50 reps? Not a problem, these Storm football players say

by Erich Bogner, Sports Reporter

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Simpson football players weight train year-round, and their bodies get used to the lifting. So the last two years, they’ve done something to shake it up a little — a 50-rep set.

The rules of the 50-rep set are simple. All 50 reps must be completed in one set, the football player may take breaks but cannot leave their bar or lifting area, the breaks are limited to one minute and when football players aren’t lifting, they’re cheering on their teammates.

“The first time I did this last year, I did 25 or 30 reps straight and almost failed,” junior linebacker Galen Gist said. “After that I could only do five reps and still had like 20 reps left, so I had to do five reps four times to finish the set.”

Gist said the key is to balance the reps out more evenly so he doesn’t hit a wall early in the set.

This may seem like a task that is hard to build up to mentally, but Gist said everyone who isn’t lifting is yelling and cheering someone on so the atmosphere is high-energy. He said they lose count because they are so focused on lifting, and they have someone there keeping track for them.

“The 50-rep sets are something that my strength coach in college had us do,” Simpson football strength and conditioning coach Pete Traynor said. “It wasn’t every offseason, but we did it once or twice. It’s a changeup for the guys both physically and mentally. Their bodies get used to a certain rep range, so throwing the 50-rep sets at them makes them push through barriers mentally and physically.”

Traynor said they do the 50-rep sets for bench press, shoulder press, deadlift and back squat. Of those, Gist said shoulder press is the worst for him because all he must work with is his shoulders. If he burns those out, then the rest of the set is that much tougher.

“It’s a way for us to push the reset button on the central nervous system,” Traynor said. “After doing this for three weeks, we get their bodies guessing, so they don’t know what’s coming next. This forces their bodies to be much more efficient when it comes to recovery.”

Traynor said three weeks of 50-rep makes recovery easier for the players once they go back to normal workloads. Their bodies are used to recovering for a value of 50-reps per respective body part, so once they go back to doing three sets of five reps, they will recover quicker due to their bodies being used to higher workloads.

In the three weeks since getting back from break, the Simpson football team did 50-rep sets, and this week they are back to relatively normal sets and reps. But their bodies will be recovering faster and more efficiently.