- Training With One-Hundred Repetitions!
- How to Build Bigger Muscles Using The “100 Reps” Method
- 6 Bench Press Challenges That Will Test Your Upper-Body Strength
- Bodyweight Bench Press
- 225 Bench Test
- PREP Reps
- Squeeze Press
- Bench Press 21s
- Failure to Failure
- Whole-Body Hundreds
- JimStoppani.com Membership
- 100 Reps to Ripped
- Here’s what you need to know…
- More Is Not Better: Why 100 Reps Is a Bad Idea
- Century Sets
- Introducing Century Sets
- My Century Sets Workouts
- Century Sets Wrap-up
Training With One-Hundred Repetitions!
Sounds downright insane, doesn’t it, one-hundred repetitions per set. That is like doing ten sets of ten, but all at once. You would think you have to be an elite athlete to train like this. The truth is anyone; I mean anyone can do it. I can tell you this; I will let any one of my clients who is willing to try something a little different train this way for a number of reasons.
Throughout the years, I have personally engaged in the hundreds program more than several times. I actually try to do it once every twelve to eighteen months. In fact I am ready to embark on this intense training regime yet again.
My training partner and I are doing fifteen to twenty reps on a four day split. We will change our body part spilt and number of reps to eight to ten for about six weeks. Then it will be time to delve into the hundreds.
The idea behind doing one hundred repetitions is that you only do one set per exercise. You choose a weight light enough to hopefully get through one hundred full range repetitions.
If you have to stop to rest, only rest one second per repetition left to perform.
For example, if you only get seventy reps, you rest thirty seconds and then do the remaining thirty. Say you have to rest again; you use the same principal by resting one second per repetition you have left until you reach the one hundred mark.
You may increase the intensity (weight) only when you can complete one hundred full range repetitions. I would suggest increasing in small increments however. You will be amazed at what you will be able to leg press or squat one hundred times by the end of the cycle.
The training cycle will last about as long as any other; anywhere from six to eight weeks (I once did a ten week cycle). There is no magic number of weeks to a cycle, just do it for as long as it feels right to you. Some experts believe a two week period is long enough.
Like I said, I have done this program a number of times. If you want to put on muscle, get more definition and separation, get stronger and leaner, then try this program. You owe it to yourself. Push it to another level; go beyond what you think you can. I guarantee results if and only if you give this an honest shot.
I remember I once did one hundred tricep pushdowns. After the set was complete I couldn’t believe the pump that immediately followed. It literally felt like something or someone was pushing up the back of my arms.
I never achieved a pump quite like that again. What a natural high that was, something I will never forget. That was over ten years ago.
Here is an example of a training split and workout using one hundred repetitions.
Day 1 Print 1 1 set, 100 reps (at 45 lbs)2 1 set, 100 reps (at 8 lbs)3 1 set, 100 reps (at 10 lbs)4 1 set, 100 reps (at 10 lbs)5 1 set, 100 reps (at 20 lbs) Day 2 Print 1 1 set, 100 reps (at 45 lbs using bar) 2 1 set, 100 reps (at 50 lbs) 3 1 set, 100 reps (at 20 lbs) 4 1 set, 100 reps (at 10 lbs) 5 1 set, 100 reps (0 lbs using stick) Day 3 Print 1 1 set, 100 reps (at 30 lbs) 2 1 set, 100 reps (at 20 lbs) 3 1 set, 100 reps (at 10 lbs) 4 1 set, 100 reps (15 lbs using bar) 5 1 set, 100 reps (at 10 lbs) Day 4 Print 1 1 set, 100 reps (at 10 lbs) 2 1 set, 100 reps (at 3 lbs) 3 1 set, 100 reps (at 10 lbs) 4 1 set, 100 reps (at 10 lbs) 5 1 set, 100 reps (at 10 lbs)
Remember this is a progressive program. Make sure you complete one hundred full range repetitions before adding any more weight. The example I gave here is just that, an example. You can do a split over three to five days if you want, that’s up to you. You can arrange the body parts in any fashion you would like as well.
Pick your exercises and only do one set per exercise. I would suggest keeping your exercises the same throughout the cycle. This way it is easier to track the weight you are using. I would also recommend having a training partner. You can count the repetitions for one another and push each other to finish each set. Good luck.
How to Build Bigger Muscles Using The “100 Reps” Method
No, not in a training session, not in one set! If you have been in the sports circles of bodybuilding for a long time now, then you must have heard of this conception before. Even the guys who have been working out in the same gym you’re working out as well probably have tried the “100 repeats” technique from time to time.
The larger part of the hardcore bodybuilders have rejected this technique. If you look it from a realistic side – it’s because of the marathon of repeats. This absolutely is in opposition of the all-known logic – fewer repeats, bigger weights – equals bigger muscle growth. How can a 100 repeats set be effective for building muscle when you have to pick a very light weight in order to complete it? The lack of research concerning this method leaves us to ponder a bit over “is it worth it or not”. The comparison between the flaws and the advantages will give us a clear picture of whether the technique is of benefit.
What is written until now about this method may be wrong but we would like to say that we found a way to improve it ‘s efficiency significantly. We have managed to increase the level of intensiveness to the maximum which stimulates the muscle growth process. We will present you a whole different way of looking at the “100 reps” method, so you can find how to use it to achieve maximum results.
THE 30% RULE. Firstly we would like to clarify something that often is left misunderstood in the old method. In it you don’t have to pick a weight light enough to do a 100 reps in only one set without interruption. You have to choose a weight so that you can do about 70-80 reps ( namely 20-30% of the weight with which you can do ten reps). To sum the reps to a total 100 you have to do as much as you possibly can with this weight. When you feel you can’t do a rep more, you should take a break for so many seconds that are left to add to the reps you just did to make 100. After waiting that long, then make the rest of the reps up to 100. For example if you have reached 75 reps, get a break for 25 seconds and then do the remaining 25 reps.
Most bodybuilders who use this technique do just one set like this for one type of exercise and 1-3 for a separate muscle group. If you don’t know nothing about the muscle structure you might be wondering – how can a weight so light stimulate muscle growth? First of all it should be marked that a weight with which you can do 1-6 reps is best for training muscle strength, and a weight that you use for maximum 7-12 reps is best for muscle growth. A weight which is above the 12 reps limit is best for muscle endurance. This is why so many experts claim that the old “100 reps” method is obsolete and is just a waist of time. But think about this – athletes who work only for endurance usually aren’t concerned about muscle size. You may add that bodybuilders on the other hand who make reps in the interval 15-25, actually also massively advance in their muscle mass. Recent studies show that athletes that are being put under surveillance with adding a set of 25-30 reps after they have done five sets with 5 reps each, have shown greater muscle growth in comparison to athletes that have just done 5×5 sets as well. Sure 25-30 is very far away from 70-100 which makes it impossible for those two studies to support the old “100 reps” method. Only the people working in the gym can support it by indicating the benefits of it.
One of the great benefits of the “100 reps” technique is the change of your normal workout plan. Ask any veteran bodybuilder about stressing your muscles and he will say nothing but in agreement in his response. The muscle is like the humans brain, if it does something long enough it gets BORED. And with that boredom comes a halt to muscle growth, unless you stress your muscles with a different approach.
Stimulating the muscle fibre. When you do the “100 reps” method you stimulate each and every muscle fibre in the muscle group you are training. That is so because during the long time of work the overworked muscle fibres stop working, which causes other muscle fibres which were firstly excluded from the workout process to start working in order the movement to continue ultimately resulting in greater muscle growth.
Micro Traumas. When the “100 reps” method is used it not only causes all muscle fibres to take part in the workout but it also causes micro traumas in most of them. That will result in feeling your muscles more pumped up and have a stronger muscle fever afterwards. Muscle fever and the pain in the muscle it causes is not only a sign for a good workout. It also means that micro traumas have appeared in the bigger part of the muscle fibres. One of the way that muscles grow is by replacing the traumatized fibres with new – bigger and stronger ones.
Higher level of the Growth Hormone. The more reps in the method and the short breaks, stimulate a larger secretion of the Growth Hormone during the workout. Because the Growth Hormone is considered to be one of the reasons for muscle growth, we think that it is a good idea to put the “100 reps” method in your workout program from time to time.
More blood in the muscles. The fourth benefit in using this method is that an increasing of the blood vessels occurs, this way supplying the muscles with the needed nutritious supplements. The result of supplying more oxygen and blood to the muscles cells immediately leads to better growth.
Overall the “100 reps” method will help you build your muscles faster if used correctly and wisely. It is a very good alternative when you feel your muscles are bored of the same old workouts. It has proven to many it’s effectiveness and it is up to you to go and try it out yourself.
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There are some workouts you just can’t get enough of.
They make you fit. They make you sweat and boost your energy. They push your limits, both physically and mentally.
And they make you crave more.
This 100-rep back squat or bench press challenge does all of the above. It rejuvenates me and shocks my system by maximizing the intensity. I do it when I stop progressing, and I need to bust through a plateau.
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It’s simple: You load up a barbell, and do either 100 reps of the squat or press in less than 10 minutes.
You must choose the right amount of weight, though. If you’re using two plates, you’re just warming up.
Beginners, use 135 pounds. Once you complete all the reps less than 10 minutes, put 185 pounds on the bar. And when you finish the challenge with 185, move up to the big boy weight of 225 pounds.
Some guys will ask me to adjust these numbers for their body weight.
Here’s what I tell them: Shit in the real world weighs what shit weighs.
You can’t push a button to magically alter the mass of something. But if you work toward these weights, I promise you’ll see progress across the board.
As for a strategy, I recommend aiming for 10 reps a minute. Set a timer to beep every 30 seconds. Every time it sounds, do 5 reps.
Some people like to frontload the first 5 minutes—but don’t go too hard. It’s easier to stay out of a hole than to climb out of one. To gain a bit of a lead, you can start with 6 reps every 25 seconds until you start to get a little tired.
Related: Normal-Sized Guys Who Are Freakishly Strong Tell You Their Strength Secrets
Even though you’re going hard and fast, form should still be a priority.
For the bench, go to full lockout at the top. Let the bar touch your chest at the bottom, but don’t let it bounce off your torso. Keep your hips on the bench the entire time.
For the squat, let your hips go slightly below parallel at the bottom of the exercise. When you push out of the hole, stand up all the way, snap your hips forward, and flex your glutes hard.
Fair warning: This isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to be grueling. But that’s what makes you change and makes you get better.
6 Bench Press Challenges That Will Test Your Upper-Body Strength
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You love the Bench Press. I love the Bench Press. Everyone loves the Bench Press.
Few things are more satisfying than lifting hundreds of pounds over your chest and setting a new personal record. It’s even better when that PR happens to coincide with adding another 45-pound plate to the bar and joining the two-, three- or (gasp!) four-plate club.
However, if you have any experience with the Bench Press, you know all too well that progress can grind to a halt. Or sometimes you work hard on your bench but your chest remains small and feeble. And both of these problems can be mind-numbingly frustrating.
To help alleviate those problems, we’ve compiled Bench Press challenges and unique variations that will help you add strength to your bench and size to your chest.
Bodyweight Bench Press
Joe DeFranco, renown strength coach, recently challenged his followers to time how long it takes to perform 100 reps on the Bench Press using a weight equivalent to their body weight.
This isn’t like Push-Ups where you might be able to knock out 100 reps in a row. It will take time and multiple breaks and there’s some strategy involved. You could try to knock out as many reps as possible toward the beginning or spread it out so you don’t fatigue too quickly.
DeFranco’s time was 16 minutes, 10 seconds.
225 Bench Test
Channel your inner NFL prospect and try the 225-pound Bench Press test. This challenge is simple. Perform as many reps as possible with 225 pounds.
The record at the NFL Scouting Combine is a whopping 51 reps. Football players train specifically for this test and have many years under their belts lifting heavy weights in a collegiate strength training program, so don’t be too upset if you come nowhere near the record.
In fact, you may not even be able to bench press 225 pounds. That’s OK. Back off the weight to a load you think you can lift for 15 to 20 reps, and perform as many reps as possible.
RELATED: A Powerful Chest Workout for Strength and Size
PREP stands for Power Rack Eccentric Potentiation. Sound complicated? Fear not, it’s a simple technique, which, according to Dr. Joel Seedman, strength coach and owner of Advanced Human Performance, is one of the fastest ways to build strength in the Bench Press.
To perform PREP reps, use a weight that’s up to 120 percent of your max. So if your max is 250, you can use up to 300 pounds. This may seem incredibly heavy, but your muscles are capable of handling more weight on the lowering (eccentric) phase of the rep.
Lower the weight over 3-5 seconds until the bar reaches the rack’s safety pins set a few inches above your chest. Now slide out from under the bar and take about 30 percent of the weight off the bar—usually removing a 45-pound plate from each side is sufficient.
Now slide back under the bar, press the weight up and rack it. Reset to your starting weight and repeat for up to 4 reps. You can do this for 3-5 sets.
RELATED: A 5-Step Guide to Increasing Your Bench Press Weight
Having trouble building a bigger chest with the Bench Press? Add the Squeeze Press to your workouts.
“Many people have a hard time activating their pecs on the Bench Press, thus limiting their ability to build muscle and strength through this region simultaneously,” explains Dr. John Rusin, strength coach, physical therapist and owner of John Rusin Fitness Systems.
The Squeeze Press is essentially Neutral-Grip Dumbbell Press (palms facing each other), but instead you squeeze the dumbbells together as hard as you can. This forces your pecs to engage and creates an incredible chest pump.
“The golden rule is this: In order to elicit a response from a muscle, you must feel it,” Rusin says. “That’s exactly why I love the Dumbbell Squeeze Press for activating the pecs while training the shoulders and chest in a very safe and effective position.”
Rusin recommends performing sets of 8-15 reps. Use a weight that’s challenging but allows you to focus on the squeeze throughout the rep—especially at the bottom and top positions.
RELATED: 7 Dumbbell Chest Press Variations for a Stronger Chest
Bench Press 21s
21s are an old-school bodybuilding method typically used for building bigger arms. But according to Nick Tumminello, strength coach and owner of Performance U, 21s are an easy and effective way to build muscle with many other exercises, including the Bench Press.
Here’s how to perform 21s:
Do 7 reps lowering the barbell only halfway.
Do 7 reps from the bottom position pressing the weight halfway up.
Finish with 7 complete reps for a total of 21 reps.
21s create a great pump and place your muscles under tension for a high number of reps—two keys to building muscle. The first seven reps will be relatively easy, but your muscles will be screaming for mercy by the end of the set. Perform a total of 1 to 3 sets.
RELATED: Build New Muscles With This Classic Bodybuilding Technique
Failure to Failure
Rick Scarpulla, strength coach and owner of Ultimate Advantage Training tests his athletes’ strength and mental toughness with this brutal full-body challenge. Here’s how it works:
Perform as many reps as possible on the Bench Press with a weight you can lift for about 10 reps.
Perform as many Pull-Ups as possible.
Repeat 3-5 times taking no rest.
This is a great way to cram as many reps in as possible to add some strength, muscular endurance and work capacity at the same time.
RELATED: How to Add 30 Pounds to Your Bench Press in 20 Minutes
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock
As plateau-busting techniques go, few get the job done more efficiently than Hundreds. Got a muscle group that doesn’t want to grow and/or a training program that’s stagnant? Start addressing these issues and sparking new gains with just one set.
One set of 100 reps, that’s is.
Hundreds training has been around for a while – a technique that involves picking one exercise for a given muscle group, selecting a light weight, and doing one all-out, grueling set of 100 reps. Bodypart complete, now let it rest.
My approach to Hundreds training follows the standard format of one exercise and 100 reps per muscle group, but I’ve got a new, more aggressive spin on the technique: a whole-body approach in every sense of the word.
In my book, you’ve got 10 individual bodyparts – some big, some small: chest, back, legs (quads + hamstrings), shoulders, traps, triceps, biceps, forearms, calves, and abs. You’ll be giving each of these the 100-rep treatment, and you’ll be doing so in four consecutive workouts.
If you’re counting along at home, that’s 1,000 total reps per workout. Times four.
At some point during your first Whole-Body Hundreds workout, you may think to yourself, “What did I get myself into?” You got yourself into a 4-day program that will change your biochemistry, promote new muscle gains, burn fat, and strengthen your mind as much as it strengthens your body.
The benefit of hundreds training lies in how it recruits the two major types of muscle fibers – slow-twitch and fast-twitch – through the course of each (long) set.
Because the weight is so light and the reps are high, the slow-twitch fibers are worked thoroughly in the beginning of the set. Slow-twitch fibers, as you may know, are the ones used primarily for endurance-type activities, thus high rep counts train them most effectively.
Fast-twitch muscle fibers, on the other hand, are utilized more during powerful activities – short, intense bouts of exercises (sprints, heavy lifts, plyometrics, etc). Therefore, these types of fibers are best trained with either heavy weight and low reps or fast, explosive movements. One important thing to remember here: Fast-twitch fibers have much more potential for growth than slow-twitch fibers.
Most muscles are around 50% slow-twitch, 50% fast-twitch, so it’s a good idea to train both types of fibers regularly. In the course of your 100-rep sets in this program, you’ll be emphasizing the slow-twitch fibers on roughly the first 50 or so reps. At that point, those fibers will be fatigued and the fast-twitch fibers will take over to more or less carry you the rest of the way.
This one-set journey to 100 causes significant biochemical changes in the muscles. Specifically, it leads to greater growth of blood vessels that feed muscle fibers to enhance the delivery of oxygen, nutrients and hormones to the cells. Accompany this style of training with proper nutrient and supplementation – of course, I recommend Pre JYM and Pro JYM before workouts and Post JYM and Pro JYM afterward – and your muscles will have no choice but to grow bigger.
My Whole-Body Hundreds routine consists of four separate workouts performed on consecutive days (though you can feel free to insert a rest day or two if you like). In fact, I’ll be posting on my social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) the exact hundreds workouts I’m doing, starting tomorrow.
In each workout, you’ll be doing one set of 100 reps with a relatively light weight on 10 different exercises – one move per muscle group (chest, back, legs, shoulders, traps, triceps, biceps, forearms, calves, abs.)
But I’m not talking about 100 consecutive reps without setting the weight down. Rather, each hundreds set will involve choosing a weight you can do for around 30 reps, then using the rest-pause technique to reach 100 reps.
Rest-pause is a pretty simple concept: Rep out to failure (or close to it), then set the weight down and rest for 10-20 seconds. Pick it back up and continue repping out until reaching failure again, then rest another 10-20 seconds. Repeat in this manner until you reach 100 reps, however many rest-pauses it takes you to get there.
Whole-Body Hundreds Workouts
Each of the four workouts will be a little bit different (while still consisting of 10 exercises x 100 reps). Below are specific directions for each of the individual routines.
I mentioned earlier that I designed these routines to be done on four consecutive days. But feel free to insert rest days between workouts if you like and/or are still at a beginner or intermediate level.
To download any of the workouts to your mobile device, click on the “Workout” heading (Workout 1, Workout 2, Workout 3 or Workout 4) – each of those is linked to its corresponding downloadable workout.
>>Exercise Selection: The focus here is on compound (multijoint) moves.
>>Load: Pick a weight on each exercise that’s approximately 50% of your 10-rep max (10RM) or that has you reaching initial failure at around 30 reps.
>>Sets/Reps: After reaching failure (or close to it) initially, rest-pause until you reach 100 reps.
- Machine Bench Press
- Seated Cable Row
- Dumbbell Squat
- Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press
- Dumbbell Shrug
- Dumbbell Seated Calf Raise
- Triceps Bench Dip
- Incline Dumbbell Curl
- Dumbbell Wrist Curl
>>Exercise Selection: Single-joint (isolation) moves are the focus here. When I did this workout, I was travelling and made it work at a hotel gym. Feel free to use whatever comparable exercises you want at your gym.
>>Load: Pick a weight on each exercise that’s approximately 30% of your 10RM.
>>Sets/Reps: After reaching failure (or close to it) initially, rest-pause until you reach 100 reps.
- Cable Crossover
- Straight-Arm Pulldown
- Reverse-Hamstring Extension
- Rear Delt Flye
- Cable Middle Trap Shrug
- Cable Standing Calf Raise
- Rope Triceps Pressdown
- Standing Cable Concentration Curl
- Dumbbell Reverse Wrist Curl
- Reverse Crunch
>>Exercise Selection: Compound exercises (as in Workout 1) are emphasized. When I did this workout myself, I was camping in the High Sierras with my family, so I was limited to bands and adjustable dumbbells that I brought along. But the point of these workout is to show you how I personally adapt my training on the go and still get results. Just because I use bands on an exercise doesn’t mean that you have to.
>>Load: Pick a weight on each exercise that’s approximately 30% of your 10RM.
>>Sets/Reps: After reaching failure (or close to it) initially, rest-pause until you reach 100 reps.
- Bands Reverse-Grip Chest Press
- Band Standing Pulldown
- Band Hack Squat
- Band Upright Row
- Band Behind-Back Shrug
- Band Donkey Calf Raise
- Band Triceps Dip
- Band Curl
- Band Behind-Back Wrist Curl
- Band Standing Crunch
>>Exercise Selection: Like Workout 2, single-joint moves are the focus. I was still in the mountains camping when I did the workout – so again, limited to bands and dumbbell exercises. I did all bands again here, but use any version you like of the 10 exercises (ie, barbell, dumbbell, machine, cables, bands, etc).
>>Load: Pick a weight on each exercise that’s approximately 50% of your 10RM (an increase from Workout 2).
>>Sets/Reps: After reaching failure (or close to it) initially, rest-pause until you reach 100 reps.
- Band Flye
- Band Straight-Arm Pulldown
- Band Romanian Deadlift
- Band Lateral Raise
- Band Straight-Arm Pushdown
- Band “Seated” Calf Raise
- Band Overhead Triceps Extension
- Band Hammer Curl
- Band Standing Reverse Wrist Curl
- Plank (100 seconds)
Not much to it, really – other than 1,000 reps per workout that will essentially exhaust all slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscles in your body!
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100 Reps to Ripped
Here’s what you need to know…
- The more experienced you are in the gym, the easier it is to hit a plateau.
- To break through a training plateau, use 50-100 rep sets with short rest-pauses interspersed throughout.
- For a 50-rep set, perform 25 reps consecutively, take a 15 second rest-pause, then bang out as many reps as you can before rest-pausing again.
- The goal is to reach 50 or 100 reps with 6 or fewer rest-pauses or subsets.
- This method can used for strength, hypertrophy, or as a fat burning finisher, depending on how you set it up.
Smash Your Plateau
Take off your shirt and stand in front of a mirror. Do you look any different than you did a few months ago? Be honest.
Now check your training log. Have the weights gone up? Can you do more reps with the same amount of weight? Have you beaten your 1RM or 3RM on the key lifts recently or have things kinda stalled out?
If things aren’t looking good, you may have hit a plateau. That’s okay, it happens to every advanced lifter. To blast through it, you can’t just keep doing the same things you’ve been doing in the gym. It’s time to get a running start and juggernaut through that wall.
50-100 Rep Sets
One of the most intense ways to break a training plateau is by doing 50 or 100-rep sets. It’s simple. Here’s one way to do it with the 50 rep goal:
- Select a poundage that will allow you to perform 25 solid consecutive repetitions.
- Upon completion of the 25th rep, take a 15-second rest-pause while breathing deeply.
- Continue on by gutting out a few more reps to failure then take another rest-pause of 15 seconds.
- Continue in this manner until you hit a total of 50 reps.
Hypothetically, your rep patterns might appear as follows: 25, 8, 6, 5, 3, and 3 = 50 reps. If you have the guts, go for 70-100 reps and extend your rest-pauses to 20 seconds between subsets.
A goal to shoot for when doing a 50 or 100-rep set is to get them completed in 6 subsets or less. Bodybuilders or those with hypertrophy goals will use a weight that’s 75% of a 10-rep maximum and do as few subsets as necessary to achieve a 50 or a 100-rep set. To really make them intense, they only take a 6-second rest-pause between each subset instead of 15 seconds.
Another variation of 100s is performed in the following manner:
- First Set 40 reps
- Rest-Pause 60 seconds
- Second Set 30 reps
- Rest-Pause 30 seconds
- Third Set 20 reps
- Rest-Pause 10 seconds
- Fourth Set 10 Reps
Exercises, Fat Burners and Finishers
You’ll have to tweak the 50 or 100-rep set depending on whether you’re using a compound or isolation exercise. For example, you use less energy doing leg extensions than you do with squats. And, of course, if you hit your goal of 50 or 100, you’ll increase the weight the next time you try it.
Aside from using 50 or 100-rep sets to break plateaus, you can use them as a muscle-building modality. Try them in giant-set fashion where you do 5 exercises for a selected muscle group (quads, chest, or back, etc.) for 20 reps each. A worthy challenge would be to complete the 100 reps in 100 seconds.
You can also use them as brutal finishers or fat-burners. For instance, do 100 reps of each of the following exercises in giant set fashion (finish all 100 reps of an exercise before moving on to the next one in the series).
- A. Leg Press
- B. Lat Pulldown
- C. Hammer Bench Press
- D. Kettlebell Swing
Do 100 reps of each, taking as few sets as necessary, with as little rest as necessary. Move from one exercise to another in rapid succession. The only caveat is that you’d need to use lighter weights, something that would allow you to get about 50-60 reps on the first subset of each exercise.
That way, the lighter weights used in the giant sets can be done at the end of a workout without interfering with the recovery of any one muscle group. For instance, even if you worked chest the day before doing this particular giant set, the load would be sufficiently light enough so that doing 100 reps for chest wouldn’t interfere with its recovery and would likely even help.
When to Do Them
If you’re training for strength, use the 100-rep concept as a finisher. For example, if you’re working quads, do your normal routine and then do 100 reps of leg extensions after you’re done with everything else.
If strength and power isn’t the primary objective, do the 50 or 100 rep routines as any first, second, or third exercise, be it a compound exercise like the squat or a single-joint exercise like the leg extension.
If you’re doing them to burn fat, you can do them daily at the end of your workout until you’ve reached your fat burning goals.
Dig deep and smash that plateau!
Related: 5/3/1 Rest Pause: A 6 Week Challenge
Related: 185 Rep Squat Workout
Have you ever been on your way to the gym and thought to yourself, I want to do something so awful I will be mad at myself for days?!?! I know right, me neither. But in case you have, I have just the workout … 100’s! Every once in a while it’s great to shock your body from your regular workout routine. This is a workout that I would never recommend doing on the regular. It’s brutal and demoralizing. LET’S DO IT!!!
The 100-rep workout was first made popular in the 1980’s by Rory Leidelmeyer, and bodybuilders have been using it to break through plateaus and challenge themselves mentally and physically ever since.
It’s definitely not something you want to do all the time. You can use it in many ways. Most coaches and seasoned bodybuilders may suggest a two-week cycle. I have read some articles by bodybuilders who have done it for up to a ten-week cycle (they are clearly not well mentally), so you can see its versatility.
I like to use 100’s every once in a while as one full body day with one exercise for each body part (except maybe two or three exercises for legs). I recommend recording the results including the weights used and all rest points per exercise. When you keep this information you can try and beat your rest results next time to track your endurance gains. Don’t go up in weight on any exercise until you can hit 100 in a row. This workout is so tough you won’t want to do it often, but you will be so sore you will love/ hate it and eventually crave it again.
How to Do It
The idea is to do 100 reps in a row, but in reality you will not do that with most exercises the first time around. So, what do you really do? Let’s start with pull-ups because that is the most challenging upper body exercise I am going to prescribe. Start by doing as many pull-ups as you can at once; let’s say that number is 43. Subtract 43 from 100 and rest for 57 seconds; start back up and maybe you make it from 43 to 66 so rest 34 seconds, repeat to 100. Completing the pull-ups is usually the saddest part of the workout, so I like to get it over first, as it has the most rests.
How to Choose Your Weight
I go with a weight that’s about 30% to 40% of the max on a set of 12. Let’s look at a bench press for example. If I have a client who can max out at about 12 reps with 70 on each side of the bar, I would load between 25 and 35 pounds on each side.
I would base my decision on what order I am placing the bench press in the workout: Towards the beginning, a little heavier at 35. Towards the end, a little lighter at 30 or 25.
The weight should feel a little easy at the beginning as you are going for 100, so avoid the temptation to add more weight when you are just a few reps into the set. You will feel it soon enough!
Elements of the Full Body 100 Workout
— Bench press
— Barbell squats
— Seated shoulder press
— Bicep curl
— Alternating forward lunges
(100 total moves will be terrible enough, but feel free to do 100 on each leg if you are feeling it)
— Standing tricep kickback
(two dumbbells at a time, not single)
— Standing calf raises with dumb bells
More Is Not Better: Why 100 Reps Is a Bad Idea
Repetition may be the mother to mastery, but when it comes to excessive reps in fitness, the cons may outnumber the pros.
As a fitness professional, I can respect the mental strength and positive behavioral change that an individual may acquire from performing 100 or more repetitions in a row. And performing 100 crunches every morning may provide you with a gratifying feeling of accomplishment, plus bragging rights at parties. However, in the end, more is not necessarily better, for two key reasons:
1. You sacrifice form. With any exercise, form is imperative to achieving results in a safe and functional manner-and generally speaking, people who are focused only on hitting the number 100 are not using proper form. This causes a shift from the targeted muscles to others, which can risk injury. Doing an exercise 100 times in a row is also associated with the idea that to build the most amount of lean muscle, one must train to complete exhaustion or failure. Some may then assume that this type of training builds muscle faster while decreasing fat, but that won’t happen if you aren’t doing an exercise properly. While I admit that I have trained to failure before, I focused on technique and only did 8 to 12 reps.
RELATED: 7 Surprising Signs You’re Setting Yourself Up for Workout Burnout
2. You create imbalance in the body. Performing 100 crunches may help to strengthen the anterior (frontal portion) of your body. However, to have a balanced and symmetrical frame, you should spend more time adding in moves that work both sides of the body. In the case of crunches, the disservice that you are doing to your body by overlooking your posterior chain can wreck havoc on your lower back when you are sitting at your desk.
I like to look at your body like a bank account. Making smart deposits into your body with proper technique, protocols, and rest will result in healthy dividends being paid out. Poor deposits or investments will result in unhealthy future. When you train with 100 reps, you place too much stress on your joints, which results in pain, inflammation, and injury.
- By Jay Cardiello
You may not know this about me, but I’m a bit of a gambler. I don’t really mean in the casino-sense of the word (although I do love me some poker), but I definitely gamble when I make decisions, in almost any area of my life.
I truly favor high-risk, high-reward type situations.
This applies to training and nutrition as much as it does anything else: every now and then I get it into my head to do something that I think has the potential to be either incredibly stupid or utterly brilliant.
Some of my best ideas and creations occur this way (the feast/fast model, as an example). That said, it doesn’t always have a happy ending or result in a breakthrough; sometimes a crazy idea is just a dumb idea that you’re crazy enough to true.
Today, I’d like to talk about an idea that started out crazy, and turned out not to be frighteningly stupid. Quite the opposite, in fact—it’s turned out to be a way to hit new PRs, add some size, and even burn a little fat. In short, it’s got everything you want…if you’re willing to put in the work. And it WILL take work.
You ready? Drum roll please…
Introducing Century Sets
100 Reps of Pure Humility
Here’s how it works in brief: 100 total reps of a compound exercise with a predetermined percentage of your bodyweight (chart below).
This idea came about out of pure boredom, coupled with a lack of equipment. In a crowded gym with guys loitering on every piece of equipment, the only station available was, predictably, the squat rack. And while you can do nearly any exercise in a squat rack, I got to thinking—always dangerous—and pondered, what if you were to do a workout with ONLY squats? How would it work?
And I had to find out. What resulted is Century Squat, from which grew Century Sets using other exercises. Adam and I started playing around this last summer, when we grew a bit bored from testing all of the workouts in our book. You’re probably wondering why it’s taken me close to a year to post this? Well, frankly, because it’s been sitting in a file with 25 other half-finished blog posts and I’m finally just getting around to it. Geeze, cut a guy a break.
Anyway, as the name implies, you’re working with 100 reps; the goal is to hit that number in the fewest number of sets possible. But, there are caveats: no set should go over 20 reps; so, you’ll aim to complete in the fewest sets possible, with a minimum of five sets. When you can get 5×20, increase the weight next workout by 5%. Simple? Yes. Easy? Hell no.
Let me just make that as clear as I possibly can: unless you routinely do high rep work for multiple sets, this is going to suck. A lot. It won’t bury you, but it will humble you.
Now, before we go any further, I’d like to address some things I know are bound to come up:
- Ben Bruno is probably at least partly the inspiration for this. His stuff has certainly impactful to my training over the past year, and he does a lot of high rep work.
- I’m aware that there are other systems that go by the name “century sets.” I don’t really care. I’m not coming up with a new name. If there can be more than one guy named John, there can be more than one protocol called Century Sets. Deal with it, because this.
- I’m sure some will make the comparison to German Volume Training. There are certain similarities, of course: aiming for 100 total reps, and using the same working weight during all sets, increasing only when you can complete all reps on all sets. A few key differences:
- We’re working with 5×20 instead of 10×10. So, really, higher reps with a lower percentage of 1RM.
- Will this lead to a difference in training effect? Depends on your fiber type, and how you grow. For me, lower body tends to grow on multiple sets of high reps, but no difference in upper body.
- With GVT, the number of sets is static. You hit 10 no matter what, then stop; you may wind up with less than 100 reps.
- With Century Sets, the number of reps is static. You’re going to complete 100 reps, no matter how many sets it takes. Because, again, this.
- I’m not German.
- We’re working with 5×20 instead of 10×10. So, really, higher reps with a lower percentage of 1RM.
Now that we’ve got all that squared away, let’s move on to exercises.
Pick Your Century Sets Movement
The concept can be applied to any exercise, but it’s probably best to stick with the basics. In the chart below, the six of the big boys are outlined, along with suggested starting percentages.
Some basic guidelines for selecting starting weights for Century Sets
Of course, these numbers are just a jumping off point, but they seem to be a good place to start for anyone trying century sets for the first time. Admittedly, they’re recommendations based on experience from just seven subjects (Adam and myself, and then five clients), and n=7 isn’t exactly proven science. Still, in our testing, these seemed to allow for the greatest success rate over an 8-week period. Finally, while you can do multiple exercises Century-style during a given week or (for the truly masochistic) even the same workout, it’s better to start conservatively and work your way up—especially if you’re not generally accustomed to high volume workouts. Ya dig?
OTHER NOTES ON EXERCISE SELECTION FOR CENTURY SETS:
1 .With regard to pull ups/chin ups: use bands for assistance, not an assisted pull up machine. Obviously, this will make it much harder to get an accurate read on the percentage of your bodyweight that you’re using. So, select a band that allows you get at least 20 but no more than 25 reps on your first set. Adjust from there. You’re a smart bro, bro; you’ll figure it out.
2. For any pulling exercise, feel free to use straps. Your grip will be the limiting factor in any pulling exercise. You may want to go strap-free the first few sets to get some forearm/grip work, but once you have to terminate based on grip, use straps.
3. Speaking of straps, consider using Kroc Rows. I love Kroc rows, but this takes twice as long. Secondly, if you terminate a Kroc Row at 20, I’m not sure it’s actually a Kroc Row anymore, as you’re supposed to go to failure. So, I guess you’d just be doing a single-arm row “Kroc style.” Still, a good addition.
4. Trap Bar Deadlifts are a perfectly fine alternative to squats. And, honestly, I prefer. Picking stuff up off the ground has always been infinitely preferable to squatting with a bar on my back. When I first tried this, there was no trap bar available, and we had to just squat.
5. If you’ve got a bum knee or gitchy shoulder, proceed with caution. Look, experimental training is cool, but being an idiot is not. If you’re dealing with a messed up body part, do some testing before you jump in on this.
So, you’ve got the method, you’ve got the exercises. Let’s talk about execution.
Selecting Your Starting Weights for Century Sets
To illustrate how this works more clearly, we’ll use a hypothetical example. Let’s call him “Trevalin Dagmor” and say, hypothetically, that he’s a level 8 Human Paladin, who just so happens to wield a +5 Holy Avenger. Trevalin hypothetically stands at 5’8’’ and hypothetically weighs 185 pounds. As a completely unrelated aside, this particular hypothetical Paladin also bears a striking resemblance to me. Hypothetically.
Here’s what his weights would look like:
Century Sets starting weights for your friendly neighborhood Paladin
Once again, just a jumping off point. If you’re particularly strong in one exercise or particularly weak in another, make adjustments to the percentages. As a gauge, you should be able to hit 20 reps on the first set.
My Century Sets Workouts
Okay, you got me. Trevalin is me. Or rather, I’m him. Well, he was my D&D character, which makes us the same person. So, I’m going to give you an example of my first experience with Century Sets, which, as I mentioned above, was with squats.
To begin, load a bar with equivalent of your body weight. At the time I came up with this, I was 190, but I loaded the bar with 185, because the gym only had one 2.5 pounds plate. Don’t be a stickler. I got under the bar, and proceeded to do my thang.
The aim, obviously, was to get 5 sets of 20 reps. I didn’t quite make it. And, in all likelihood, your first time out, neither will you. My first workout appears on the chart below. As a comparative reference, so does my third workout.
This sounds nuts, but TRUST me, your legs will progress like crazy.
Tow of Roman’s Century Sets Workouts
As you can see, my legs were not quite as accustomed to the higher volume as I would have liked them to be; my quads we getting a little sleepy during my 3rd set. In point of fact, it was really my lower back that was the limiting. It took me 8 sets to get 100 reps, but my low back was tired during the 5th set, which is why I terminated at 8 reps. I took a longer rest (more on that below), and was able to hit 14 on my next set. But, fatigue set in again. My 7th set was truly murderous, and by my 9th rep I had to bail out, despite my legs having a few more reps. I finished my last set of 4 reps with as much dignity as I could muster.
My second workout showed some improvement, but my third was when things really picked up. I hit 20 on the first 4 sets, but my back fatigued on set 5. I finished with a total of 6 sets; during the last one, I stopped at 7 simply because I was at 100, but definitely could have kept going.
By my fourth workout (July 23, 2012) I was able to finish in 5 sets; this was 8 weeks later, and my legs had grown about an inch, with just one day of training my quads. Since then, I’ve gone as high as 225 for 4 good sets of 20, and some straggler sets.
General Programming Considerations for Century Sets:
VOLUME: Is high. If you’re doing a lot of other high volume stuff, tone it down while you’re using century sets.
FREQUENCY: You could conceivably do this once per week, but you’d have to pay very close attention to recovery and it might put you under the bus. You could also do it once per month, but that wouldn’t really be enough to progress in a reasonable length of time. So, perform a workout of this kind once every two weeks.
REST PERIODS: Speaking generally, I have people rest about 3 minutes between earlier sets. If you can go with less rest, do so. As sets progress, you may need more recovery time. During my first workout, I took a 7-minute rest period to let my low back recover. So, no less than 90 seconds, no more than 8 minutes. That’s a huge range, so here’s a guideline: rest as much as you need to be able to execute at 75% on the next set. If you rest until you hit 100%, it will take too damn long and you’ll miss out on the metabolic effect.
Century Sets Wrap-up
They say that necessity is the mother of invention; perhaps it’s also true that insanity is the father of innovation. Despite being born out of lack of equipment and an apparent desire to humble myself, my version of Century Sets has proven to be great for building mass, increasing strength endurance, and burning fat. But they’re also fun, in that I-hate-myself kind of way. But, above all, it’s a challenging way to add a little spice to your program that just so happens to be effective. Win.
About the Author
John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. When not doing that, he serves as the Chief Bro King of the Roman Empire and Executive Editor here on RFS. You can read his articles here, and rants on Facebook.