The 50 rep workout: How to add 10kg to your big lifts

If your bench press progress has stalled, this amazing 50 rep workout plan can help you get out of the rut and keep adding weight to the bar.

Hitting a training plateau is simply a part of the training process, so if you’re a beginner you shouldn’t be worried about it. At the very least, it’s your body telling you it has adapted to the training program and you need to try something else to restart your progress.

The primary factor for increasing muscle strength and size is progressive overload. This means that the weights you lift have to gradually become heavier, to provide your body with the stimulus necessary for growth. However, this process is not linear. It works for a while until you hit a plateau and this is completely natural.

The 50 rep workout method

When confronted with such an obstacle, you shouldn’t despair. You can try the 50 rep workout method, two to three times a week. The 50-rep method consists of doing 5 sets of 10 reps. A rookie would think more is better so why not do 10 sets of 10 reps. However, research has shown that doing 5 x 10 reps produces better results. In this case, less is more, as the old saying goes.

A six-week study was made in the University of Sydney where scientists compared these two training plans. 5 x 10 (50 rep workout) was found to add 0.5 kg more muscle on subjects. Additionally, they also experienced dramatic strength increase on the following exercises:

Bench press.

The 1-rep max increased by 11kg on average, 6kg more than 10 x 10.

Lat pulldown.

1-rep max increased 5.9kg more compared to the 10 x 10 training.

Leg press.

1-rep max on this movement increased by over 24kg which is almost 11kg more compared to 10 x 10 training.

According to scientists, anything beyond 5 sets can become counterproductive. It would seem that strength and muscle gains plateau after you cross this set number, and sometimes they might even regress because of too much stress being imposed on your body.

Here are some additional ways in which you can increase your strength and muscle gains naturally.

Get quality sleep

Every night, try to get at least 8 to 9 hours of sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep is key to muscle growth since it is when you sleep that hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone are released. You should also turn off any electronic devices such as your laptop or smartphone at least an hour before you go to bed.

It takes around 60% longer to fall asleep when you’re using an electronic device within an hour of bedtime. They disrupt your body’s natural sleep cycle, by disrupting the release of the sleep hormone, melatonin.

Drink coffee (at the right time)

Strength doesn’t depend on your body alone. It also depends on your brain. Caffeine has been repeatedly proven to improve your cognitive function, as well as decrease the rate of perceived exertion, which is entirely subjective. That’s a fancy way of saying that the weight you’re lifting appears to lighter than it is. This translates to more reps, more weight, more muscle on your frame.

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