What Are the Benefits of Performing 1 and 1/4 Reps?
What Are the Benefits of Doing 1 and ¼ Reps?
The main benefit to doing 1 and ¼ reps is to add time under tension to a given muscle group. It is useful as a tool to overload a certain muscle group, to help induce hypertrophy, and to bring up a weakness.
Mechanical tension is an important factor when it comes to hypertrophy. Receptors in the muscle cells are sensitive to both the amount of load and the duration of loading used, as Dr. Schoenfeld points out. This is why hypertrophy can still be achieved when using lighter loads, it just takes longer to reach failure with a lighter load. For athletes, this isn’t all that beneficial. By using 1 and ¼ reps you can create this fatigue in a muscle group quicker whilst still maintaining a decent load.
1 and ¼ reps are also good to use to bring up a weak muscle group or a weak point in a lift. For example, if you want to target the VMO using squats, you can add in some 1 and ¼ reps in the bottom position, or if you have trouble locking out in the bench press you may want to try performing 1 and ¼ reps in the top position.
Using 1 ¼ reps is a good way to work on positioning in a lift as well. Using the squat as an example again, the 1 ¼ rep forces you to stay in control of the weight and stay tight in a position you are normally weakest in. You also get to drive out of the position more times, which is more practice in that position, if done correctly.
I like to use a controlled ¼ rep but if you are an Olympic lifter you could also use more of a bounce in the bottom position to try and increase rebound / elasticity to replicate coming out of the bottom after a clean.
Performing 1 ¼ reps
To perform 1 and ¼ reps you simply lower the bar all the way down, come up one quarter of the way, go all the way back down, and then do a full rep. That counts as one rep.
When using 1 ¼ reps for hypertrophy or to correct a weakness make sure you stay tight and control the lift on the way up, use muscle tension not just momentum. I like to have a slight pause at the top of the quarter rep to make sure you are tight and feel the position, before lowering under control once again.
You can program them in as your main lift for the day if training for hypertrophy, if training for strength, you could use them as an assistance lift. If I really want to bring up a weakness, I will program in full squats as my core lift and then in my assistance work include split squats with 1 ¼ reps.
There are many ways in which you can use this technique. Know what needs to be addressed and then you can program them in accordingly.