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An extreme-volume technique to gain
new muscle growth and density

Goals: Size, Detail, Endurance
Bodypart: All

You might think that true muscle failure - the kind that triggers beasty new growth - can only be achieved when your body can no longer move a moderate-to-heavy weight. Ten good reps, then a few more with a spotter, for example, is probably the most typical example of working to failure in the gym. But lighter weight loads can also lead to greater gains for those seeking to beef up. By using a technique called 100s, you can recruit more total muscle, improve muscle quality and burn more fat.

The term "100s" is probably a slight misnomer in that you don't simply select an exercise and perform 100 reps in succession. To correctly use this technique, you'll want a weight load that induces temporary muscle failure between 60-70 reps. This may take some experimentation to get just right, but the process is worth the payoff. Once you fail, you rest for as many seconds as there are reps left in the set. For example, if you fail at 60 reps, you'd rest 40 seconds (or less) before continuing on again. You repeat this stop-and-go process as many times as necessary to complete the set. Here's how a typical set might work:

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61 reps
39 seconds rest
22 reps
17 seconds rest
9 reps
8 seconds rest
8 reps

Muscle seekers might scoff at the idea of using such light weight to build muscle since high-rep work like this is more conducive to endurance than strength or size. That's partly true. Your slow-twitch muscle fibers are in the driver's seat for most of the set but as they begin to fail, more fast-twitch muscle - the type with the most potential for growth - are recruited to complete reps. This amounts to a through-and-through kind of muscle stimulation that leads to a physique worth admiring. As a bonus, the additional muscle recruitment combined with the increased incidences of muscle failure trigger the release of additional growth hormone (GH), which can lead to increased anabolism (read: growth) and fat burning. The fat-burning effect is furthered by the fact that each energy-sapping rep as you approach 100 eats into your glycogen stores, putting you in prime position to eat up more fat in your post-workout recovery.


Yes, we're using "hundred" as a verb. To get the most out of 100s training, use the following guidelines.

As a finisher: Finish off a bodypart workout with 100 reps of an isolation move - ideally with dumbbells or machines, which are safer - to flush it with blood and create additional growth-stimulating microdamage.

Sample Biceps Workout:
Exercise Sets/Reps
Barbell curl
Preacher curl
Dumbbell incline curl 3/10
Hammer curl 1/100

As a stand-alone workout: Use 1-2 compound moves per bodypart to fashion a total-body, 100s workout. This type of workout can be a time-saver when traveling or when access to heavier weights is difficult or impossible. It can also serve as a recovery bridge to your next heavy session – just make sure to stretch after.

Sample Full Body Workout:
Exercise Sets/Reps
Bodyweight squat 1/100
Hammer strength chest press
Seated cable row
Machine overhead press 1/100
Machine curl 1/100
Crunch 1/100*
*If you can complete more than 60 reps in succession, hold a 10- or 25-pound weight plate to induce failure sooner.