Advanced Bodybuilding Rep Schemes

I’m sure it’s been drilled into your heads as much as it was drilled into mine, low reps and heavy weight for building and high reps and moderate weight when trying to get “toned.” What a bunch of bullshit!

Do you have any idea how much I’ve gone outside of the box when it came to building muscle?

By the box, I mean the common shit you read about and hear everyone reiterate over and over again; sets of 5-8 reps for growing, sets of 1-3 reps for overall strength, body weight exercises for “just getting toned up” and BLAH, BLAH, BLAH… BLAH!

I guess I just got to a point with bodybuilding where I learned that it was fine to try new things. There is nothing wrong with figuring out what works for you, and a lot of the things I was reading about everything I was supposed to do was just the same nonsense over and over.

“You can’t get big unless you do squats, you have to see what your max bench press is and calculate your reps based on a formula, you have to eat within 10 minutes of the workout and IT HAS TO BE 80 grams of dextrose sugar and 60 grams of carbs.”

All of this bullshit I would read and try and I would drive myself crazy thinking THIS IS WHAT I HAVE TO DO.

Well, let me just look back on a few things here. Do I do squats today? Yes, I don’t do them every single leg session but I do hit my squats. But I didn’t squat for the first 2-3 years I was in the gym and the stretch marks I had on my quads from muscle growth were ridiculous!

I rarely flat barbell bench press anymore. Do you know why? The movement aggravates my shoulders (at least when I go heavy) and I feel better using dumbbells and machines. My chest is still here, it never went anywhere because I quit flat barbell pressing.

Why would I continue to do something “I’m supposed to do” when it does nothing but hurt my joints? That’s the true definition of stupid right there!

I’m over 20 years deep into this game now, and I still do push-ups. My chest will look bigger, more developed, and more pumped up in the gym after push-ups. I can look at older photos of myself when I was barbell bench pressing and my chest looked nowhere near the point of development it has today!

But wait a minute, I thought I HAVE TO BARBELL BENCH PRESS TO GET THE BEST RESULTS? I guess you can throw that shit out of the window, I know what I see in the mirror.

Listen, I’m not saying that some of these heavy and basic exercises aren’t great, because they are. For most people, especially hard-gainers, you cannot go wrong with hitting your bench, squat, dead-lift, and overhead presses on the regular.

But MOST PEOPLE did this for a little while in their teens and 20’s.

MOST PEOPLE QUIT after getting married and having kids.


You see, the point to what I’m saying here is that most people didn’t dive deep enough into this to see that training can change over the years. Sometimes it’s necessary to make these changes if you want to continue to stay involved with the gym.

Most of the shit you read recommends doing sets of 8-12 reps? I did my chest today, and do you know what I did? I did sets of 25 reps on my presses, 30 reps per set on dumbbell fly’s, and then I did a century set of presses for one more additional set. For those of you who don’t know what a century set is, it’s a set of 100 reps!

Or how many times have you read about a bicep workout where someone starts with 10 lb dumbbells x 10 reps, 15 lb dumbbells x 15 reps, 20 lb. dumbbells x 20 reps, 25 lb. dumbbells x 25 reps, 30 lb. dumbbells x 30 reps, and 35 lb dumbbells x 35 reps. This is straight through with no rest by the way!

That’s 135 reps pyramiding up. But wait a second, I thought my sets were all supposed to be 8-12 reps for the most growth? Yea…I’m far beyond that shit at this point.

By the way, the pump is even more insane since I use Cialis and Arginine as part of a pre-workout stack. Sorry, you can’t find Cialis in your hottest pre-workout powders or read about it in magazines being used for more pump (not to mention heart health and vascularity!)

The point to all of this is that mainstream workout advice will take you far if you stay consistent with it and pay close attention to nutrition. But that info that isn’t so mainstream… that stuff the mainstream doesn’t want you to know about…yea that will take you to another level! I’m talking light years beyond!

That’s where I come in, screw the mainstream! It’s like everybody drinking cheap beer when there are microbreweries that actually make beer with flavor and quality.

But nope, what does the mainstream do? They continue to drink piss, just like everyone else! (I’m not suggesting to drink as part of your routine, it’s just an analogy I’m using here).

MAINSTREAM BODYBUILDING CONTINUES TO FILL YOUR MUG UP WITH NOTHING BUT PISS! It’s cheap beer, it’ll get you drunk, but will it ever have the same quality as the microbreweries that people actually put time and effort into and better ingredients? Never.

That’s one of my biggest reasons for making this website. I just felt the need to give people an inside look at the real deal on training and nutrition and how it can change throughout your development and becoming what I like to call “gym old.” That’s where you’re no spring chicken anymore, you’ve been at it awhile and need something new!

I got tired of seeing everyone continuing to drink the piss that’s everywhere you look now so I set out to build the resource that I wish I had back when I was spinning my wheels. If you’re looking for that next level approach to nutrition, training, and lifestyle, then John Doe Bodybuilding is for you!

No-BS Bodybuilding ebook


5 thoughts on “Advanced Bodybuilding Rep Schemes”

  1. Hey John, I totally get it, I’ve been been in the gym for 10 years and heard it all. It all comes down to individual needs, I’m past the point of lifting heavy shit all the time.

    These days its reps of 12-15, not taking anything except TRT and massive pumps and vascularity. I look at the other big guys in the gym and they rarely use alot of weight or do bench press.

    I’d rather do 20 curls with 25’s than sling around 50’s for 8 reps but hey, thats just me!

  2. I am still in what you would call the Spring chicken phase as I have only been training for 3 years. What I have quickly learned is that there is multiple ways to skin a cat. You can manipulate volume, intensity and frequency to change up your training to keep it interesting. There isn’t one set structure that must be followed. You see many jacked guys at the gym now-a-days and they are all doing completely different workouts.

    As long as you are getting progressively stronger over time, then you are making gains no matter how small they are. At your stage, I imagine that the strength gains come slower which is why you change it up so much. Different rules apply to different levels of experiences. I’ll be covering many training topics over on my blog as well as other self-improvement facets.

    Great and interesting article John, I found it through Chris Sledge’s website.

  3. Hi JD
    Bought all your books, what a great read your latest is. Been in the gym over 10years and decided to go back to basics and start you power routine from becoming the bull. 4 weeks in and this is a great routine, thank you and keep up the no BS writing.


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