It's pretty simple.
After you run the over-warm up, go to failure, or close to it on your down set/working set and then rest 60 seconds, and go again. On the second set, try to get half the number of reps you got on the first set, i.e. 50% of your first set.
For example, I would notate it like so........
So I got 285x15 on my first set, rested 60, and got 6 on the second set.
I first read about this technique many years ago from Dr. Ken Leistner. He used it in a bench specialization routine with great success for himself and a lot of the guys he trained. I worked it in to my routines also with great success.
Years when I ran DoggCrapp training, I realized these two techniques were variations of the same animal, with slightly different spots.
In DC training, the point is to beat the logbooks total reps from the previous week. With 50% sets you can do that as well, however you also have a goal for the day, that gets set after the first set ends.
Both techniques do a pretty unique thing in your training.
- They up the ante a bit. Dante used to write that if you failed to make progress on a movement after two consecutive workouts, you had to drop it. So if you had a favorite movement, you risked having to drop it for something else if you weren't progressing. With the 50% sets, you have a goal to beat as soon as the first set is over.
- Both put "pressure" on you during the set and workout. This is a great performance tool. Anytime you up the pressure, good things should happen in regards to lifting. Most trainees don't put enough pressure on themselves to progress or improve without a stimulus to do so. A competition, a training partner, something, anything. Most of us need something tangible we can sink our teeth into, to take training up another level. Simply adding in a goal for THAT workout can do that.
Eventually DC training wore me out. Mentally I just dreaded having to "get up" for set after set of rest/pause three times for almost every single movement. With the 50% sets on the new big-15, I scaled it back to two big movements with the 50% technique on upperbody days, then 1 big movement without the 50% technique. On lower body days it's just the 1 big movement, which is usually a squat or type of squat, and leg press is possible too, if you want to see Jesus without dying.
So the big movements will get the 50% PIT (perceived intensity technique) for the most part, and the small movements will get lots of volume of sets and reps with short rest periods. If you can't grow on this template, go take up underwater basket weaving.
Finding Balance -
A theme I am starting to see creep across the lifting landscape now, is something I have been harping on for a while.
Finding balance across everything related to your training paradigm.
Diet, training, conditioning.
Everyone knows I wrote a somewhat tongue in cheek article about Paleo, but I don't have a problem with Paleo. I have a problem with dogmatism and extremes. I mean, you're not going to convince me that it's bad to eat a god damn potato that comes from the ground. You're not. If a caveman could grow it and eat it without dying, he'd do so. I don't even want to get off on that tangent again!
Anyway, something that has been going through my head more and more however, is just asking myself some basic questions when it comes to eating.
"Will this help my performance?"
How about something even simpler......
"Is this healthy?"
I know some people can say "that's a tricky question." But let's cut through the bullshit. It's not.
Eating sirloin and sweet potatoes with a big salad? Looks good. Seems like that would help build muscle, and fuel performance and help recovery.
Eating half a gallon of ice cream? Seems like it would taste really fucking awesome, but I can't in good conscience say it's healthy or would improve my performance.
Seems to me, you can't go wrong with the following.......
- Chicken, steak, turkey, fish, and buffalo.
- All veggies
- All fruits
- Nut butters
- Quality protein powder
None of this is scientific. Again, it's common sense.
Lift hard enough to stimulate growth
Eat enough quality foods to aid in that process
Condition so that your ability to work hard isn't limited by being an out of shape fat ass
Be strong, be in shape.