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22 April, 2012
Worrying About The Reps And Not The Muscle
The objective of any good strength training or weight loss protocol is to take musculature to failure. The true key is to choose a weight that with great technique you can manage to lift within the given rep bracket (and the given tempo). Once the selected muscle is fatigued the exercise should be over (this will normally occur on the concentric phase of the lift since you are stronger during the eccentric phase). If this occurs before the lower rep bracket that you have selected i.e. 10 – 12 – you have selected a weight that is to hard. However because people think “they must do at least 10 reps” they start to alter their technique which allows them to compensate around the fatigued muscle. This is why at Studio41 personal training studio our trainers are taught that technique is everything. Such an example would be on a shoulder press, half way during the exercise the participant starts to arch their back allowing them to keep on going. This recruits more of the upper chest and actually takes away from the deltoid (middle fibres). By doing this the participant is missing the point of the exercise – which was to take the whole deltoid to failure. They would be far better off to start with a lower weight and complete the rep bracket with the given tempo and use great technique (not allowing their back to arch).
It is truly a unnatural thing to ask your body to fail, it will always be looking to find ways to cheat and make life easier. However if you do not fail, and simply change your technique until you complete the set, the message that you are sending your body is “you don’t have to change because you are strong enough to do what I am asking of you”. You wont to reach that failure point during the given rep bracket so the body has to adapt and become stronger – which it will.
Unfortunately this requires one to lower the weight they are using which is often a difficult concept for the ego to understand – Just remember what muscle you are trying to fatigue and fatigue it. This means not changing your technique half way through the set so the original muscle is not even working by the end of the set.