View Full Version : "Heavier Weight, Less Time" article T-Nation

Garrett Smith
01-19-2009, 01:42 PM
I thought this article had some particular relevance to the success of Hybrid Programming and managing fatigue in metcons (particularly power-biased metcons), remember T-Nation has the bikini girls and may not be WFS:
I take what science demonstrates, and pair that with what I've experienced in 13 years of training people at all levels. The bottom line, like Charles Staley often says, is "manage fatigue." You can't maintain your performance if you push to failure right from the start. You need to dial it back in the earlier stages of a workout. By doing so, you'll be able to perform more total reps with a heavier weight. That's how you catapult your size and strength gains.

Don't get me wrong, your workouts should be intense and challenging. I'm not telling you to go easy. I'm telling you to go heavy, go fast, and don't push too far with your first few sets.

So now we're back to Mark Felix. As he mentioned in the interview with Kaz, Felix said if he would've rested sooner he could've done more reps. Keep in mind, this was a timedevent. He wasn't saying he needed more time to get more reps; he just needed to rest sooner. If he had, he could've done more reps in a minute.

And this is exactly why you should focus on the speed of your lifts. When your speed slows down drastically, your nervous system will be left to recruit the smaller motor units. If you keep pushing, you'll fatigue those motor units and you won't be able to reach the biggest, strongest motor units in subsequent sets.

Another approach, if you can't lift fast, is to limit the duration of your sets to 10 seconds. Mark Felix's first set of reps lasted about 30 seconds. That's why he didn't win.

Final Words

So, when training for strength, keep your speed up, and limit your heavy sets to 10 seconds or less. When muscle growth is the primary goal, you can bump up your time to 15 seconds, because some fatigue is necessary for fast muscle gains.

Just remember, it's not how many reps you do, or how heavy the load is that matters. What matters is how long the sets last. Keep it short. Quit when you're ahead and you'll get bigger and stronger fast.
I often tell people to avoid going to failure in their metcon sets--not only does it suck the strong finish out of the workout, it also severely taxes the CNS and adrenals if done chronically.

Hybrid-style training is taking great advantage of the above ideas, by always training the strength & power movements (ie. OL) and generally doing short, power-biased metcons. The shorter length of metcons also taxes the CNS and adrenals to a lesser extent in general while still allowing progress.

Peter Dell'Orto
01-19-2009, 01:53 PM
I read that article earlier today and found myself nodding along. It matches my experience with AMRAP/max reps for time workouts.

It also matches my experience with asthma - there is a threshold that, once crossed, ends my workout. But I can hover near it for a long time. Muscular failure seems to have much the same effect. Go just far enough and you can keep repeating the effort (or a diminished effort, but closer to the original number); go too far and you've killed your ability to match the effort without considerable rest.

If that makes sense.


Dave Van Skike
01-19-2009, 02:07 PM
Bryce Lane.

Garrett Smith
01-19-2009, 02:15 PM
Dave, any particular article links from Bryce?

Mike ODonnell
01-19-2009, 02:46 PM
Training to failure frequently could be the #1 mistake more advanced people make with their training. That and not eating enough.

Dave Van Skike
01-19-2009, 04:23 PM
Dave, any particular article links from Bryce?


simplified EDT or whatever that stayley thing is...

combine density training and ladders and you have a pretty fool proof way to arrange training that suits a number of goals and is autoregulated

Mike ODonnell
01-19-2009, 05:15 PM

simplified EDT or whatever that stayley thing is...

combine density training and ladders and you have a pretty fool proof way to arrange training that suits a number of goals and is autoregulated

pretty much how I train nowadays w/ EDT style although I superset opposing compound movements to make sure there is always a push and pull with every workout...then just change the exercises with alternating workouts....love the simplicity and keeps me focused on what matters. I do about 10% jumps and then know when I need to take "2 steps" back and scale it down and then go again. Never hit failure and always stop with a rep "in the tank". No real set schedule....sometimes 3x a week....sometimes 2x. That and eat more. Need to get back over 200lbs, feeling too skinny nowadays. Ha.

Thanks for posting Dave....good read, always love the simple workout strategies....as complicated is for those who spend all day in forums and spend $300 a month on supplements....and then wonder why they look the same a year later (sadly I was once there....).

Steven Low
01-19-2009, 06:24 PM
Yep, the failure vs. maximizing power/volume argument.

Good to do both.. well, depending on what you're looking to do.