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Y3T (Yoda 3 Training) has become synonymous with adjectives pertaining to extreme intensity. “Hell Week” is another perfect description of Y3T, especially when we’re talking about Week 3, which has gained an infamous reputation because of the high-rep brutality on your muscles.
We’re going to explain the fundamentals of Week 3 of Y3T and how it can help you achieve the best results of your life. There’s also a full Week 3 program to experience for yourself. Brace yourself, because things are about to get serious.
WHY DO HIGH REPS?
There’s both mechanical and systematic stress taking place when your body endures high-rep training. Muscle fibers are exposed to new rep ranges that carry a bias toward sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, predominately targeting type I slow-twitch muscle fibers. As a result, there is an uplift in “cell swelling,” which correlates with an increase in sarcoplasmic fluid within the muscle cell. Another noticeable hypertrophy-supporting by-product of high-rep training is a significant increase in blood flow into the muscle. The sheath that envelops the muscle, known as the fascia, becomes more elastic over time, equating to more room for growth within the area. With increased blood flow also comes better nutrient transportation and assimilation, both of which can support recovery and growth.
Many muscle groups don’t expand to their fullest potential until they’re exposed to high-rep training. This is often due to the fact the slow-twitch fibers have not been stimulated adequately.
Many clients of mine report significant increases in muscle volumization once they complete their first full Y3T program. In my experience, there are also significant improvements in muscle separation after consistent use of higher rep ranges as well.
Ultimately, high-rep training improves muscle growth and conditioning. The sheer intensity of the high-rep part of Y3T means that fat mobilization and overall calorie expenditure increase. Hormonally, the body also becomes more optimized for fat loss. In short, Y3T Week 3 is extremely beneficial for anyone looking to make positive changes to his or her physique.
HIGH REPS AND MAX GROWTH
High-rep training is something very few people ever experience, let alone apply correctly for an optimized hypertrophic response. Doing some dropsets at the end of a workout is not my idea of high-rep training. For optimized results with high-rep training, I believe it’s essential to apply it within a periodized program that utilizes its high-intensity nature for extreme trauma to the muscle in a lower-volume format. For instance, in Week 1 of Y3T, when the rep ranges are at their lowest overall, the volume of sets is higher as it’s less taxing on the central nervous system (CNS). In Week 2 the rep ranges increase to moderate, while the working set number decreases slightly.
Finally, in Week 3 the number of working sets are reduced further, yet the overall intensity goes up significantly for each working set due to the high rep ranges. This formation means that the CNS is afforded the time needed to recover and adapt. If there is no periodization in place, the CNS will quickly become over-fatigued, leading to reduced muscle performance and plateaus.
It’s fundamental that when applying the high rep ranges in Week 3 that there is acute intensity! This acts as compensation for the reduction in overall training volume during this week. The muscle fibers and CNS are stimulated to their maximal capacity without falling into a negative environment in which a potential state of “over-training” can set in. With this level of intensity comes high-threshold motor unit recruitment, leading to global muscle fiber stimulation.
MISTAKES TO AVOID
The word intensity is often misplaced, but anybody who’s been trained during a Y3T Week 3 workout will confirm that it’s intense! Possibly the biggest error people commit when applying high-rep training is picking the wrong weight and going too light. As a result, they get to around 80 percent of the target rep range and start to feel the burn. That’s not Y3T high-intensity high-rep training.
By approximately 50 percent of the way through the set you should be reduced to having to use rest-pause. For instance, if the rep range on the leg press is 60 to 80 reps, at around 30 reps you’ll need to pause for a few seconds to recover. From here you might be doing a handful of reps at a time, breaking the set down like this until you’re reduced to singles. This accurately describes how each set should feel, a vast difference to what most people perceive to be intense high-rep training. Please make sure you remember this when using Y3T, because it will make the difference between your experiencing the benefits and not.
In essence, high-rep training should be intense, acute, and lower in volume. If you’re able to do 20 sets of high-rep training, it is not intense enough, I assure you. Keep the eccentric to two seconds and the rest period to 90 seconds. The rep tempo prescribed for each workout here ensures that the muscle is exposed to sufficient time under tension, creating the hypertrophic response necessary. The rest periods ensure that the muscle fibers and energy systems are pushed without experiencing too much rest. Make sure you’ve eaten all your meals and are mentally prepared. You’ll need everything possible to get through these body-part workouts.
NOTES: Make sure you tense the thighs during each set. Avoid total lockout on extensions to protect the knee joint. Drive through your heels when doing leg pressing and squat movements.
NOTES: Tense hamstrings and glutes before starting set to increase muscle activation within the target area while reducing lower back strain. Do not allow hips/backside to move upward on lying leg curls, as this leads to a loss of tension within the hamstrings.
NOTES: Keep chest out and shoulder blades retracted to maximize back muscle stimulation. Avoid using torso-generated momentum to move weight. Use lifting straps to avoid grip strength becoming a limiting factor.
NOTES: Keep shoulders retracted to maximize muscle fiber recruitment across the chest. Avoid complete lockout (stop 2 to 3 inches short) on pressing movements to sustain tension on the chest rather than the triceps. Avoid dropping below chest depth on pressing to sustain tension on the pecs and reduce strain on shoulder joint.
NOTES: Don’t lock out on pressing movements to sustain tension on deltoids. Avoid using torso-generated momentum to lift weight. Relax traps and isolate the deltoids even if it means using less weight.
NOTES: Extend through the elbow and minimize shoulder movement to further isolate the triceps. Use a full range of motion to ensure all three heads of the triceps are worked.
NOTES: Keep arms tight to the side of torso to reduce external momentum. Don’t allow torso-generated momentum to contribute toward weight lifted. Externally rotate wrist on dumbbell exercises for more muscle fiber recruitment.
NOTES: Avoid bouncing at the bottom of each rep to exclude momentum generated by the Achilles tendon, improving isolation of the gastrocnemius/soleus. Use an isometric hold at the top of each rep to further increase muscle stimulation.