Tip: The 10 x 1 Workout Program

A new way to get stronger and master a lift.

In the never-ending quest to add more weight to the bar, lifters don't give their bodies enough time to adapt to the new weight they're lifting. This is particularly important for intermediate or advanced lifters.

This program is going to mix things up. Instead of adding 5 pounds every week, you're going to use the same load throughout the 6-week program. This will allow you to "own" the weight, master the lift, and ultimately hit new PRs.

There are two versions of this workout: a high-volume plan and a low-volume plan. Use the high-volume plan if you respond well to lots of work, if the weight you selected is on the lighter side, or if the movement you're training is newer to you.

Use the low volume plan if you respond to lower workloads, if the weight you selected is on the heavier side, or if you've been training that specific movement for a while.

It's important to select the right weight since the load is going to stay constant during the whole program. If you choose a weight that's too heavy – if it's too close to your 1RM – then you won't successfully complete the program. If the weight is too light, the workout may not provide enough stimulus to get you the results you want.

If you're torn between two weights, choose the lighter one. You can always run the program again a second time with the heavier weight.

Basically, select a weight you think you can lift for 4-10 reps. For most people that's around 75-90% of their 1RM. Rest as long as needed between sets to complete the goal reps.

The 10 x 1 workout works particularly well with certain exercises. I like dumbbell rows, clean and press, pull-ups, dips, and front squats. You can also use it with the big three – bench, squat, and deadlift.

10 x 1 Workout, High-Volume Plan

  • Week 1: 10 sets of 1 rep. Using 120 pounds for example, the total volume would be 1200 pounds (12 x 1 x 10).
  • Week 2: 8 sets of 2 reps. Volume: 1920 pounds
  • Week 3: 7 sets of 3 reps. Volume: 2520 pounds
  • Week 4: 6 sets of 4 reps. Volume: 2880 pounds
  • Week 5: 5 sets of 5 reps. Volume: 3000 pounds
  • Week 6: Testing week. Take the same weight you've been lifting and try to hit as many reps as possible (AMRAP). Generally the goal is to complete 6-20 reps.
  • Week 7: If you had good results, add some weight and start over. If you got 6-10 reps in the testing week, add 5% more weight. If you got 11-19 reps, add 7.5%, and if you got 20 reps add 10%.

10 x 1 Workout, Low-Volume Plan

  • Week 1: 10 sets of 1 rep
  • Week 2: 5 sets of 2 reps
  • Week 3: 4 sets of 3 reps
  • Week 4: 3 sets of 4 reps
  • Week 5: 2 sets of 5 reps
  • Week 6: 1 set for AMRAP
  • Week 7: Add weight and start over.

Recently I applied this to the log clean and press. This is a movement I wasn't super familiar with and it was something I wanted to get better it. I picked a weight that was challenging but not brutal and just worked on my technique and strength with that weight. Here's a video of my AMRAP day:

If you've hit a wall just adding weight every week, give this plan a try.

Tim Henriques has been a competition powerlifter for over 20 years. He was a collegiate All American Powerlifter with USA Powerlifting. In 2003 Tim deadlifted 700 pounds (at 198), setting the Virginia State Record. Follow Tim Henriques on Facebook