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More Reps On Gripper Does Not Mean More Strength.


kelby

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So you're saying that you can't get any stronger unless you do 3 reps or less?

No, that is not what I'm saying. To reiterate, and perhaps clarify:

I said around 3-8 reps. I wasn't saying that I believe that anything above 3 reps is useless for strength gains, but that somewhere in the 3-8 rep range the diminshing returns start , and then taper out. There seem to be a consensus that up to this range, the greatest strength benefits can be obtained in regards to "regular" training (note that I am not including isometrics and negatives here, for that is a different discussion).

At about the same range endurance gains start, meaning that there is an inverse relationship between training for strength and endurance. From my knowledge, this involves muscle fiber type composition, stress physiology as pertaining to a specific individual etc.

To put it shortly:

Yes, you will get stronger, i.e. your max strength will increase, when training up to a certain rep range (which is individual, but I would say around 20+ reps), but the gains will come slower until you are at a point where you will see no maxstrength gains at all from increasing your reps.

I hope you are not getting hung up on semantics, for I don't think I can make myself any more clear. :stuart

You still didn't answer my previous question though, but let's make it more explicit:

Do you have more absolute/max strength, if you can do 55 reps, compared to 50?

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foggymountainmuscle

Even if you get farther out into the rep range, lets just say up to 15 or so, one might say "your are bodybuilding with those amounts of reps". Well if the muscles get bigger, don't they now have a greater strength potential? It's firmly established that the guy with bigger muscles might not be stronger than one who has smaller ones, but if you go down to the basic level, a bigger muscle cell of the same type can generate more tension than a smaller one, period. I use this example to illustrait that there is more going on than just being able more reps on a certian gripper and that there is more than one manner in which mucles get stronger.

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willardjamessloan

very interesting topic, question I am a 410 bencher on a given day I CAN BENCH 225 30 TIMES. HOWEVER IF I do 35 does that make me better or more able to do 420. very good questions :trout posed here

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Even if you get farther out into the rep range, lets just say up to 15 or so, one might say "your are bodybuilding with those amounts of reps". Well if the muscles get bigger, don't they now have a greater strength potential? It's firmly established that the guy with bigger muscles might not be stronger than one who has smaller ones, but if you go down to the basic level, a bigger muscle cell of the same type can generate more tension than a smaller one, period. I use this example to illustrait that there is more going on than just being able more reps on a certian gripper and that there is more than one manner in which mucles get stronger.

Well, yes and no.

Generally speaking, when training in a higher rep range, which still is low enough to affect fast twitch muscle fibres, you are gaining muscle mass mostly through sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, which is basically intercellullar fluid containing for instance mitochondria, responsible for fueling the contractile portion of the muscle with energy. So basically, a bigger muscle can be a muscle which has a greater capacity for energy replenishment and transfer.

Absolute strength is a factor of the number of contractile proteins that can fire simultaniously in a muscle, i.e. contractile muscle size and neural efficiency, and also depends on tendon insertions, length of limbs etc determining leverage advantages for any given movement/excersize.

This is why powerlifters (in the lower weightclasses) can be quite small, and yet immensly strong. However, you won't see many small guys in the WSM, not only because of the weights hoisted, but due to the fact that they usually have to hoist them for more than 1 repetition. :D

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As I stated in a previous thread: "Some people will die with the firm belief that strength is one thing and that endurance is something else. In fact, they are one and the same thing, exactly the same thing, and if one is measured accurately, then the other is obvious, or should be.

Keep it clearly in mind that I mean muscular endurance and not cardiovascular ability or cardiopulmonary ability. I am not talking about the ability of the heart or lungs but the ability of the muscles to perform several consecutive repetitions repeatedly that could be lifted for one maximum attempt repetition.

As long as all other factors remain equal and that a trainee reaches a point of muscular failure, then he is testing strength as well as endurance. A great deal of confusion on this point probably attempts to compare one man's strength to another mans endurance (which is what is happening here). This simply cannot be done with anything approaching accuracy. If we restrict our attempts to measure strength or endurance between two or more different performances by the same man, we will avoid most of the problems leading to misunderstanding.

What frequently happens is something like this: on a particlular day and suring the same workout, a man benchpresses 300 pounds for one maximum repetition and later on performs 10 repetitions with 250 pounds failing when he lattempts the 11th rep. Then he stops training for a period of several weeks and his strength declines.

Upon starting to train again, he knows he cannot attempt the 300 pound lift so he does not attempt it. He guesses that perhaps his strength has declined by 10%. Then he makes the mistake that leads to a false conclusion. He takes 250 pounds to test his endurance and is able to perform only 4 repetitions instead of the 10 he did previosly. Sound familiar?

He wrongly assumes from this result that his endurance has declined by 60% while his strength went down only 10%. Thus he thinks his endurance dropped much more than his strength but he thinks wrong.. The test was invalid.

T be valid , he would have to test his endurance with 225 pounds. He would have to reduce the endurance test weight by exactly the same percentage that he reduced the max weight test weight, not reduce it by the same amount, but by the same percentage. If he did so, he would have been able to perform 10 repetitions , exactly the same number that he did previosuly with the heavier weight.

It would then be obvious that his strength and endurance declined in the exact proportion to each other. They would go up and down together, thus maintaining a definite relationship."

Since we have said that being able to perform more reps than in a previous workout has indicated an increase in at least one sense of the word strength, the only factors we then need to concern ourselves with would then be consistancy and progression. Assuming that these are applied properly, progress can continue indefinitley.

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I was aswell talking about muscular endurance, and no, absolute strength and muscular endurance is not the one and the same. They are related, yes obviously, but so is muscular endurance and cardiovascular endurance.

I'm not saying you can't train for both muscular endurance and strength at the same time, in fact, there most likely is a "sweet spot" reprange for all trainees where you get good gains in both, although it probably varies from person to person.

However, you can train for muscular endurance alone, and not gain any strength at all. This is obviously due to the fact that the body adapts to the demands put on it. Benchpressing a thousand reps to muscular failure, won't do anything for your absolute strength. This is a common physiological fact, and in my opinion common sense.

Your benchpress example is flawed. Whatever the relationship between muscular endurance and strength is for him, and in what rate endurance and strength declines for him, concurrantly or not, does not say anything about whether doing a truckload of reps on a given weight will count towards increasing strength.

A more valid example would be to have the man only bench 225 pounds and keep increasing his reps and test at appropriate intervals, whether his absolute strength goes up, and when (if ever) it stops going up.

There are a lot of factors influencing strength, and how to train for strength, and tiring all the available muscle fibres isn't the only one, or the holy grail for that matter. You are not factoring in different types of muscle fibres, neurological efficiency, etc.

Hasn't this discussion been up already? ;)

EDIT: Slightly off topic, but I'm all for "frequent short and intense to failure" workouts, as I have found it works best for me (although I usually apply this to isometric training). I do not, however, propose that it is the best way to train for all.

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Training for "reps" or as I define it, using reps as the independent variable in the workout, does in fact build strength which has been my point since the very beginning of this discussion. As everyone here plainly knows and understands building strength relative to training and demonsrating strength as in a maximal lift are two different animals. No, doing endless reps with a sporting goods gripper will not help you close a 3 or 4, but it can increase your strength from workout to workout. Obviously, there are many good ways to train and at the heart is (or at least should be if you hope to make any progress at all) consistancy and progression.

If your goal is to train for demonstrating a 1 rep max, by all means do so, and figure out the best means of doing so, but the statement that "reps" don't build strength is incorrect. Assuming one can build strength from workout to workout, on a consistant basis and with a minimal provision for injury, the results from "reps" can be every bit as impressive, if not more so, than any other method. When it comes to grip training, the fact of the matter is that if you train heavy all the time, or too often in general, you will hurt yourself. Injury should not be an outcome nor an expectation from your training. If it is, it would seem to that a change would be in order though the evidence says otherwise. World class hand strength can (and will be )built without destroying the hands in the process. Hey, you have my permission to do whatever the hell you want. :D

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Training for "reps" or as I define it, using reps as the independent variable in the workout, does in fact build strength which has been my point since the very beginning of this discussion. As everyone here plainly knows and understands building strength relative to training and demonsrating strength as in a maximal lift are two different animals. No, doing endless reps with a sporting goods gripper will not help you close a 3 or 4, but it can increase your strength from workout to workout. Obviously, there are many good ways to train and at the heart is (or at least should be if you hope to make any progress at all) consistancy and progression.

If your goal is to train for demonstrating a 1 rep max, by all means do so, and figure out the best means of doing so, but the statement that "reps" don't build strength is incorrect. Assuming one can build strength from workout to workout, on a consistant basis and with a minimal provision for injury, the results from "reps" can be every bit as impressive, if not more so, than any other method. When it comes to grip training, the fact of the matter is that if you train heavy all the time, or too often in general, you will hurt yourself. Injury should not be an outcome nor an expectation from your training. If it is, it would seem to that a change would be in order though the evidence says otherwise. World class hand strength can (and will be )built without destroying the hands in the process. Hey, you have my permission to do whatever the hell you want. :D

Hehe... you are still making this a semantic argument.

I stated early on how I define strength, to avoid just this. :dry

But, this post explains your position well.

By your definition of strength and reps (the latter being rather confusing since you seem to infuse a limit number into the meaning, when reps is just plural of rep/repetition), you obviously are correct.

By my definition you are not.

So, when it comes down to it, we both are right, since we have different definitions, and then there is no argument. :dry

However, I might be wrong, but for the most part, when people talk about "strength" they by default mean absolute/limit strength.

I added the factor of effectiveness into the debate aswell, as I find it relevant, which is why I brought up that repetitions above a certain number yield diminishing returns up until you reach zero limit strength gain.

But you have my permission to train anyway you want, effective or not. :D

Injuries etc is a totally different story. But I for one usually train with isometrics and negatives, and utilize very few "reps", and have yet to have a gripper related injury. In my case, I believe it has to do with the fact that I don't go overboard on the volume, or number of "sets", if you will, which might be a bigger factor than the actual repetition range.

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Sean Dockery

I've seen John close grippers. And it sure looks like "reps" build strength to me.....

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I've seen John close grippers. And it sure looks like "reps" build strength to me.....

... and where did I say that it doesn't?

I was saying that the amount of reps corresponds to strength gains, but as the amount of reps increase, the strength gains decrease. Again, not talking about endurance strength, but max strength.

I'm not questioning John's strength or proficiency with grippers. The repetition range of effectiveness can, and probably does, vary for people, which is why I didn't give any exact numbers.

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I added the factor of effectiveness into the debate aswell, as I find it relevant, which is why I brought up that repetitions above a certain number yield diminishing returns up until you reach zero limit strength gain.
When a point of diminishing returns is reached, its just a matter of changing the rep range or the resistance level so that progress can continue. The issue is not whether multiple rep sets help a 1 rep max, it is whether a set of any arbitrary amount of reps can build "strength" from workout to workout in any sense of the word, which of course, it can and does, if properly performed.
However, I might be wrong, but for the most part, when people talk about "strength" they by default mean absolute/limit strength.

Indeed they do, which is more a demonstration for strength rather than a measurement. Since a shift in technique can increase poundages dramatically without any increase in actual "strength." And since we are talking about a demonstration, which has relatively little to do with the measurement of force actually produced by the muscles, that definition is irrelevent to this discussion.

You can define strength as a heavy single, I can define strength as a 10 rep max, 20 rep max, and around and around we go. "Strength" must be defined in whatever situation for it to be meanginful and as is fairly obvious, a greater poundage achieved does not necessarily mean a greater force produced when comparing two or more individuals. The fact of the matter is that measurement of a gain in strength cannot be made with any kind of accurancy at any single point in a continuum.

So as we move throught time, we can measure the increase in performance and thus measure the gain in strength in whatever definition you want to use. Thus an increase in 1 rep max strength or 10 rep max strength are both indications of a strength gain, assuming all other factors are equal, which makes the statement that "reps" dont build strength, way off base. And say that you add 50 or 75 pound or whatever pounds to your 10 rep max over 10 weeks, your 1 rep max will in fact go up so building "strength" , whether it be a single rep max or otherwise, is just a function of time and progression.

I was saying that the amount of reps corresponds to strength gains, but as the amount of reps increase, the strength gains decrease.
So an increase in reps from workout to workout to workout doesnt indicate that you have gotten stronger?
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When a point of diminishing returns is reached, its just a matter of changing the rep range or the resistance level so that progress can continue. The issue is not whether multiple rep sets help a 1 rep max, it is whether a set of any arbitrary amount of reps can build "strength" from workout to workout in any sense of the word, which of course, it can and does, if properly performed.

Yes, which is what I'm saying, that there is a range of number of repetitions that is benificiary to "demonstration strength", as you put it.

No, the issue was not whether any arbitrary amount of reps can build strength in any sense of the word, but rather, in the sense of "demonstration/absolute/max strength", since that is the default usage of the word strength, as you agreed to further down in your post. :)

However, progress always continues as long as you do "more", in any sense of the word, every training session. Progress is not equivalent with strength though.

Indeed they do, which is more a demonstration for strength rather than a measurement. Since a shift in technique can increase poundages dramatically without any increase in actual "strength." And since we are talking about a demonstration, which has relatively little to do with the measurement of force actually produced by the muscles, that definition is irrelevent to this discussion. You can define strength as a heavy single, I can define strength as a 10 rep max, 20 rep max, and around and around we go. "Strength" must be defined in whatever situation for it to be meanginful and as is fairly obvious, a greater poundage achieved does not necessarily mean a greater force produced when comparing two or more individuals. The fact of the matter is that measurement of a gain in strength cannot be made with any kind of accurancy at any single point in a continuum.

Yes, definitions are of utmost importance. However, it would be rather ardous to define common words each time. We did agree that strength in the common sense of the word denotes "limit strength" or "demonstration strength".

From a physics standpoint, a greater poundage does mean a greater force output, but not necessarily a greater muscular force output.

I don't agree about technique/leverage etc. It only gets you so far, and usually the difference isn't large enough to qualify as an argument that the strength, as far as muscular force is concerned, isn't greater of a person that performs a 300 lbs bench, than that of a 200 pound bencher. But it is a valid point, and often neglected, which usually makes it hard to measure actual muscular force output.

So an increase in reps from workout to workout to workout doesnt indicate that you have gotten stronger?

Haven't I adressed this already?

No, according to what we agreed on that people usually mean when they use "strength", increase in reps does not nessecarily mean an increase in strength. It does mean progress, however.

I think you are confounding the point with semantics.

It seems we are going around and around here. :unsure

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Rick Walker

I guess my general problem with all of this is what I have had pounded into my brain since my freshman year at college. And, of course, from what I have seen first hand work for me, and others.

Muscular strength is defined as the force a muscle or muscle group can exert in one maximal effort. That is the definition that I have learned.

Muscular endurance is defined as the ability of a muscle or muscle group to perform repeated contractions against a submaximal resistance. Again, this is what I have been taught, read, etc.

That being said, it would appear to me John that your focus is muscular endurance. Does training this way make you stronger? Absolutely! There is some overlap with all training systems. If you train for muscular strength, you will certainly get stronger, but you will also see muscular hypertrophy take place. If you train for muscular endurance-you will also get stronger and see some muscular hypertrophy. If you train exclusively for muscular hypertrophy, you will gain some muscular strength, and some muscualr endurance. Like i said, there is some overlap.

So, John is very much correct is saying reps make you stronger. Is it the most efficient way to increase muscular strength as defined above? No.

Let's look at an example. We have all seen Dr. Ken Leistner (spl?) bang out 20+ reps with over 400 pounds in the squat. While that, in and of itself, is a phenominal feat, it really does nothing to show "muscular strength" as defined above. Though Dr. Ken can do 400+ for 20 reps, can he do a single with say 700? Not likely. As a matter of fact, I would bet money that he could not. So, is he strong? Yes. However, take a powerlifter who trains exclusively for muscular strength and power. He can squat 700 in nothing but a belt. He tries 405 for as many reps as possible, and he only gets 6 or 7 before burning out. Is this powerlifter strong? Yes. So, the big question is, who is stronger, or, better worded, who has the most muscular strength?

By definition-the powerlifter who can squat 700 has more muscular strength, or the ability to exert more force in one maximal effort.

So, in essence, we are comparing apples to oranges here. I can rep out all day long, but what is going to help me when I step on that platform under 650 pounds? And, John could do heavy weights for low reps-but he does not believe in the 1-rep max, so what will help him in the long run?

We can, however, all agree on 1 thing: train how you want to train! If you are getting benefits-then you need to weigh the positive with the negative. A high rep , HIT style routine, will help your muscular endurance, and increase strength, over a long period of time. It will also keep you from getting injured. A low rep, heavy weight, strength focused program will get you stronger, quicker, and allow you to compete in strength sports such as strongman and powerlifter. However, as John has said, slinging heavy weights around all the time can lead to injury. So, weigh the postitives and the negatives, and do your thing.

Rick Walker :rock

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Bearcat 74

I agree with both sides. I view strength as how much a person can lift one time, example: 700lbs squat = Holy **** that guy is strong. I also view strength in reps, example: 400lbs squat x20reps = Holy **** that guy is strong.

Each is very strong and I would not want either guy to get ahold of me. I have been super busy with football, not trained since the end of July, grip since early August really. I started using John's methods, and I have gotten stronger in the rep aspect, overall max strength I do not know because I have not tried it. I will say that it has been a loooong time since I have not had pain while training. What I do 3x's a week is very very simple, and it absolutly kills me. Plus, I have no pain. So I am getting stronger in one aspect, there will be some carry over and I'm healing.

Don't knock it til you've tried it, and it's always good to change your routine when you stall out.

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Rick Walker
I also view strength in reps, example: 400lbs squat x20reps = Holy **** that guy is strong.
Absolutely! However, that guy wont be able to compete pound for pound, in a 1-rep max contest, against the 700 pound squatter, and vice-versa. So, when we think of strength-99% of the time, we think of how much someone can lift in an all out, 1-rep effort.
Don't knock it til you've tried it, and it's always good to change your routine when you stall out.

I have tried high rep training. All of my training from ages 12 to ages 18 was high rep stuff. After 6 years of it, I was benching 260, squatting 315, and deadlifting 405. I changed my routine to focus on muscular strength, and from ages 18-19 I was benching 315, squatting over 400, and deadlifting over 500.

But, like you have said Heath, the rep stuff sure does keep you injury free. Again, weigh the positives and negatives. Does one risk injury from training to compete in strongman or powerlifting? Yes. Do I think it is worth it? Yes.

Rick Walker :rock

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stratavarious_connection

In my case, most definitely my one rep max improved as the reps on grippers of a lower strength increased. For Joe Kinney, this wasn't the case at all. Certainly Kinney was/ is a lot stronger than the strength I ever obtained, but that isn't the point! If I would have kept solely working with overloaded negatives, I believe I wouldn't have closed the #3 at any point. Just like Heath says, don't knock it until you have tried it.

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Rick Walker
If I would have kept solely working with overloaded negatives, I believe I wouldn't have closed the #3 at any point.

Now you are talking about negative work, which has not even been brought up in this thread yet. That is a whole different ball of wax.

I wouldn't suggest purely negative work to anyone for anything.

Rick Walker :rock

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The argument against John's position is that there is a difference between a 400 x 20 squat and a 700 x 1 squat. They are both measures of strength sure, but they are two different things. Calling them strength vs endurance or whatever is just semantics. They may both be equally impressive depending on the observer, but they are not the same thing and the methods for training for each feat are different as well...

Reps will get you stronger but if your goal is to close the next highest gripper you also need to train toward that goal.

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In my case, most definitely my one rep max improved as the reps on grippers of a lower strength increased. For Joe Kinney, this wasn't the case at all. Certainly Kinney was/ is a lot stronger than the strength I ever obtained, but that isn't the point! If I would have kept solely working with overloaded negatives, I believe I wouldn't have closed the #3 at any point. Just like Heath says, don't knock it until you have tried it.

Again, maximum muscular strength does increase up to a point.

So I'm not knocking anything.

But I am questioning effectivity.

As rick said, negatives... and I would add isometrics to that.... I find that to be the most effective.

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stratavarious_connection

In the end what worked for me was a VARIETY of reps and one rep max attempts. This was coupled with working on achieving a balance by varying the frequency and duration of my training ( each suceeding week of training was a little different than the previous week of training - " feel "). For the longest time I solely worked with one rep max, and like solely working out with negatives, didn't allow for me to get the results I was hoping to accomplish.

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Mikael Siversson

High reps has never ever worked for me in grip or any other area ofstrength training (i.e. I improved my 10 or 20 rep ability much faster by doing low reps) but seems to work for others.

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