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The 20 Rep Set

Pendulum workoutKaylee Gittleson ran hurdles for Ann Arbor Pioneer High School. The team won three out of four Division I State Championships during her four years. Kaylee was told by her dad to write about training from her perspective on the Rogers Blog.


My Dad was a Strength Coach for 30 years. We literally live in a gym with furniture. I watched my father train football players ever since I can remember. One day while I was lifting I stopped and asked him how did he get the athletes to try so hard when they strength trained? I asked him mistakingly.

“The 20 Rep Set make no mistake about it.  Let me show you” …..he said.

I was about to train on the Pendulum Chest Press, which is in our back yard mixed in with the outdoor lawn chairs.

“What is your best set of 8 reps”….he said.

Pendulum equipmentI put on a weight I knew I could barely achieve 8 reps with, full well knowing, my father would make me pause at the top of each rep and lower it feeling tension on the way back. “Make every rep count” he would say.

My father counted each rep that I did, and I struggled as hard as I could to get number 8. I wanted to show him I still knew how to train well.

“Okay that was a good 8 Kaylee, now lets get 12 more great reps before you get off the machine.” he said.

My Dad sat in the lawn chair and critiqued every additinal repetition. Some would count, some would not. The best I ever managed was 2 in a row. I wanted to kill him, which made me try harder. I finally got to 20 reps, which was more like 30, and then he wanted me to.. thank him!

He explained, the rep range was always 8-10. If you could achieve 10 perfect reps without setting the weight down you would add weight the next workout. 8 – 10 was your goal but you always stayed there until you achieved 20 reps. A sick fatherly concept.

The truth is, I learned much more about training that day than the effort that I gave… once the soreness wore off.

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A morning workout on the Pendulum Rack System at the College Strength and Conditioning Show in Fort Worth, Texas. The strength coaches are Staying Strong. The Pendulum Rack System