Most people look at setting up training one main way: sets x reps.  This is great and works well; however, there are other ways to increase strength and work capacity.  One great way is timed reps.  You can find awesome information on this method in older russian books such as Explosive Power and Jump Training for All Sports by Starzinski and Sozanski.  Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell has also talked about its effectiveness.  With timed reps, you try to complete as many reps as possible of a given exercise or pairing of exercises in the alotted amount of time.  As an example, if you are doing it with front squats: pick a weight you could do 15 reps with and do sets of 10; resting for about 10-20 seconds as you need to, for 5 minutes.  If you did a 3 week cycle with this; you should aim to get at least 20 more total reps in that 5 minute window by the end of the third week.  You can do 2 to 3 rounds of 5 minutes for a few big bang exercises. This can be done with squats, presses, rows, pullups or any compound exercise (not as big of a fan with deadlifts because risk to reward ratio gets worse as fatigue sets in though romanian deadlifts can work ok). 

Another great way to do this is with a good superset pairing.  In the video below, you will see Joy completing her second round of 5 minutes with barbell hip thrusts and chest supported rows.  She completes 8-10 reps for one exercise followed by reps of the other exercises and goes back and forth nonstop.  She did 2 rounds of 5 minutes of bench press and front squat before this pairing.  Next week she will try to get one more “set” during the 5 minutes and beat her total reps.  If your total reps go up, your work capacity, strength, and conditioning will go up; they have no choice.  Once she completes her round here, she jumps into assistance exercises for her scapulae, cuff, abs, arms, etc.   Timed reps provides an awesome metabolic effect, sets up a fat burning hormonal environment and will get you in shape, plain and simple.  It can be a nice change up if you are coming off of a high intensity/heavy cycle of lifting or if you just need to provide your body with a new challenge to adapt to. 

Her  Day One workout looked like this. 

1a) Front Squat 2x5minutes
1b) Bench Press 2x5minutes
2minutes rest between rounds

2a) Barbell Hip Thrust 2x5minutes
2b) Chest Supported Row 2x5minutes
2minutes rest between rounds

3) Waiters Carry w/ kettlebells 2x20yards
4) Face Pulls 2×8
5) Db Curls/Db Extensions 3×8-10

Her Day Two workout features different exercises and she alternates between the two days for a 4 week cycle.

There you have it: A killer workout with good anatomical balance and killer results.  Give timed a reps a shot and reap the rewards.


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