Happy Friday friends! This week I have something special for you. As we know, muscle development comes from introducing the muscles to new stimuli. Within the world of resistance training, there are several modalities that we can utilize to achieve the stimulus required for said development.
Some of the most popular that I have encountered include the Pyramid Scheme, 5×5’s, Drop Sets, and negative repetition cycles just to name a few.
Today, I would like to share with you a new modality that I am going to call the Superman Scheme.
Many modalities and lifting strategies for weights focus on one of two things or try to provide a form of hybrid approach. This is Size, and Strength.
When we are focusing on Size, we aim to keep our repetition ranges high and our rests short.
When focusing on Strength we look to have low repetitions and more rest time between our sets.
The Pyramid scheme is the tried and true weightlifting modality that typically everyone knows, even if they didn’t know that that was its name. This is the methodology of lifting successive sets with high rep ranges, moving to lower rep ranges, and more weight respectively.
Typically a Strength scheme would look like this; 12 – 16, 10 – 12 reps, 8 – 10 reps, 6 – 8 reps, and finally 4 – 6 reps.
While a Size scheme would look more like this, 12 – 16, 10 – 12, 8 – 10, 8 – 10, 12 – 16.
So, if we need to lift heavy and fail at low reps to build strength, but lift heavy over a longer period of time to build size, what if we combined these two ways of thinking into one SUPER scheme?
Enter in, the Superman Scheme.
It is structured thusly:
12 Reps (Warm up Set,) 8 – 10 Reps Working Set, 4 – 6 reps (Heavy Set,) 8 – 10 Reps Working Set, 12 – 16 Fatiguing Set.
The thought process behind this mode is as follows.
Our first set (like all first sets) is geared towards warming up the muscles and brain.
The following set is a working set which builds us up towards hitting our next set hard and heavy. We want to pick a weight that allows us to reach fatigue inside our range.
The next set is our heavy set. Since we are moving this up from where it traditionally rests at the end, we should have more energy and be able to not only lift a little heavier than if we were already exhausted, but also get our brain in the mindset of heavy lifting. The trick here is, now we have more energy and we are in heavy lift mode, so we should be able to lift a heavier weight than we normally would through the same working set range and reach fatigue in the appropriate range.
So our next working set gives us the benefit of stressing the muscle fibers for size inducing stimulus, and also provides our muscles a difficult resistance to overcome pushing our strength threshold that much higher.
Last, we finish the whole thing off with a set designed to burn out everything left in the muscle, again, we should be able to lift a heavier weight than we would with the traditional pyramid scheme.
Sounds almost too good to be true?
Well, like everything else I write about, I’ve used it myself and was pleased enough with the results I just had to share it.
When performing a Dumbbell Bench Press my pyramid scheme looked something like this.
50#’s – 12reps.
55#’s – 10reps.
60#’s – 8reps.
65#’s – 6reps.
70#’s – 4reps.
This was pretty consistent with each time I moved from bodyweight training to free weight training, not bad, but when I switched it to the new scheme, it looked something like this.
50#’s – 12reps.
60#’s – 10reps.
75#’s – 5reps.
70#’s – 8reps.
60#’s – 12reps.
And the very next week, repeating this, it looked like this.
55#’s – 12reps.
65#’s – 10reps.
75#’s – 6reps.
70#’s – 10reps.
60#’s – 15reps.
This scheme was followed for all the power moves, Dead Lift, Squat, and the Bent Over Row; the drastic change in weight moved and repetitions performed followed a similar pattern.
The results speak for themselves and had me impressed enough to share this with all of you!
Another good part about this is as the body adjusts to this stimulus, simply by adding another working set of 8 – 10 either before or after your heavy set will be more than enough to create a new stimulus!
Of course, just like any weight training program, periodization and altering the stimuli when you plateau is the REAL key.
So use this as a new modality for your macro-cycles in the weight room to shake things up and start making progress again.