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1 Rep Bodybuilding Workout Routine


Single Rep Training

Although single rep sets are used when competing in the Olympic Games by weight-lifters and power-lifters, they can also be used to build both size and improve strength. Sports science has now proven that when we train heavy there is an increase of growth-prone fast-twitch muscle fiber activation.

The simple dramatic increase in the blood volume in the muscle cell signals it to grow; the density of your one rep workout will hopefully provide you with maximum fiber stimulation for maximum growth. In order to do this you need to split the compound lifts of your training into 2 segments: the volume/density segment and the heavy segment.

In order for an Olympic lifter to increase his 1 rep best, he trains using sets of 5 reps or less. The argument, from sports science is that this type of training builds strength. But sports science has also said that doing 1 rep with maximum weight will also stimulate more red muscle fibers (fast-twitch).

We also know that sports science has said volume will build muscle too, which may sound like a contradiction but doing 20 X 1RM will only result in injury in the long-term. Whenever we're building muscle mass, it wreaks havoc on both your joints and connective tissue.

The correct way to build muscle is to use load, volume and density. Sports science can prove to us that any of these 3 important aspects when used individually will build muscle. However, there are many successful bodybuilders who have combined all 3 of these muscle building techniques to create a workout with some heavy lifting, with sufficient volume, plus some high density work.

If we keep the argument for single rep training scientific, your heavy work immediately increases the activation of those important "growth-prone fast-twitch muscle fibers". The volume will provide the required mechanical stimulus to initiate the signalling of the cells growth process.

The density you train with is the final thread to building muscle is clearly demonstrated by the single rep routine listed below. The "heavy" factor is easy with singles training, the problem is volume because doing 20 reps with 1RM will cause injury.

The answer is density. Doing very heavy, not your 1RM, but still one big lift and you'll get the required volume, while you'll still be reaching muscle fiber fatigue that's required to maximize muscle growth - all of this done without the joint/connective tissue and neural health drawbacks.

Your workout then needs to be split into two different parts. The first part is the heavy segment; the other part is the volume and density part. When starting with the heavy segment, you first need to ramp up to lifting your 1RM (the maximum amount you're able to hold or lift using strict form).

You need to become familiar with your 1RM. You should start with a weight and do about 8-10 sets before you reach your maximum (1RM). After you hit that important 1RM, perform 3 singles - one using 95% of your 1RM, one with 92%, and the last one using 90% of your 1RM.

The two divisions in your single-rep workout are the heavy section and the volume/density section. Below we have listed what could possibly be a singles routine for a bodybuilder/weight-trainer to build some serious muscle. So if you're a bodybuilder who has been training a good few years you may have a heavy segment looking something like this:

1 x 10 - with barbell only

1 x 5 - 135lbs

1 x 3 - 185lbs

1 x 1 - 205lbs

1 x 1 - 225lbs

1 x 1 - 245lbs

1 x 1 - 265lbs

1 x 1 - 285lbs

1 x 1 - 305lbs

1 x 1 - 325lbs

1 x 1 - 307.5lbs (95%)

1 x 1 - 300lbs (92%)

1 x 1 - 292.5lbs (90%)

The Volume/Density Section:

You select a load of 75% to 85% of your 1RM, doing the same movement as you did in the heavy section. If you went any lighter than 75% you won't get the motor recruitment needed to make a difference. There are 2 different ways to approach your volume/density segment:

1. Select 75% to 85% of 1RM and do as many singles reps as possible to be completed during a specific amount of time. Or you can do the reverse:

2. Do a specified number of singles (e.g., 15 or 30 reps) in as short a time as possible.

Obviously the amount of rest you take between reps is going to be significant in both versions, so while you may still re-rack your barbell and then reset with each rep, you need to try resting as little as possible.

Below is just an example of a typical single volume/density training day:

1. Perform 30 singles using 80% 1RM as fast as you're able to.

2. Perform as many singles without stopping for 8 minutes, using 80% 1RM.

3. Perform 25 singles using 85% as fast as possible.

4. Perform as many singles in 7 minutes as possible, using 85% 1RM.

5. Perform 10 singles using 85% 1RM as fast as possible. THEN perform another 20 singles using 80% in as short as time as possible.

6. Perform 15 singles using 85% 1RM as fast as possible. THEN perform another 15 singles using 80% 1RM in as short time as possible.

7. Perform 20 singles using 85% 1RM as fast as possible. THEN perform another 10 singles using 80% 1RM in as short time as possible.

8. Perform as many singles using 85% as possible in 2 minutes. THEN perform as many singles possible using 80% 1RM for as 6 minutes.

9. Perform as many singles using 85% 1RM as possible in 4 minutes. THEN perform as many singles possible using 80% 1RM for 4 minutes.

10. Perform as many singles using 85% 1RM as possible in 6 minutes. THEN perform as many singles possible using 80% 1RM in 2 minutes.


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Disclaimer: The information presented is intended to be used for educational purposes only. The statements made have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (U.S.). These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any condition or disease. Please consult with your own physician or health care practitioner regarding any suggestions and recommendations made.

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