Centurion Sets- Your Blueprint For Fresh Muscle Growth
23/05/2022 | Andrew Tracey
Andrew Tracey is a long time collaborator with Bulldog Gear. A coach, writer and current fitness editor of Men’s Health Magazine, he has been in and around the fitness industry for the past 16 years. Having enjoyed and endured a number of disciplines from endurance racing, to strongman, to Crossfit AT enjoys getting neck deep in the practice just as much as the theory.
‘You’ve gotta confuse your body every time you step in the gym!’ is up there with some of the most cliched (and bad) fitness advice you’re ever likely to hear. BUT, there is some truth in the fact that your body is an extremely adaptable machine; apply the same stimulus for too long, and while your gains may not cease entirely, you’ll certainly encounter diminishing returns.
This doesn’t mean that you need to apply a wildly different approach each and every session, in fact a high level of consistency from week to week is arguably the best way to ensure progress. No, it just means that the occasional departure from the same old splits, movements and rep schemes could help to reinvigorate your regime and reignite your progress. And, if nothing else- you might just have some fun.
In that vein- if three sets of ten, fives sets of five or ill advised ‘max out’ sessions have been the bread and butter of your training regime since Daniel Craig first flexed his license to kill- some higher rep forays may be long overdue.
‘Centurion Sets’, involve using the chipper method (chipping away at a ‘rep goal’ with minimal rest, as opposed to using structured reps and sets) with the aim of completing 100 total reps per movement. You’ll push each set as far as you can, avoiding failure (at least initially), and resting just as necessary to keep your form tight and momentum moving.
In order to crank those reps right up, and hit your body with an unfamiliar stimulus, you’re going to choose a moderate weight that allows you to perform twenty reps, for at least the first set; the size of each set steadily diminishing thereafter until you hit the big 100.
Your end goal? Repeat regularly, aiming to build your strength and work capacity until you can perform all one hundred reps of a movement in five sets of twenty reps, or less, with minimal rest. At this point, you’re ready to crank the weights up.
Want to implement Centurion Sets into your regime? Give this five-day plan a try.
You’ll work your entire body each session, spreading the load and allowing you to focus all of your efforts on the individual movements, without worrying about fatigue from the previous exercise.
Rest 3-4 minutes between exercises and keep hydrated.
The fifth day in each week is a slightly ‘easier’ session in terms of movement selection, allowing for some recovery; if you would prefer a four-day split- simply drop this day.
Your aim over 4-6 weeks is to keep track of how many sets/reps you took to complete each movement, aiming to truncate those sets each time you repeat an exercise. Once you can complete all 100 reps in 5 sets or less (with minimal rest), up the weights the following session.
You’ll need plenty of fuel for this approach, so eat big, especially in the hours leading up to your workouts, you’ll need all the energy you can get to push each set as far as possible.
INCLINE DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS x 100 reps
FRONT SQUATS x 100 reps
PENDLAY ROW x 100 reps
DUMBELL DEADLIFTS x 100 reps
ASSISTED PULL-UPS x 100 reps
Z-PRESS x 100 reps
FLAT BENCH PRESS x 100 reps
SINGLE ARM SUPPORTED DUMBBELL ROW x 100 reps (50 EACH SIDE)
DUMBBELL REVERSE LUNGE x 100 reps
BARBELL DEADLIFT x 100 reps
BARBELL PUSH PRESS x 100 reps
BAND OR CABLE LAT PULLDOWN x 100 reps
BICEP CURL x 100 reps
PUSH-UP x 100 reps
GOBLET SQUAT x 100 reps
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