reps in GPP

does everyone use higher reps in GPP?
I am preferring 5x5 at a weight corresponding to 10RM with a minute rest. David W once stated using something similar also. Any comments?

I personally used a very similar approach (4-5 Exercises per Session,split UB/LB routine,4-6 weeks) in GPP for Sprint Swimmers with very encouraging results,as it provided a good floor upon which to build further intensification of the work.

I am now experimenting with short rest (30") singles and doubles at similar RM% and similar total volumes per session.
Some good points I found in this approach:

  • allows for good technique to be established
    and mantained

  • easier and more continuous smooth

  • favourable general adaptation to the work


5 sets of 5 is good. I use it all the time.

Now did you say your rest was only 30 secs? Do you have to lower the weight to complete the 5 sets?

Rests on the 5x5 routine I have employed in GPP were always 2 minutes.Now I am experimenting variations with 12-24 x 1-2 reps with short rests (30").

With this type of setup Pakewi, the response is going to be different. Infact, I’ve personally done a VERY similar type of workout. I took a true 5RM load and performed singles with a 25 second rest between reps and continued until failure. Failure usually hit between 17 - 23 reps for the first set. Sets 2 and 3 were much less. Make no mistake about it, this is hard on the CNS. My total volume was about 40 reps. Personally, I think that from a learning point of view a person should do singles but to elicit a muscular adaptive response I’m not sure that this is the best way to go. This is where the time under tension would come in. And I’m talking about continuous tension. My analogy would be something like doing 30 x 20m = 600m VS. 3 x 200m = 600m Same volume but completely different stimuli and responses.

Interesting observations,thanks. A couple of details: my singles/doubles setup works up its way in GPP with a very smooth progession from <10RM,still far enough from the 5RM ceiling by the end of the phase,and by all means far from any failure. 5RM weight ranges come in only later,and again with emphasis on smooth transitions.
And what drove me to similar setup is exactly a complex of positive general adaptive responses (not limited to muscles level) I noticed with early experimentation with such protocols.

What kind of adaptive responses did you happen to notice?

Regarding the intensity of load, I don’t think it would really matter whether it’s a 5RM load or a 10RM load. I think that the response would be the same especially considering that you’re not going to failure. Personally, I could see this type of protocol (singles with 25-30 seconds rest and not going to failure) beneficial to younger athletes and also at the beginning of the GPP phase of all athletes.

I wish to point out that mine is just an experiment, following a rather extensive use of approaches based on the the more classical 5x5 which strated this thread.

An interesting -and apparently quite successful-program along these lines can be found at :

As a reference for further discussion here.

I handle UB/LB splits with different protocols.

For exercises specific to sprinting (squats), I do sets of 3-4 X 6 during GPP, then max out during SPP on 4X4. For exercises less specific to sprinting (bench) I go more like CF with 4X12 during GPP, the drop to 6-10 rep range during SPP. I also use long rest (4-6 minutes) for specific exercises like squats, and shorter rests for the nonspecific exercises: 2 minutes for compound movements, 1 minute for simple movements, i.e., pretty conventional hypertrophy training during GPP.

I don’t push the max weight as much on the nonspecific exercises, and save the CNS resources for the track.

i think your approach would be very interesting…in fact i’ll experiment it on mysef and my athlet(during GPP).
Being the %RM the same,what are this better general adaptive responses ?
At a first look i can image a different cardiovascular adaptation…less stress on nervous system…better impact no ANS…

Rest 1 minute, lower to finish raise to start?

4-6 minutes for squats? Not in GPP?

Do you think that it would take than 4 minutes to recover from a 6-10 RM for full back squats?

Do we need to recover properly in GPP?

Experiment on yourself well before experimenting on your athletes!
You’re right,better impact on ANS,better overall adaptation (less disruptions hence easier progressions)from a cardiac and muscular point of view.It avoids unnecessary fatigued states,while providing a solid general fitness base.

from the same perspective the short rest (1min) 5x5 starting at <10RM actually looks very interesting. What are the levels of fatigue experienced in such a protocol,and how would you strucure its progression in GPP?

Would you apply the short-rest-protcoll to clean and snatch too?

I do NOT see bodybuilding-style short rest protocols as optimum for developing explosive strength. In fact, the opposite can occur. Also, for LB splits particularly I don’t think that lifting for size is necessarily what you want. Charlie talks about this a bit in CFTS, where he mentions using sets 3-5 reps to minimize size gains.

The following comes from the Level II coaches certification program from the IAAF’s San Juan Regional Development Center, which can be found here:

I want to emphasize the following:

Under certain circumstances,
intensive hypertrophy training can lead to
negative explosive-strength adaptations
and thus to a reduction in speed
strength. For this reason, hypertrophy
training should be followed up by
training to develop the voluntary activation
capacity, in order to be able to
fully utilize the increased strength
ability produced by the augmented
muscle mass.

Their whole section on training methods is below:

"3 Training methods

Both in training practice and in sports
science, strength training methods
are commonly subdivided into categories
based on their allocation to different
sports (e.g. bodybuilding methods)
or the movement velocity when
lifting different weights (thus, for example,
slow lifts with high loads are
known as maximal-strength method
and rapid lifts with low loads as
speed-strength method). These terms
have the disadvantage, however, that
they either permit few conclusions
regarding their actual training effect or
they are confusing. An improvement
in maximal strength, for example, can
either be achieved through an increase
in muscle mass (hypertrophy)
or through neuronal adaptations. The
term maximal-strength method, on the
other hand, in no way indicates what
type of adaptation is ultimately responsible
for the strength gains. Here,
the training methods will therefore be
classified according to their training

The presented training methods have
emerged from the practice of especially
successful training groups. Their
effects are empirically substantiated
and can be explained in each case
with the help of the basic theory of
strength training. The load standards
have evolved from empirical values
and purposeful training experiments.

Note: The load standards for the
various methods of strength training
stated in the following are to be seen
as basic recommendations that must
be adapted to the situation and requirements
of the respective athlete.
Thus it may be the case that the given
exercise intensities are not sufficient
to attain the necessary capacity utilization
for training-induced adaptations.
Individual training recommendations
must also take account of the
athlete’s performance level, the training
carried out previously as well as
the respective general conditions
such as individual goals, the exerciser’s
time budget, the number of
possible training sessions, available
machines etc.

3.1 Training methods to develop
voluntary activation capacity

Training methods to develop voluntary
activation capacity aim above all
to improve intramuscular coordination
of the active muscles and thus optimally
utilize the strength ability provided
by the existing muscle mass.
This requires training stimuli that
cause as full and as rapid activation
as possible of the motoneurons of the
activated muscle. Such exercise configurations
are realised through the
methods of maximal, explosive muscle

In these, repetitions that are as explosive
as possible are executed with an
exercise intensity of 90-100% of the
maximal load. The high exercise intensity
is necessary because the
highest voluntarily realizable recruiting
is only possible with loads above
90% of the maximal load (c.f. SALE
1992). The as rapid as possible activation
is achieved through the explosive
muscle action velocity against
this load. Since explosive muscle ac5
tions are only possible in an unfatigued
state, the number of repetitions
per series is restricted to one to
three repetitions. Between the series,
there should be a sufficiently long rest
interval (more than six minutes)
Tab. 1). If there are signs of a fatigueinduced
reduction in performance,
training should be interrupted.

The stated rest interval of more than
six minutes between the series would
certainly not be necessary for the
respective muscles to regenerate.
Rather, this period is needed to restore
the neuronal impulse transmission
and impulse forwarding capacity.
Exercising other muscle groups that
are supplied via other spinal segments
in the rest intervals is, however,
not a problem.

The methods for maximal, explosive
muscle action trigger first and foremost
adaptations in the voluntary
neuromuscular activation capacity.
These go hand in hand in particular
with increases in explosive strength,
which in turn have a positive effect on
maximal strength.

3.2 Training methods to increase
muscle mass

For increasing muscle mass (hypertrophy
adaptations), methods of submaximal
muscle action through to
fatigue have proved especially effective.
In order to trigger such adaptations,
the exercise intensity and number
of repetitions must be so chosen
as to lead to a fatiguing of the affected
muscles within 60 seconds. As
a rule, 8-20 repetitions with an exercise
intensity of 60-85% of the concentric-
dynamic maximal load are
sufficient for this. Depending on the
pre-training condition and the muscle
group involved, the required number
of repetitions and series can vary
considerably, however (c.f. Tab. 2).
By contrast to training of the voluntary
activation capacity or even of reactive
strength, the training goal in hypertrophy
training is therefore the total fatiguing
of the muscles to be exercised.

This exercise configuration is based
on the knowledge that muscle growth
can be most effectively stimulated
when the training impulses combine
high muscular tension, the hyperacidity
of the muscles (high intra-cell H±
ions concentration) and the greatest
possible utilization of the energy-rich
phosphates in the muscle cell. The
latter occurs with the respective exercise
intensity after approx. 30-45 seconds.
The adaptations to the training methods
for submaximal muscle actions
through to fatigue lie almost exclusively
in muscle growth and accordingly
primarily affect maximal

Under certain circumstances, intensive
hypertrophy training can lead to
negative explosive-strength adaptations
and thus to a reduction in speed
strength. For this reason, hypertrophy
training should be followed up by
training to develop the voluntary activation
capacity, in order to be able to
fully utilize the increased strength
ability produced by the augmented
muscle mass."

Depends on what kind of quality you’re looking for? Let’s try to remember that sprinting and power events such as weightlighting you’re looking to improve the quality. Quality in a sprinting or weightlifting sense can be defined as “the percent of maximum”. Although different components are emphasized in a given training period, the quality must always be there. Working hard does not necessarily mean quality.


Could this protocol leads to a less amount of hypertrophy (in comparison with a 5x5)?
If so it would be perfect if your athlete is already “enough” muscular(or more muscular than strong).

“Under certain circumstances,
intensive hypertrophy training can lead to
negative explosive-strength adaptations
and thus to a reduction in speed
strength. For this reason, hypertrophy
training should be followed up by
training to develop the voluntary activation
capacity, in order to be able to
fully utilize the increased strength
ability produced by the augmented
muscle mass.”

  • I hope they aren’t saying you should perform explosive work immediatly after hypertrophy work… :slight_smile:
    Not bad suggestions,even if too much general.

Would reps of 10 be used as a beginner tho?