The Repetition Continuum: Part III

This is the last part in a 3 part series on the Repetition Continuum. To review parts one, click HERE, and for part two, click HERE.


Our RC discussion is nearly completely. We’ve come a long way, from learning about the different hypertrophy types, to understanding what causes muscle damage and therefore compensation. Now we’ll put it all together and look at some repetition schemes that will help you get to your goal.


If you recall from part II of our series, repetitions start at the left with lower reps and more strength/power and progress to the right with higher reps and more hypertrophy/endurance. We have to take this into account when deciding what rep ranges to use for our program. Let’s look at one example. Say you’re a college sprinter (our someone who wants to be faster in general) and you want to put together and weight training and sprinting program that will help you get faster. First we look at what makes a good sprinter. Number one, you must be lean and have some decent muscle mass, but not be bulky. Number two, you must be powerful, because the more force you can produce into the ground, the more reaction you get from the ground, the faster you can leap from leg to leg, therefore the faster you will be. Knowing these two characteristics, we know that we need to keep the reps low to moderate. The majority of our work should be in the 3-5 rep range, for strength and power, with accessory work in the 6-8 rep range for some lean mass. Here’s how it might look:



Hang Clean              3 sets, 5 repetitions

Plank Circuit           3 sets, 30 seconds each



Trapbar Deadlift     5 sets, 5 repetitions

Chinups                    5 sets, 5 repetitions



RFE Squat                3 sets, 8 repetitions

Weighted Pushup   3 sets, 8 repetitions

Farmer’s Carry        For Distance


Notice that for our power exercise (hang clean) and our strength exercises (trapbar deadlift and chinups) we are staying with sets of 5 and not doing any more than 25 total reps for the exercises. For our accessory work we bump up to sets of 8, again staying under 25 total reps, using moderate weight loads and short rest periods. Our sprint training will look much the same. Since we are trying to be a sprinter and not a long distance runner, we don’t want to mess with miles. A program may look like this:


5         50 meter sprints

4        100 meter sprints

3        200 meter sprints


Again, nothing long with rest periods of 8-10 times the sprint time, so if it takes 6 seconds to run 50 meters, you rest for 48-60 seconds.


Next, let’s look at a soccer player. In soccer, you need speed also, but that’s not your primary goal. Here we also need endurance with a proper amount of strength and power. A soccer player may have a similar build to a sprinter, but generally has less muscle mass. The more muscles mass you have, the more oxygen your body requires, which can be a problem when you’re trying to sprint around for the length of a soccer game. So we need to develop power but also endurance:



Kettlebell Swing           3 sets, 15 repetitions

Plank Circuit                 3 sets, 30 seconds each



Deadlift                         3 sets, 5 repetitions

Chinups                        3 sets, 5 repetitions



RFE Squat                    3 sets, 12 repetitions

Pushups                        3 sets, AMGRAP (As Many Good Reps As Possible)

Farmer’s Carry            For Distance


Instead of hang cleans for pure power development, we inserted kettlebell swings, which is a great exercise to develop power, but one that you can also do for reps to enhance your endurance. We also bumped up the reps on our accessory work to get in a little more muscular endurance as well. Conditioning for a soccer player would stay with shorter distances but have significantly less rest. Tempo runs would be great here, which include sprinting for a certain distance, then walking a certain distance:



Sprint 100 meters, Walk 100 meter. Repeat 5 times adding 1 round a week


Shorter rest periods will allow for better development of your oxidative energy system (long duration) while also helping with the anaerobic systems (short duration).


Hopefully these examples have been of some help. Plugging in the right reps or right distance or right rest periods for your goals is important, so keep an eye on it and remember to KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid!

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