there arguments for fingering it the way I'd thought was correct? Yes. Do they matter in my situation? No. Much greater minds than mine have arrived at good, field-tested answers. To continue to question would be like, while your martial arts teacher is showing your class a particular kata ("form"), ask, "Is it OK to do a punch instead of a side kick here?"

We generally try not to modify proven programs just for the sake of asking, "What if ...?" (see the martial arts analogy above) but rather ask that everyone follow the program, complete it at least once, and then consider what might be next for them. We also try to include in our programs instructions for making them part of a life that includes other activities because we understand that, while strength is a primary focus for some people, for others strength training's purpose is to help outside the gym, to be a means rather than an end.

You're welcomed here. Please don't feel obligated to agree with everything you find here. But I ask that you please learn about what we do before questioning it. And if you want to understand why we do what we do, please read a few books, attend a course or cert or special event, and try at least one of our programs, following it by the book, from start to finish. Then ask all you want.

Thank you.



Level 2 Valued Member
The quality of the reps came up during the discussion of definition of terms, namely the difference between intervals and repeats.

Bauer said:
Further the word "repeats", as it is used at SF, is intended to highlight the quality of the following sets. It is not about repeating a rep scheme but about repeating the same heavy quality reps again and again. It is interval training, yes, but not in the sense it is used in the fitness industry most of the time.
Damiola said:
Does anybody advocate to vary the quality of reps in a set or is it unique to Strong First? In any case, what do you call a set of deadlift for five reps? Five repeats? A repeat of five? There is a terminology accepted in the sports science, and sticking to it makes things simpler.
I think it is pretty simple what I mean by the reply. How is it questioning "Strong First approach to strength"? Is there a particular reason you are taking these words out of context or is this just an oversight? Or am I asking rhetorical questions?

And so you deleted my next post and, just as I predicted, hid under the "delete" button. And slowed down my access to this forum. My, my, if Strong First threatened by someone asking questions? You don't have the balls to ban me from this forum and I have more important things than wasting my time trying to wrestle with your insecurity and hypocrisy. Good luck.
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