Many of us gym goers and athletes are pretty familiar with training to the tune of 3x10 (sets to reps), popularized from body building culture and common in general fitness as it provides a great fitness and muscle growth stimulus. For those who are into strength and power, you may be familiar with high set & low rep training to the tune of 5x5 or 8x2, useful for developing large power outputs for great strength gains and teaching the body to be more explosive.
But have you ever heard of 1x20 training? Probably not.
1x20 training is a method where you only do 1 hard working set of 20 of an exercise. Different ehh. Here are 3 benefits you can get from 1x20 training:
1) Injury Risk Reduction
Doing 20 challenging reps can put a lot of strain on your muscles and tendons. A 20 rep set can take 45-60 seconds to complete, and even 60-80 seconds with a slow tempo, which offers a great training benefit on strengthening tendons to improve their resiliency and load bearing ability. Do that for 8-15 exercises over a number of weeks and you've got something good going for you! This can really challenge the joints to positively adapt as that is a lot of different positive stressors being placed on them.
2) Great Skill Development for Newbies & Youth
This is a great training style for people new to weight training and especially youth getting started. A large benefit teens and pre-teens get from training is the development in their ability to move better (motor skills). Doing a variety of exercises in a training session allows them to develop a more well rounded skill set. For adults getting into training for the first time, the benefit of working through a variety of movements can help with improving your overall nimbleness and help your hips, back, and shoulders be more mobile.
3) Fitness Improvement
1x20 training provides a great fitness benefit as 20 reps challenges your muscular force producing endurance abilities (rather than cardio). This is good for building your "base" fitness early in the off-season as well as a change of pace from a hard grind of heavy training. Doing a number of exercises like this in an hours time frame can add up to a lot of reps!
I have found this best done as an upper/lower split if you don't have more than an hour of time to train and really push the 20 reps. Most big exercises, like squats, deadlifts, presses, etc. you'll want to do a light 10 rep warm up for form and then hit the heavy 20 right after.
Give this a shot and let me know how it goes for you!