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Tips for Building Muscle

When you work out regularly, you don't always have the time to do all the exercises you've planned.

There are training techniques that will make you get more work done in a short period of time, such as: supersets, tri-sets, dropsets...

In this article we will talk about myo-reps and how they can help you build muscle fast.

What are Myo-Reps?

Myo Reps are a specific rest-pause training principle that helps increase training volume by using effective reps, light weights and short rest periods.

They involve a warm up set where you perform an exercise for 12-15 reps.

Following with 20 seconds of rest (3-5 deep breaths).

Then myo-rep sets where you perform the same exercise with the same weight for 5 reps with 20 seconds of rest between each set. You repeat this cycle until you can only perform 3 reps, which should be around 3-5 myo-rep sets.

This training method was created by Borge Fagerli, and it is used by athletes who want to grow a specific muscle group in a short duration. It is similar to the GVT (German Volume Training).

Before we show you an example of myo-reps, we first need to understand what is RPE.

RPE: Rate of Perceived Exertion, is a way to measure the intensity of an activity, which ranges from 0 to 10. In strength training, RPE 10 (Max Effort) means 0 rep in reserve, whereas 8 RPE (Vigorous) means 2 reps in reserve.

Example of a Workout Using Myo-Reps for Squat

  • Myo-rep warm up set: 135 lbs x 12 reps @ RPE 8 (2 reps in reserve)
  • Rest x 20 secs
  • Myo-rep set: 135 lbs x 5 reps @ RPE 10 (failure)
  • Rest x 20 secs
  • Myo-rep set: 135 lbs x 5 reps @ RPE 10 (failure)
  • Rest x 20 secs
  • Myo-rep: 135 lbs x 4 reps @ RPE 10 (failure)
  • Rest x 20 secs
  • Myo-rep: 135 lbs x 3 reps @ RPE 10 (failure)

This workout would mean performing (5+5+4+3) 17 myo-rep sets.

The goal is to aim for performing 5 sets of 5 myo-rep sets (5-5-5-5-5) 25 myo-rep sets before increasing the weight in your next session.

In this example we took a compound exercise, but it's highly recommended to use myo-reps for isolation exercises if you're beginner, due to risk of injury fatigue can can cause.

Conventional sets would look like:

  • Conventional set 1: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (effective reps)
  • Rest x 2 minutes
  • Conventional set 2: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (effective reps)
  • Rest x 2 minutes
  • Conventional set 3: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 (effective reps)

Conventional Sets Overview:

  • 29 reps performed
  • 9 effective reps
  • Takes about 6 minutes

Whereas myo-rep sets would look like:

  • Myo-rep warm up set 1: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (effective reps)
  • Rest x 20 seconds
  • Myo-rep Set 2: 1 2 3 4 (effective reps)
  • Rest x 20 seconds
  • Myo-rep Set 3: 1 2 3 4 5 (effective reps)
  • Rest x 20 seconds
  • Myo-rep Set 3: 1 2 3 4 5 (effective reps)

Myo-Rep Sets Overview:

  • 25 reps performed
  • 18 effective reps
  • Takes about 2 minutes

How do Myo-Reps Work?

Research has shown that hypertrophy (muscle growth) can be achieved with similar results when training with heavy, moderate and light loads, as long as taken close to failure. More info on effective reps.

Training volume (weight x sets x reps), has been shown to have a close relationship with hypertrophy and muscular strength.

Myo-reps work by getting your muscle close to failure, using effective reps, which will create enough training volume and metabolic stress in a short period of time.

Benefits of Myo-Reps

  • Increase training volume quickly
  • Better muscle endurance
  • Change things up

Disadvantages of Myo-Reps

  • Taxing on the CNS
  • Higher risk of injury due to fatigue
  • May not recruit all high-threshold muscle units like a heavy set would

Adapt Myo-Rep Sets to Your Training Style

In our example, we took 12-15 reps @ 8 RPE as warm up set, 5 reps @ 10 RPE. Then stop when you hit 3 reps, which is good for gaining more strength and muscle size.

You could use a different approach for endurance, such as 12-15 reps @ 6 RPE as a warm up and 6-8 reps @ 10 RPE. Then stop until you hit 30 myo-reps.

How to Use Myo-Reps

Now you understand the myo-reps training protocol and how you can use it your own workout routine.

Remember that it is not the "only workout technique" you should use.

It's a training principle that you can use when you're short on time, or when you want to change things up.

In Summary

  • Myo-Reps are a specific rest-pause training principle
  • This method increases training volume by using effective reps and makes your workout shorter
  • Myo-reps use one exercise, light weights and very short rest periods
  • However, this training technique can be taxing on the CNS and can lead to injury if exercises are not performed correctly
  • Try different myo-rep strategies to help you gain strength and build muscle
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