Methods of Strength - Repetition Method

Joe Kenn | Vice President of Performance Education




In the book, Science and Practice of Training (A book I highly recommend), written by Vladimir Zatsiorsky, PHD, we learn about the three methods of strength that can be developed when strength training. This week we discuss the Repetition Method.

As the name suggests, this method is geared towards completing multiple repetitions per set. The true definition is performing one set of a specific exercise to a point of momentary muscular failure with a sub maximal load. This generally occurs with loads between 5-85% of one’s competition or training maximum for the lift being performed. It is more commonly seen between 50-80% of one’s training max.


As we have discussed before, this is a key premise to the training philosophy and principles of High Intensity Training. By pushing to the point of maximum exertion the muscle is working to exert force in a fatigued state. Is it believed that these last repetitions before failure are the key to hypertrophy gains.

The majority of coaches who prescribe the repetition method usually use multiple sets of the same exercise. The range is usually between 8-15+ reps per set. Working sets are commonly 3 to 5 sets. Depending on the load, these sets are taxing and within limit. The goal of multiple set repetition method training is to accumulate more total volume in the session. In some cases, the goal of the last working set is to resemble the true definition of the repetition method.

There are also several training principles that offer a variation of the repetition method that can also be utilized to enhance hypertrophy as well as increase work capacity. We discussed several of these principles in the blog, Density of Training.

Where does the Repetition Method fit in the training plan? I recommend that utilizing this method with your accessory exercises, which I classify as major and secondary assistance movements.



Note: This will be Part 1 of a 3 Part Series

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