By Hennie Kotze, IFBB Pro Bodybuilder
In my previous blog I discussed the training principles of legendary bodybuilder Neil Hill’s Y3T system.
Y3T works over a three-week cycle which is broken down in the following segments:
Week 1: You perform between 6 to 10 reps per set, usually from 6 to 12 working sets per body part. The objective of this week is to induce myofibril hypertrophy, stimulating high threshold motor units and targeting fast twitch muscle fibres.
Week 2: You do between 12 to 18 reps per set. Your working sets will range from 8 to 12 per body part. The reason you train like this is to induce sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and to target the slow and fast twitch muscle fibres.
Week 3: Your goal here is to go for 20 to 80 reps per set. You usually perform between 3 and 6 working sets per body part. Train with extreme intensity so that you hit each and every muscle fibre, in particular the slow twitch muscle fibres. Your CNS will be put under tremendous stress. Major blood flow into the working muscle you target is also a crucial component of this week.
Push beyond failure
There are many reasons Y3T is structured like this. Preventing injury is the key one because higher reps target the muscle without causing serious damage to the connective tissue – well, at least not to the same extent as lifting super heavy with low reps.
You also hit all the muscle fibres, rather than just 30 to 60 percent which means your potential for growth is much greater!
One thing that separates a champion from the rest is the ability to push beyond failure. For example, if the Y3T programme dictates you need to work between 10 and 12 reps on 6 to 10 sets you need to actually push yourself to reach failure in the lower rep range and then when you do go beyond that by using intensity techniques such as rest/pause etc. while keeping impeccable form.
I usually warm up with 2 to 3 sets, using a weight that is relatively light to get the blood into the target muscle and to prepare my joints for the workload. My second set is always a little bit heavier, approximately 50 to 60 percent of my working poundage with my last warm-up set at about 60 to 70 percent of the total. By this time the muscle I am working is properly warmed-up and filled with blood. The ligaments involved are also ready to work harder. Keep in mind that you need to activate the muscle because if you just do endless reps and sets and your muscle is not properly activated the hypertrophic response will still be limited.
If you struggle with this you I suggest you include a pause after the eccentric portion of your rep to force the muscle fibres to work harder. Don’t do this on every workout but only to achieve proper muscle activation when following Y3T principles.