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The50RepWorkout:BuildMusclewithEustressTraining

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THE 50-REP WORKOUT: BUILD


MUSCLE WITH A COUNTERINTUTIVEWORKOUT
byNateGreen

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Whatifyouworkedouthardwithoutworkingouthard?Former
NavalSpecialWarfarememberCraigWellerintroducesusto
EustressTrainingandsharesaridiculouslysimple(and
awesome)musclebuildingworkout.

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distress:acutephysicalormentalsufferingafflictiontrouble.
eustress:stressthatisdeemedhealthfulorgivingonethe
feelingoffulfillment.

ENTERCRAIG

Letssayyouwanttobuildamuscular,athleticbodythekind
thatlooksstrongandpowerfulandalsohappenstobestrong
andpowerful.
Andletssayyoudontwanttouseeverypieceofequipmentinthegym,
dolotsfancymath,orpretendthatphraseslikemegaratchetsuperpump
setactuallymeananything.

START BUILDING
MUSCLE AND
LIVING A BIGGER
LIFE TODAY
WellemailyoualinktoLesson1
immediately.Then,eachdayforthe
nextfourdays,youllgetanemail
linkingtoanewlesson.

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GET THE FREE COURSE

Youreaguywhowantstogetin,workhard,andgetthehellouttogolive
therestofyourlife.
Ifthatsyou,Ivegotaworkoutyoushouldtry.(ItsalsoaprogramIuse
forguyswhogothroughNavySEAL,ArmyRanger,andotherelitespecial
operationsforces.Guyswhoneedtobecoolandcalmwhenshitstartsto
getstressful.)
The50RepEustressWorkoutisridiculouslysimpleandridiculously
effective.Itllmakeyoulookbetter.Illmakeyoufeelbetter.Andtheonly
equipmentyouneedisabarbellandmaybeasquatrack.
Cool?
Cool.

SCIENCE BOMB!BENEFITS
OF EUSTRESS TRAINING
Rapidrecovery:Traininginacalm,positiveeustressstate
(asopposedtodistress,likemostworkouts)allowsquicker
recoveryandtrainsyoutomaintainacalm,controlled
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The50RepWorkout:BuildMusclewithEustressTraining

mentalstatewhileputtingoutaworkloadthatwould
absolutelyfloormostpeople.
Hypertrophy:Highvolumeheavycompoundliftsinducea
substantialneuroendocrineresponse.(Thatmeansyoull
growbiggermuscles.)
Technicalproficiency:Trainingflawlesstechniqueinthe
bigliftswillmakequalitymovementahabit.Thebetteryou
move,thebetteryoufeelandperform.
Localmuscularendurance:Thistypeoftrainingincreases
densityofmitochondria(cellularpowerhouses)andthe
oxidativecapacityoffasttwitchfibers.Thatmeansyoull
havemoreenergywithoutneedingtotapintoyourother
energysystems.

PREPARATION
1. DO A THOROUGHWARMUP.

TrytheS2BGroundZeromobilitycircuit.

Ground Zero Deadlift Mobility

0:00 / 3:45

2. PICK A HEAVY FULL-BODYMOVEMENT

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Heresabrieflisttogetyougoing:
conventionaldeadlift
sumodeadlift
trapbardeadlift
frontsquat
backsquat
maltesefalconsquat
zerchersquat

(Yes,Imadeoneofthosenamesupformyownamusement.)
3. DO 4 WARM-UPSSETS.

Startofflightandrampuptoasemiheavyweight.
Thisiswherealittletrialanderrorcomesin.(Dontworryitllonlytake
youaminutetofigureoutandadjust.)
Ifyoucannormallydeadlift315poundsforonerep,startlightandwork
yourwayuptoabout65%ofthat.Forinstance:
Warmupset1:135poundsfor3reps
Warmupset2:165poundsfor3reps
Warmupset3:185poundsfor3reps
Warmupset4:205poundsfor1rep
(FancyMath:315.65%=204.75pounds.)
4. KEEP THE BAR LOADED WITH 65% OF YOURONEREP-MAX.

Ifyoufinishedwith205pounds,youllstickwith205pounds.

EXECUTION
Yourewarmedupandthebarisloaded.Nowwhat?
Well,nowyouregonnado50setsofonerepeach,restingaslongasyou
needbetweeneachset.
Thecatch?Youhavetomakeitlookandfeeleasy.
Yourheartrateshouldstaylow(about150beatsperminute,ifyoure
http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com/the50repworkout

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measuringit),youshouldbreatheexclusivelythroughyournose,and
everyrepshouldfeelfast.
Remember,youretryingtostaycalmthroughoutthisentireworkout.The
goalistotrainhardandefficientlywithoutoverloadingyournervous
systemorfreakingout.
Nostimulants,noaidslikebeltsorwraps,andnopsychingyourselfup
likeyoureabouttopunchaNaziintheface.
Justlifttheweightcalmly.

RAPID FIRE Q ANDA


So,wait.Ijustdoanexercisefor50reps?
Yep.
ShouldIpushtoget50repsnomatterwhat?
No.Yourgoalis50reps,butifatanypointyourtechniquebeginstosuck,
youloserangeofmotion,oryoufeelliketherepsareincrediblydifficult,
youshouldstopthereandgohome.
Thepointistotrainwhileinaheightenedstateofeustress.Thatmeans
stayingfreshandcalmthroughouttheworkout.Grindingrepsandover
thetopgruntingwillzapyourenergy.Whichyoudontwant.
HowlongshouldIrestbetweeneachset?
Restaslongasyouneedtotofeelrecovered.Trytakingbig,slowbreaths
throughyournoseandfocusonbringingyourheartratedownasmuchas
possiblebetweensets.
HowdoIprogressfromworkouttoworkout?
Thereareafewwaystouseprogressiveoverloadandpushyourbodyto
workharderandbetter.Thenexttimeyoudotheworkout,try:
addingmoreweighttothebar(225poundsinsteadof205)
doing510moresets(60repsinsteadof50)
doingthesameamountofrepsinlesstime(35minutesinsteadof40
minutes)
changingtheexerciseslightly(sumodeadliftinsteadoftrapbardeadlift)

HowoftenshouldIdothis?
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Itdependsonwhatprogramyourecurrentlyfollowing.Ifyourenotdoing
anythingrightnow,Iseenoharmindoingthistypeoftrainingtwoorthree
daysperweekaslongasyoupickdifferentmovementsthatdont
competewitheachother.(Forexample:deadlift,chinup,militarypress.)
Ifyourealreadyfollowingagoodworkoutprogram,Irecommenddoing
oneofthese50repsessionseveryweekortwo,especiallyifyouhave
oneexerciseyouwanttogetstrongeronorifyourejustlookingfor
somethingfuntotry.
Isthisjustforlowerbodyexercises?
Notatall.Youcandothiswithchinups,pullups,rows,militarypresses
orevenbenchpresses.Ifyouredoingabenchpress,useapowerrack
andliftoffpinsfromthebottomsothatyoudonthavetoworryabout
rackingthebar.Thatalsoworkswellforfrontsquats.
Dontgonutsonthepushingmovements,though.Ifyoureally,reallywant
todoabenchpress,makesureyouhaveatleasttwootherworkouts
whereyouredoingexclusivelypullingexercises.Yourshoulderswill
thankyou.
50reps?Areyoufkingnuts?
Nope.Thebenefitsarehuge.Iveevendonesomeworkoutswithover
100reps.

FREE 5-DAY COURSE

START BUILDING A MUSCULAR, ATHLETIC BODY TODAY

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nextfourdays,youllgetanemail
linkingtoanewlesson.

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AbouttheAuthor:NateGreenistheProgramDirectorforScrawnyToBrawny.Youcanfind
himonFacebookorGoogle+.

Gr...

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Commentsforthisthreadarenowclosed.

23Comments

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Simon 4yearsago

Isthereanyscientificresearchtosupportthiskindofworkoutorisitjusta
theoryatthisstage?Itsoundslikeitmighthavemerit,butthereisalotbro
sciencefloatingaroundthatsoundssmartbutreallyisn't.
3

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darius>Simon 4yearsago

Everheardofgreasethegroove?Similarprincipals.Thisworkoutis
restbased,andalsoteachesthecnstoperformbetter,alsoneverget
intothefatigue/badform/justonemorerepmode.
5

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Craig>Simon 4yearsago

Simon,
Yes.Thephysiologyisprettystraightforwardandthepsychologicalside
hasasubstantialpileofresearchbehinditaswell.Youcancheckout
myTNationarticleson'HeartRateVariabilityTraining'and'Combat
PsychologyandSportsPerformance'foramuchmoreindepthlookat
thesciencebehindthissortofthing.
JoelJamieson'sbookUltimateMMAConditioningalsohasanexcellent
explanationofenergysystemsandincludesadetaileddescriptionof
severalsomewhatsimilarmethods,notablyHICTorHighIntensity
ContinuousTraining.
Lastly,theresultsI'vehad(alongwithafewothercoacheswhomI
knowusesimilarmethods)speakwellenoughforitseffectiveness.For
example,thesearethenumbersfromayoungmantrainingforNaval
SpecialOperationswhoreportedbackonhisperformancerecently:
500yardswim:8:271.5milerun:8:483milerun:18:526milerun:
40:58Pushups:92Pullups:22Situps:123PowerClean:
125kgx2(275lbs)FrontSquat:140kgx3(308lbs)PowerSnatch:
90kgx1(198lbs)OverheadSquat:90kgx5(198lbs)Height:6'4"Weight:225
Thosenumbersareextraordinaryforanyone,letaloneamanstanding
6'4"andcarrying225pounds.
1

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HugofDeath>Craig 4yearsago
http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com/the50repworkout

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The50RepWorkout:BuildMusclewithEustressTraining

ThankscraigIwillcheckoutyourTNationArticles,andyesthat
youngmanhasveryimpressiveendurance.
Wouldyousaythishelpsmorewithmostlyjustperformance?Or
doesithavemeritforhypertrophyalso?

Share

Craig>HugofDeath 4yearsago

Itworksforhypertrophy.Ahighvolumeofheavysquats
anddeadsisoneofthebestthingsyoucandoforthat.
Workyourwayupthroughtheprogressionssothat
you'restillrecoveringfromsetsinthe75100rangewith
ahigherpercentof1RMandyou'lldowell.Don'tjump
straightintothat.Startwithafeweasyones,andgoby
howyoufeel.Itwon'ttaketoolongtomakerapid
progresstowhereyou'redoingworkoutswith100heavy
deadsthatdon'thityourCNS.
4

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Birk 4yearsago

HeyCraig,
Thankyousomuchforsharingthis.
Ihaveahumblequestion.Woulditmakesensetokindadothis4timesaweek
withalteringtheexercises.
Ex.
MondaySquats
TuesdayBenchPress
WednesdayOff
ThursdayDeadliftis
FridayPullups
andthenmaybealterfurthermorewithdifferentweeks?
M:FrontSquats
T:InclineBenchPress
W:off
T:Stifflegdeadlifts
F:Chinups
IfIfeelthatthatitisnotenough,shouldIincreaseto100repsorshouldI
increasetheweightmore?
Ectomorphoverhere
6

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Craig 4yearsago
http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com/the50repworkout

Birk,

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Birk,

Ifyouweretobuildaprogramaroundthissortofthing(Itypicallyuseitasone
componentofamultifacetedprogram)youcoulddosomethinglikethat.
Ihavetoaddthecaveatthatmovementqualitymustcomefirstandit's
importanttopayattentiontotheguidelinesandcuttheworkoutifyoulose
speed,rangeofmotion,techniqueorbreathecontrol.Monitoringyour
autonomictoneviasomethinglikeanHRVtrackerwouldbeagoodideaas
well.
Theoutlineyou'vegotthereisworkable,butI'mquiteleeryofbenchpress
movementsandprefera2:1or3:1ratioofpullingtopushing,andanequalmix
ofhorizontalandverticalplanes.
Withyourlayout,I'deitherswitchouttheinclinebenchpresseswithchest
supportedrowsormakeTuesdaysasplitdayanddoslightlylowervolume
(that'sflexibleandwilldependonhowwellyoutendtorecover50repsmay
workfine)forbothapushandapull.
So,weekoneTuesdaydo50repsofchestsupportedrowsfollowedbyarest
andthen50repsofbenchpress.Weektwo,50repsringrowsfollowedby50
repsofoverheadbarbellpress.
Putalittletimeintoaccessoryworkaswell,basedonindividualposturalneeds.
Ingeneralyou'llwanttoaddsomehipmobilityandunilateralwork,spinal
stabilitystuffandinmostcasesadditionalexternalrotationworkforyour
shoulders.
4

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Kenny 4yearsago

Pullupsaremyweakestexercisesoiwouldlovetotryitforthis.Anytipson
howIwoulddothewarmupforthis?Woulddoingcablepulldownwork?

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Craig>Kenny 4yearsago

I'djustfoamrollyourupperbody,spendalittleextratimeonyourlats
andpecminors(usealacrosseballforthat),runthroughsometspine
andpec(majorandminor,dependingonyourposture)mobilization
work,doafewgeneralupperbodymovementslikehandcrossovers,T
pushupsandscappushupsandthendosomebandactivationstufflike
pullaparts,nomoneysandpulldownsandyoushouldbegoodtogo.
Shouldn'ttakemorethan5minutesorso.
2

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AaronAvery 4yearsago

Awesome.
Thankyouforposting.SincecominghomefromRouteClearancein2009,I've
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Thankyouforposting.SincecominghomefromRouteClearancein2009,I've
hadsandyprivatepartsinthegym.I'mhopingtocorrectsome"injuries"(I've
gotallmylimbs,soI'mgoodtogo)withsomeoldfashionedfocusand
determination.Ican'tworkoutwiththeintensitythatIdidafewyearsago,but
hopefullythiswillgivemyroutineagreatermeasureofdisciplineand
enjoyment.Thanksagain.

Aaron
1

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Mike 4yearsago

50repsperworkoutwith65%of1RM,andonlyoneexercise?This,3timesa
week?
Iwanttogiveitashotbutmyinstincttellsmethevolumeiswaaaytoolowto
seeanykindofprogress,particularlyintermsofhypertrophy?!WhatamI
missing?

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craig>Mike 4yearsago

There'slikelytobealittletrialanderrorforeachpersondependingon
wherestrengthlevelsareat.Ifyou'reactuallyturningthisintoawhole
programyou'dwanttotrysomethingwithalittlemorefrequencylike
whatBirkistalkingaboutbelow.Readmyresponsethere.Upperbody
dayscanbecombinedintopush/pullsothatyou'redoingtwoseparate
lifts.You'dprobablywanttoaddinsomeaccessoryworkeachdayas
well.
Idon'ttypicallyusethismethodexclusively.It'sbuiltintoamorevaried
program.That'showI'drecommendusingit.Inconjunctionwithamore
typicalprogram,add13daysofheavyvolumeonaliftthatmatterslike
squatsanddeadlifts.If50repsat65%isaninsufficientstimulus,add
weight,repsorboththenexttimeyoudoit.
65%isn'talotwhenyoudeadlift315asamax,butifyourpullisinthe
5600rangelikesomeoftheguysIworkwithitaddsup.
I'vedonethisafewtimeswith325for100repsandtrustme,it'splenty
ofvolumeforaday.Forlowervolumeworkoutsinthe50ishrangeI
oftenusecloserto7085%butI'maccustomedtothatkindofworkand
preferthatpeopleworkuptothatgradually,ratherthangoingforbroke
ondayone.WhenIstartpeopleonthissortofthing,theystartlighter
andinthelowervolumeranges.Progression.It'sathing.
2

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NateGreen

Mod >Mike 4yearsago

HeyMike
http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com/the50repworkout

I'msureCraigwillchimeinhere,butIknowheregularlyuses7585%of

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The50RepWorkout:BuildMusclewithEustressTraining

I'msureCraigwillchimeinhere,butIknowheregularlyuses7585%of
his1RMforrepsof50orso.Ithinkhesavesthe65%of1RMfor80
100reps.
ButsinceIdon'tthinkmostguyswouldbesmarttojumpstraighttothat,
CraigandIbothagreed50repswith65%wasagoodstartingplace.
Asalways,experimentandtest.You'llfindoutwhatworkswellforyou.
Nate
2

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Mike>NateGreen 4yearsago

ThanksNateandCraigforyourfastreplies!Iwilldefinitelygiveit
atryandexperiment!

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Mike>Mike 4yearsago

Igaveitashottodayusingpullups.Idon'tknowwhat
my1RMforpullupsis,soIjustdidunweightedPU(I
canperformaround10oftheminoneset).Iendedup
doing60oftheminaround40mns,tryingtofollowCraig's
method.Icouldhavedonemorebutdidn'thavemuch
timeandwantedtodosomelowerbackwork+face
pullsaswell(BTW,thefacepullsdefinitelygotmyheart
rateup,isthatanono?ordoestheheartrate
prescriptionnotincludeassistanceexercises?)
The1repatatimemethoddoesseemtoworkinthe
sensethatyouendupdoingalotmorerepsforan
exerciseatagivenweightthanyou'dnormallydo.HereI
did60pullups,whereasinannormalworkoutI'dusually
behappywitharound30(like5setsof6).Andyetthe
60threp(almost)feltaseasyasthefirstone...Soyou
definitelydon'tfeeldrained!Iwasactuallyfeelingpretty
energizedafterwards.
Thenotsocoolpartisthatit'sprettyboring,ifyouwork
outbyyourself.
I'llkeepusingthismethodthenextfewweeks(onlythree
timesaweekIthink,onotherdaysIalreadyswimand
playtennis)andreportbackonprogressintermsof
strengthandbodycomp...

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Craig>Mike 4yearsago

http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com/the50repworkout

That'skindofthepoint.Youcanaddalotofvolumeand
drillalargenumberofhighqualityrepswhilestillbeing

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drillalargenumberofhighqualityrepswhilestillbeing
freshwhenyouhitthegymagainthenextday.Asforthe
boredomthing,it'sabitofanissue,especiallyifyou're
trainingbyyourself.Especiallywithupperbodystuff.If
yougetintoheavyhighvolumewithsquatsanddeadlifts
theworkoutinitselfstaysprettyengaging.
Iwasdoingashortladderofpullups(15repladder,
seventimes,rotatingthroughgripstyleseveryladder)
thattotaled105repsofpullupsandtosomewhatbreak
upthemonotonyIwasdoingasetoffivelightoverhead
squatsattheendofeachladder.TheOHsquatshelp
groovethattechniqueandaidinthoracicextensionand
keepthelatsmobilewhilesomewhatbreakingupthe
monotony.

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nsummy 4yearsago

Ifindthisinterestingbutamconfusedastowhatsortofbenefitsitprovides.50
repsof65%ofyour1RMdoesnotseemverydifficult.Dothebenefitscarry
overtootherformsofweightlifting?Thiskindofremindsmeofthearticleont
nationaboutthe1000kbswingsperday.Theguydidthebreathingladdersand
concludedthattheyweretooefficientforanyresults.Thoughtsonthat?

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Craig>nsummy 4yearsago

Sameastheotherresponsesfoundhere.Itdependsonyour
conditioninglevelandstrengthlevel.Tryitonceatthelevelsspecified,
andifitfeelslikeyoucaneasilyhandlemore,addweightorvolumethe
nexttimeorincreasethedensitybydoingthesameworkinlesstime.
Keepinmindthatthisisselfregulatingandyoushouldbemovingas
fastaspossiblewithintheconstraints.Knockoutthosefiftyrepswith
onlytwoorthreebreathsofrestinbetweeneachrepandgetitdonein
15minutesorsoandseehowyoufeel.It'snothardtoaddsomeweight
andtryitagainifthefirst50repsisn'tsufficient.

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Patrick 4yearsago

Shouldrepsbedoneexplosively?IMOexplosiverepslooksandefeeleasiest.
I'mthinkingthismightworkwellfordayswhenyouaretoofatiguedforheavier
loads.WhenIgetoffworkmybodyfeelswreckedandsetsof5+at80%feel
likemaxeffortattempts.

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NateGreen

Mod >Patrick 4yearsago

YepDothemexplosively.
http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com/the50repworkout

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Craig 4yearsago

Guys,somethingthat'soccurredtomeasIgothroughthesecommentsisthat
onebenefitofdoingworkoutslikethisisthatyoucantrainwithhighfrequency
andgetinamuchhighertotallevelofvolumeoverthecourseoftheweek.
This,forme,andalotofmySOFprepguys,means12workoutsperdayfor
56daysperweekoftraining.
I'drecommendadaptingthisintoyourusualprogramandexperimentwiththe
progressionsinordertoseehowmuchextraweightyoucanmovewhilestill
recoveringwellandfeelingstrongthenextday.It'snotaquick,magicfix.It'sa
capacitythattakestimetodevelop,andwithtimeitworksquitewelltoadd
strength,workcapacityandmuscle.

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evafitness.wordpress.com 3yearsago

heythisisawesome!Itotallywanttoincorporatethisintomytraining.i'mjust
lookingtochangethingsupafterdoing6weeksofBig3reversepyramid
training3x'saweek+2daysofrunningIoftenjustgobacktodoingarotation
ofP90XwhileI'mlookingforanewprogram.I'madancerandastuntwoman
andI'mlookingtoreallymaximizestrength.I'mespeciallylookingtogetmax
pullupsIcando10atthemomentbutneedtodomoreforfitnesstests.Could
Ithrowoneortwodaysofof50reptrainingintoanormal2daysplit?Would
younormallydothisforjustonetypeofmovementpertrainingsessionordo
youdo2or3inoneday(seemstimeconsumingbutI'mcurious)
5

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evafitness.wordpress.com 3yearsago

ah,sillyme,justreadmoreofyourcommentswhereyouanswermy
questions!!!Thanksfortheinfoyou'vegotanewS2Bfan,evenifIamagirl:)

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