It’s amazing how much a rep scheme shapes a workout. Here’s an example. One of my favorite workouts of all time is one hundred 75# power snatches and one hundred GHD situps performed in mirrored ladders. So on the first round you do 19 snatches and 1 GHD situp. On the second round you do 17 snatches and 3 situps. You finish the workout coming full circle with 1 snatch and 19 situps. Boom.
Because the volume of situps goes up as the volume of snatches goes down, and because the elements require such different movement patterns, you can sail through the workout with minimal rest. Most fit dudes can finish this workout in around ten minutes.
But what if you were to do the same work volume with a different rep scheme? Say 40-30-20-10? Imagine doing forty power snatches at 75#! That’s more than half of “Randy”! And you haven’t even started the GHD situps! I tried this rep scheme once on a lark. It took around fifteen minutes to finish, my hands were torn to shreds, and afterwards I was more annoyed then tired, because I had to stand around and rest so much.
So forget about loading. Loading is easy. In a timed workout never load higher than 60% of your 1 rep max. Instead of load, focus on reps. Rep schemes are the secret sauce that can transform a workout from a soul-sucking dirge into a fast-paced romp through awesome land.