Episode # 35

Uncommon Set/Rep Schemes Proven to Accelerate Gains!

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Released on October 29, 2015

In this weeks episode, Joe helps you get out of the “3 sets of 10” rut by sharing some unique methods that’ll make your training more fun and productive!  While listening to this episode you will learn: 

  • How focussing on “total volume” [as opposed to a specific set/rep scheme] can help you overcome sticking points and pack on muscle like never before
  • Joe’s specific formula for performing 2.5X the pull-up volume that you’re usually capable of doing [this really works!]


  • How Joe uses “time” and “EMOM’s” in his programs to increase strength, power and work capacity
  • How to easily complete 15 reps [or more] with 85-90% of your 1RM!
  • Why you should periodically replace your specific rep prescriptions with an “undetermined” amount of reps [performed in a specific timeframe] 
  • How to incorporate “vanity training” into an athlete’s program without taking away from the productive aspect of the program
  • The benefit of occasionally performing your reps “as fast as possible”
  • How & Why you should incorporate “Ascending & Descending Pyramid sets” into your training
  • The “magic number” of warm-up reps that you should NEVER exceed [doing so will bring your strength gains to a screeching halt!]


BONUS:  Joe D’s [exclusive] warm-up protocol guaranteed to help you hit a PR next time you’re in the gym!


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  1. And your example and warming up to 315. Could you use that same warm up if you were wanting to do 3 sets of 5 with 315

  2. this podcast it surprises me every time! i really like this show with so much new rep/set shemes for assistance lift! thanks as always italian brotha!

  3. FREDDY – Thanks for the feedback…glad you enjoy the show! With regards to progressing your assistance exercises…there’s MANY WAYS to get the job done (and all will work). You can perform MORE REPS each week, perform ADDITIONAL SET(S), ADD MORE WEIGHT, or change the TEMPO (add isometric holds, slow down the eccentric, etc). Basically you can “choose your poison” 🙂 Just make sure you don’t become obsessed with “chasing numbers” on your assistance exercises…in other words, don’t go heavier or do more reps “just because”. Obviously you always want to strive to get better, but when it comes to assistance exercises, you never want to sacrifice technique just so you can “get better” from the previous week. I’d rather you go 10 pounds LIGHTER (and do the exercise properly), as opposed to go 10 pounds heavier (with shitty form) just because you think you have to. REMEMBER THIS: if you PR on your “main lift” (or you just have a great day); this can take away from your assistance lifts for that day (which is fine)….In cases like this it is much more productive to go lighter on the assistance lifts, but execute them with PERFECT FORM. Hopefully this makes sense!?

  4. PAUL – Definitely join the ‘DeFranco Insider’ family brother…that’ll give you the “best bang for your buck” because the SB911 program is provided in the “PREMIUM” section of the Insider 🙂

  5. PATRICK – First of all, I appreciate your support…all the way from Sweden! I love it. Regarding your question: Generally, I use my “total volume” chin-up technique with athletes that struggle with chins, i.e., they can’t perform at least 10 strict chins. BUT, even if you’re strong enough to perform 20-30 chins, you can incorporate a variation of what I discussed on the podcast. Here’s what I suggest for people who can perform 20+ chin-ups… Multiply your “max chins” number times 1.5 and perform that # of total reps WITH ADDITIONAL RESISTANCE each workout. I suggest adding 5% of your bodyweight and perform 2-3 rep sets. (Doing 1-rep sets would require you to perform way too many sets lol.) HERE’S AN EXAMPLE: A 200lb athlete that can perform 25 max chin-ups can perform 19 sets of 2 reps (spread out throughout his workouts) w/ a 10lb dumbbell (5% of his bodyweight) placed between his feet. Hopefully this info helps!

  6. Fantastic show always Joe D. You astounded me by delivering on your promise on new PRs, as I got a new PR on both the bench press and deadlift, by just changing my warm up reps. Can’t wait to see the effects of incorporating your other methods, especially the 2.5 on the pull ups. I’ve been using the ws4sb3 program over the last few years, which I really enjoy, so I’m now trying to decide whether to purchase sb911 or to join the defranco insider family. Which one do you recommend most Joe?

  7. Great show as always. I really like the volume segment which i have been using with great success. Especially with My Female athletes. One question regarding the “2,5X” part. What about If a guy does 20-30 pullups, would u still use this method for this person? Do to the extra reps every session of the week or would this be counterproductive Since Its a lot of extra reps?

    Can’t wait til next thursday Coach. It really lights up My day here in nothern sweden:)

  8. Hey, Joe.
    Very informative and entertaining show as always!
    Now that I know all these alternative rep/set schemes from you I’d like to know how do you progress on your assistance exercises in general? Add reps, weight, sets or all of them?


  9. Like clockwork. every thursday mr. Defranco delivers without fail. thank you sir, can’t wait to listen to another great show!!

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