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100-Rep Century Set Workout (Ultimate Fitness Challenge)

Michael Garrico
Published by Michael Garrico
Last updated: May 18, 2023

As a personal fitness and bodybuilding coach for more than a decade, I have seen only a few people switch to high-volume training with maximum reps.

And while it’s not the generally accepted approach, I was intrigued when I saw a colleague of mine implement a century workout routine.

The results were impressive, but it all came down to picking the right exercises and balancing different body parts in the routine.

So, our team of fitness coaches got together to design such a routine, and we tested it with seven clients over two months.

Here’s what’s involved.

Quick Summary

  • The idea behind the century workout is to pick exercises like pull-ups, push-ups, and squats that require minimal equipment.
  • For each particular muscle group, you choose a few exercises and do 100 reps in as few sets as possible.
  • You can combine isolation and compound lifts depending on the stage of your muscle-building journey.

Sample Century Workout Routine

A person doing a sample century workout

One thing I would suggest is to start conservatively.

If movements involve weights, then take a lower weight approach to get started, as most people we tested this with ended up struggling with the number of reps.

Also, make sure you choose an equal number of lower and upper body exercises to maintain a balanced physique.

Bodyweight Squats

Start off with your shoulders wide apart and focus on maintaining a neutral spine.

The trick to this movement is to do it slowly and ensure that your thighs are at least parallel to the floor at the low point. 

But the further down you can go, the more effective the workout will be.

If you get to a stage where you can complete 100 squats in one set, then you can advance to using a small weight.

Also Read: 7 Squat Variations That Skyrocket Leg Gains

Wide-Grip Pull-Ups

When it comes to doing 100 pull-ups, most people won’t be able to do these in just a few sets. In that case, use a chair to support your weight.

Once you get to a stage where you can complete this exercise in about three sets, start reducing how much you support yourself and even add a weighted vest.

Also, mix things up by alternating between an overhand and an underhand grip.

Military Push-Ups

A person doing a military push up in the gym

These push-ups are a great way to do a compound exercise for your chest, triceps, and shoulder muscles [1].

The trick with push-ups is to not do them as fast as possible.

Slow down the movement, and you’ll add more strain.


We’re back to working with free weights, and the deadlift is a great way to strengthen your back and core.

Before you start loading up a heavier weight, try to introduce a slower movement for an increased time under tension [2].

Another thing you can consider is slightly lifting the bar above waist height, which will exercise your shoulders and arms as well.

Bench Press

This is another one of my favorite workouts, and I would suggest starting with about 30% of your normal load to achieve eight reps.

The first 20 to 30 reps of the workout might seem a bit easy, but you’ll probably start feeling the burn after 60 to 70 reps.

What Are The Benefits Of Century Sets?

A person with good muscle mass

The main benefits of doing century sets with minimal rest periods are that you’ll achieve a much longer time under tension and better hypertrophy.

While a high-rep workout may take longer to result in a noticeable muscle burn in your body, the result is that you can extend the period during which you experience that burning.

The longer that lasts, the more energy you burn and the more your body will react to the workouts with more muscle building.

“Time under tension is the time your muscle spends under load during a set. This includes the time spent in the concentric (shortening) phase, peak contraction phase, and eccentric (lengthening) phase.”

- Hunter Labrada, Bodybuilder & Labrada Nutrition Athlete

Choosing Weights And Sets

My recommendation here is to pick two upper and two lower body exercises to do the century workout.

Four different movements might not seem like much, but doing them with proper form will be more beneficial.

I would also say that you should pick movements and weights according to your strength and fitness levels.

Start with 30% of your regular loads and then gradually build up from there. 

This is not the time to try to be a hero, only to wear yourself out after the first workout.


Does Doing 100 Reps Build Muscle?

Yes, doing 100 reps will build muscle, as long as those reps bring you to failure and exhaustion. Even if you need to spread them over a couple of sets, pushing yourself that far can have excellent results for bulking.

What Happens If You Do 100 Bicep Curls Every Day?

If you do 100 biceps curls every day, you should notice consistent muscle growth. And because it’s a smaller muscle group, you should be able to recover faster and continue with the process.

Start Transforming Your Physique With The Century Approach

While testing this approach to building more mass, we got some excellent results with clients that had hit a plateau.

And one other thing that made a big difference was adding one of the top-quality protein powders we tested to the supplement stack:

Because you will be straining yourself more than ever before, you will need the best quality amino acids to help speed up the recovery process.


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