For years and years (over 10) I've been following a pretty basic workout format. It generally goes 4 sets of 10, 8, 6, 6 reps. As the reps decrease the weight increases and my heavy sets are "working sets" where I'm loading the muscle up trying to activate as many fibres as possible. The heavier the weight the more muscle fibres are recruited. This is a good thing.
During a recent chat with one of my clients, a physiotherapist and top coach he recommended adding spike days, where I start with activitating my muscles with as heavy a weight as I can manage for four reps and then follow that up with a set of 20-30 reps and a 90 seconds rest before repeating for a total of 3 sets.
The rep speed of the heavy set should be quick. Because it is as heavy as you can lift for 4 reps the weight is not going to be moving quickly anyway, but as quick as you can do it is fine. This will result in about activation of about 80% to 90% of your muscle fibres. Following this up with a set of 20 to 30 reps will mean that high percentage of muscle fibers is still being activated in though you are doing 20-30 reps. This would not happen if you do the high rep sets before the heavy set. 30 reps of muscle activation at between 1/1 and 2/2 for the concentric/eccentric phases will give excellent activation, shock, and ultimately growth.
I tried this for all my exercises this week and it surely does work. It worked escepially well on my back, where my lats are sill very sore from Saturday and it's now Monday.