It is against conventional wisdom in bodybuilding to claim that only 3 reps will build muscle. This is true, but when you do numerous sets, say 8 sets, this debunks that theory.
The 8x3 method is awesome because you are still using heavy weight, which contributes to strength gains, but you are putting achieving hypertrophy by doing a large amount of sets (8). You find a weight that you can perform 4 reps with but stop at 3. You keep your rest period reasonably short, say 60 seconds, in between sets. Also, focus on making sure you work the negative part of the rep slowly, but focus on moving the weight through the positive as fast as you can while maintaining proper form.
What all of this does is it shows to target the Type llB fibers that have the greatest ability and potential for growth. This method of low reps and lots of sets will get you growing in no time.
Other benefits of a method like this is:
- In a lift like the deadlift, where the set up can often be half the battle, this gives a trainee more opportunities to learn how to set up properly.
- Fatigue per set is kept to a minimum, reducing the possibility of injury. It’s rare to hear of people hurting themselves on the first rep of a set, but far more common for people to push hard while fatigued and hurt themselves on the eighth, ninth, or tenth rep.
- Instead of thirty reps done at seventy percent intensity, this is thirty reps done at around 85% intensity.
A sample routine for the 8x3 method is:
- Monday: 8 x 3 front squat and power cleans
- Tuesday: 8x3 bench press, 3-4 x 6-8 of another upper-body pair
- Wednesday: Rest or easy cardio
- Thursday: 8 x 3 deadlifts and back squats
- Friday: Rest or easy cardio
- Saturday: Same as Tuesday
- Sunday: Rest or easy cardio
Some people use a 10 x 3 approach as well. This is based around once again that targeting of that Type llB fiber that is awesome for growth. Regardless, give this approach a try for 6 weeks and see how much you can grow!