A great many lifters use this standard training recipe for growth:
- Train a body part two or even three times a week.
- Employ different rep ranges each workout to either maximize muscle fiber recruitment (low reps) or to stimulate mechanical tension, metabolic fatigue, and muscular damage (higher reps).
As such, many lifters will devote the first training day of the week for a particular body part (chest, legs, back, shoulders) to strength work, using 5 sets of 5, cluster training, or any one of hundreds of variations. They'll then devote the second training day to high-volume workouts that cause metabolic fatigue and muscular damage. These types of workouts usually take the form of multiple sets of 8-10, 10-12, or even 12 to 15 reps.
However, there's another "second training day" way that causes extreme amounts of fatigue, damage, and, if done correctly, sheer terror (because it's so damn hard).
50 Reps in 5 Minutes
- Set up your barbell or exercise station. Use a load that's approximately a 8-10 RM.
- Get yourself a timer or pull up the timer app on your phone. Set it for 5 minutes and 3 seconds. (The extra 3 seconds allows you enough time to hit "start" on the timer and get into position for the exercise.)
- Put the timer/phone somewhere where you can keep an eye on it.
- Activate the timer and quickly get into position to start the movement (deadlifts, bench presses, squats, leg presses, bent-over rows, or any big money exercise of your choice) and do as many reps as possible, hopefully, somewhere around 8-10.
- Rest however long you want, but you have 5 minutes to do 50 reps and the clock is running. If you rest, say, 60 seconds, each successive rest period will be shorter and shorter and your spleen will eventually fly out and hit the mirror.
If you finish the reps way ahead of schedule, you didn't go heavy enough. You'll need to adjust accordingly next time. If you barely hit 50 reps in the allotted 5 minutes, you used the correct amount of weight. Good job. Add more weight next time. If you failed to hit 50 reps, try the same weight again next time.
One 5-minute round is all you'll need. If you need (or have the ability) to do other exercises for that body part, feel free. If you use this method correctly, especially on leg exercises, you will fear going to the gym. The pay-off is well worth it, though.