No, the title of this article is not a typo. This workout concept involves doing 100 reps in a single set. As crazy as it sounds, there are actually some pretty good reasons behind using this type of maniacal torture on your muscles.
To preface, this concept is not brand new. It has been around since the 1980’s (or possibly earlier depending on who you believe). Regardless of who wants to take credit for first theorizing and using the technique, it can be a great way to shock a lagging body part or muscle.
The Science Behind 100
One hundred reps is a lot. Doing that many continual hard contractions is similar to running sprints if you count each stride as a repetition. Much like with a sprinter the result is going to be a lot of blood forced into the target area which will improve the vascular condition of that area. A secondary result will overloading the systems use of glycogen which will make the body actually store more and increase its reserve levels in case that were to happen again. Those are both good things.
This type of workout also stresses the muscles differently. Most people focus on the type-2 fibers in the muscles that are responsible for strength. You aim for 8 to 10 reps to work those fibers in an attempt to make them grow. Higher rep sets work the endurance aspect of a muscle. Those fibers can grow when worked hard as well. Usually any muscle growth is good muscle growth right?
Now you simply can’t replace all of your sets with 100 rep sets; you would be in the gym all day. First you want to specifically target exercises that are either isolation style or utilize machines. This is for safety because 100 rep squats is a recipe to get squashed under the squat rack. Next you just want to target a muscle with only two exercises doing this method. For example if you were doing arms you might do 2 exercises for biceps and 2 for triceps then call it a day.
For this system you do only a single set for 100 reps and then you move to the next exercise. Expect to rest at least 2-4 minutes after each set.
Start with a weight that is about 40% of what you train with. Start cranking out reps aiming for 40; when you reach absolute exhaustion, stop and rest. The rest period is equal to 100 – reps completed in seconds. So if you did 40 reps you get to rest for 60 seconds. Then keep going stopping at exhaustion and then resting an amount equal to 100 – total reps completed. The rest period gets shorter as you close in on 100 repetitions.
When you first try this, picking the right weight is important. If it is too easy and you first try goes over 50 reps you need a heavier weight. Conversely if you can’t do more than 30, the weight is too heavy. Jot it down for next time to ensure you get the most out of the set.
Now you can make routines using this method, do a full body workout using 6 or 8 exercises, or just give it a whirl for a lagging bodypart during your normal routine. A word of warning – this is not for beginners. An advanced concept like this should only be used by someone who has trained for a few years so their body can handle the shock to the system.
So if you want a change or pace or really need to kick-start some growth, give the 100 rep technique a try; it is unlike anything else you have done.