It is a well-established fact that to make the most gains out of your training you need to have a specific goal for every exercise session you are performing. Every training workout session is targeted to achieve gains in either strength, muscle size, or endurance.
No matter what you are trying to achieve from your workout, you need to push your limits in one way or another to achieve them. You either have to push a number of reps of your exercises or have to lift more weights to make any significant gains.
It is believed that the famous bodybuilder Dante Trudell first came up with the idea of widowmaker sets as a high-risk and high-reward way to train post-failure.
The widowmaker set can be used with any of your main lifts or even accessory exercises but it is mostly used for squats & bench press as it is too risky to expose any other small muscle groups to such a high-risk set.
What is a Widowmaker Set?
The widowmaker set is designed to develop endurance strength. It is a high volume set that uses not only the muscle strength but also tests your lung capacity to pump the oxygen.
It is a high volume, 20 rep set that you perform at the end of your exercises. And no, you don’t perform that on lighter weights, you do this set at the weight around your 10 rep max.
Now you might have got the idea as to why they named it the widowmaker set.
You need to put in all you got in order to finish this set. You reach failure in between the set, but you push beyond that to finish the designated 20 reps for the set.
Everything from your muscle strength, lung capacity, stamina, and mental fortitude is utilized in completing this set.
Why should you do Widowmakers Workout?
So, when these are so brutal the question is ought to arise, why should one include widowmakers in their training workouts? Or is it really worth adding widowmaker sets to their training?
The widowmaker set contributes significantly to the improvement of muscle size, and loss of fats. It also builds your endurance strength.
When you push through the heavy 20 rep set the body responds to it positively. The high volume workout set helps you build muscle and shed fats faster. It also develops your ability to push through the harder sets for any other workout session.
Widowmakers Squat Workout
When you have planned to include the widowmaker set in your squats program, you don’t perform it straight away as the first set of your training session. You slowly build up to the widowmaker set through warm-up sets.
You don’t need any fancy competition gear to perform this set. The same squat rack you are using for your regular squats program is enough.
- Choose the weight with which you can perform an 8-12 rep squat set normally.
- Perform three to four sets of 3-8 reps each as warm-up sets. This will prime you to work up to the 20 rep set.
- After completing warm-ups, get ready for the widowmaker set.
- Start the set at a moderate pace. You will probably hit failure on 10-12th rep, do not stop here, breathe 2-3 times, and proceed to perform 1-2 more reps.
- For all the next reps till you finish the 20th you should pause and breathe after every rep and do the next rep.
It won’t be easy, you might feel like throwing up, but you need to push through to see the results.
When you are doing widowmakers with your current squats program, you need to keep the other training sessions strength focussed with sets of 3-5 reps.
Widowmaker Bench Press
You won’t see many people incorporate the widowmaker sets in their fitness regime. The main reason being the risk it carries and the amount of effort it needs.
It is not for the typical fitness enthusiasts. It is for the serious lifters who are looking to gain endurance strength and muscle growth and ready to put in the required efforts.