Pressured Reps — What They Are and Use Them

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“Good issues come after failure. You simply need to preserve working.” In another context, this assertion reads as banal self-help recommendation. However relative to lifting, it’s sage knowledge gleaned from bodybuilders and the ever-growing science of muscle hypertrophy.

Pressured reps, often known as “assisted reps,” are a well-liked intensification approach carried out by lifters to increase an train set previous muscular failure.(1)(2)

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By forcing you to work previous your restrict, pressured reps have the potential to unlock new muscle development. However as with all type of superior coaching, this method have to be used appropriately. Right here, you will see sensible and evidence-based suggestions for integrating pressured reps into your lifting routine.

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Information to Pressured Reps

How Pressured Reps Work

Pressured reps allow a lifter to carry out extra repetitions previous the purpose of muscular failure. Anecdotally, they’re among the many most difficult and motivating strategies of coaching. Higher but, there’s creating mechanistic help for his or her effectiveness.

To carry out pressured reps, you elevate to momentary muscle failure after which use exterior help to right away proceed performing extra repetitions. Not like drop units, one other frequent intensification approach, there’s no have to strip plates off the bar, transfer the pin on the burden stack, or alternate your dumbbell for lighter ones.

With pressured reps, your coaching accomplice merely steps in to help you to carry out the extra repetitions. Particularly, your coaching accomplice offers simply sufficient assist to will let you grind by means of the “sticking level,” or most difficult portion, of the repetition.

training partners in gym performing shoulder press
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Pressured reps are thought to speed up muscle development by way of elevated metabolic stress.(2) Moreover, pressured reps could will let you reap advantages from better repetition quantity, extra time beneath load, and an intensified lifting expertise.

Carry out Pressured Reps

Pressured reps require the help of a coaching accomplice to allow the set to proceed previous failure. An attentive, comparatively sturdy, and extremely motivating coaching accomplice is value their weight in gold.

When you’ve secured a top quality coaching accomplice, you could talk earlier than the set of pressured reps begins. Talk about the train to be carried out, how you want to your accomplice to help your pressured reps, when your accomplice ought to start helping, and what number of pressured reps you propose to carry out previous failure. Right here’s precisely what you’ll want to cowl with every matter.

Train Choice

Non-ballistic free weight and machine-based workouts work finest for pressured reps. The approach could be carried out with single-joint or multi-joint workouts. Among the many numerous workouts that might be chosen, frequent workouts used for pressured reps embody pull-ups, seated overhead press, Smith machine squats, bench press, leg press, leg extensions, biceps curls, and leg curls.(3)(4)

Some workouts, nonetheless, are tough or downright ridiculous to be used with pressured reps. For instance, it will be very awkward to your accomplice to help you in efficiency of pressured reps for deadlifts. Even many free weight rows could be awkward to help. Machine-based rows, landmine rows, or chest-supported T-bar rows have a tendency are higher choices as a result of they permit your accomplice to take care of favorable physique mechanics whereas helping the pressured reps.

Rigorously think about the workouts you choose for pressured reps. Clearly, every train ought to goal a muscle group or motion sample you want to overload, however if taking a particular train past failure appears sketchy, discover another motion or skip it.

How Pressured Reps Are Assisted

Instruct your accomplice to supply the minimal quantity of help crucial to will let you proceed the set.(1)(4) The particular approach for making use of help varies primarily based on the elevate. The approach for helping pressured reps is mostly according to approach for recognizing, although workouts not historically noticed would require some creativity.

Your accomplice ought to help from the barbell throughout higher physique barbell workouts, from the wrists throughout dumbbell presses, and thru the torso throughout pull-ups, dips, squats, lunges, and step-ups. Notice: helping (and recognizing) the latter two workouts is technically demanding and requires follow to carry out safely.

For machine-based pressured reps, approach will range primarily based on the train and gear design. Ensure that your accomplice is positioned out of hurt’s manner and doesn’t get their limbs or digits caught in pinch factors on the machine.

When Pressured Reps Are Assisted

Skilled lifters can pin-point precisely the place within the repetition they may are inclined to “fail” throughout frequent workouts. This a part of the elevate known as the “sticking level.” When your repetition grinds to a halt within the sticking level, your accomplice will enable you by means of it.

Inevitably, the sticking level happens throughout the concentric (optimistic or lifting) section of the elevate. It’s because muscle contractions are 20-50% stronger throughout the unfavourable (eccentric or reducing section) than throughout the optimistic.(5) Assuming fatigue impacts each phases of the train equally, you’ll require help throughout the concentric section of the train and little to no help throughout the eccentric.

The sticking level varies by train, however generally it happens close to the underside, stretched place of presses, dips, and squats, and towards the highest, contracted portion of the repetition for rows and pull-ups.

Though your accomplice ought to stay attentive to your efficiency by means of your complete repetition, it is best to clue them in to the precise level of the repetition they’re almost definitely to be wanted, to create a smoother and safer pressured rep expertise.

Figuring out the Variety of Pressured Reps

Lastly, earlier than beginning your set, inform your accomplice what number of pressured repetitions you may have deliberate.

Though you could not be capable to predict the precise variety of straight, unassisted repetitions it is possible for you to to finish earlier than failure, you could resolve what number of pressured reps your accomplice will facilitate when you’ve reached failure. A talented coaching accomplice will then fine-tune the quantity of assist supplied to make sure you are profitable but completely challenged. An unskilled coaching accomplice will shout, “Now three extra,” when, in actual fact, you solely have yet one more.

A dialogue on programming suggestions for pressured reps is supplied beneath. However first, let’s discover the physiological calls for of pressured reps and decide for whom they’re finest suited.

Physiological Results of Pressured Reps

As you would possibly count on, pressured reps impose appreciable demand on the physique and enhance the necessity for restoration.(6)(7) In addition they stimulate acute adjustments in testosterone, development hormone, and cortisol ranges.(7)(8) This part examines the consequences of pressured reps and their potential significance to hypertrophy (muscle-building) and efficiency.

Neuromuscular and Metabolic Results of Pressured Reps

Instantly after working units, pressured reps trigger better reductions in muscle exercise in comparison with conventional units to muscular failure.(7) These adjustments have been measured experimentally by way of floor electromyography (sEMG). Though sEMG just isn’t essentially a measure of recruitment, these reductions could trace to the presence of neural fatigue because the central nervous system turns into progressively much less capable of stimulate motor models.(6)(7)(9)(10)

training partners curling barbell
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Extended and repeated muscle contractions happen throughout pressured reps. Subsequently, they’re thought to exhaust extra swimming pools of muscle cells than conventional units.(8) After performing pressured reps, substantial fatigue happens to the working muscle.(6) Calcium is an ion important to muscle contraction, and its launch could also be impaired throughout fatiguing muscle contractions. (10)

Metabolites similar to hydrogen, lactate, and inorganic phosphate are produced throughout repeated muscle contractions with minimal relaxation.(7)(10)(11) Though these metabolites could hasten fatigue, the metabolic stress they induce could improve hypertrophy.(10)(11)(12)

Mechanical Results of Pressured Reps

Three associated research reported better short-term reductions in most energy following pressured repetitions in comparison with conventional units to failure.(6)(7)(8) The earliest research in contrast two “leg day” exercises of squats, leg presses, and leg extensions — one used pressured reps for each set and the opposite ended units at muscular failure. (7)

Each exercises resulted in reductions in energy for as much as 72 hours for each sorts of coaching, however pressured reps prompted better reductions in energy throughout, instantly after, and twenty-four hours after the exercise.(7) A later research confirmed decreased pressure manufacturing for the primary 500 milliseconds of muscle contraction following pressured reps.(6)

Altogether, these findings illustrate the effectiveness of pressured reps for coaching quick twitch muscle fibers, which are inclined to have nice potential for development however extended restoration calls for. (6)(13)

Hormonal Results of Pressured Reps

Pressured reps are related to sturdy anabolic hormone responses together with elevated serum testosterone, free testosterone, and development hormone.(7)(8) Elevated cortisol, a catabolic hormone, has additionally been reported following pressured reps.(7)(8)

Resist the temptation infer any long-term outcomes from these findings. The connection between acute hormone responses and fascinating coaching outcomes (e.g. hypertrophy) stays questionable.(12)(14) Spiking sure hormones, like testosterone, briefly throughout or after train is kind of totally different than sustaining elevated hormone ranges all through the day or week.

Who Ought to Carry out Pressured Reps

For muscle development, the prevalence of coaching to failure relative to not-to-failure has been questioned, each by health club rats and proverbial lab rats. (3) Pressured reps take units to the purpose of failure and blow proper by means of it. To be clear, nobody “wants” to carry out pressured reps to make good points, however it may be a helpful approach to spark new muscle development after stagnating and it could possibly reinvigorate a stale interval of coaching.

Though there stays a scarcity of analysis supporting most “superior coaching strategies” similar to pressured reps, there’s loads of anecdotal and physiological help for his or her use.(1)(12) Nonetheless, pressured reps could profit some trainees greater than others.

Take into account Your Coaching Aim

You most likely affiliate pressured reps with bodybuilding. Spoiler alert: That’s most likely the perfect use of this coaching approach. People coaching for energy or energy are finest served focusing prioritizing not-to-failure coaching.(3)(15)(16)

Apparently, some analysis confirmed small enhancements in bench press three-repetition most (energy) and bench press throw (energy) following six weeks of pressured reps. (4) Sadly, the pressured reps strength-boosting research didn’t measure muscle hypertrophy.

trainer helping person doing pull-ups
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For these in search of muscle achieve, pressured reps are extra interesting, and there’s a sturdy case for utilizing pressured reps for muscle achieve primarily based on quantity. Resistance coaching quantity is intently associated to hypertrophy. Extra quantity is related to extra muscle achieve.(17)

Whereas there’s undoubtedly an higher restrict on this relationship, a lifter will full extra whole repetitions (and thereby, extra whole quantity) utilizing pressured repetition units than an equal variety of conventional units.

Extra quantity additionally seems to clarify the hypertrophy good thing about to-failure coaching in comparison with not-to-failure coaching.(18) Alongside the identical strains, the extra quantity accomplished previous failure throughout pressured reps could end in superior muscle achieve for a lifter who would in any other case have stopped at or earlier than failure.

Take into account Your Coaching Standing and Expertise

Since newcomers are extraordinarily conscious of resistance coaching, it’s not crucial or prudent to program to-failure resistance coaching, not to mention pressured reps.(19)

Then again, intermediate and skilled trainees typically require extra variability of their coaching.(20) That’s, extra frequent adjustments in quantity, depth, and different resistance coaching parameters are indicated. Since pressured repetitions are an intensification methodology that additionally promotes extra repetition quantity, they might be interesting for extra superior lifters.

Lifters with longer coaching histories have been proven to expertise better androgen responses (testosterone and free testosterone) and development hormone launch than novice lifters when coaching with pressured reps.(8) Though we should interpret these acute hormonal results cautiously, as beforehand famous, it’s instructed that well-trained and skilled lifters could preferentially profit from pressured reps.

Programming Suggestions for Pressured Reps

Pressured reps undoubtedly trigger excessive ranges of fatigue, however in case you’re a sophisticated lifter, you’re most likely considering, “I’ve been coaching for umpteen years. Pfft, I can deal with it.”

Whereas superior lifters could stand to profit extra from pressured reps than newcomers, analysis exhibits additionally they expertise extra profound neuromuscular fatigue following pressured reps.(6) That is most likely as a result of superior lifters are higher capable of faucet into excessive threshold motor models and get extra out of their units. Principally, superior lifters are higher skilled, but in addition higher capable of bury themselves beneath fatigue.

When fatigue outpaces restoration for too lengthy, dangerous issues occur. There’s the potential for non-functional overreaching, which ends up in non-productive coaching and, as a cantankerous soup vendor would possibly say, “No good points for you.”

Much more haunting is the specter of true overtraining, which ends up in decreased efficiency even after restoration.(21) Knowledgeable programming and a well-designed strategy helps to keep away from these undesirable results.

Variety of Pressured Repetitions

What number of reps do you have to “pressure” per set? Even in case you full only one or two pressured reps, you’re nonetheless doing greater than a standard set to failure. The printed analysis protocols cited all through this text included a mean of three or 4 pressured reps per set.(4)(6)(7)(8)

This looks as if an inexpensive advice. Extra pressured reps end in a extra intense set and, presumably, better restoration demand. Diminishing returns could be anticipated as you add much more pressured reps, as a result of your coaching accomplice invariably does progressively extra of the be just right for you. Don’t let your set of bench press pressured reps grow to be their set of barbell row pressured reps.

So, for the sake of your subsequent coaching session, good points, restoration, and your lifting accomplice, restrict pressured reps to 5 or fewer per set.

Variety of Pressured Rep Units

To mitigate the chance of non-functional overreaching and overtraining, plan your pressured reps classes, and bear in mind, there’s no have to get grasping. Earlier analysis on pressured reps in contrast three teams who carried out short-duration coaching cycles of pressured reps.

One group carried out a mean of 1 set of pressured reps per session, one other group hit a mean three pressured rep units per session, and the ultimate group accomplished a mean of 4 pressured rep units per session. Remarkably, all teams improved equally over the course of the coaching research.(4)

The take-home message? There doesn’t appear to be an additive profit to a number of units of pressured reps. An clever lifter would possibly plan pressured reps for solely the ultimate set of an train throughout a time-limited intensification block of coaching.

Frequency of Pressured Rep Units

Whereas superior trainees can thrive throughout short-term intervals of high-intensity and high-frequency coaching, it definitely isn’t the rule.(22) Information from acute research on pressured reps recommend 48-72 hours of restoration ought to be allotted between exercises together with pressured reps.(4)(7)(8)

Don’t use the approach each day of the week. Even when concentrating on totally different physique elements, the cumulative fatigue (each muscular and neuromuscular) will rapidly get to be an excessive amount of to recuperate from and your efficiency, and outcomes, will endure for it.

Coaching Load for Pressured Rep Units

An vital consideration for pressured reps is load, or coaching weight. How heavy ought to your pressured rep units be? Though they will definitely be successfully carried out utilizing very heavy masses, pressured reps are finest programmed utilizing average masses. A normal advice is to make use of your 6RM to 12RM load. That’s, choose a weight you’d usually elevate between six and 12 occasions earlier than failing.

As beforehand established, pressured reps are finest for these with hypertrophy targets. Contemplating that muscle development happens throughout a variety of repetitions and masses, using very heavy masses unneeded.(16)(23)(24)

Furthermore, helping pressured reps with very heavy masses is extra technically demanding to your coaching accomplice. Extraordinarily mild masses, whereas simpler to your coaching accomplice to deal with, take extra time and are more likely to end in extended fatigue relative to heavier masses.(25)

Periodizing Pressured Reps

Throwing an occasional set of pressured reps into your regular routine is probably going innocent and good enjoyable. However pressured reps, like different intensification strategies, are finest programmed judiciously and for brief, centered intervals of time.

For instance, you would possibly add pressured reps throughout the ultimate week earlier than a deload. Or program pressured reps repeatedly throughout a four- to six-week hypertrophy coaching block meant to supply overreaching. In each instances, good points are made throughout restoration. When you’re going to coach exhausting utilizing pressured reps, plan to recuperate more durable with enough sleep, high-quality vitamin, and relative relaxation.

Power Beneficial properties with Pressured Reps

Pressured reps, or assisted reps, are a way well-suited for intermediate and superior lifters who wish to achieve muscle, have a trusted coaching accomplice, and are prepared to take their restoration as severely as their coaching.


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