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    Registered User BluishBlue's Avatar
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    Should I rest more between sets or lower my reps? - Help

    Hello guys, I've been dealing with a problem which I don't know how to solve. Before I used to do something like 150, 200 pushups. Then I realized I should make the exercise difficult enough to bring it to 8/12 ( maybe 15 ) reps, focusing on hypertrophy... which I did today. Then I realized I still have the same problem I used to; I can do about 20+ pushups in proper form, so the plan was to do 5 sets of 8-12 reps ( starting with declined pushups, then doing normal ones, and finishing with diamond ones. ) Here's how it went: First set - 12 reps, almost reaching failure. 1 min rest. Second set - 8 reps. Then I thought I should rest longer, like two minutes, so I can reach at least 8 reps again. Third series - 6 reps... not going as expected. Rested 3 minutes... then did less than 6 reps, 4 I think. Then what if I rest longer, like 4 or 5 minutes? Well, 4/5 reps in the last set.. all reaching failure. No need to say how the rest of the workout went. Now, resting this long doesn't seem good for hypertrophy in long term, I think it should be used in a strength-focused workout. If I lower my reps ( 6 is already low ), the time under tension would be too quick and it would take me a long time to get a decent volume of training. I don't know why it takes me so much time to recover, I simply have no strength to do another set in a 90-second pause. So, what should I do? Any help will be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    I'd be more concerned what happens over the next few workouts than this one alone.
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    I rest long enough to reload a box of 25 shotgun shells with a progressive reloader between sets. About 3:30. A progressive reloader produces a shell with every pull of the handle, as opposed to a single stage reloader. I have 2 of those.
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    Registered User BluishBlue's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by air2fakie View Post
    I'd be more concerned what happens over the next few workouts than this one alone.
    Well, it also happens with some other exercises ( not all of them) in different muscle groups, but on a smaller scale. The ones that are more breath demanding are the ones that I struggle with the most ( like pushups ). I just don't know if I should " wait " for endurance to come over time or change my sets/reps range on certain exercises.
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    Originally Posted by paulinkansas View Post
    I rest long enough to reload a box of 25 shotgun shells with a progressive reloader between sets. About 3:30. A progressive reloader produces a shell with every pull of the handle, as opposed to a single stage reloader. I have 2 of those.
    Sounds great, thanks for converting the time. Wish I had one of those so that I could do that during my rest time too.
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    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BluishBlue View Post
    Well, it also happens with some other exercises ( not all of them) in different muscle groups, but on a smaller scale. The ones that are more breath demanding are the ones that I struggle with the most ( like pushups ). I just don't know if I should " wait " for endurance to come over time or change my sets/reps range on certain exercises.
    You either get stronger over time or not, within whatever parameters you set for your programming. You can't judge that based on one workout. You might want to look at your overall approach for your program though.
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    Bands and chains FurtadoZ9's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BluishBlue View Post
    Hello guys, I've been dealing with a problem which I don't know how to solve. Before I used to do something like 150, 200 pushups. Then I realized I should make the exercise difficult enough to bring it to 8/12 ( maybe 15 ) reps, focusing on hypertrophy... which I did today. Then I realized I still have the same problem I used to; I can do about 20+ pushups in proper form, so the plan was to do 5 sets of 8-12 reps ( starting with declined pushups, then doing normal ones, and finishing with diamond ones. ) Here's how it went: First set - 12 reps, almost reaching failure. 1 min rest. Second set - 8 reps. Then I thought I should rest longer, like two minutes, so I can reach at least 8 reps again. Third series - 6 reps... not going as expected. Rested 3 minutes... then did less than 6 reps, 4 I think. Then what if I rest longer, like 4 or 5 minutes? Well, 4/5 reps in the last set.. all reaching failure. No need to say how the rest of the workout went. Now, resting this long doesn't seem good for hypertrophy in long term, I think it should be used in a strength-focused workout. If I lower my reps ( 6 is already low ), the time under tension would be too quick and it would take me a long time to get a decent volume of training. I don't know why it takes me so much time to recover, I simply have no strength to do another set in a 90-second pause. So, what should I do? Any help will be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
    This is normal. Doing sets to failure (or even close to failure) and expecting to repeat those sets for the same reps is not attainable. Even more so on the larger compound movements. The key is to find a balance between intensity (% of 1RM being worked) and volume (sets in this example). If you do a set to failure like you did, I would consider that a "top set." After your top set, you want to drop the intensity and compliment it with volume work (3 sets of 10 with a weight that allows 12-15 reps).

    Or you could do something along the lines of "straight sets," which maintains a moderate intensity and naturally becomes more difficult on the latter sets. It could look like:

    1st set @ 8 reps (4-5 reps in reserve)
    2nd set @ 8 reps (3-4 reps in reserve)
    3rd set @ 8 reps (2-3 reps in reserve)
    4th set @ 8 reps (1-2 reps in reserve)

    The more often you go to failure, the more often you need to rotate your exercises. There's also many programs that are just as effective (and more effective for beginners/intermediates IMO) without going to failure. Ramping types that start with light weights and have a set progressive overload built in over time - 5x5 programs for example.

    But to answer your question, 60-90 seconds is a good rest period range if building size is your primary goal. If your intensity is high (failure), I would go around the 2 min mark for those sets.
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    Registered User paulinkansas's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BluishBlue View Post
    Sounds great, thanks for converting the time. Wish I had one of those so that I could do that during my rest time too.
    I reloaded about 60-70 boxes of 12 gauge shells. Had to stop when I ran out of boxes to put them in. I've got enough components to reload 100+ more boxes. That's a life time supply for me.
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  9. #9
    Registered User BluishBlue's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by FurtadoZ9 View Post
    This is normal. Doing sets to failure (or even close to failure) and expecting to repeat those sets for the same reps is not attainable. Even more so on the larger compound movements. The key is to find a balance between intensity (% of 1RM being worked) and volume (sets in this example). If you do a set to failure like you did, I would consider that a "top set." After your top set, you want to drop the intensity and compliment it with volume work (3 sets of 10 with a weight that allows 12-15 reps).

    Or you could do something along the lines of "straight sets," which maintains a moderate intensity and naturally becomes more difficult on the latter sets. It could look like:

    1st set @ 8 reps (4-5 reps in reserve)
    2nd set @ 8 reps (3-4 reps in reserve)
    3rd set @ 8 reps (2-3 reps in reserve)
    4th set @ 8 reps (1-2 reps in reserve)

    The more often you go to failure, the more often you need to rotate your exercises. There's also many programs that are just as effective (and more effective for beginners/intermediates IMO) without going to failure. Ramping types that start with light weights and have a set progressive overload built in over time - 5x5 programs for example.

    But to answer your question, 60-90 seconds is a good rest period range if building size is your primary goal. If your intensity is high (failure), I would go around the 2 min mark for those sets.
    It seems I overlooked some strategies; I'll consider working with 70% of my 1RM and see how it goes, then I may adjust it later, if needed. Thank you very much for your comment.
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  10. #10
    Bands and chains FurtadoZ9's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BluishBlue View Post
    It seems I overlooked some strategies; I'll consider working with 70% of my 1RM and see how it goes, then I may adjust it later, if needed. Thank you very much for your comment.
    You can also look at rest periods as a tool to increase the intensity, or track progress. But train whichever way that will keep you motivated and happy.
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