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16 September, 2011
As working as a personal trainer now for over 10 years I often see this mistake made all to often. The objective of any good strength training protocol is to take musculature to failure – in fact I would say that this is the key to getting results. I often see people lifting weights (let’s say 15) and stopping when they reach 15. However if I asked them to keep on going they probably could have done another 10 – 15 reps. This means that they were really using a weight that was suitable for 30 reps. Understand that 12 – 15 reps means that if you can do 16 reps with good form then the weight is too light. This goes for any rep bracket. If I am lifting 8 – 10 reps for 4 sets and I manage to lift my weight for all 4 sets for the maximum of 10 reps each then I will be using a heavier weight next time I train. However it is still important to realise that to keep good form and keep the tempo.
“I don’t wont to bulk up”
I think one of the major reasons why the above happens is that people (females) don’t wont to bulk up and feel that if they lift to failure then this will happen. However muscular endurance is determined by a set lasting longer than 70 secs, (this is where 15 reps = toning comes from), however the people who said that you should increase the reps to 15 if you want to stay away from hypertrophy still meant that you train to failure. You just fail at 15 reps and not the classic 8 – 10.
You have to consider 2 things –
- Muscle is denser than fat. If you carry a pound of fat then it may look like this when it is around muscle
However if you develop muscle – this will raise your metabolism (muscle takes more energy to maintain than fat) and you will burn calories at rest helping to shred that fat. However even with small muscle growth you will still look leaner and your clothes will be fitting better as your body now looks like this
And so yes – your muscles have got bigger – you look smaller.
At Studio41 Personal Training Studio we track every set and every rep. This helps us to know exactly what you did the previous week to make sure you lift that extra rep, helping us to get you stronger and leaner by making sure we apply small overloads each week.