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Step-by-step instructions on how to record your sets and reps.
By Greg Shepard


Sets and reps are greatly varied. It is like periodization in that cycles are either off-season or in-season. Plateaus are virtually non-existent. Athletes break at least 8 personal records every week. The system is not just for high school athletes but works to perfection at the college level especially with those entering without much of a lifting background. One of our greatest advantages is that the multi-sport athlete can experience uninterrupted, progressive training cycles. Available in log book or computer form.
Start right in with 3 sets of 3 reps. This is the first week of the BFS 4-week cycle Set-Rep System. You will do 3 sets of 3 reps on each core lift this entire first week. You will also begin recording your workouts as you establish your Rep Records and Set Records!


BOX SQUATS: First set, 45 - 145 pounds x 3 reps. Now for the 2nd set, you may either go up in poundage, stay the same or go down. Letís say you do 175 pounds for the second set and 205 for the third set. Important Concept: on the final set, you should do 3 or more reps; preferably 10 reps, if you can for the first workout. Donít worry if this 1st workout seems too easy and you arenít tired. You want to make sure the spotting and lifting techniques are learned.

TOWEL BENCH: Since most athletes know their max on the bench, take 70% of your max for your first set. For example, if your max is 200 pounds, begin with 140 pounds for 3 reps on your first set. If youíve never done benches before, use 70% of your body weight or 105 pounds whichever is the least. If this is too much weight for 3 reps, use 60% or even 50% of your body weight. For your 2nd set, you may go up, stay the same or go down in poundage. Do 3 or more reps on this final set but on the first workout try to select a weight you can do 10 times.


Establishing Set Records

It might look like this:
145 + 175 + 205 = 525
140 + 150 + 150 = 440
The total amount of weight lifted is your Set Record. In the example above, the Box Squat Set Record is 525 lbs. And the Towel Bench Set Record is 440 lbs.


Establishing Rep Records

Letís say you did 10 reps at 205 on the Box Squat and 10 reps on the Towel Bench on the final set. Now record this as your Box Squat and Towel Bench Rep Record. Simply mark in the weight lifted for the correct number of reps and mark in the date in the upper right hand box.

You will notice that all the rep records are the same at this time. Donít worry about this. These numbers will change rapidly as you break your rep records. This will normally happen every workout.



CLEAN: Do the 3 x 3 workout. Use 70% of your maximum. If youíve never cleaned before, use 70% of your body weight or 105 pounds whichever is the least. Use the same procedure for the 2nd and 3rd set as Mondayís workout and record your efforts as outlined on the previous page. On the final set you should do 3 or more reps up to 5 reps. Try to get 5 reps in this first week.

HEX or TRAP BAR DEAD LIFT: Do the 3 x 3 workout. Start with 145 pounds or your body weight whichever is the least. Follow the same procedure and again record your efforts. Again, on the final set you should do 3 or more reps up to the 5 reps.


BENCH PRESS: Do the 3 x 3 workout. Use the same poundage and procedure as in Mondayís Towel Bench workout.

SQUAT: Do the 3 x 3 workout and use the same procedure as Mondayís Box Squat workout.

The Second Week: 5 sets of 5 reps (5 X 5). This is a brutal and long workout. You may wish to cut down to 3 sets of 5 because of time or energy especially on the Hex or Trap Bar Dead Lift and Clean Day. Select your poundage as in the first week. Record your efforts. Important Concept: You should do 5 or more reps on the last set except when doing the Clean or Trap Bar Dead Lift.

The Third Week: (5-4-3-2-1). This is not quite as hard as 5 X 5 but you still may wish to cut this down to 5-3-1 because of time or energy. In the example below, 165 was done for 5 reps, 170 for 4 reps, 175 for 3 reps etc. Record your efforts. You will establish your 5-4-3-2-1 set records and you should be breaking some Rep Records as illustrated below. Important Concept: you should do one or more reps on the last set.

Maxing Out: The third week is a perfect time to max out on a one-rep max just by following the regular routine or once every 3 months you could go 5-3-1 to prevent fatigue at the last set. Another way is to take 10 to 20 pounds off your 5-4-3-2 rep maxes and then do several singles on the way to a big one-rep max effort.
The Fourth Week: (10-8-6 or 4-4-2) Here is your chance to establish another Set Record and work on different Rep Records. The sets and reps are 10-8-6 with the Bench. Towel Bench, Box Squat and Squat, but are 4-4-2 with the Clean and Dead Lift or Trap Bar Lift. Record your efforts. Important Concept: You should do 6 or more reps or two or more reps on the last set depending on the core lift.

You will notice the rep records go to only 5 reps on the Clean and the Dead Lift. Doing extra reps on these two lifts could cause an injury especially to the lower back. As fatigue sets in, chance for muscle spasms and incorrect lifting techniques increase.

The Fifth Week: Now the fun of the BFS System moves into high gear. From now on every time you come into the weight room, youíve got a challenge and an objective. You should try to break as many Set and Rep Records as possible. You begin the 5th week by again doing the 3 X 3 workout. You will notice on the previous monthís example, a total of 440 was achieved on the Towel Bench. Your objective is to simply do more!


Look what happened!! The Set Record was smashed by 70 pounds! In addition, a new 3 Rep Record was attained. (Refer to the example on the previous page) 180 pounds should be recorded under the 3rd Break column along with the 3/3 date.

*Many athletes like to try to break their 10 Rep Record after doing 3 X 3, since this is an easy week. This is called a ďBurnoutĒ set.


The Sixth Week: Break your 5 X 5 Set Record! And as many Rep Records as you can.

The Seventh Week: Break your 5-4-3-2-1 Set Record; and as many Rep Records as you can.

The Eighth Week: Break your 10-8-6 or 4-4-2 Set Record. And more Rep Records.

Now keep rotating your workouts in this 4-week cycle. You can expect to break 8 or more records per week or 400 per year for as long as you want. There are 66 possible records to break. Each of the six core lifts has 4 Set Records. Thatís 24 possible Set Records. The Bench Press, Towel Bench, Squat and Box Squat each have 8 Rep Records, while the Trap Bar Dead Lift and the Clean each have 5 Rep Records. Thatís a total of 42 possible Rep Records. Thatís why it is easy to break so many records. Remember we are not concerned with only breaking a 1 rep max, but all kinds of Rep Records. We know, for example if we break a 3 Rep Record that our max will also soon go up. There are even 11 more auxiliary and performance records you can break. What would happen if you broke 8 personal records per week for one year? It kind of boggles the mind doesnít it? The Sky is the Limit!!


SET RECORDS WEEK 2 & 3: * Got six reps when trying for 5 or more reps, ** Record your body weight here--As you get bigger you will get stronger, *** Got two reps on his last set.
REP RECORDS: A = Established Records in 3 x 3 Week, B = Broken Records in 5 x 5 Week, C = Broken Records in 5-4-3-2-1 Week
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