As I have already mentioned, my set-rep range of choice, at least for Bench and Squats, was a 5×5.
Earlier on I would do a few weeks of 5 x 10’s or 8’s, but this was because I had not lifted for eight years, so it was just to get used to the exercise. I was never concerned about gaining size, as anyone who has ever met me will tell you that is not my problem, so I was never concerned with stimulating Growth Hormone production which sets to failure will benefit.
The key factor for me was stimulating Fast Twitch and therefore Power, and for that I had to maintain that EVERY rep was performed at a level of greater than 90% of my maximum power at that weight. Even my sets of eight were performed at speed! I was never concerned with MAX attempts in Bench and Squat, as I felt that the risk of injury was too high and I found that this was also not important for me.
It should be mentioned that my particular circumstances was important in this decision to focus on power, in that I was aiming to go from an inactive business man to an Olympic athlete in a little over 12 months. Therefore I could not risk injuries nor did I feel that my time was best spent building a big base and developing 1RM.
My Olympic Lifts, or in my case the Hang Snatch was the lift of Choice, were based around 5 x 5 or 3 x 3 Workouts, with the inclusion of a workout known as “rounds” which I learned about from Dan Lange. This would be 3,2,1,,,3,2,1,,,3,2,1 with the weights increasing in each small pyramid, so that the second and third singles were around or above 1RM levels. This proved to be very effective.
Some sprinters were working on a similar basis to this in Squats and Bench Press, only training for power, and some Speed Skaters also showed impressive results with this training, but as the MuscleLab was very new, it was very much experimental in terms of Training strategies and Periodisation. One interesting factor that came out from the sprinters, is that they did not “Feel” as strong as they had done previously, as they had not put in the same workloads, or Strength Building phase in their training. This was despite the fact that their Power was very high and their 1RM levels were as high than they had ever been, the mental “need” for a strength building phase could not be overlooked. I did not have this need as I had not lifted in so long that I was confident with the strength gains that I was making even though my focus was on Power.”