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Greg Newton 06-28-2011 06:41 AM

Limiting yourself to 100's
Periodically on the internet I read things about the "dangers" of doing high repetition exercises such as pushups, situps, and deep knee bends. One guy that gets around several internet forums under various psuedonyms makes the assertion that people are flooding chiropractor's offices from injuries from doing high rep calisthenics.

I hate to tell the guy, but there aren't that many people with the conditioning and the discipline to do 100's of reps in pushups or deep knee bends who could be injuring themselves. That statement is very self-limiting. The same with those who claim you don't need to do anymore than a 100 reps as long as you are doing high repetitions of DSR and DVR's along with the calisthenics.

You have to be realistic about these kind of things. 100 is an arbitrary number. For human beings who like placing things in order, the number 100 has an appeal. I use it as a bench mark for many things I do, but once again, there is nothing special about 100. If you look at that as the pinnacle of effort, you are setting for yourself a glass ceiling that will limit your conditioning and development. It is also a way for those who don't want to work that hard to set this as the Holy Grail of effort. If 100 reps is the max one should do, then meandering around with 30 or 50 reps doesn't seem so bad.

Don't sell yourself short. The body adapts over time to greater loads. Take pushups for instance. I routinely do 150 to 250 daily. Sometimes I've done more, depending on the goal I was trying to achieve. John, who has been doing this style of training much longer than me routinely does 300-500, and has done as many as 1000 a day to reach a specific goal.

On the other hand, let's look at Balance Squats. I purposely limit myself to 100 several times a week. For over a year I did workouts with reps in the 300-500 range for Tiger Bend Squats. It was a great conditioner, but my legs and hips were getting too big and I didn't like the development I was getting, so I switched exercises and scaled back.

Another example could be Atlas Situps, one of my favorite exercises. I would do 200 - 300 daily. Eventually I decided to branch out with other abdominal exercises so I cut back the reps to 100. I still do 250 - 300 continuous reps daily for abdominals, but I do several different exercises instead of just one.

You see there can be reasons for limiting oneself to an arbitrary number like 100 repetitions, but you are selling yourself short in terms of development and conditioning if you assume that is all you should do.

Greg Newton

John Peterson 06-28-2011 10:01 AM

Hey Greg,

Great post. Isn't it interesting the level of mis-information that is out there on the world wide web?

Now as far as calisthenics injuring people, that is a lie. Calisthenics are the perfect "Pre-hab" exercise as well as "Re-Hab"exercise. They don't injure anyone unless someone is not paying attention or is doing things like ply-o-metrics that have no real application in a standard strength and fitness programs. (granted, there are instances when ply-o-metrics can be beneficial in a very limited application for athletics. But even then the risk of injury is very high.)

Let me give you a really good example that I have given before that substantiates my point.

Jack King's shoulders were so severely injured from years and years of heavy weight lifting that he could no longer do any pressing movements of any kind. NONE. He tried doing Push-Ups on the floor but soon discovered that with his feet on the floor that the angle caused severe pain to his shoulders. He then discovered that if he elevated his feet by putting them on a bench 21" high that the exercise became very tolerable and so he began performing Push-Ups that way. Within weeks he began achieving incredible results. Results that allowed him to win the Masters Mr. America contest. Jack was performing well over 1,000 routinely and had even gone to 2,000 reps on at least one occasion. The Push-Ups worked so well for Jack that they even healed his shoulders so completely that he thought he could return to weight lifting which was something that he truly enjoyed since he was just 14 years old. Unfortunately, Jack re-injured his shoulders and this time the injury was so severe that he could not return to his Push-Ups.

Bottom line: becoming fantastically strong and fit in direct relation to your own body from all angles and directions will not injure you but will in fact protect you from injury. Now to further make my point, at this point Jack has developed a real enjoyment for performing Pull-Ups, an exercise that he believes in as much as we do Greg. Jack routinely performs very high repetitions. And his results are sensational.

---John Peterson

armorplated 06-28-2011 12:20 PM

hey greg amazing post, very insightful as always. i was wondering though, how long does one of your typicial workouts last. i remember a few weeks ago you said you were going to start doing more of a 'bodybuilder' routine split, (i used quotes because we all know that transformetrics is a body building routine in and of itself) i was wondering how that was going for you.

MikeNY 06-28-2011 12:40 PM

Funny all the weight lifters I know have injuries and need Medical Care; bless them all; and the guys that did the Atlas Course and that would include Transformetrics, Cals, Body Weight Exercise, Yoga, Chi Kung, Five Rites are in good shape. I suspect this guy with the various ID's that hates doing pushups and cal exercies in One Hundred reps to a set is just another Wile E. Coyote.

armorplated 06-28-2011 12:56 PM

when I was in the weightlifing scene we had a saying, that if you didnt have atleast 2 injuries a year then you werent training hard enough. Thats crazy, now i dont ever want an injury, i'm nursing a shoulder injury now and it drives me crazy. It wasnt from training though its from me being a stupid boy, and getting my self involved in a peeing contest. lol. One day ill learn.hahaha

TejasT 06-28-2011 03:54 PM

From personal experience, I've noticed the following (I guess this is just from an aesthetic point of view).

- High reps produce a nice, healthy toned appearance to muscle. However, the muscles tend lack mass if you only do high volume exercises. For many sports, this is what you want (big muscles mean encumbered movements).

- Low volume exercises (e.g. difficult versions of bodyweight exercises where I do 20 reps or less, those done with weight vests, etc) produce more thick, dense muscles, but they lack shape and separation. I think this is why a lot of powerlifters, strongman competitors, and weightlifters look like they do (see Greg's "bridge troll" description). They constantly just load up on the weight, never doing high volume because it's just too embarrassing to have anyone see them lifting light weights.

So lately I've been mix both. Some days are high volume days. The others are low volume, kick your butt days. Both are challenging in their own right.

I will say this: when I have strained something, it's ALWAYS when trying some low volume (heavy set) exercise.

Greg Newton 06-28-2011 04:15 PM

Hi Tony,

I started splitting my routine back around the end of November, lower body and upper body. However, over the last two months I started drifting back towards working the whole body everyday. I got the results I'd wanted by splitting the routine - bigger arms and shoulders, and now I want to move back to a more general routine. My workouts generally last 45 to 75 minutes.


armorplated 06-28-2011 05:30 PM

Thana greg, thats interesting. I notice a diference in the pics for sure, I didnt realize you had split ur routine thaat long ago. I also didnt realize u only had a two day split with lower body one day and upper body the next. Reason is I ahowed a buddy of mine ur pic on the forum and told him you were using the methods to train lile a body builder assuming u had at least a three day split, he said anything could work for a young guy like me lol. Anyway what u did worked my friend. Ur an inspiration.

tom 06-28-2011 06:19 PM

Another good title for this thread would be "Limiting yourself to your own opinion." I'm referring to the opening post.


Greg Newton 06-28-2011 08:33 PM

Hey Tony,

The reason I split was to get more volume in during a workout for specific areas of the body. When I work whole body, I usually have to cut something out or scale back. I still rotate pushup and pullup varieties over three days, but I pretty much do the same abdominal and leg routine everyday, at least for right now. Splitting your routine works. There is still a lot of crossover, though.


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