This past weekend I was lucky enough to sit and talk with some pretty awesome coaches about training. We discussed everything from reps schemes to nutrition, and even about how we motivate our clients. Later that night I started thinking about the perfect rep, set and rest scheme for my clients to maximize their results. Every coach will give you their opinion on the perfect workout, program and volume of there programs, but the best answer is; "It all Depends" (Dan Jon)
Most people want to get lean and look good naked, so to accomplish this it's a trainers job to get them to eat cleaner, pack on LBM (lean body mass/muscle) and bone density. This ensures the best way to really change someones body composition — it's more important than losing weight, we want to lose fat AND gain muscle.
Lifting weights needs to be an anaerobic feat, meaning it should be short and "hard". The intensity of the exercise should challenge you to push yourself but not too much that you lose proper form. Intensity is another term for how much weight is being used. If you're trying to pick up as much weight as you can (1 RM) on a Dead Lift, this would be considered a Very High Intensity lift. If you're doing 100 Burpees (which is probably not smart), this is a moderate to low intensity exercise (aerobic).
When the reps are low, the weight is high - When the reps are high, the weight is low. When you're lifting super heavy weights, you need LESS volume (sets x reps = volume). And when you're lifting lighter weights you may need MORE volume. But again, it all depends on your goals. And if you're really lifting hard and heavy, your frequency (how many days a week you train) should drop. If you're coming close to 1-2-3 RM training you don't need to train 6 Days a week - Your body will need appropriate rest days to recover from such high intensity training.
If you're an average guy/gal and you're not competing, staying with a mix of hypertrophy and strength endurance protocols may be the way to go — and every once in a while sprinkle in some power and strength protocols so your body can continue to adapt. If you train every week and keep doing the same weights, sets, reps, exercises and rest periods, you will quickly stop adapting and plateau.
Don't be afraid of switching things up and trying new rep schemes and picking different exercises, or even something as simple as changing your exercise order. A great way to challenge your self can be as simple as doing a Pre-Exhaust movement: (Single Joint to Multi Joint / Same Muscle Group)
Example: Pre-Exhaust for Legs - Leg Curls on the Sliders right to Barbell Dead Lifts. This will exhaust the hamstring before the dead lift which will force you to call on your glutes more to finish the lift. Simple changes can be life changing in the weigh room.
A quick review:
* Lift Heavy Weights
* It's ok to challenge yourself
* Switch up your Sets, Reps, Exercises, Exercise Orders and Rest Periods once in a while
* Lift Heavy Weights :)
* Low Intensity = Light Weights
* High Intensity = Heavy Weights
* Master the BASICS before you do anything risky (Oly Lifts)
* Weight training is NOT an aerobic event, it needs to be anaerobic = Moderate to High Intensity